2009 xServe Daily Driver/Workstation

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by pattielipp, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. pattielipp macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2014
    I have read through many threads but have found I am only left with questions. First, the title is slightly misleading. I am a tech guy who works IT, Specifically SysAdmin for Govt. Contracting & at the moment, Helpdesk support managing Accounts on AD through Windows. I do not consider myself a Mac guy, Nor a Windows Guy; I am a Computer guy.

    My current setup is as followed as followed:
    Custom PC: AMD FX-8350(8 core, clocked to 4.5ghz), 24 GB DDR3 Ram, AMD Radeon R7 240, multiple HD's totaling about 2TB of Data, DVD Drive. Running Windows 7 and Ubuntu.

    Macbook 3,1 2007 with Snow Leopard, 4GB ram and 160GB HD

    Previous Server(sold to a friend):
    HP DL380 G5: Dual 3.2GHZ Quad core XEONS; 8GB DDR2 Ram, 4 Sata Drives in Raid 0+1(2+2[Single drive shown to system for booting and fun]), Server 2008 and Ubuntu running in Hyper-V

    After extensive research of the MacPro and finally deciding on a 2009 MacPro, 4Core; After purchase do EFI update to 2010 and update to 8 core then eventually update to 12 core via processor update. This setup would have been a lot of $$$$$$$$$$ more than I wanted to spend(Over time, not at once).

    My goal is a system that is faster than my current custom PC while running a version of OSX. I'm over the Hackintosh movement as well as windows in general and just want this to work.

    After some time I remembered the xServe and figured What the hell, i'll look into it again. To my suprise, the price of a 2009 8 core xServe is about the same as a 4 core MacPro from the same year with a few drawbacks but additional features as well.

    I dable in a bit of everything, Light gaming(I have cosoles for this so not so much anymore); Audio production, Video Production(Two gopros and a quick car & AutoX/Tracking + Water sports); Media server, File Server.
    Main purpose will be Media and File server with the rest coming second.

    My questions are what are your opinions for the goals. I am well aware of the noise as i work in Datacenter and had a server prior(hp dl380, see above). Likewise, The audio/Video production is minimal and the noise is not a problem as I can seperate myself from that.

    I am aware of the Lack of audio interface but that can be combatted by Firewire, USB or PCI interfaces.

    Video is my main question. I would like to have some sort of decent Video Accelleration above the built in GPU( i forgot what the board is called..mezzarea... something). I know the space is limited but i want to know the compatability.
    As of OSX Mavericks, All(almost all?) Nvidia cards are supported(the drivers are there in osx) with cooling(modifications will be made if required to cooling system) and space(different sized cards) not an issue, Theoretically, shouldn't the cards work. This information is lacking on the interweb, however i have read some(very few) success stories of people who have actually tried.
    I am also aware of the power requirement with dual Power supplies. This will not be a 24/7 Machine, only a "When Needed".

    My goals are as followed:
    2009 xServe; Dual Quad core, SSD Bootable, Drive1: Raid 1 with Bootable; Last two drives in a raid 1 config. Low Profile Graphics Card in one of the PCIe Slots.
    Media/File server;Video Rendering/Editing of 1080P/2K video; Last priority is Daily Driver and Audio production.

    On another note i've looked into CPU upgrades it looks like this has not been attempted in the 2009 as board/chipset/EFI compatibility is negligable. having a 12 core xserve would be a novel idea and very desirable but not truly feasible unless the board would support it(doubtful).

    Let me know your thoughts, feelings, etc.
    Flame suit is on stand by for the Daily driver/Audio Prod. Comments.
  2. pattielipp thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2014
    I forgot to mention, I plan on running a few VM's and building out my home network, both physical and virtual.
  3. Motoman69 macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    I am in the same boat

    I just purchased a Xserve 2009 and want to have better graphics as well. I have also Hackintoshed several PC including a Intel Server which works quite well. I wish I would have bought one of the Intel workstation boards so I could have had a graphics express slot. I also just purchased a Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 which is very fast "On Windows" and draws very little power. I have not been able to get it to work on my Hackintosh as of yet. If Apple brings support to the card we might have a winner. I will be watching this thread and will share any info I find. 10
  4. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    It'd be usable. They do have some drawbacks as you've listed. Don't forget to include their size of big and flat as well as their level of noise. They have the standard constant server fan noise about them. You can easily switch out the stock graphics card with nearly any PCIe x16 card so long as it doesn't require extra power. I don't recall exactly if Xserves have a GPU power cable or not, but I don't think so. Lastly don't forget that they are based on 2009 hardware. Apple will support them for about two more years as far as hardware goes.
  5. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    For some reason I remember Xserves being very loud. It may have been earlier models though.
  6. Motoman69 macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    We will see I guess.

    I have not received my 2009 unit yet so I don't know the exact configuration. I got a real steal on it so I can't get hurt to bad. I just started looking around the net for upgrade info and have not found to much yet. Memory prices seem pretty high. I have two mac pros 2006 and 2008 units as well. I upgraded my 2006 to 8 cores and am trying to install Mavericks on it even though it is not officially supported. You kind of have to Hackintosh your Mac to get it to work. I have a couple of Dell 2950s with 32GB and Ubuntu server on them. They are LOUD for sure. Should be fun! Later
  7. pattielipp thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2014
    Fully aware of the size and noise. From the additional research I have done, i have concluded that any (mac compatible) Video card that does not require additional power(with some modification even those that require additional power) can be used as long as there is enough space.

    For now I am looking for a good deal and exactly what I want; easier said than done. I am also researching what SAN I want utulize for additional storage. I have looked into the xRaid but with that being older technology and PETA Drives, I am not sold. However, I can purchase one fully loaded with drives and both raid cards for CHEAP. Decisions decisions.

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