Difference between Server & G4 Desktop?

DreaminDirector

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 3, 2002
646
0
Ladera Ranch, CA
Since I've joined MacRumors, I've thought of so many questions that I've always wondered the answers to. I'm a newbie but I've worked with macs for years (I had a IIsi with 8mb of RAM), but I don't know the difference between normal desktops and the servers. What does a server do that a normal desktop can't? I know this sounds like a stupid question, but the answer kinda stumps me.

Thanks everyone for all of the information. I've learned more in the past three weeks that I did in the past five years.
 

Rower_CPU

Moderator emeritus
Oct 5, 2001
11,219
0
San Diego, CA
Short answer: nothing

Long answer: a few things a little bit faster

One of Xserve's biggest features is its form factor. Fitting many servers into a small space is crucial for some people.

It also has certain perks like 64bit PCI slots, and software monitoring tools that allow you to see temperature, fan activity, and drive health.

Other than that, the performance will be pretty much the same between the dual GHz Xserve and dual GHz PowerMac (when configured with the same amount of RAM and same hard drives).
 

DreaminDirector

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 3, 2002
646
0
Ladera Ranch, CA
clarification

Well, i don't know, exactly. I orginally thought the difference between the hardware, such as the G4 1ghz dual vs the Apple 1U server. Whats the difference in hardware? And the second question is, what the difference in software? How does the OS work differently? (this is confusing to me, so please bare with me...)


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Well, that answered some of my questions, but does the server act like a giant hub for several computers? If so, what would the difference be between that and a firewire hard drive that you can plug and play into difference macs?
 

mac15

macrumors 68040
Dec 29, 2001
3,099
0
if you buy a server they come with OSX server if you buy a pmac they come with normal OSX
 

Rower_CPU

Moderator emeritus
Oct 5, 2001
11,219
0
San Diego, CA
Re: clarification

Originally posted by DreaminDirector
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Well, that answered some of my questions, but does the server act like a giant hub for several computers? If so, what would the difference be between that and a firewire hard drive that you can plug and play into difference macs?
The server can act a "hub" the way you refer to it, if clients are booting up via NetBoot. The client stations can then run software from the server.

A more common use of servers is for file-sharing or web serving duties.

I think http://www.apple.com/xserve/ and http://www.apple.com/macosx/server/ can answer a lot of your questions.
 

Quixcube

macrumors member
Aug 22, 2002
55
0
Athens, GA
server vs. desktop

It depends on the server.

The firewire hard drive shared between several computers would act as a very simply sort of file server. There are servers out there that are basically big hard disks. They are canned NAS servers usually (Network Accessable Storage servers).

That server is very limited in what it can do in comparison to a mac running Mac OS X Server. The Mac can share files between computers like the hard drive. It can also authenticate users on all the clients (one account that works on many machines when you log in). It can act as a DNS server, a DHCP server, a NetBoot server (where it actually provides the hard drive image to client machines that don't have hard drives installed). It can serve web pages and host Quake 3 tournaments :)

The software is what really makes a server. You can do a lot of those tasks with standard Mac OS X, but not all. Mac OS X Server adds in more options.

Hardware changes in "server" models just help to accomplish the added features more quickly. For example, the Xserve has 4 independent 100MB ATA busses. Under heavy demand, that blows the doors off of a standard PowerMac which has (I believe) one 100MB and one 66MB bus. many server models also have larger caches and redundant power supplies so the machine runs more efffeciently and more reliably. The Xserve is lacking here *ahem* Apple.

Hope that helps some.
 
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