I got an Xserve :D

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by tdbmoss, Aug 6, 2016.

  1. tdbmoss, Aug 6, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2016

    tdbmoss macrumors regular

    tdbmoss

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    #1
    Yes, perhaps I am insane, but for £30 plus £15 postage from eBay I couldn't resist this given that they are relatively rare (especially with the original box and accessories) and it is in near new condition whereas most of them are scratched etc from being in an out of racks - interestingly they now appear to be by far the cheapest entry point into the world of Intel Mac ownership despite being the most expensive when new. I now have 8 Macs so definitely won't/shouldn't be getting any more for a while!

    It's not even PowerPC (yep, it's my first/only Intel Mac!) but I thought you guys might find it interesting - it's an "early 2008" Xserve 2,1 with a pair of quad-core "Harpertown" Xeon E5462 chips running at 2.8 GHz, 8 GB FB-DIMM RAM (the original 4x1 GB that it came with from the factory plus 2x2 GB that must have been added later), one 750W power supply with a spare bay for a second one, the pretty pathetic Radeon X1300 64 MB card that they all came with (this is a "mezzanine" card so doesn't take up one of the two PCI Express slots), some kind of SCSI card in one of the PCIe slots, and no hard disks.

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    So far it has to proven to be pretty flexible in terms of compatible OS X versions despite being officially compatible with only 10.5 Leopard through to 10.7 Lion (it's unique in being the only Intel Mac with EFI64 that lost support after Lion, as it came with the same graphics card as the 2006 Xserve 1,1 which they couldn't be bothered to write the 64-bit drivers for - I have found that it does run later OSes with relatively little effort given the EFI64, but without graphics acceleration/with glitches as you'd expect).


    Tiger - works but without graphics acceleration which is odd as it's the same card as the supported 2006 Xserve 1,1 - perhaps the grey discs for the 2006 model came with something that the retail 10.4.7 plus the combo updater don't include:

    Picture 1.png

    Mavericks - 10.7-10.9 have the best About This Mac, that picture of the Xserve and fully-populated Xserve RAID is awesome :D

    mavs.jpg


    El Capitan - Sierra should work too I think as it is said to work on the 2008 Mac Pro which is essentially the same, though I haven't tried the beta yet:

    Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 3.32.41 PM.png

    Non-Apple OSes seem more tricky - ESXi looks to be possible though it needs a separate hard disk to dedicate to it, but a Windows 10 DVD just booted to a black screen so it seems it doesn't like Apple's EFI (Xserves don't have the "Boot Camp" BIOS emulation layer).
     
  2. MysticCow macrumors 6502a

    MysticCow

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  3. tdbmoss thread starter macrumors regular

    tdbmoss

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    #3
    Hehe, it's certainly a lot of Mac for the money, Xserves seem to be dirt cheap these days!
     
  4. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #4
    I'm very surprised Tiger works on it at all. Has anyone had success with Tiger on a 2008 Mac Pro?
     
  5. tdbmoss thread starter macrumors regular

    tdbmoss

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    #5
    I think I did see it reported that works too, yes, which made me think to try this as the two are very similar. I had to install the retail universal version of 10.4.7 Server and then update it to 10.4.11 before it would work - 10.4.7 got stuck on the "no" symbol. It seems that sometimes a completely up-to-date copy of the previous OS to the shipping one works despite what Apple would like us to believe, my "early 2005" G5 is quite happy to run 10.3.9 despite having shipped with Tiger too.
     
  6. Tito910 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2016
    #6
    gorgeous machine. I've always loved the look of the xserve. especially the xserve raid.

    how loud is it during normal use?
     
  7. 128keaton macrumors 68020

    128keaton

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    #7
    Wow thats awesome. Could you run Geekbench for me? :) I have an Xserve RAID but no Xserve, although work found an unopened G5, though I'd rather get an Intel. I believe I could put El Capitan on and throw a better GPU in.
     
  8. MysticCow macrumors 6502a

    MysticCow

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    May 27, 2013
    #8
    I just went over to eBay and you're correct. They're priced lower than a comparable Mac Pro (Or Power Mac since we're on the PPC forum). Now it's a question of what I would want the XTable to be...
     
  9. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    Kentucky
    #9
    As fun as they are and as much computer as you get for the money, they're still noise and are power hogs.

    For home use, they're best stuffed in a closet and run headless so you don't have to listen to them. My G5 makes a good space heater in the winter!

    You also have limited GPU options. There's a rare AGP riser for the G4 and the Intel ones have PCIe, but you're pretty limited with the G5. They're pretty unwieldy as desktops-I've used an rackmounts(not Xserves) in that role, and usually end up turning them sideways.

    Fortunately at least Apple saw fit to put one USB port on the front with the later Intel Xserves. Even using them in a rack can be a pain without this if you need to hook up a keyboard and mouse as they're about 3 feet long. The PPC and early Intel ones had a Firewire port on the front.

    Also, you do get the nice perk of redundant PSUs in the Intel Xserves. I've not seen how they are attached, but on my IBM SystemX racks, they use a special connector and have a locking tab so that PSUs can be hot-swapped. The IBMs will(vocally) complain if you don't plug in both PSUs.
     
  10. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

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    #10
    http://www.everymac.com/ultimate-ma...all-intel-macs&highlight=0&prod1=iMacIntel064 select all Macs and then the model you want to look up. somewhere at the bottom they list the minimum OS for the model. No OS lower than that can be used. One could try, if it works, when you boot from an external disc with a not supported lower OS. If the Mac won't start normally anymore afterwords, hold alt (or opt) key at start again and select the internal.
    People tended to claim, the MDD or an overheating PowerMac G5 sounds like a jet engine. NO, the Xserve sounds like a jet engine. I got a PPC Xserve from Ebay once and quickly sold it again, because of the unbearablem noise. I initially planned to use it sort of as a desk on top of a table :)

    There is a G4 Dual 1,33GHz Xserve CPU that is sought after as an MDD upgrade CPU, because of the different cache size vs the Dual 1,42GHz MDD stock CPU.

    How do you guarantee enough cooling in a closet?
     
  11. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #11
    MDDs, G5s, and Mac Pros are nothing on Xerves. I think I went through mine and counted 10 fans. They're all small high speed fans that are carefully routed through, and do make an ear-splitting racket.

    As I said, I have a bunch of SystemX servers, and the 3U ones have 14 fans(I think). All the fans are 3U in height and are paired(plus hot swappable) to provide redundancy. When the computer is booted, all the fans run for about a second, and it sounds like a helicopter taking off.

    The only time I've spent any significant amount of time in the same room as my G5 Xserve was when I first did the OS install. At the time, I didn't have a Superdrive in the computer(most shipped with CD-RW drives, and Leopard Server only comes on DVD) so put the server in TDM and did the install from a Powerbook. The temperature sensors are not operational in TDM, so all the fans runs full blast-I finally had to leave the room as I had to turn up the TV uncomfortably loud to be able to hear it.

    As for temperatures in the closet-it's actually a fairly large closet. It has one outside wall and no ductwork, so the temperature inside tends to reflect the outside temperature at least somewhat(as long as the door is closed). In the winter with below freezing temperatures it's often around 50º, and can hit 80º in the summer(with the house in the mid to high 60s in both seasons). There's enough air volume that I've never had overheating issues and the server doesn't run constantly, but none the less I do keep an eye on it in the summer. It stays quite content in the winter and will generally raise the temperature in the closet by several degrees.
     
  12. Dannyshing27 macrumors regular

    Dannyshing27

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    #12
    Just grab three IKEA lack tables, some angle joints and casters from b&q and your sorted

    Been on the lookout for an XSERVE for some time tho so very jealous at that price
     

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  13. weckart macrumors 68040

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    Nov 7, 2004
    #13
    It helps to be heavily into Techno music if you are going to have that rig in your lounge. Otherwise, no, no, nope. :eek:
     
  14. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

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    #14
    Or play some Nic Endo just to tone down the fan noise....

     
  15. tdbmoss, Aug 8, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016

    tdbmoss thread starter macrumors regular

    tdbmoss

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    #15
    Pretty loud :) I wouldn't say it's deafening or anything like that, but it is louder than you would want a desktop system to be so it's not really a cheap way of getting a Mac Pro, even though otherwise it is pretty much the same machine. The sound they make when starting up as all the fans spin up is very cool, it sounds like an F1 car firing up!

    Although they aren't practical as an everyday Mac for this reason, this setup still looks very nice indeed: http://www.macintouch.com/photos/xserverack1.jpg

    Sure, here's the result from Geekbench 3.4.1 (32-bit as I don't have a licence key): http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/7693298 The single-core score isn't that impressive, but the multi-core score is still very impressive compared with much more recent Apple systems!

    There is just a catch to unlock the power supplies and then they slide out, very well designed with no screws or anything :) They use some kind of proprietary (I assume) connector too - mine only came with one power supply.
     
  16. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #16
    Although I don't personally have any real use for enterprise-class hardware, I couldn't believe it when Apple claimed that the MP tower was a replacement for the Xserve

    If you've handled enterprise class equipment, you pretty quickly realize that what makes it as such is not just specifics of the hardware but the design and location of the hardware.

    As you said, you can simply slide a PSU out without having to take the computer apart. If you had both PSUs installed and one failed, you'd simply pull the dead one and then replace it with zero system down time.

    The list of hot-swappable components on my SystemX stuff is a mile long. Apple also allowed for hot-swapable HDDs, but outside the Xserve RAID you are somewhat limited(my 3U systemX racks can take 6 3.5" HDDs, and a friend has one that can take 8 2.5" HDDs).
     
  17. Dannyshing27 macrumors regular

    Dannyshing27

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    #17
    I use the Xserve for long term backups so they are never on at the same time :D it does indeed make an awful racket
     
  18. tdbmoss thread starter macrumors regular

    tdbmoss

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    #18
    If that was bad, what about now that they claim the Mac Mini and the cylinder Pro are replacements for the Xserve (and proper Mac Pro)...

    The Xserve does remind me how much Apple Computer is missed, they could make amazing computers when they tried rather than just churning out the same years-old hardware with its 5,400 RPM hard drives...
     
  19. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #19
    To be fair, the current computers are actually something close to Steve Job's "Vision" for the original Macintosh with it being a sealed case that the user never opened.

    The problem was that it slowed the adoption of the computer. The Mac II was secretly developed and was released almost immediately after he was outsted...it actually turned the Mac into a "serious" platform.
     
  20. tdbmoss, Aug 9, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016

    tdbmoss thread starter macrumors regular

    tdbmoss

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    #20
    Apple may have declared the Xserve dead a while ago now, but it seems it's not quite there yet :)

    Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 13.53.21.png

    I doubt the Xserve is very impressed by the new OS though which seems to just introduce a new iFeatures like Watch unlocking :p Oh and that Siri icon on the menu bar is *ugly* - surely it could follow the design of all the other menu bar icons?

    Graphics are of course un-accelerated like all 10.8 and later versions, Apple engineers of course didn't have time to write a few 64-bit graphics drivers as well as design all those watch bands...

    With Apple's demands for additional CPU instruction sets in Sierra (El Capitan runs fine on any 64-bit processor, yet Sierra has next to no new features yet fails to run on anything without SSE4.1, that's about as logical as Tiger requiring a FireWire port...), the 2008 Mac Pro and Xserve are now the minimum for running the latest OS X, sadly the 2006/2007 Mac Pro and 2006 Xserve won't be compatible.
     
  21. Rhino_Fart macrumors newbie

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    Sep 1, 2016
    #21
    Non-Apple OSes seem more tricky - ESXi looks to be possible though it needs a separate hard disk to dedicate to it, but a Windows 10 DVD just booted to a black screen so it seems it doesn't like Apple's EFI (Xserves don't have the "Boot Camp" BIOS emulation layer).[/QUOTE]

    I currently have the same xServe. Early 2008 2 x Quad Core 2.8s, 24Gb of RAM, Bay 1 = 1TB HD, Bay 2 = 512Gb Apple SSD, Bay 3 = 512Gb Crucial M4 SSD.
    I run ESXi 5.5 on this puppy. The only downfall is I had to use Rufus to install onto a USB stick, and boot off that. Bootups are kind of slow, but thankfully the xServe has been rock solid, so the only reboots that happen are during my maintenance windows. I also have ESXi 5.5 running on my Mac Mini Server. 512 GB SSD, Promise Pegasus R6 6TB RAID. I had to add a special VIB to get the promise to work, and I have a couple thunderbolt devices in daisy chain to increase my Nics.

    My next project is to try and quieten the xServe down a bit. I found some Swiftech waterblocks that will work in the 1U formfactor, and the mounting hardware will fit (with about 15 microns to spare ;P ). I'm just hoping the unit will boot up without that rack of 40mm Turbines hooked up.
     
  22. LightBulbFun macrumors 6502a

    LightBulbFun

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    London UK
    #22
    have to say that its a very awesome find you have there @tdbmoss (id like to get an xserve my self some day) cool to see it can be made to run tiger. iv wondered if you could make a Mac Pro 3,1 run tiger this kinda does solve that question (since the XS2,1 and MP3,1 share the same HW) in regards to running windows on an Xserve maybe you can try some of the stuff I documented here: http://forums.macrumors.com/threads...ual-windows-on-x-serve.1974421/#post-22940424
     

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