From the Houston Chronicle: May 24, 2002, 12:49AM Dr. Mac Apple's Xserve enough to generate conniption By BOB LEVITUS Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle WHEN I first heard about Apple's pizza-box, rack-mount server, I was underwhelmed. I mean, I'm just this piddly little home user with a teeny-tiny home network. I lust for a Cinema HD Display, not a server. I naturally assumed that it would be a good thing for Apple in the markets it's pushing it for: education, biotech and entertainment. And it is. And I figured it would accelerate enterprise-level software development for Mac OS X. And it did; it's already attracted such usually Mac-shy software houses as Oracle, Sybase and Hewlett-Packard, as well as longtime Mac developers including Dantz, Adobe, 4D and FileMaker. So I expected that while certain users would be dancing the fandango, I personally would be yawning. What can I say? I'm an idiot. Yesterday I was a closed-minded, server-oblivious bigot; today I'm a totally changed geek. After looking at the system (in the lobby at Apple, on their way out of the press event I had studiously avoided earlier in the day), I almost ran out the door with one under my arm. They call it Xserve. Note to self: Is that pronounced "Ten-Serve," "Ex-Serve" or "Zerv?" Of course it's better looking than any server I've seen, but more than that, it's one rockin' fast Macintosh. Equipped with one or two 1-gigahertz G4 processors with a 2-megabyte Double Data Rate L3 cache for each processor and up to 2 gigabytes of high-octane, nitro-burning, blazing-fast DDR SDRAM high-performance memory running at a smokin' 266 megahertz, faster than any Mac ever before. But wait, there's more: a software RAID capable of mirroring and striping -- Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks describes data protection -- and up to 4 hot-swappable Apple Drive Modules. And, two of its three PCI slots are of the 64-bit variety again, the fastest ever found in any Mac. Not to mention an optional AGP 4X graphics card for when plain-old eye candy and twitch games just don't cut it. Oh, and unlike the Red(mond) menace, which charges for server licenses "by the seat," Xserve includes an unlimited user license for Mac OS X Server. Take that, Bill Gates. And, at least according to Apple's propaganda, its capacity and performance rival much more expensive servers from Dell, HP, IBM and Sun. Take that, Michael Dell. Standard configurations include a 60-GB Apple Drive Module; dual-gigabit Ethernet; CD-ROM, VGA graphics card (supports headless booting); three FireWire ports, two on the back and one on the front; two universal serial bus ports; a DB-9 serial console port; plus Mac OS X Server software featuring QuickTime Streaming Server, Web- Objects, Apache, Samba, PHP, MySQL and Tomcat. You can order one today for delivery in June, with prices starting around $3,000. So what's not to like? 15 gigaflops of sizzling computation, up to half a terabyte of hot-pluggable, fast, bootable RAID storage, up to 2 gigabytes of the fastest RAM ever, and it trounces more expensive (and more temperamental) Ultra3 SCSI-based servers from companies I wouldn't be buying a computer from anyway. In other words, my next Mac will probably be an Xserve. But what I really want is an Xserve with the PowerBook Titanium form factor. Blow off the pizza box, toss in an AirPort card, and bingo. I'd pay big dough for that. Oh. One last thing: Apple would have preferred I had prattled about Xserve's SMB/CFIS/FTP/NFS and other acronyms only an uber-geek could love. That's just not my cup of megahertz. You wanna know the geeky stuff, read something by John Welch, John Rizzo or Andy Ihnatko, or visit the smallish mountain of technical info at the Apple site: www.apple.com/xserve/. Gotta love free press and Take that Bill Gates!!!