Xserve as a normal computer

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by larswik, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. larswik macrumors 68000

    Sep 8, 2006
    Next Year I will be ugrading computers to an intel and new video gear for work. I am getting a new desk by TBC that has a nice rack built into the top part of the desk. Instead of buying a new Tower I was wondering if I could buy a xserve that would fit right into the 1 rack space in the desk. The only PCI card I need to install is a SCSI card for a LTO-4 drive. My video production happens through a Motu V4HD which is FW 800. The new xServes has a video out and that would leave me an extra PCI slot/

    Can I run an Xserve like a normal computer?

  2. pdjudd macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2007
    Plymouth, MN
    An XServe is not intended to be a desktop computer. They are very loud boxes intended to be run in their own dedicated room.
  3. Velin macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2008
    Hearst Castle
    You don't want to. Xserve is designed for networks. It's a loud server that practically needs a rack -- and comes with the rack mounting hardware. It has components and an architecture to support large network environment.

    You'd be much better off saving your money and purchasing a Mac Pro.
  4. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
  5. fr4c macrumors 65816


    Jul 27, 2007
    Hamster wheel
    Like many have said, the Xserv is very loud and not designed to be used as a "tower". Not saying that you can't, but it's certainly the wrong shoes for the situation. A Mac Pro would be much more suited for your needs.
  6. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    The basic structure, like chipset and processors are completely the same in the xServe and the MacPro.
    But that's pretty much it.

    If you buy a xServe, be aware that you've got some major drawbacks compared to the MacPro.
    The xServe is extremely loud, costs more than a Pro, has only 3 drive bays (+ 1 for a SSD which is nice by the way) and simply not the capabilities for expansion cards like the Pro has.
    You can't put a faster graphics card like the ATI 4870 in it, which means that you're stuck with the inbuilt GT120 and judging from what you say about your work, professional video editing I assume, you don't want to mess around with the GT120.
  7. 173080 macrumors 6502

    Aug 15, 2003
    Sure you can, if you're deaf.

    I thought about bolting an Xserve under my desk until I actually bought one.

    Now I have two rack-mounted Xserves.
  8. Sweetfeld28 macrumors 65816


    Feb 10, 2003
    Buckeye Country, O-H
    I wonder if it would be any quieter if you changed the performance settings, like i did in my G5. My G5 was one of the liquid cooled G5s that happened to leak. Apple repaired it, but once i got it back the fans would rev'ed up every once in a while to really loud revs. However, i countered this by going into the system preferences and changing my processor performance from automatic or highest, to the lowest. Almost immediately, the fan noise disappeared.
  9. TK2K macrumors 6502


    Jun 4, 2006
    Alright, if you want one I have one for sale in the FS thread!

    You cannot adjust fan settings without hacking the EFI layer, which, to my knowledge, no one has done yet, since 99% of the people who own xserves never hear them.

    Okay, sorry, but in all seriousness it's loud. It's quite loud. I have one in my dorm room and I am trying to sell it specifically becuase of that. It was easier because I can rackmount it, but a Mac Pro is really better suited if you plan to use it with you next to it.

    It works just like a normal computer, there is NO audio out however, remember that. Honestly, it's the most stable hardware i've ever used, the hardware monitoring is fantastic, temp sensors everywhere, I really love it... it's just, it's designed to keept he machine as cool as possible, not as quiet as a Mac Pro, so it's too much to sleep with. That was my problem.

    In terms of expandability it's really fantastic. I have a 16TB rackmounted array, a rackmounted FW audio recording interface, and having the computer rackmounted too is fantastic. I can just close up the doors and take it with me as opposed to moving two separate items. If it was quieter I'd use it for sure.

    you CAN upgrade the video card, you just need to make sure it fits, I have a x1600 in mine and it works just fine, in addition to the onboard video. I have a highpoint 4322 in it and ir works very well
  10. Sweetfeld28 macrumors 65816


    Feb 10, 2003
    Buckeye Country, O-H
    Yes, they are loud. At work, we have a two Xserves in the same rack plus the Xserve Raid, and another 32 TB array of drives below all of that. Our rack sounds like a jet blower motor.
  11. larswik thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sep 8, 2006
    Thanks for all the replies! Sounds like it would work and fit right into my desk and be sleek and awesome. But from what you guys have said the major downfall are the fans and going def. I do video editing and sound work. Having these fans going all the time would suck. Looks like it will be a Mac Pro.

    I would hope some day Apple would make a rack mount Mac that that is quiet and designed for the stream line person.


  12. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    It will work as a computer, however IMHO it is just a money dump for what you plan on doing. Also the XServe has a long foot print. Most racks (especially desk racks) are made for audio and video equipment and will not be deep enough for the XServe.

    the XServe is not necessarily made for everyday computing. They are made to be set up and left alone.

    I would figure you would be far better with a Mac Pro.

    I wanted an Xserve for awhile, even just as an iTunes server, or as a Logic Node, but the benefits are not there to justify the purchase.

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