Apple is unveiling an upgrade Xserve system powered by Intel's new Xeon 5500 series chips, also known as Nehalem EP. The Apple announcement comes a week after Intel launched Nehalem EP, and less than a week after Apple enthusiast sites started talking about an upcoming Xserve with the new Xeons inside. Apple officials say the new Xserve offers twice the performance of the previous model, and an 89 percent improvement in performance per watt. The metrics mirror the pitch Intel officials made about the Nehalem architecture being able to drive up performance and energy efficiency while reducing operating costs.
Apple is rolling out an Xserve system powered by Intel's new Nehalem
EP processor, less than a week after speculation spread across Apple enthusiast Websites
about the upgrade.
Apple officials said the enhanced 1U Xserve
announced April 7, offers up to twice the performance and an 89 percent
improvement in performance per watt, a key measurement that Intel executives highlighted
when releasing the new processor and chip architecture March 30.
The rack-optimized Xserve can run up to two of the quad-core
Intel Xeon 5500 series chips-which have a clock speed of up to
2.93 GHz-and also offer several storage options, including an optional
128GB SSD (solid-state disk) drive, support for 7,200 rpm SATA 15,000
rpm SAS drives, and up to 3 terabytes of internal storage.
Click here to get a look at the new Nehalem systems.
Apple officials touted the upgrades.
"The Xserve is the best workgroup server for our education, business
and creative customers," David Moody, vice president of worldwide Mac
product marketing, said in a statement. "With up to twice the
performance, better power efficiency and an innovative SSD drive
option, this is the best Xserve we've ever made."
When introducing the Nehalem EP chip for two-socket systems March
30, Intel officials stressed the new architecture's ability to ramp up
performance and energy efficiency while driving down operating costs.
A key new feature to the Nehalem architecture is the integrated
memory controller, which does away with the Front-Side Bus and speeds
up the communication between the chip and memory. Rival Advanced Micro
Devices has been using an integrated memory controller on its Opteron
processors since 2003.
The new chips also offer a direct chip-to-chip interconnect, lower
power draw for idle cores, the ability to dynamically boost the clock
speed of individual cores and greater virtualization capabilities.
A host of OEMs-including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Fujitsu, NEC
and Rackable Systems-have unveiled new or upgraded systems based on the
new processor. Sun Microsystems
Intel worked together to optimize the Solaris operating system for the
Nehalem architecture, and is expected soon to introduce new servers
powered by the chips.
Intel is conducting a gradual rollout of the Nehalem architecture.
The chips for high-end PCs and workstations was released in the fall;
the Nehalem EX chips for servers with four or more sockets is expected
later this year.
Other features in Apple's newest Xserve include two PCI Express 2.0
x16 expansion slots for greater I/O bandwidth and a 72-hour backup
battery for greater data protection.
A standard configuration for the Xserve-which includes a single 2.26
GHz Xeon 5500 series chip with 8MB of L3 cache, 3GB of 1066 DDR3
memory, onboard dual Gigabit Ethernet and an unlimited license for Max
OS X Server version 10.5 Leopard-starts at $2,999.