Apple completes Intel transition with Xserve and Mac Pro releases


Apple releases Mac Pro featuring quad 64-bit Xeon CPUs
Apple unveiled the Mac Pro, a quad Xeon, 64-bit desktop workstation featuring two Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors running up to 3.0 GHz and an updated system architecture that Apple says delivers up to twice the performance of the Power Mac G5 Quad, the Mac Pro’s predecessor.

The redesigned system features a direct attach storage solution for cable-free, snap-in installation of up to four 500GB Serial ATA hard drives for a total of 2TB of internal storage and support for two optical drives to simultaneously read/write to CDs and DVDs. Every Mac Pro includes three full-length PCI Express expansion slots and one double-wide PCI Express graphics slot to support double-wide graphics cards without sacrificing multiple slots.

The front panel includes a FireWire 800 port, a FireWire 400 port and two USB 2.0 ports with additional FireWire 800, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 ports on the back panel. Mac Pro also includes dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, optical digital input and output, analogue audio input and output and optional built-in support for AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR.

Every system comes standard with the NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT with 256MB of video memory, offering support for dual-displays, including Apple’s 30-inch Cinema HD Display. The ATI Radeon X1900 XT and the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500, both with 512MB of video memory, are available as build-to-order options and provide built-in support for up to two 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays. The computer offers support for up to four PCI Express graphics cards to drive up to eight displays at once for advanced visualization and large display walls.

The system includes Mac OS X, version 10.4.7 Tiger, which offers the Rosetta software translation system, which lets customers run most Mac OS X PowerPC applications seamlessly.

The Mac Pro is shipping now with the standard prebuilt configuration, including two 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors and priced at $2,799.

Apple introduces Xserve with quad 64-bit Xeon Processors
Apple announced the release of Xserve, a quad Xeon, 64-bit server featuring Mac OS X Server Tiger on two Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors running up to 3.0 GHz, which, according to Apple, results in performance that is over five times that of its predecessor. The high bandwidth server architecture includes PCI Express, independent 1.33 GHz front side buses with 4MB of shared L2 cache and fully-buffered DIMMs (FB-DIMMs), delivering up to four times the I/O bandwidth, up to three times the memory bandwidth and twice the storage bandwidth of the Xserve G5.

The system is configurable with two Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors running either 2.0, 2.66 or 3.0 GHz and supports up to 32GB of 667 MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM memory. Two eight-lane PCI Express expansion slots provide up to 2GB/s of throughput each to support the next generation of fibre channel, networking and graphics cards.

The Xserve ships with internal graphics that can drive up to a 23-inch Cinema Display as well as standard VGA devices and offers an ATI Radeon X1300 256MB PCI Express graphics card for professional graphics and video applications as a build-to-order option.

The Intel-based system will be the first system to ship with a preinstalled unlimited client edition of Tiger Server software that is optimized to run on Intel-based systems. Tiger Server integrates open source projects and standards-based software applications with management tools that simplify deployment for Mac, Windows and Linux clients.

The Xserve is scheduled to be available in October and configurations will include two 2.0 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors with 1GB of 667 MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM RAM, a single 80GB 3Gb/s SATA Apple Drive Module, dual Gigabit Ethernet on-board, internal graphics, three FireWire 800 and two USB 2.0 ports and an unlimited client license of Mac OS X Server version 10.4 Tiger for a suggested retail price of $3,499.

Dell introduces desktop and workstation lines
Dell extended their desktop and workstation products with two systems designed for performance and scalability. The Dimension 9200 desktop and the Precision 390 workstation offer custom-built configurations, including Intel Core 2 Duo and Extreme processors to deliver performance improvements for applications ranging from 3D entertainment to 3D engineering design.

With options for Intel Core 2 Duo processors and NVIDIA and ATI graphics, AGEIA physics accelerators and data protection utilities, the Dimension 9200 small-business desktop is designed for home entertainment or office productivity. The desktop’s chassis implement Dell QuietCase and BTX technologies to help keep the system running quietly. The tool-less chassis simplifies upgrades and replacements.

Other highlights for the Dimension system include the ability to upgrade to up to 4 GB of dual-channel DDR2 800 MHz memory and up to two SATA hard drives including 160GB (7,200 and 10,000 RPM), 250GB and 500GB capacities.

The Dell Precision 390 workstation offers Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme processors and an OpenGL graphics environment. The system also incorporates an improved chassis that provides excellent flexibility for deployment or redeployment. Large front bezel vents and a real-time thermal sensor help improve airflow to better manage system thermals. The real-time thermal sensor also helps improves fan efficiency for an average 20 per cent improvement in idle acoustics, according to Dell.

The Dimension 9200 desktops is expected to ship by late August and is priced at $1,739 and the Precision 390 is available now with prices start at $1,487.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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