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Apple delivers Xserve G5

The Mac maker finally ships its new single-processor server and plans to release the dual-processor version in April.

After a month's delay, Apple Computer has begun shipping its single-processor Xserve G5 server and plans to release the dual-processor version in April.

Several of the one-chip machines have now been delivered into its customers' hands.

The Xserve G5 is an all-new version of Apple's 1U (1.75-inch-thick) rack-mount server. It is designed for jobs as simple as handling office e-mail or as complex as crunching numbers for biotech researchers. The Xserve G5 is based around IBM's PowerPC 970FX processor, which Apple calls the PowerPC G5.

Apple, based in Cupertino Calif., originally planned to ship the Xserve G5 in February. However, shipments were delayed into March.

"We're on track now," said Alex Grossman, director of hardware storage for Apple.

The Xserve G5 is an important product for Apple because it enables the company to expand its presence in the upper echelons of the computer market, where products such as high-performance computing clusters are sold. These clusters, some of which now use Xserve machines, string together numerous servers in order to harness their collective computing power.

Aside from giving manufacturers bragging rights based on performance, clusters can help them sell more servers. Virginia Tech, for one, has said it will upgrade its cluster from Power Mac G5 servers to Xserve servers.

Apple's single-processor Xserve G5 costs $2,999 and comes with a 2GHz PowerPC G5 processor, 512MB of error correcting code (ECC) RAM, an 80GB hard drive, dual Gigabit Ethernet and an unlimited Mac OS X Server client license. Customers will be able to add larger amounts of memory and more hard drive space, if they desire.

A dual-processor Xserve G5 will come with twin 2GHz PowerPC G5s and 1GB of ECC RAM for $3,999. Its basic configuration is otherwise the same as the single-processor Xserve G5.

The company said it will also make available a "cluster-optimized" version of the dual-processor Xserve G5, which will sport two PowerPC G5 chips, 512MB ECC RAM and an 80GB hard drive for $2,999, the company said.