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Byte.com: Comparing Apples and Penguins

Nov 01, 2002, 19:00 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Moshe Bar)

"As good as Mac OS X is for desktops and laptops, one wonders if the FreeBSD inside is not too restricted by the Apple jacket around it to also make for an efficient, secure and fast server OS. Apple is now busy convincing the world that Apples make also for excellent server appliances in the handy U1 format, thanks to OS X. That new product is called Apple Xserve. Many potential buyers are, however, asking themselves if OS X--given its recent introduction--is ready today to handle their critical apps.

"That's why I decided to take one of these sleek Xserve boxes and test run it both under OS X and under Linux. I was loaned an Xserve for a week by a geek friend of mine over at a very large ISP. That machine came with Dual 1Ghz PowerPC G4 and 1 GB of Ram. I installed OS X from scratch on it using the CDs that come along with the product. The resulting OS after the install has version 10.1.5. The included AGP 4X card with 64 MB of dedicated graphics RAM is a screamer. The dual CPUs in the system push out an impressive 15Gflops floating point power. Alas, apart from High Performance Clustering applications, relatively few people are going to take full advantage of it. The integer and memory bandwidth performance, however, is at least up to par with the latest IA32-based U1 servers out there. Obviously, I was not going to make use of the graphics card. I didn't bother trying to configure it under Linux because, after all, I tested this machine for server performance..."

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