Apple has put Intel Xeon steroids inside the latest iteration of its Xserve, promising the server to be up to twice as fast as the previous model.

Shipping now, the new breed Xserve includes up to two Quad-core 3.0GHz Intel Xeon processors offering 8-core performance. These new systems also boast a new server architecture, faster front side buses, faster memory, two PCI Express 2.0 expansion slots and up to 3TB of storage. As ever, this new version of Apple's 1U server includes an unlimited client licence for Mac OS X Server Leopard, with Xserve prices starting at £1,999 (including VAT).

"With the latest Intel processors and no client access licenses, Xserve offers unbeatable server performance and value for under $3,000," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing. "Xserve's power, storage and Leopard Server make it ideal for supporting Mac clients and mixed platform workgroups."

Customers can configure their Xserve with up to two Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5400 series processors running up to 3.0GHz with 12MB of L2 cache per processor. The new high-bandwidth hardware architecture features dual-independent 1,600MHz front side buses and up to 32GB of 800MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM memory for a 64 per cent increase in memory throughput.

The two PCI Express 2.0 expansion slots offer up to four times the I/O bandwidth of the previous Xserve to support the latest high-bandwidth expansion cards including multi-channel 4Gb Fibre channel and 10Gb Ethernet cards.

Xserve now includes built-in accelerated graphics to drive up to a 23-inch Apple Cinema Display and a new front-facing USB 2.0 port. Using Apple's Server Monitor, an administrator can remotely turn Xserve on or off and manage server software from anywhere on the network.

Each of the three drive bays can be configured with 73GB or 300GB SAS drives or 80GB and 1TB SATA drives. Apple also offers a hardware RAID card option that delivers hardware RAID levels 0, 1 and 5 with 256MB of cache and an included backup battery for up to 72 hours of cached data protection. The Xserve RAID card delivers up to 251MB/s RAID 5 performance.

The new Xserve improves energy efficiency with Intel's 45 nanometre core microarchitecture technology. These processors draw a maximum consumption of 80W, and drop as low as 4W when idle. Power supplies exceed Energy Star recommendations from the US Department of Energy and Apple's thermal management technology cools the systems efficiently in a wide variety of environments while reducing power consumption.

Numerous build-to-order options and accessories are available, including: dual 2.8 or 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors; 80GB and 1TB 7200rpm SATA or 73GB or 300GB 15,000rpm SAS Apple Drive Modules; internal Xserve RAID card; Gigabit Ethernet, 4Gb Fibre Channel and U320 SCSI expansion card options, and a 750W redundant power supply.