Confirming pre-event rumours, Apple has introduced its Xserve G5, which it claims to be 60 per cent more powerful than previous-generation Xserves. The 1U rack-mount Xserve G5 is described by Apple as "the perfect server" for today’s Unix-based applications.

Apple's Xserve G5 includes a new system controller with up to 8GB of PC3200 error correcting code (ECC) memory; three hot-plug Serial ATA drive modules with up to 750GB of storage; optional internal hardware RAID; dual PCI-X slots, supporting 133MHz PCI-X cards with over 1GBps of throughput; and dual on-board Gigabit Ethernet for high-performance networking.

Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller said: "Xserve G5 delivers just what our customers have been asking for. With dual-G5 processing power and up to 8GB of ECC memory, Xserve G5 is affordable, easy to manage and easy to cluster."

Parallel lines Xserve ships with either single or dual-2GHz PowerPC G5 processors. Those in the market for a new server solution may want to bear in mind Apple's claim that these server workhorses are based on an architecture that features massively parallel computation for an unprecedented 215 in-flight instructions, full symmetric multi-processing and two double precision floating-point units. The Xserve G5 offers a front side processor bus that runs at up to 1GHz.

The well-reported heat-generating nature of the G5 processor has been solved in Apple's new product by use of a copper heat sink to remove heat from the processors and employment of eight high-performance airflow fans. The latter are individually managed and monitored by a dedicated fan control processor; if a single fan fails the others speed up to compensate. The product holds over 30 sensors that monitor all critical system functions, with eight dedicated to watching the heat.

With workgroups, education, video, Web and databasing clients at this level already served, Apple also announced its new cluster node configuration for high-performance computer clusters, such as that recently-created at Virginia Tech.

The Xserve G5 offers improved set-up and remote management featueres, along with new Server Monitor software, which watches key sunsystems and monitors server status, and also retrieves and supplies data detected by the 30 built-in sensors.

The product ships with the Unlimited Client version of Mac OS X 10.3 Server installed, the company also offers a range of extensive service and support plans for owners.

Pricing and specifications Xserve G5 ships in February and will be available in three standard configurations, including:

The single 2GHz PowerPC G5 processor with 512MB of PC3200 ECC RAM, a single 80GB Apple Drive Module with expandability for up to 750GB, dual Gigabit Ethernet on-board, FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 for £2,399 including VAT.

The dual-2GHz PowerPC G5 Xserve with 1GB of PC3200 ECC RAM, a single 80GB Apple Drive Module with expandability for up to 750GB, dual Gigabit Ethernet on-board, FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 for £3,199.

The cluster-optimized dual-2GHz PowerPC G5 cluster Xserve with 512MB of PC3200 ECC RAM, a single 80GB Apple Drive Module, dual Gigabit Ethernet on-board, FireWire 800 and USB 2.0, and a 10-client licence of Mac OS X Server for £2,399.