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I don't know much about servers so I figured that this would be the best place to find out more about them. I have a friend who has 3 Apple Xserves with Xeon Nehalem 2.26 quad core processors. So my question is can this Xserve be configured to work just like a normal apple computer? My friend tells me that it can be set up just like any other computer. If this is possible is there some documentation out there that would explain how to do this?

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I just wanted to ask another question about the xserve. If I have 3 of the before mentioned xserves is it possible to have the all of them linked to where all of the processors act as one computer? –  Stephen Jun 4 '12 at 17:49
    
In response to your second question above: not easily. And not for just any old program. Clustering computers like this requires speciality applications (BeoWulf, Condor, etc.) and can only work for applications programmed to take advantage of these setups (read: nothing in the Mac App Store, that's for sure). –  Ian C. Jun 4 '12 at 18:22
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It should be noted that there Apple's never shipped a three-processor Intel Xserve. The best you have is a dual-CPU quad-core at 2.26 GHz (for a total of eight cores). –  CajunLuke Jun 4 '12 at 18:24
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An amendment to my earlier comment: Logic can run in master/slave node and it sells in the MAS. But it's a rare exception. –  Ian C. Jun 4 '12 at 18:37
    
for clustering also look at Xgrid developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/MacOSXServer/… –  Mark Jun 4 '12 at 19:20
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3 Answers 3

Yes just attach a keyboard and display see Apple's Xserver user guide and it is a normal Apple computer. OS X server includes all of normal OS X.

However, it will need to be in a rack and I suspect is noisy and now not that powerful compared with current desktops (and possibly even laptops)

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Even with it having 3 quad core processors @ 2.26 GHz a piece, you still think it will be slower than a mac pro? –  Stephen Jun 4 '12 at 15:17
    
@Stephen - depends on the Macpro :) but OK it will perform usefully. –  Mark Jun 4 '12 at 15:34
    
@Stephen: the Mac Pro is horribly outdated, so it's not a very useful benchmark anyway... But yes it'll perform fine. –  houbysoft Jun 19 '12 at 17:27
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Yes, it is essentially just a Mac, like any other (well, except for that it has LOM and dual power supplies). I'm not sure Apple officially supports it, but it should run just fine.

The only complication is that Lion (if that is the OS you intend to install) will not want to allow the install of the Client OS on a disk which already has the Server OS installed. If it stops you from purchasing/downloading, you can delete the following file:

/System/Library/CoreServices/ServerVersion.plist

Removing this file will stop the OS from identifying itself as the Server OS, and will allow you to proceed with purchasing/installing Lion (Client) without also having to purchase Lion Server.

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Years ago I ran a G5 Xserve as a desktop for about a week. The noise was awful. IMO, you're better off selling it and buying a mini.

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