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Friday, November 05, 2010, 06:40 am PT (09:40 am ET)

Apple offers new Mac Pro Server configuration to replace Xserve

Apple on Friday added a new server option to its Mac Pro lineup Friday, with a $2,999 system that is designed to replace the Xserve hardware which will be discontinued in early 2011.

The Mac Pro Server comes with one 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processor, 8GB of RAM, and two 1TB hard drives. It also has Mac OS X Server unlimited with a client license, and an ATI HD 5770 graphics card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory.

The new configuration starts at $2,999 and ships in 2 to 4 weeks. Apple's previously available quad-core and 8-core Mac Pro systems ship within 24 hours, while the 12-core model takes 3 to 5 days to ship.

The new Mac Pro Server can also be upgraded, with custom build-to-order options offering up to two 2.93GHz six-core Intel Xeon "Westmere" processors, for a total of 12 processing cores at an added cost of $3,475. Users looking for the best possible system can also add $3,400 to the price and get 32GB of RAM.

The new hardware became available Friday after Apple quietly announced on its website that it would no longer offer its Xserve rackmounted servers after Jan. 31, 2011. New Xserver orders will be accepted through that date, and the hardware will be backed by Apple's standard one-year warranty.

Apple also issued documentation aimed at helping customers transition from Xserve to Apple's remaining server options, the Mac mini Server and Mac Pro Server. Apple's guide notes that the 12-core Mac Pro with Snow Leopard Server meets or exceeds the performance of the baseline Xserve hardware.

However, while Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server is much less powerful than Xserve, Apple's smallest desktop footprint has been the company's most popular server system since its introduction in the fall of 2009.