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In 1996, Apple made a pivotal leap into the realm of server technology with the introduction of the Network Server 500. This robust computing marvel, unveiled on February 15th, 1996, as part of Apple’s Network Server series, quickly established itself as a go-to choice for businesses in search of a dependable server solution. Priced starting at $11,000, it may have come at a cost, but the power it brought to the table was well worth it.
At the heart of the Network Server 500 hummed the 132 MHz PowerPC 604 processor. In 1996, this was cutting-edge technology that promised blazing-fast performance. The Network Server 500 was equipped with 32 MB of RAM, offering a robust platform for a myriad of applications. Moreover, it featured a flexible storage solution, with hard drive capacities ranging from 1.2 GB, 2 GB, and 4 GB, to a whopping 9 GB, catering to the diverse needs of businesses.
Apple didn’t stop at the sheer processing power and ample storage. The Network Server 500 was a Swiss Army knife for businesses, equipped with a 4x CD-ROM drive, a 1.44 MB Floppy drive, and even an optional DDS-2 Digital Audiotape drive. This versatility meant that businesses, regardless of their size, could handle a wide array of tasks and data storage needs effortlessly.
The Network Server 500 wasn’t just about the internal specs; its design also played a pivotal role in its success. Encased in a rugged yet easily expandable tower case, it was engineered for maximum convenience. Its design allowed for major component replacements in under a minute, minimizing downtime for businesses. The translucent front bay door added a touch of sophistication while keeping the server secure. Seven front-mounted, hot-swappable drive bays and external fans further enhanced its practicality. Plus, the rear “drawer” design made accessing internal components a breeze, ensuring that maintenance was hassle-free.
One unique aspect of the Network Server 500 series was its operating system. Unlike other Apple products, these servers didn’t run on a version of the Mac OS. Instead, they operated on AIX, an IBM version of UNIX. This choice highlighted Apple’s commitment to providing businesses with a robust and stable server environment.
Despite its promising start, the Network Server 500’s time in the limelight was short-lived. On April 1st, 1997, Apple discontinued this iconic server. Today, 27 years later, it may be a distant memory for many tech enthusiasts. Nevertheless, the Network Server 500 remains a significant milestone in the evolution of server computers, showcasing Apple’s unwavering dedication to innovation and quality.
In retrospect, the Network Server 500 served as a testament to Apple’s ability to diversify its product range, stepping into uncharted territory with confidence. While it may no longer be in production, its legacy lives on, reminding us of a time when Apple ventured beyond the ordinary, leaving an indelible mark on the server industry.
Network Server 500 Details
|Introduced||February 15, 1996|
|Discontinued||April 1, 1997|
|Dimensions||24.5” H x 16.5” W x 18” D|
62.23 cm H x 41.91 cm W x 45.72 cm D
Network Server 500 Tech Specs
|Processor Speed||132 MHz|
|Number of Cores||1|
|System Bus||44 MHz|
|Cache||32 KB L1|
512 KB L2
Storage & Media
|Media||1 – 1.44 MB Floppy|
1 – 4x CD-ROM
1 – DDS-2 Digital Audiotape (DAT) drive (Optional)
|Built-in Memory||32 MB|
|Maximum Memory||512 MB (Apple)|
1.0 GB (Actual)
|Memory Slots||8 – 168 pin DIMMs (Group of 2)|
|Minimum Speed||60 ns|
|Built-in Display||LCD status display for system monitoring|
|Graphics Memory||1 MB|
|Display Connection||1 – DB-15|
|Expansion Slots||6 – PCI|
1 – DAV
|Bays||5 – 5.25″ tray-mounted SCSI devices|
|Hard Drive Interface||SCSI-2|
|Original OS||AIX 4.1.4 for Apple Network Servers|
|Maximum OS||AIX 4.1.5 for Apple Network Servers|
|Ethernet||1 – AAUI-15|
|SCSI||1 – DB-25|
|Audio In||1 – 3.5-mm analog input jack|
|Audio Out||1 – 3.5-mm analog output jack|
|Display||1 – DB-15|
|Backup Battery||3.6 V lithium|
|Maximum Continuous Power||325 W|
|Line Voltage||100 V – 240 V AC|
Further Reading and References
- Network Server 500/132: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Apple Network Server – Wikipedia
- About Apple Network Servers (Apple Archive) – Web Archive
- The Apple Network Server 500 – YouTube
- Network Server 500 and 700 Series Service Source (PDF) – Apple Repair Manuals
Disclaimer: The data presented in this article is under continuous development and has been manually collected from various sources based on their availability. The author of this article may revise this dataset as additional research is conducted and reviewed. Please note that the information is provided “as is” and “as available” without express or implied warranties. The author cannot be held responsible for any omissions, inaccuracies, or errors in the published information. Any warranties relating to this information are hereby disclaimed.
Last updated: September 2, 2023