The mini-DVI connector uses a pigtail to connect to either an analog or digital display. Both pigtails are included, and the mini-DVI port, though tiny, is very sturdy and grips the connector well. The weight of the VGA or full-sized DVI plug at the other end poses no problem. Xserve's standard on-board GPU (graphics processing unit) is an ATI Radeon X1300 with 64 MB of dedicated video RAM. That's pretty sweet by server standards. It supports Quartz Extreme, Apple's accelerated graphics, and driving OS X's GUI at a graphical console is a pleasure. An upgraded card with 256 MB of video RAM is available, but this occupies one of the system's PCI Express expansion slots and generally heats things up. Don't get it if you don't absolutely need it.
Lifting Xserve's lid
Apple, long known for fancy zoned, heat-piped cooling designs, went for simplicity with Xserve. A wide bank of seven fans, each with dual independent rotors, stand in straight-line formation behind the drive bays. Except for the power supply fans, this long bank of fans produces the only airflow through Xserve. Thermal sensors are scattered around the system board, busses, memory sockets, CPUs and everywhere a temperature is worth taking. Instead, all of the inflow fans, the front-facing rotors, spin up and down in sync. The rear-facing outflow fans run at another synchronized speed.
A thin plastic shield covers the CPUs and creates a couple of broad airflow paths. The shield is flimsy and the screws holding it in place could be used for eyeglass frames. They're vibration-proofed by miniscule rubber washers that you will lose if you don't know they're there (but now you do). It's hard to wedge the shield back in; the right edge of the shield catches on a wire bundle. Finesse it, don't force it, and I advise using a gently magnetized sharp-pointed Philips screwdriver to remove and replace the shield.
Beneath the shield is where the action is. The standout is a pair of tall, all-copper heatsinks. PC enthusiasts and system builders treat these like diamonds, and if you can find them at all, they are seriously expensive. They're the only way to do what Apple's done, and that's run a pair of 3 GHz, dual-core Core microarchitecture Xeon CPUs without high-RPM dedicated fans. Apple's approach works: Under maximum stress, the CPUs are among the coolest components on the system board according to Apple's sensors. The heat sinks are attached to the system board with two large screws. Remove these and the Xeon chips in their ZIF (zero insertion force) sockets are yours for the swapping. Any desire you have to upgrade your Xserve CPUs (there is, at this writing, nothing better than the 3 GHz Xeon) must be tempered with the knowledge that Apple doesn't promise to support user-upgraded Xserves. However, if Apple had made its CPUs inaccessible, I'd have slammed the whole machine for messing with owners' rights.