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View Full Version : $150 g4 cube... buy it for my parents?




MUCKYFINGERS
Feb 19, 2006, 02:08 AM
i can get a g4 cube for $150 from my school... i dont know what the specs are (i need to check with the seller), but i'm thinking it'd be a perfect little computer for my parents, who only do web browsing, listen to music, and look at photos. they already have a monitor, kb, etc, which came with their dell.

should i get it for them or not?



mkrishnan
Feb 19, 2006, 02:09 AM
Mmmm...a cube at that price is hard to pass up, even if it is a novelty. :o

MUCKYFINGERS
Feb 19, 2006, 02:11 AM
how would a g4 cube run panther or OS X in general? assuming it had 512 MB RAM and 450 mhz g4 cpu?

maxterpiece
Feb 19, 2006, 02:24 AM
Not well, but usable. I've used my friend's ibook 500mhz, and it is decent for basic web browsing, but when you start doing anything intense... let's say for example you are playing a flash animation in one web page and are trying to play a java game in another- the computer is gonna struggle a bit.

$150 is cheap though. That's about what you pay for an iMac of comparable speed.

One thing you might want to consider is how fast your parents' dell is (or was). If they are used to a 500mhz P3 loaded with spyware, then the cube will feel fast to them. If they are coming from a 2ghz p4 or something more recent like that, then it's not gonna be the greatest transition. Also, the dell probably came with a mouse and keyboard that use serial ports, not USB. These won't work with a mac.

MUCKYFINGERS
Feb 19, 2006, 02:27 AM
Not well, but usable. I've used my friend's ibook 500mhz, and it is decent for basic web browsing, but when you start doing anything intense... let's say for example you are playing a flash animation in one web page and are trying to play a java game in another- the computer is gonna struggle a bit.

$150 is cheap though. That's about what you pay for an iMac of comparable speed.

One thing you might want to consider is how fast your parents' dell is (or was). If they are used to a 500mhz P3 loaded with spyware, then the cube will feel fast to them. If they are coming from a 2ghz p4 or something more recent like that, then it's not gonna be the greatest transition. Also, the dell probably came with a mouse and keyboard that use serial ports, not USB. These won't work with a mac.

hmm... okay... maybe i wont get it for them though. they're coming from a 2.8 ghz p4... and yes, the dell came with the mice/kb using serial ports.

the reason i was thinking about it is because with all the spyware, virii, cluttered registry, etc, and IE always crashes on them and they're not the most computer literate people so i wanted to get them a simple computer that would do what they needed to do without any trouble. but maybe this may not be the best idea after all.

sw1tcher
Feb 19, 2006, 02:29 AM
For $150, I'd definitely buy it.... In a heartbeat.

There are so many people (http://www.cubeowner.com/index.php) who love their cubes that they go to great lengths to upgrade them.

SurfinSHELL23
Feb 19, 2006, 02:42 AM
I own a Mac mini and a Cube. I love the Cube a lot. It seems very quick to me. Mine is the 450MHz with 640MB of RAM. I'm very happy with the speed.

Get it; you'll love it. I got mine for $290, which was a great deal.

chaosbunny
Feb 19, 2006, 04:03 AM
I have my cube (see sig) for 5 years now. At the moment it is running 10.4.5 quite good. Ok, you don't see the ripple effect, but apart from that normal usage (mail, itunes, etc.) runs almost as fast as on my powerbook. I use it as scan station, so my girlfriend can scan too when I'm gone with my pb. In november the pb had some mainboard problems and for a couple of days the cube was my main computer again. I even was able to get some Illustrator/Photoshop work done, of course not fast but useable. If you have enough ram in that cube it will be as fast as a p4 for email, word and stuff like that. Id' say go for it.

MUCKYFINGERS
Feb 19, 2006, 04:39 AM
alright, so basically if i pimp it out with more ram, the cube should be a sufficient machine for my parents' needs (e-mail, web browsing, itunes).

since i have it, i might install panther on their machine though, just in case it wont run the latest version of tiger too well.

cube
Feb 19, 2006, 05:11 AM
There's no problem with the OS in such a machine.

I do basic usage, and the only issues I have with lack of power are:

- When watching TV with a Formac Studio (DV decode) and browsing and the same time, browsing becomes slow.
- iTunes video podcasts play choppily at some points.
- Forget about watching HD H.264 video.

You can even do some GarageBand, even if theoretically it is under spec.

Dr_Maybe
Feb 19, 2006, 05:29 AM
- iTunes video podcasts play choppily at some points.
- Forget about watching HD H.264 video.

iTunes video podcasts are H.264, right?

cube
Feb 19, 2006, 06:01 AM
iTunes video podcasts are H.264, right?

iPod can play H.264 and MPEG-4

QuickTime 7 Pro creates H.264 by default.

mkrishnan
Feb 19, 2006, 10:11 AM
alright, so basically if i pimp it out with more ram, the cube should be a sufficient machine for my parents' needs (e-mail, web browsing, itunes).

Yes, I think it would, too. But from how you describe their machine...as much as I'd love to own a cube myself... it is going to seem like a dog, coming from a P4/2.8 running XP. I think anything less than an iMac G5 would seem like a dog coming from that computer, honestly.

Can you say more about why you want to transition them off that computer? I'm shuddering as I think about what I'm about to write, but....

That computer, while it would never be my choice, either aesthetically or OS-wise, is a fast, capable computer in many ways. What about either of these two options as better for them:

1) Clean install Windows, and set up Firefox, T-bird (or probably even Outlook, since most of the Outlook virus problems are passť, to my knowledge), iTunes, and whatever else they need. Get them to understand the concept that they should avoid using IE whenever possible. This in itself will result in a pretty stable system that will work well for them, for a long time. The step from Windows using MSIE to Windows not using MSIE is probably bigger than the step from Windows w/o MSIE to MacOS, at least to me, in terms of reducing headaches.

2) Install a Linux variant and apps that cover the basic functionality. Here, you'll also have the advantage that they won't be ABLE to compromise system functioning, because they won't be able to install things.

Are either of those feasible? Buy the Cube anyway. It's a beautiful piece of industrial design history, and I think you'll love playing with it. Just don't use it for this. That's my thought.

CubeHacker
Feb 19, 2006, 10:39 AM
I use my Cube for everything you described and more, and it runs them with no issues at all. Sure, i've made a lot of "special modifications", but overall its still a great computer. And for that price, well, its a no brainer.

SurfinSHELL23
Feb 19, 2006, 11:23 AM
Just wanted to say some more.... I run the most recent version of Tiger on mine and it's great. I really think it seems faster than my Mac mini. It's a wonderful machine, please do not pass it by. I love that fact that it's so easy to upgrade. With my Mac mini, it's much more difficult because it takes a notebook drive, and I'd have to crack it open to upgrade the RAM from 512 to 1GB. And of course the processor is soldered onto the logic board of the Mac mini.

IJ Reilly
Feb 19, 2006, 11:47 AM
I ran 10.3.x on my 450 Cube every day all day without any issues. It wasn't blazingly fast, but it wasn't a dog either. I upgraded it to a 1.7 G4 at the same time as I installed Tiger, so I can't vouch for how 10.4 would run at 450 mhz, but I can't imagine that it would be an issue.

One major consideration not previously mentioned is whether the Cube you are thinking of buying includes the speakers. You really need those, since the Cube had unique USB speakers, and I don't know how you get sound out of Cube without them. Also, what kind of video card are you looking at? You might find that it's ADC only, so in that case you'll need an adaptor unless you just happen to have an ADC display hanging around.

As for the price, that's almost too cheap to believe.

cube
Feb 19, 2006, 11:53 AM
You can get sound ot of a Cube with something like an iMic, a Sonica, a Transit.

ITASOR
Feb 19, 2006, 11:58 AM
Personally, I think with 512MB RAM, 450Mhz G4, and ample HD space, it will run Tiger extremely well, good enough to come from a P4 2.8 and be happy enough. I have a clamshell 300Mhz G3 iBook that runs Tiger good...I'd rather use that than my P4 dell any day.

Buy it and install Tiger, it'll run it fine. Besides, if they want to do some intense gaming or video editing, they can just keep the dell handy. :p

maxterpiece
Feb 20, 2006, 01:21 AM
realistically speaking here, if your parents aren't good with computers then the biggest challenge is going to be the first impression. 450mhz G4 is usable but slow. If they sit down at the computer for the first time and you show them safari, right off the bat they're a little irritated because they were used to explorer on 2.8ghz p4 (that's about 10 times faster than a 450mhz g4 in raw speed). Next they try to go to cnn.com, but instead of loading up in about 3 or 4 seconds, it takes 10 or 15 seconds. That's a noticeable difference, and it's gonna cast a negative light on the cube.

People who aren't comfortable with computers have a mentality that they are never going to feel comfortable on them and that as long as they can do the few things that they really want to do, then they do those things and nothing else. The mac tries it's best to let people break out of that attitude by offering all these easy to use apps that can interact with each other easily, so it's a great thing for people who have a hard time on comps, but it's huge that your parents have a good first impression of a new and different computer, because no matter what, it takes a positive attitude and patience to learn new things and to integrate a new computer into their lives.

So i agree with mkrishnan here. If their computer is infested with spyware, take it and clean it off. Give them a fresh slate. Next, install Picassa, Thunderbird, Firefox. Give them desktop shortcuts to all the apps they will use. Keep things simple.

The cube is an enthusiast's machine. If you decide that you think they should have a mac, dont give them that. Sell the P4 (get maybe $500-$700 range for it) and get them a 1.6ghz imac G5. You can find them used on ebay for around $800. It's a great starter machine because it's simple and attractive. It's coolness the beauty of its screen will encourage your parents to be patient and learn.

shrimpdesign
Feb 20, 2006, 01:43 AM
150 for a cube? Fricken awesome, I'd jump on that deal in a moment. Just make sure they seller is giving you the power brick too.

Macmadant
Feb 20, 2006, 03:40 AM
go for it, it will run tiger beautifully, even at 256mb ram it will run it fine, heck my relatives run tiger on a imac g3 with 192mb ram and it runs ok

powerbook911
Feb 20, 2006, 12:09 PM
I agree. The Cube is very cool, and it will handle email, Safari, and whatnot fine. It is a G4.

dan-o-mac
Feb 20, 2006, 04:48 PM
For that price just buy it. If it does not perform well, you can always sell it for a small profit.

Platform
Feb 20, 2006, 05:18 PM
Buy.............buy great deal, if they don't like it, you have a great Media server....

I would ;)

prostuff1
Feb 20, 2006, 06:56 PM
For that price you cant seriously turn it down...even if you dont need it.

And if you dont wnat to keep it i would be more then happy to buy it off of you!!:p

$150 for a cube is a great price.

zap2
Feb 20, 2006, 06:58 PM
buy, easy, could make 100 on ebay if you just bought it, then sold it