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xraydoc
Apr 26, 2008, 07:44 AM
So last week after playing around on eBay, I finally bought myself a G4 Cube. I've always wanted one but wasn't in need of another Mac when they were in production. But I managed to buy one on eBay for $150 last week.

Its a 450MHz DVD model in like-new condition. Even still had the original 20GB HD with OS 9.04 on it. Instantly replaced the HD with a 120GB spare I had and dug up some spare PC100 DIMMs for a total of 1GB. Connected it to a 17" LCD Studio Display I wasn't using and installed Tiger on it.

Its pretty fun and still, even 8 years after its introduction, a real work of art.

Now, the part that's going to drive my wife nuts - I'm going to buy a processor upgrade (1.8GHz PPC 7448), extra RAM to 1.5GB and a modded nVidia GF6200 video card (fanless, fit the cube, and supports Core Image), then install Leopard on it.

It'll cost more than a base Mac mini in the end, but way cooler (IMHO). Ah, boys and their toys.



velocityg4
Apr 26, 2008, 08:09 AM
Given the price of the cpu and video upgrades have you considered this. Getting a replacement Mini Logic board and powersupply and putting them in the cube instead. Then have an Intel Mac Cube thus having a mini with a full size hard drive:cool:.

Since I never owned either I could not say if the board would fit in. However the Cube is 8"x8"x10" while the mini is 6.5"x6.5"x2" so it seems plausible though you would have some work ahead making the mount.

xraydoc
Apr 26, 2008, 08:21 AM
Yeah, I thought about doing that - it'll fit and I found someone's website showing exactly that... A mini embedded into a Cube core. But it required irreversable surgery to the Cube and I don't want to damage it to the point of not being able to return it to original condition.

I think the 1.8GHz G4 should be sufficient to turn it into a home-theater type media server (one I wouldn't mind being prominently displayed on the shelf, either). And since its really not going to be a primary work machine, I think the old PPC architecture will be fine for what it is. A toy, basically.

tersono
Apr 26, 2008, 08:22 AM
Be careful with the CPU upgrade. Cubes are prone to thermal aging and the power board is probably going to be fragile by now. Be prepared for problems in that area.

xraydoc
Apr 26, 2008, 08:38 AM
Be careful with the CPU upgrade. Cubes are prone to thermal aging and the power board is probably going to be fragile by now. Be prepared for problems in that area.

Thanks for the tip. The machine has very, very few in-use hours (less than 100 per the original owner and there's zero dust inside). The upgrade I'm looking at has some kind of VRM bypass, so hopefully I won't have any issues.

And of it does die, then I guess its mini-Cube transplant time.

IJ Reilly
Apr 26, 2008, 11:26 AM
Thanks for the tip. The machine has very, very few in-use hours (less than 100 per the original owner and there's zero dust inside). The upgrade I'm looking at has some kind of VRM bypass, so hopefully I won't have any issues.

And of it does die, then I guess its mini-Cube transplant time.

This really isn't a big problem. All CPU upgrades for the Cube come with base fans. The people who have a problem with Cube upgrades for the most part are those who try to cheat on the fan, or who add powerful, fan-less video cards. I've been running mine with a 1.7 GHZ upgrade for literally years without any issues whatsoever. I'd also avoid the dual processor upgrades -- some of these were real problems when they first came to market, and I don't know that the issues were ever worked out.

Whatever you do, don't bastardize your Cube! Transplanting Mac mini guts into a Cube case is (IMO) an absolutely awful idea. A big part of the beauty of the Cube is the industrial engineering which went into the design of the innards.

xraydoc
Apr 26, 2008, 12:02 PM
This really isn't a big problem. All CPU upgrades for the Cube come with base fans. The people who have a problem with Cube upgrades for the most part are those who try to cheat on the fan, or who add powerful, fan-less video cards. I've been running mine with a 1.7 GHZ upgrade for literally years without any issues whatsoever. I'd also avoid the dual processor upgrades -- some of these were real problems when they first came to market, and I don't know that the issues were ever worked out.

Whatever you do, don't bastardize your Cube! Transplanting Mac mini guts into a Cube case is (IMO) an absolutely awful idea. A big part of the beauty of the Cube is the industrial engineering which went into the design of the innards.
Thanks.

Since you're a Cube owner, any hints on decreasing the sensitivity of the power/sleep button on the top? If I even get my hand near it it'll put the machine to sleep.

Firefly2002
Apr 26, 2008, 12:19 PM
That's pretty cool. I remember there used to be a popular thing about modding a Radeon 8500 to fit in the case, which was considerably more powerful. I guess that probably wouldn't support core image though.

Cubes are neat little things. And I agree, putting Mini innards in a cube is a horrendous (practically sacreligious!) idea. There's no way you could do it without doing things to the cube, as quite obviously the ports wouldn't all line up at all. Bad idea. Ugly idea.

Might wanna try some thermal paste on the CPU upgrade if it doesn't have a thermal pad... help keep it a bit cooler..

I've always wanted a cube too, haha. They'll probably be gone from ebay soon... :(

IJ Reilly
Apr 26, 2008, 12:30 PM
Since you're a Cube owner, any hints on decreasing the sensitivity of the power/sleep button on the top? If I even get my hand near it it'll put the machine to sleep.

I cut a strip of paper and taped it on the inside of the case right above the power switch. This decreases the sensitivity to the point where you have to work at making the Cube startup or sleep with this button, but if you're running the Cube with a ADC Studio Display, you're going to use the touch button on the display for this anyway. BTW, this brings up another issue. If you've got an ADC display, replacing the video card with a non-ADC card denies you use of the very convenient (and Cube-like) power button and USB hub on the display. I don't know what you've got in there now, but if it's one of the OEM 32 MB cards, I'd leave it alone. If you've got the RagePro 128, I'd check out the options for one of the better ADC cards which fit in the video slot without modification.

xraydoc
Apr 26, 2008, 11:51 PM
I cut a strip of paper and taped it on the inside of the case right above the power switch. This decreases the sensitivity to the point where you have to work at making the Cube startup or sleep with this button, but if you're running the Cube with a ADC Studio Display, you're going to use the touch button on the display for this anyway. BTW, this brings up another issue. If you've got an ADC display, replacing the video card with a non-ADC card denies you use of the very convenient (and Cube-like) power button and USB hub on the display. I don't know what you've got in there now, but if it's one of the OEM 32 MB cards, I'd leave it alone. If you've got the RagePro 128, I'd check out the options for one of the better ADC cards which fit in the video slot without modification.

I have an Apple ADC to DVI box/power supply doohickie lying around, so I'm covered there.
Machine came with a Rage128, so its not exactly state-of-the-art anymore. While I certainly wont use the Cube for games (obviously), a Core Image video card should help with some of the OS X user interface eye candy - currently everything comes to a standstill if I scrub the Dock with magnification on. And no drop shadow on the mouse pointer (oh, the huge manatee)!

OlBlueHair
Apr 27, 2008, 10:55 AM
Here is link for a guy who modded a mini into a cube, plus other things...

http://www.123macmini.com/macminicube/

zap2
Apr 27, 2008, 10:57 AM
cool...I've always wanted one, but even at 150, I can think of other things I need

IJ Reilly
Apr 27, 2008, 11:24 AM
I have an Apple ADC to DVI box/power supply doohickie lying around, so I'm covered there.
Machine came with a Rage128, so its not exactly state-of-the-art anymore. While I certainly wont use the Cube for games (obviously), a Core Image video card should help with some of the OS X user interface eye candy - currently everything comes to a standstill if I scrub the Dock with magnification on. And no drop shadow on the mouse pointer (oh, the huge manatee)!

You could use one of these to keep your ADC display going, but I still think it's cooler to find an updated ADC video card and run the Cube as God, I mean Steve, intended. The easiest one to find is the Geforce 2MX, since it was also used in the G4 PowerMac of the same vintage. It supports Quartz Extreme. You might want to browse the forums at cubeowner.com. It's not a very busy place these days but you can still find lots of Q&A on upgrading a Cube. Here's a great chart listing all of your options, and what they will require:

http://www.cubeowner.com/forums/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=1327

FWIW, I installed a Radeon 7500 in mine.

GotPro
Apr 27, 2008, 08:14 PM
As an aside:

I've always personally thought those were magnificent machines. Congrats.

Too bad Apple doomed them originally by pricing them @ Pro Levels.

If they'd priced them at the time of creation as they've priced the Mac Mini now... they would have been an ENORMOUS hit and would have been in production (IMHO) for a long, long, long, long time.

Kudos!

krye
Apr 28, 2008, 08:19 AM
Yeh, I think it was the Cube that swayed me to switch to the Mac, but I could never afford a Mac until years later. So I wallowed in PC misery until I could finally afford a Mac Book Pro. That was 2 years ago. Now I have a MacBook and a Mac Pro.

IJ Reilly
Apr 28, 2008, 10:17 AM
Too bad Apple doomed them originally by pricing them @ Pro Levels.

The Cube was less expensive than the PowerMacs of their day, if not by a lot. One look inside and you can see why the Cube probably cost so much more to manufacture, not to mention that lucite case. With the Cube, Apple pushed the limits of what computer buyers would pay for cutting-edge industrial design.

Firefly2002
Apr 28, 2008, 02:39 PM
Actually the original Cube started at $1799, vs. the Power Macs which generally started at around $1599-1699.

IJ Reilly
Apr 28, 2008, 04:50 PM
Actually the original Cube started at $1799, vs. the Power Macs which generally started at around $1599-1699.

Actually, the $1599 PowerMac of that vintage had a slower processor than the Cube. The other configurations started at $2499. Then six months after introduction, the entry-level Cube price was dropped to $1299.

iGrant
Apr 28, 2008, 07:05 PM
Hello!

Congratulations on getting you Power Mac G4 Cube. I have one that I have been using since Fall 2004. I have left mine completely stock except for adding a slim 80mm fan into the base of the unit which DRAMATICALLY reduced the temperature of the 450Mhz G4 CPU.

4 years ago when I got my G4 Cube it was my main computer hooked up to a 22 inch viewable monitor Viewsonic monitor :cool:. That was the Mac that made me fall in love with the Mac OS X.

What my G4 Cube is being used for now is my music server via accessTunes. I now can listen to my entire library on any computer that has internet access. I know I can just get an iPod but I always seem to lose and/or break the iPods.

I don't care how out of date that Power Mac G4 Cube gets, I will never ever get ride of that Mac. I absolutely love that G4 Cube.

-iGrant

Firefly2002
Apr 28, 2008, 11:36 PM
Actually, the $1599 PowerMac of that vintage had a slower processor than the Cube. The other configurations started at $2499. Then six months after introduction, the entry-level Cube price was dropped to $1299.

Erm.. that's great and all, but his point was that they were priced at "Pro" levels. The Power Macs represented that market... so your point is entirely moot. They were more expandable than the cube, thus far more desirable to anyone who didn't really have money to burn on something they couldn't count on being able to upgrade. And I said "original" for a reason; the subsequent price-drops were a result of the fact that the cube sold very poorly, whereupon they dropped the price to the point where they were losing money on every one they sold, with the intention of selling as many as they really could and then discontinuing them.

Again, they reached into the Power Mac price range, which was the Pro line, as GotPro pointed out.

IJ Reilly
Apr 29, 2008, 11:04 AM
Erm.. that's great and all, but his point was that they were priced at "Pro" levels. The Power Macs represented that market... so your point is entirely moot. They were more expandable than the cube, thus far more desirable to anyone who didn't really have money to burn on something they couldn't count on being able to upgrade. And I said "original" for a reason; the subsequent price-drops were a result of the fact that the cube sold very poorly, whereupon they dropped the price to the point where they were losing money on every one they sold, with the intention of selling as many as they really could and then discontinuing them.

Again, they reached into the Power Mac price range, which was the Pro line, as GotPro pointed out.

The point is not "moot" because you disagree with it. Of course the PowerMacs were more expandable, but that wasn't the point to which I was responding. This point was that the Cube was doomed because it was priced at "pro levels," which I am saying isn't quite true, since the only "pro level" Mac which was (initially) less expensive than the Cube was actually less powerful than the entry-level Cube, and the rest of the "pro" line was substantially more expensive.

And of course we really don't know if Apple was losing money on the Cube at the lowered price. That's just speculation.

iGrant
Apr 29, 2008, 11:13 AM
The point is not "moot" because you disagree with it. Of course the PowerMacs were more expandable, but that wasn't the point to which I was responding. This point was that the Cube was doomed because it was priced at "pro levels," which I am saying isn't quite true, since the only "pro level" Mac which was (initially) less expensive than the Cube was actually less powerful than the entry-level Cube, and the rest of the "pro" line was substantially more expensive.

And of course we really don't know if Apple was losing money on the Cube at the lowered price. That's just speculation.

While this is all true, I still think the Power Mac G4 Cube was one of the most elegant and stylish Macs ever made. Yes the Mac Mini is an impressive machine, but it just does not have the same uniqueness about it that the Power Mac G4 Cube does.

I love my cube, if I had a big LCD monitor, I would hook it up and it use it as a computer to surf the internet and listen to music. I can't explain it, but I just love using that computer, granted its completely out dated but I still love it.

Again xraydoc congratulations on your purchase, I hope your cube brings you as much joy and excitement that mine has given me over the last 4 years!!!

-iGrant

IJ Reilly
Apr 29, 2008, 11:20 AM
I just ordered an iMac, so with some regret my Cube is going into semi-retirement. And no, it's not for sale. ;) I'll probably set it up as a file server.

iGrant
Apr 29, 2008, 11:27 AM
I just ordered an iMac, so with some regret my Cube is going into semi-retirement. And no, it's not for sale. ;) I'll probably set it up as a file server.

:( wow that was quick . . . poor G4 Cube :D. Regardless the G4 Cube does make a really good headless file server or even web/music server.

-iGrant

IJ Reilly
Apr 29, 2008, 11:33 AM
Not so quick really, I've been using it daily for something like seven years, and it's not done yet. That's a lot more service than anyone has a right to expect, even from a "too expensive" computer.

iGrant
Apr 29, 2008, 11:45 AM
Not so quick really, I've been using it daily for something like seven years, and it's not done yet. That's a lot more service than anyone has a right to expect, even from a "too expensive" computer.

HAHAHAH oops mistake, I totally mixed up who was who :confused:! IJ Reilly I totally thought you were xraydoc HAHAHAHA WOW. Yeah 7 years is really good use out of the G4 Cube. I hope I did not affend you or your Cube in anyway :cool:.

-iGrant

szark
Apr 29, 2008, 11:49 AM
I'm still using my Cube on a daily basis, though I'm thinking about retiring it. Just can't decide what to replace it with.

iGrant
Apr 29, 2008, 11:54 AM
I'm still using my Cube on a daily basis, though I'm thinking about retiring it. Just can't decide what to replace it with.

If you really like the small size of the G4 Cube, the Mac Mini is defiantly the way to go. :cool: You could even mac your own Mac Mini Cube :cool:. Here is a link to someone who has already done it:p:
http://www.123macmini.com/macminicube/

-iGrant

Firefly2002
Apr 29, 2008, 12:07 PM
As.. stupid as this argument is, I'm going to respond again :D

The point is not "moot" because you disagree with it.

Of course it is. It's a well-established fact that my opinion dictates reality. But seriously, the guy said it was priced at Pro levels. Apple had been offering $1500-1600 Power Macs for quite some time... regardless of whether the Cube was slightly more powerful (it had a faster processor, but its drive would have been slower, as would the optical drive), it wasn't a "pro" machine, and was therefore priced in the pro realm (if the lower end), and thus was competing with more practical (if less elegant) machines at the same price margin (keep in mind the Cube also had a $2299 configuration, well into the midrange of apple's Pro line).

Of course the PowerMacs were more expandable, but that wasn't the point to which I was responding.

The point to which you were responding was pointing out the Power Mac G4's pricepoint coincided with the Cube's, the PMG4 being the Pro line, and expandability being what was separating the two.

And of course we really don't know if Apple was losing money on the Cube at the lowered price. That's just speculation.

It's partial speculation, but also not; Apple's price margins on most of their computers that they sold had been razor-thin... so when they drop a product price by that much money, it's a good bet they've reversed the making money into losing money.

iGrant
Apr 29, 2008, 12:24 PM
Firefly2002 we seem to respond to alot of the same threads . . . strange . . . :cool:

And I do remember watching a CNN new cast saying that Apple was losing money on the Power Mac G4 Cube.

Xraydoc you might also want to check out www.cubeowner.com they have a great collection of material regarding the Power Mac G4 Cube.

-iGrant

krye
Apr 29, 2008, 12:27 PM
pics pics pics?

IJ Reilly
Apr 29, 2008, 01:27 PM
the G4 Cube. I hope I did not affend you or your Cube in anyway

I'm not offended, but my Cube is coming over to punch your lights out.

Of course it is. It's a well-established fact that my opinion dictates reality. But seriously, the guy said it was priced at Pro levels. Apple had been offering $1500-1600 Power Macs for quite some time... regardless of whether the Cube was slightly more powerful (it had a faster processor, but its drive would have been slower, as would the optical drive), it wasn't a "pro" machine, and was therefore priced in the pro realm (if the lower end), and thus was competing with more practical (if less elegant) machines at the same price margin (keep in mind the Cube also had a $2299 configuration, well into the midrange of apple's Pro line).

It was a pretty vague argument to begin with, which makes specific responses vulnerable to endless refutation. What's the definition of a "pro" Mac? (No, I'm not interested in debating this point, I'm mentioning it mainly to illustrate the point that the terms of the debate are themselves subject to debate.)

I guess all I can add to this discussion is that a certain folklore has risen up around the Cube, some of which has basis in fact, and the rest speculative, a matter of opinion, and even wrong. The Cube was a product looking for a market, which I think existed, but turned out to be too small to make it worth pursuing. I think a lot of the opinions we heard about the Cube at the time and still hear now are based on personal expectations which probably don't accurately represent Apple's intentions for the product.

But here we are, all these years later, still discussing and debating the Cube. Some of us are still buying and using them! This should tell us a lot about the impact this product had on psyche of the computer market. It sure changes the definition of "failure."

iGrant
Apr 29, 2008, 01:32 PM
I'm not offended, but my Cube is coming over to punch your lights out.


AH HA!!! My G4 Cube has Mac OS X 10.5 so that gives me shielding +5 :cool: . . . yeah . . .


-iGrant

xraydoc
Apr 30, 2008, 08:44 PM
Received my flashed fanless GeForce 6200 today (from some eBay guys). Installed it and a fan at the base of the cube. Can't remember the brand name as I pulled it out of my home-brew AMD PC's case - its pretty quiet though. Its an 80mm x 25mm fan, so I had to bend up the fan mounts on the Cube's base, but a nice stream of cool air is flowing up and out of the chimney. Used a molex splitter to pull power off the optical's connector rather than snaking a cable up and around to the VRM board.

The video card is connected at present to a ViewSonic 19" widescreen 1440x900 DVI display until I dig out the DVI-to-ADC box I've got somewhere in the basement, though might not since this display is much nicer than the old Apple 17" LCD.

Added a piece of paper under the Cube's touch-sensitive button as suggested in an earlier post - thanks, that helps quite a bit!

Even with the stock 450MHz processor still in place, its amazing how much more responsive OS X 10.4 is with the Core Image/Quartz Extreme video card compared with the original. I'm even debating on whether or not it actually needs a processor upgrade, though I'll probably buckle and buy one in a few weeks.

I just noticed that the Cube's firmware isn't the latest version, so I'll have to connect the old OS 9 hard drive to it via FireWire and download the firmware updater. But first I've got to find a 9.04 to 9.1 updater somewhere. Not sure if stuff that old is still available on Apple's site. But so far, as far as I can tell, I've had no issues with the current firmware plus OS X (boot ROM version 3.3.2f1).

So, current Cube specs are:
• stock 450MHz
• stock CD/DVD-ROM
• 1.5GB RAM (max.; 512MB x 3)
• 160GB hard drive (formatted to 128GB)
• nVidia GeForce 6200 (fanless) video card w/ 256MB VRAM
• 80mm x 25mm base fan
• Bluetooth (Kensington ultraslim)
• USB SoundSticks speakers
• Apple aluminum BT keyboard and BT Mighty Mouse
• 19" ViewSonic 1440x900 display
• MacOS X 10.4.11

Thinking about a processor upgrade in the 1.2-1.4GHz range, but as I said I'll play with it at stock speed for now as its much, much more responsive with the new video card. If I do upgrade the processor, I'll keep it to a single G4 instead of a dual to keep the heat down, keep the power draw on the VRM to a minimum, and to keep the price down. Plus, I doubt I could find any dual boards still for sale anyway.

Firefly2002
May 1, 2008, 12:57 PM
*Ganks a cube from a local prawn shop*

They were only gonna use it as a fish tank anyway... =]

IJ Reilly
May 1, 2008, 01:02 PM
*Ganks a cube from a local prawn shop*

They were only gonna use it as a fish tank anyway... =]

That's what you'd expect from a "prawn shop." ;)

IJ Reilly
May 1, 2008, 01:07 PM
Received my flashed fanless GeForce 6200 today (from some eBay guys). Installed it and a fan at the base of the cube. Can't remember the brand name as I pulled it out of my home-brew AMD PC's case - its pretty quiet though. Its an 80mm x 25mm fan, so I had to bend up the fan mounts on the Cube's base, but a nice stream of cool air is flowing up and out of the chimney. Used a molex splitter to pull power off the optical's connector rather than snaking a cable up and around to the VRM board.

Keep in mind, the base fan does little/nothing to help cool the video card, as it's out of the airflow path. Only the heat-sink or fan on the card itself will be of much use.

xraydoc
May 1, 2008, 02:35 PM
Keep in mind, the base fan does little/nothing to help cool the video card, as it's out of the airflow path. Only the heat-sink or fan on the card itself will be of much use.

True, but it seems to be a reasonably cool running card. Either way, it wont be running any kind of significant 3D app or game - its simply to drive a monitor and support Quartz Extreme/Core Image.

Firefly2002
May 2, 2008, 11:08 AM
That's what you'd expect from a "prawn shop." ;)

That was the joke :)

xraydoc
Jun 1, 2008, 10:01 AM
So I broke down and ordered another round of upgrades for the Cube...

I found a 1.7GHz PPC 7448 processor upgrade card for the Cube. Its got 1MB of L2 cache, unlike the 7447's which had 512KB. And since the '47s and '48s don't support an L3 cache, the 1MB L2 at full processor speed will help tremendously, particularly given the bus-speed limit of 100MHz. It also has a Cube VRM bypass, so it should really ease the power-draw burden on the Cube's VRM.

I'll probably order a PowerLogix Clear PowerCube enclosure for it to improve the cooling and facilitate moving the VRM away from the GeForce 6200 video card. While the video card fits just fine with the VRM in its original position, I should probably move it away from the 65°C heat of the video card anyway simply to prolong the life of the nearly decade-old part.

I've already put an 80 mm x 25 mm fan inside, so at least that part of the deal is good to go.

And to improve airflow and decrease power draw, heat and noise, I've been thinking about replacing the Cube's desktop 3.5" hard drive with a laptop 2.5" HD. I'm not all that concerned about the minor speed hit a 2.5" hard drive will cause, but the power/heat/noise benefits might be substantial. Any thoughts on that?

I'll post some pics and benchmarks when the processor upgrade is installed. For now, here's the Cube in its temporary spot while the project is in-progress.
http://homepage.mac.com/xraydoc/.Pictures/cube1.jpg

mBurns
Jun 1, 2008, 10:11 AM
Sweet upgrades. You make me want to upgrade my Cube! Right now I'm running a fairly stock Cube: 500 MHZ, 1.25 GB RAM, and AirPort.

IJ Reilly
Jun 1, 2008, 11:15 AM
Let us know how that 7448 CPU upgrade works out. Those processors had a lot of problems when they first came out -- enough that I opted for a 7447 instead when I upgraded. This could have changed afterwards, I don't know.

As a Cube purest (more or less), I can't approve of those external enclosures. Kind of spoils the Cube mojo, don't you think?

As for the hard drive, I noticed a real improvement in performance in my Cube when I replaced the stock, 5,400 RPM drive with a 7,200 RPM Seagate Barracuda. I would not go backwards, if I were you. The Seagate is very quiet, much quieter than the original Western Digital drive. You probably won't hear this drive over the fan.

Alas, my Cube is now in semi-retirement since I bought the iMac. After nearly eight years of service it deserves a little rest. ;)

xraydoc
Jun 1, 2008, 11:57 AM
I have a 160GB 7200 RPM Western Digital hard drive in there now. It makes very little noise, and the speed is fine. But I'm thinking with the other hot, power-eating upgrades in the machine (video card which adds heat and draws power from the VRM, and the processor upgrade which will add heat though bypassing the VRM), I thought a notebook-class HD might offer some heat/power savings while improving airflow through the core of the machine.

IJ Reilly
Jun 1, 2008, 01:47 PM
I think you might be over-planning somewhat. I ran an 80GB drive in my Cube for years with an upgraded CPU and video card, no VRM bypass, day in day out, with no issues. The main thermal issues with the Cube are the video card, which has to be cooled on the card itself, and CPU upgrades, which can be cooled adequately with the base fan.

xraydoc
Jun 1, 2008, 06:34 PM
I think you might be over-planning somewhat.

Probably right. On the one hand, I'm having fun cranking up the Cube to go way beyond what it was ever originally designed to do. On the other hand, I don't want to see it go up in smoke, either. I don't want to be left with an expensive kleenex box holder (but a very cool kleenex box holder at that).

IJ Reilly
Jun 1, 2008, 07:49 PM
Keep in mind, used Cubes aren't going for much these days. One was offered here a few days ago for $75.00, and I don't know if it sold at that price. If was planning on using mine on a regular basis in the future I'd be tempted to pick up an old beater just for the parts.

xraydoc
Jun 1, 2008, 08:31 PM
Keep in mind, used Cubes aren't going for much these days. One was offered here a few days ago for $75.00, and I don't know if it sold at that price. If was planning on using mine on a regular basis in the future I'd be tempted to pick up an old beater just for the parts.

Yeah. I thought about that, too. Not a bad idea.

xraydoc
Jun 4, 2008, 09:32 PM
Well, there's good news and bad news on the Cube project...

The good news is the PowerLogix 1.7GHz PPC7448 w/ Cube VRM bypass arrived from OWC right on time, was successfully installed, and appears to be working perfectly (posting from the Cube presently). The machine is actually really fast now - boots in less than 30 seconds (haven't timed it yet), opens apps in just a bounce or two, and is quite Teh Snappy™.

The bad news is that I think I damaged the GeForce 6200 that I had been using; the machine wont boot with the card installed. Boots fine with the original Rage 128, but no go with the GF 6200. I think I might have rocked the heat sink when removing the card, which could have damaged the chip underneath. I'll try it in my Gigabit Ethernet G4 tower later on, but at least that's the easier/cheaper part to replace. As long as its not the processor, VRM or the motherboard, I'm happy.

I can't check temps as the processor either doesn't have a temp diode or it isn't supported on some combination of hardware/software, but I do not feel any unusually warm air coming out of the top of the machine - for what that's worth (yes, there's a fan).

Here's a couple of pics...

http://homepage.mac.com/xraydoc/.Pictures/aboutcube.jpg
http://homepage.mac.com/xraydoc/.Pictures/profilecube.jpg

I'll have to decide what to do about the video card. Presuming the card doesn't work in the G4 tower, then I'll look at replacing it, ideally with something a bit more, uh, robust. If it does work in the other computer, well, then I've got some major troubleshooting to do on the Cube. Not sure why it wouldn't boot since everything else appears to be running just fine, so likely the card is dead.

As quick as the machine seems now, it should feel even faster when I get a proper video card back in there. With the Rage 128, the CPU is having to do all the rendering (like the Dock scrub effect, etc). The Dock effects were unbearably slow on this video card with the original 450MHz processor, but was very responsive with the GF 6200 plus the original processor. With the new processor, the effect is essentially the same as it was with the better card and slower processor (though its still stealing processor cycles from whatever else is going on). It should be really great with a proper video card.

I'll continue to post updates... But for now, the Cube is running remarkably fast for an 8 year old Mac.

xraydoc
Jun 4, 2008, 10:46 PM
Sorry for yet another post, but yippie, the GeForce 6200 is working (again).
Booted fine in the Gigabit Ethernet, so I had no idea what went wrong, but I reinstalled it yet again back in the Cube and it booted normally. Must have been some odd PRAM somethin' or a weird resolution set in the OS, but I'm back in business. Yahoo! Color me happy.

I'll upgrade this thing to Leopard this weekend.

So, current specs are:
1.7GHz 7448 (1MB L2)
1.5GB RAM
160GB HD
GeForce 6200 (256MB)
Stock DVD-ROM
Apple 20" cinema display (current aluminum model)

I'll post some nice pics when I get the desk all cleaned off.

Quick Xbench scores:

450MHz PPC7400
CPU test: 27.37
Thread test: 19.58
Memory test: 20.84

1.7GHz PPC7448 (1MB L2 cache)
CPU test: 73.77
Thread test: 70.05
Memory test: 25.27

IJ Reilly
Jun 4, 2008, 11:54 PM
Nice work. Was the video card a flashed PC version by any chance?

xraydoc
Jun 5, 2008, 07:26 AM
Nice work. Was the video card a flashed PC version by any chance?

Most definitely. AFAIK, there never was a Mac with a GeForce 6200 AGP card. Not even sure where the 6200 Mac ROM came from (was there an iMac with a similar nVidia chip?), but these cards are all over eBay. Other than the hard to find Radeon 9700's and the rare & expensive black PCB Radeon 9800's, I think the 6200 is the 'best' available card that will fit in a Cube.

I have a standard Mac Edition Radeon 9800 in the G4 tower that I may try to squeeze in to the Cube if/when I get a PowerLogix Clear Case, but it will most assuredly have to be externally powered. But I suspect the card is simply too big regardless of what enclosure the Cube goes in to.

IJ Reilly
Jun 5, 2008, 10:47 AM
I'm not familiar with that card, but I whenever a problem crops up with a video card, I always suspect flashing as the cause. It's a bit of a Frankenstein operation. Nice to hear yours is working now though!

xraydoc
Jun 7, 2008, 02:06 AM
For those still interested in the thread, Leopard is running quite nicely on the upgraded Cube...

GPU temps seem to idle higher than it did with 10.4.11, though I suppose that's to be expected since 10.5 makes more use of the GPU than 10.4 did, though that will be remedied by a fan (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118117) soon enough.

Edit:
Though the workspace isn't cleaned up yet, here's a couple of new pics.
http://homepage.mac.com/xraydoc/.Pictures/cubedesk1.jpg
http://homepage.mac.com/xraydoc/.Pictures/cubedesk2.jpg

IJ Reilly
Jun 7, 2008, 10:32 AM
You have no fan on this rig?

xraydoc
Jun 7, 2008, 09:13 PM
You have no fan on this rig?

Base fan, yes.
Graphics card (GPU) fan, no (fanless GeForce 6200) - but not for long. Ordered a VGA-style Zalman fan from NewEgg. Should arrive Monday or Tuesday. GPU temps have been around 72°C at idle, which I think is too high (plus weather has been hot lately), so I think a GPU fan is required.

I'm also going to think about a small fan aimed at the VRM, running at 5V or less, to keep it cool as well. I can feel some of the heat it creates though the case. I can't imagine how hot it would get had the CPU swap not bypassed it altogether.