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Resolved Cube G4 500 MHz for restoration/upgrade

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by phoenixsan, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. phoenixsan, Apr 21, 2013
    Last edited: May 5, 2013

    macrumors 65816


    Hello all, again!

    An acquaintance brings me a Power Mac G4 Cube, 500 MHz in the hope of get some time more of use. She loves the design and have space constraints where she lives. So, she wants to upgrade the thing...

    a)Wants a DVD burning Mac or at least a Combo drive to see DVDs and burn CDS

    b)Wants a bigger HDD. If I remember well, 128 GB was the maximum without help/hack/drivers. I am correct?

    c)Wants to max out the RAM

    So I come here seeking advice about these questions. And about where to buy the parts needed.

    Thanks all in advance for the help...!:D

  2. macrumors 68000


    Intell has said that they use some sort of weird drive, so hopefully he shows up for you.

    Yes. A driver here or a hack here:
    3x512 PC133 SDRAM
  3. macrumors 65816

    Lil Chillbil

    I messaged trevor, and he should be on in a moment about the drive.

    I strongly recomend that you convince your friend to just buy a core duo mac mini though. I mean for the amount of upgraded processor and everything you could just buy a intel machine.
  4. macrumors 65816



    Little ChillBill, glad to see you here. I had tried to convince her. To no avail. So, that is the cause of the visit to the Forums.:eek:

  5. macrumors 68040


    On eBay, there are Cube specific video card upgrades. I think you can upgrade the oem 32mb card to at least 64mb and maybe 128mb.

    You can run a larger hd than 128gb, but it will destroy the hard drive. I know, I tried this on a cube. Finding a 120gb 3.5" PATA HD is getting difficult. There were some firmware over rides to this limit back in the day, not sure if they are still available.

    You can also buy a superdrive optical drive adapter for the Cube. That's the better way to go that using the standard old time optical drives. They never made a dvd burning drive. Only a CDrw drive, a dvd/cd read only combo and a cd drive. That's it. And the technology on them sucked. So get the adapter and a new smaller superdrive.

    The 500mhz Cube was a Apple shipped only Cube. Kind of rarer than the 450mhz. That said, Sonnet makes a 1.8 ghz upgrade with fan for it. I'd go for that. I think but I am not positive, you can get a dual 1.8ghz for it that would make the cube fly.

    Ram maxes out at 1.5 ghs.

    With all these upgrades, you can get a decent running Cube.
  6. macrumors 65816



    California, thanks for the info...! Will try to locate the Sonnet upgrade you mentioned. A Combo drive is OK with my friend. But would be better the adapted SuperDrive you said. About the RAM, checked out and read your advice and seems the maximum is 1.5 GB. No problem with that.

  7. macrumors P6


    Cubes are fun little G4 boxes to upgrade. Previous posters are correct about their odd optical drive. Only the G3 iMac and Cube use it. No other computer, Apple or not, uses it. Because of this, you won't get an Apple OEM SuperDrive in it without an adapter bracket.

    Because of their size, they are limited to what video card upgrades they can take. One of the most powerful and popular choice is the Nvidia 6200. You'll have to get the PC version from eBay, flash it, and tape off the APG 8x pins. It is highly recommended to put a GPU fan on the card, because of the Cube's internal size. Make sure you get the correct 6200 for the Cube. I forget the best one for it, but it can easily be found with a search. Make sure you also read about Leopard and the 6200 startup delay. Lastly, these cards are not gaming cards. They don't perform well for gaming, but are great for everything else.

    With the ram, make sure it is low density PC-100 or PC-133. For an upgrade, they can take up to a dual 1.8Ghz. Make sure you get a Cube specific one. Even though Cubes can take regular tower G4's, their power constraints are different and they have a special heatsink on them. Look for a Sonnet or Powerlogix one. I think the Powerlogix ones are slightly better because they have circuitry on them that reduces the strain on the Cube's fragil DC-DC board.

    I have a 200GB hard drive in my Cube. It works well with the above poster LBA-48 firmware modification. But OS 9 must be on the first 128GB of the drive as a partition. Tiger and Leopard can go on the whole drive or the remaining space. Disk Utility acts a bit strange on OS X if the boot partition is on the first 128GB. It tends to not show the full size of the drive or it doesn't show the partitions after 128GB worth of space.
  8. jpcoelho, Apr 22, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013

    macrumors member


    I believe previous posts have covered all the questions, but you can always go to cubeowner.com where all the information about the cubes is available... you can also check the classifieds for CPU upgrade cards, SSD mounting sleds and slimline superdrive adapters, available from some of the forum members!

    best of luck, the Cube is definitely one of the best looking desktop computers ever made!
  9. macrumors regular


    I have a combo drive out of a slot-loading iMac that I trashed (dead PSU). PM me, if interested.
  10. macrumors 68040


    Contact cubeowner.com user parism. He's manufacturing custom brackets which do allow "regular" superdrive mounting.
  11. macrumors 65816


    That's pretty cool.
  12. macrumors 65816


    Thanks all....!

    For the suggestions and advice. Had located a Sonnet Duo 1.8 GT upgrade for $250.00 What do you think about it? Seems a little expensive to me. And I dont know how to determine if the upgrade was for a G4 or a Cube-specific upgrade, based in what Intell had said in the post (how must be the heatsink specific to Cube). Had located a 120 GB HDD and the memory to upgrade the Cube. I will check cubeowner to see about the options for the DVD.

    Again, thanks for the help/posts/advise.:D

  13. jpcoelho, Apr 25, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013

    macrumors member


    I bought my Cube processor upgrade (Single 1.35 GHz Sonnet card) for less than $100, but dual 1.8 cards are rare and have considerable demand... I don't think it is too expensive, it will always depend on the use you intend for it. One important thing, a dual 1.8 CPU will run considerably hot in a Cube enclosure, and efficient cooling would be needed, in the form of a base fan (80x80x15 mm fan)... the Cube has specific mount for a fan to be added. Also, you must verify the energy requirements of that card, as the Cube VRM may not cope with very power hungry processors without a VRM bypass... all this info is well discussed in Cubeowner Forums.

    CPU upgrades from Sonnet usually have references such as SG4TS-1800-B... specific Cube upgrade cards would be similar, but ending in 1800-C, which identifies it as Cube specific... however, many tower upgrade cards can be used in Cubes with the original Cube heatsink, if you find a specific card you can always ask in the aforementioned forum and they will tell you if it's a viable option...

    look here...
    good luck on the upgrade!
  14. macrumors 68040


    That's a very good price. Contact Sonnet to make sure you have the right fan that goes with it. The dual 1.8 for the Cube can also be used in a Sawtooth G4 Powermac (but not vice versa). A pal of mine just put a dual 1.8 (after a single 1.8 for the Cube) into his Powermac and it has allowed his Sawtooth to be his MAIN computer for 13 years!
  15. macrumors 68040


    There's 1.0 7455 (w 2MB L3) currently on eBay. $93 + shipping or best offer. I'd try to make an offer to the seller.
    $250 for 1.8 DP 7447 is certainly for enhusiasts only. And for real cube maniac there's nothing but 7448 :)
  16. macrumors P6


    Most Cube upgrades come with a base fan. Another highly recommended upgrade. The Cube G4's usually have a flat square heatsink on the card. As opposed to tower G4's having nothing but bare silicon to accept the tower's heatsink. The flat heatsink of the Cube is mated with a bit of heatsink grease to the Cube's own massive internal heatsink. You are not to directly mate the silicon G4 die to the Cube's massive heatsink. This will cause overheating and possibly crush the die. While you can use the OEM G4 heatsink on a tower card, it is not recommended because of the power draw see below.

    Upgrade Cube G4's usually have their own power circuits on them to reduce one high voltage to the many needed smaller ones for the G4. As opposed to a tower's G4 taking the many smaller voltages and the one high voltage directly from the logicboard. This practice isn't very good for Cube's as their internal power distribution boards are fragile and can burn out with too much stress. Once they burn out, you can repair them. But you're going to have to be good at soldering and have a grand old time finding the replacement SMD part.
  17. macrumors 65816


    Updating the project....

    Have located a Mat****a UJ-85 J for $75 and a Pioneer DVR-K05 L for $80. I send the part number for the CPU upgrade to Sonnet to check about if is well fitted for the Cube. I got the 1.5 RAM needed for upgrade for $ 55. About the DVD, I had talked with a young metalworker about doing for me the brackets for mounting the DVD burner. So, my friend and me have worked out a budget around $400 for the parts, with the Dual CPU upgrade, the RAM and the DVD mounted and installed. Have second toughts about getting a bigger HDD (200-250 GB) and proceed with the advice giving, installing Classic OS (9.2.2) in a little partition.

    So thanks again for the pointers and help. Would like to read your toughts about the stage of the update.....:D

  18. macrumors P6


    In addition to the brackets for the optical drive, you'll need a new adapter for it as well. The current ATAPI-ATA adapter is for the Cube's backwards optical drive. While it'll connect and work with a non-backwards drive, it won't fit in the Cube. You'll need to get a correct adapter for the new optical drive.
  19. macrumors 65816


    Oh, ok....

    Thanks for the advice...!

  20. macrumors 65816



    the work doing here: Had been a grueling work to install the CPU upgrade. I would be lost without cubeowner.com and the valuable advice given me here.

    Pioneer SuperDrive is installed and work. RAM and big HDD also (200 GB). Only thing to do is migrate the data and do the correct partitions and hack to enable the 200 GB HDD.

    Thanks all for the valuable input and advice. I appreciate it.....:D

  21. macrumors 65816

    Sorry, for being that late.

    I saw someone putting a mac mini (be it G4 which would have a 1,42 or 1,5GHz max CPU speed or some Intel) in a cube case on Ebay. That would have been another option... I just wanted to add it, because I find this a nice idea. See picture 7 to see how it was fitted in:

    Did you check that graphics card info about the Nvidia 6200 on cubeowners.com. Some time ago I read that a member had written a new ROM for a more powerful card for the cube. but it was still in the testing phase. I do not know how this project has developed since then.
    Somehow I had the luck to get two small formfactor ATI 9200 (flashed PC cards, which were in defective G4-Towers), but I unfortunately still do not have a cube. While the upgrades you mentioned go for less money here (in Germany) than at yours, the cubes are a bit costier.
  22. macrumors 6502


  23. macrumors 65816


    The graphic upgrade.....

    would have been nice. Anyways, I finished the project with the hacking for enabling the 200 GB HDD.

    A hard work, really. But seems to be worth. And above $400 without labour. But my acquantaince and me have faith this upgrades round will let the Cube to be productive for the next 5 years.

    Thanks all for the help. Really took a time to doing it right....:D


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