Cube question

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by OlBlueHair, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #1
    Hey everybody. I am currently working on using my Cube to play videos on my tv because I want to move the appletv to another television.

    I got this cube "broken" on ebay for 99 bucks. It was just fine, it was just booting to the apple server management software thing...so I got around that by booting from the OS disc. Anyway, now I upped the RAM to 1.5 gigs, put in a hard drive which is 120 gigs. It still has stock video card and stock processor.

    Here is my question. What is the best way to do what I want to do? I have it hooked up to a 32 inch LCD tv via vga, and I have it wired through ethernet into my n wireless router. Now, I was keeping all my media on the mac pro via an external usb drive and streaming it to the appletv. When I network the cube to the mac pro, the video won't play smoothly.

    Now, I know that the video card will play DVDs just fine with the stock card. And the cube is wired into the network, so I think that's fast enough.

    Do I need to upgrade the processor? Do I need to upgrade the video card? OR - do I spend that money on an external firewire drive to hook to the cube, which can then act as the server to the apple tv?

    I have about 250 bucks to spend on this project. I know that I could just buy another appletv with this sum, but I want to eventually upgrade the cube anyway - I just want to give it a use for now.

    Thanks for any help - Cubeowner.com lets me register but it hasn't been approved in about a month.

    Thank you
     
  2. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #2
    Presumably your Cube is a stock 450 or 500 mhz G4 and most likely is running the RagePro video card. This is a pretty anemic setup for streaming video. I don't know which is more the issue, but I suspect you'd end up upgrading both before you'd get acceptable performance. Unfortunately, your options on the video side are fairly limited without making some significant alterations to your Cube. Upgrading the CPU is also a somewhat major task, but the options are better.

    Cubeowner.com is all but out of business, but you can still search their boards and find all kinds of answers.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #3
    Yeah, I figured as much, but I just wanted to hear some other opinions. I do have the stock card and the stock 450.

    The thing about streaming video is, it does better than you might think. For example, if I connect to the mac pro over the network and choose a quicktime file sitting on its attached external - for a half hour show it will stream just fine. However, if I connect to the mac pro's library through iTunes and try to watch the same file by sharing the library, it will not work in a watchable manner. So this confuses me on whether its the video card or processor or what.

    I'm tempted to just throw an external firewire drive on the cube and make it the apple tv server since it plays videos just fine from it's own hard drive or attached drives.
     
  4. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
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    #4
    Worth a try, if you've already got the drive. How does it do if the video file is on the internal drive?
     
  5. macrumors 6502a

    g4cubed

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    #5
    Yep, a shame too, but I still go and check the boards when I need info. Use to be some interesting debates back in the day on flashing cards.

    OP, I'd say you would have to upgrade both, it can be done and still kept in the original case, though you wouldn't have the best video card in there, but better than what you have now. If you like to tinker around I'd say go for it.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #6
    It does just fine on the internal drive. It is 120 gig, so I could just copy select things to that drive as needed....but this is a bit of a pain.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #7
    Yes I do like to tinker. I was thinking of getting a geforce 6200 off of ebay and a fan and putting it in. It would be the hardest thing I've ever tried computer wise but I think I could handle it. The only thing I'm not sure about is adapting the card so it won't wiggle, as some have said needs doing.

    Also modifying the faceplate...that would be tough for me. Perhaps there is a lesser card, like you mention. I looked at the chart at cubeowner for videocards but the one I looked into was more expensive than the 6200 even though it was a lesser card!
     
  8. macrumors G3

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #8
    Single 1.8GHz, no L3 is not enough for Apple's HD ads, and it stutters a bit with SD MPEG-4. Not an H.264 machine.

    You could try if it's enough with a dual 1.6 GHz, no L3 for Cube, if you find one. The PowerLogix ones have temperature monitoring by software, so they normally require you to wait for a temp monitor update when OS updates come out. The Giga Designs have no monitoring, so I thought it was a bit risky. The PowerLogix come with on-board VRM, while for the Giga Designs you have to buy their C-VRM card too, which some people say are a bit risky (I've been using the C-VRM since I got my upgrade with no problems).

    I didn't get the dual when they were available because of those issues, plus it seemed too much to plunk in an old computer.
     
  9. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #9
    The CPU upgrades require tearing down the Cube's core. It's a bit scary but not difficult to complete successfully. I'd be even more careful with video card upgrades. The base fans don't help cool the video card since they are located outside of that airflow, and I've never been convinced that the card-mounted fans work very well in the tight confines of the Cube's core.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #10
    May I ask which video card you use? Thanks.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    g4cubed

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    #11
    It shouldn't be to hard to mod the the faceplate, especially with a dremel. I once used tin snips to mod a 9800 face plate. It wasn't petty but worked.

    I'd go for it (modding the cube), if nothing else you'll learn a little and imho have a little fun doing it.
     
  12. macrumors G3

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #12
    Apple Radeon 7500 with ADC (and VGA, of course). No Core Image goodness. DVI requires a simple adapter.
     
  13. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #13
    I can also recommend the Radeon 7500 (Mac edition). I installed this card into my Cube years ago, no fan, no problems. Especially good if you need an ADC connector and (as already pointed out) ADC easily adapts to DVI. The "fence" bracket won't attach to the mounting points on the Cube core, but that doesn't really matter, just let it dangle (so to speak). You should be able to pick this card up for next to nothing, provided you can find one.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #14
    I was just looking at one of those 7500s for 40 bucks on ebay. Since the two of you have had no problems with them, I think I may go for this instead of the 90 dollar Geforce 6200. I feel it may be good enough for standard def stuff and I may also go for the 1.5 G4 powerlogix cpu upgrade for 217 bucks. I'm just not sure how much cash to put into this.

    But I do love the cube, and I know they only made 150 thousand of them so they are somewhat of a collector's item...

    I figure this set up will def be good enough to serve the appletv in the other room and to watch standard def dvds and videos I hope.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #15
    I am a little confused about the 7500s...

    They are both the same price on ebay. But there are 2 versions. One is dvi only, 64MB

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Mac-ATI-Radeon-...ryZ25449QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    I assume this is a flashed pc card or something.

    The other is the one I think you guys are talking about - the 7500 32 MB card with dvi and vga connectors.

    Like I said, both are around 40 bucks, and you obviously only have experience with the 32 MB version but would the 64 MB version be better?

    Thanks
     
  16. macrumors G3

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #16
    1.8GHz without L3 is enough for SD MPEG-2.
     
  17. macrumors G3

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #17
    The Apple OEM 7500 has ADC. If it has DVI, it's a flashed PC card.
     
  18. macrumors G3

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #18
    Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I watched DVDs with the stock 450MHz, but I don't remember about EyeTV MPEG-2.

    I think I watched Formac Studio DV/TV (M-JPEG) with the stock CPU.
     
  19. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #19
    It's kind of like maintaining a classic car. If you thought about it entirely on the basis of cost, you'd probably couldn't justify investing a penny. Still, my CPU and video card upgrade kept my Cube useful for several additional years. I replaced it with an iMac only a few months ago.
     
  20. macrumors G3

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #20
    I upgraded my hard disk 5 times. This last time I maxed it out to 750GB.
     
  21. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #21
    Right, and the Mac edition was only 32mb. Note that this ebay listing does not mention that this is a flashed card, though certainly it must be. Danger, Will Robinson!
     
  22. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #22
    Yes it definitely is a flashed card because those Apple Macanix people sell other flashed pc cards. My question is - for the same price, will a 64 mb flashed card do better than a 32 mb apple card? Is there a risk? If it were some random guy flashing a card, I might think so, but this "company" seems to do this all the time with a lot of cards.

    Who knows?
     
  23. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #23
    Yeah, mine stock right now will do dvds fine and also avi files that were transformed through handbrake for the appletv setting.
     
  24. macrumors G3

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #24
    If you buy a TV tuner, make sure it has hardware compression, like the discontinued EyeTV 200.

    Formac Studio DV/TV M-JPEG files are too big (but it also has hardware compression).

    It must also be FireWire, of course.
     
  25. macrumors G3

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #25
    The EyeTV 250 has hardware encoding, but not for MPEG-4. This is where the 200 wins.
     

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