G4 Cube or Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by AlfaLavala, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Aberdeen, UK
    #1
    What should I get?

    Looking at second hand models for the mini (and obviously the cube). Prices seem to be similar. I like the style of the cube a little more than the mini and it doesn't need to be that small.
     
  2. macrumors 68000

    angemon89

    Joined:
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    The place where Apple designs stuff
  3. macrumors 68030

    BlizzardBomb

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
    Location:
    England
    #3
    Any Mac mini (even the G4s, which you should avoid anyway) will be significantly more powerful than a Cube. Go for the mini.
     
  4. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Location:
    The South, USA
    #4
    If you're going to use it for music production, they're evenly tied. The Cube can use PCI music cards (Delta 66 and so forth), but the Mini is faster. Me, I'd go for the Cube just to have one.
     
  5. macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Albany
    #5
    The Cube topped out a 500 MHz. I think there are upgrade cards that take that up to 1.8 GHz, but you've still got 100 MHz bus. If you want something useable, get a mini. If you want better expandability, go for the Cube. You can upgrade just about anything (including GPU :)).

    If you've got some real money to spend, get a Cube, upgrade card, new GPU, and an SSD. You'll have a mostly usable, silent computer that is expandable and looks great :cool:.

    But you mention that it doesn't need to be really small, so why not get a PowerMac G4? You can pick them up with better specs for a lower price.
     
  6. macrumors 65816

    MultiFinder17

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #6
    Using it as a modern computer? Mac mini hands down. Go for an Intel model if you can, but the G4s still have plenty of life left in 'em. Unless the Cube has been upgraded crazily (and some have!), it'll be quite slow in the modern world.

    Using it as an example of amazing industrial design that just so happens to be usable as a computer? Go for the Power Mac G4 Cube. They're amazing little machines. Slow, but still good for e-mail, word processing, and web browsing. Don't expect ludicrous speed ;)
     
  7. macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #7
    The Cube is dead silent if that is relevant in your recording setup.

    NO FAN = perfect if you have it in the same room as microphones.
     
  8. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Location:
    Mid-Atlantic, US
    #8
    I have a mini that I modded to put in a cube case... You could probably do something similar. Best of both worlds, and also accommodates a 3.5" HDD. ;)
     
  9. macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Albany
    #9
    Got a tutorial or pictures to follow?
     
  10. macrumors 604

    zap2

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Washington D.C
    #10
    Mini...ideally the most recent one...that GPU is just too nice to pass up!
     
  11. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Aberdeen, UK
    #11
    I have looked at the cube owners forums etc. for upgrading/modding etc. the cube has more options for this, and if I need a money sink sounds like a good one! If I spend extra money doing things I might as well have bought the new mac mini, but then the retro cool factor is lost. (But replaced with modern cool!)

    On a side note is the mac mini noisy then?

    Guess it depend how much I can find a cube for...but would make a nice project.

    Further comments welcomed :)
     
  12. macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Albany
    #12
    The mini isn't noisy, but the Cube would be quieter as it has no fan. You could make the Cube silent by adding an SSD :cool:.
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #13
    Now that would be an impressive Cube mod. :D

    As a proud cube owner (got it when it came out) don't buy one now for anything other than toying with as a hobby. The hardware is quite useless by today's standards, unfortunately efficient coding seemed to go the way of the Dodo some time around 2001... damn .com boom! :p
     
  14. macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Albany
    #14
    The usefulness depends on the OS and the software. I wouldn't run anything higher than Tiger on it, and that may even be a stretch.

    It looks like they're going for $200 max on eBay. If I get a summer job, after a PowerBook (if you've got one that you don't want, let me know), this is on the top of my list of stuff to do.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    calsci

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    #15
    mini just smokes the cube

    the cube would be sweet to have around but a pain to try and operate on a daily basis. the mini is whisper quiet, better then a g5 speed wise in some cases. if you want a project to have fun with get a cube. if you want a mac that just works go for the mini. my dad finally replaced his dying power mac g4 with a state of the art top of the line mini and it blow the pants of the g4.
     
  16. macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Albany
    #16
    Why would it be a pain? It may be slow depending on the OS, but old Macs aren't like old cars. Old cars are a pain because they rust, parts are hard to find, etc. A Mac however, is only limited by its I/O and the OS, so as long as you have one from 2000 or later, you can do just about anything.

    A good example (that I'm sure you're tired of hearing) is my PowerMac. It is a G4 "Digital Audio." The processor runs at 733 MHz with 1 GB of RAM. This box also contains a SuperDrive (the original), SCSI card and USB 2.0 card. All this runs under Tiger. I can do PS or web browsing all day with out any problems or pains.
     
  17. macrumors 6502

    calsci

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    #17
    my first computer was a very well speced cube. after alot of problems with it apple offered to and got me a g5 mini. right now i am on my macbook pro. the cube is a great computer to tinker with. it isn't a good computer if you want to do anything much that is intensive on it or don't feel like searching for parts.

    p.s. i'm not a cube hater at all. i still have it i have to beg my life away to get it back from apple. it is a beautiful piece of hardware, but the mini seems more capable then a cube especially with snow leopard right around the corner.
     
  18. macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Joined:
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    #18
    You never had a G5 mini. Or was it a prototype? Did Apple ever try that, or was the PB G5 failure enough?
     
  19. macrumors 6502

    calsci

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    #19
    well atleast i thought it was a g5 that is what my dad told me when he got it. i think i might have to drive home and boot it up to see. either the college student is getting to old or my dad/geniuss was wrong. i must boot to tell.
     
  20. macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

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    #20
    It was a G4, unless your dad works at Apple and stole a prototype.
     
  21. macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #21
    The G5 was a twinkle in Apple's eye when they cancelled the Cube. No way or how is it even remotely possible that a Cube G5 was ever even considered.

    As for the OP's decision. Get a Mini unless you are out to totally waste your money. Unless you plan on running OS 9 in which I take pity on you.
     
  22. macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
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    #22
    I was talking about a G5 mini, not a G5 Cube.
     
  23. macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #23
    Oh...
    Well they didn't make one of those either. But gotcha!
     
  24. macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

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    #24
    Not really. I was asking if Apple ever had a prototype G5 mini.
     
  25. macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    192.168.1.1
    #25
    Apple never made a G5 mini. Not even a prototype that anyone outside Apple's secret labs would be aware of. The G5 processors and cooling modules were larger than the whole mini itself.

    As for Cube vs. mini... if you plan on using the machine for anything more than basic web, email, word processing, get a mini.

    To make a Cube reasonably useful on OS X 10.4 or 10.5, you'd need to upgrade the processor, RAM, hard drive and video card.

    I put together a Cube project last year. Bought a G4 Cube off eBay and upgraded the processor to a 1.7GHz G4 (1MB L2), swapped the HD for a 7200 RPM 120GB unit, replaced the video card with a flashed GeForce 6200 (for Quartz Extreme support) and added 1GB of RAM. Also replaced the case with a PowerLogix mod for more air flow around all the upgrades, added a virtually silent base fan, a virtually silent GPU fan and moved the voltage module to a better ventilated area.

    It runs 10.4 pretty well and 10.5 passably.

    And even an Intel Core Solo mini would run rings around it.

    The Cube has collector value, but that's about all. For actual use, a used Intel mini is a far, far better value. I'd never want to subject myself to trying to use a stock 500MHz, non-video accelerated Cube on OS X 10.4 or 10.5.
     

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