Upgrading a G4 Power Cube

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by chefhow, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    #1
    Hi All, I have an opportunity to get a G4 Cube very inexpensive but there is a catch as there always is. The base is original with all original specs, never been upgraded and has no OS on it. If I was to get this how easy is it to upgrade from the following setup to something I can run Tiger off of and use as a home setup for basics like internet, email, music and video and basic family website upkeep. Is it worth the effort? Can I upgrade enough so I can use a newer monitor that has a webcam built in for either Skype or iChat? Any help on what to use in an upgrade and where to source the hardware and a copy of Tiger for the OS would be of great assistance. This is going to be my 1st Mac and I would like for it to be a smooth running machine, doesnt have to be a burner speed wise but an upgrade from my Acer Travelmate 2301 would be the ultimate goal. Thanks for the help. :)
     
  2. macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    #2
    Do you know any of the specs like how much RAM it has, hard drive size, processor speed?
     
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    #3
    Sorry, forgot to include that. Here are the specs.

    450 MHz PowerPC 7400 processor
    AltiVec "Velocity Engine" vector processing unit and 1 MB of backside cache.
    64 MB of RAM, a 20 GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive, a slot-loading 5X DVD-ROM drive, and a 2X AGP ATI Rage 128 Pro graphics card with 16 MB of SDRAM

    It is older but in MINT condition.
     
  4. macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    #4
    The first thing I would do is upgrade the RAM to the max amount. I'm not sure what that is for the G4 Cube. I would think Tiger would run alright on it... I wouldn't even try Leopard.

    Edit: I just read on everymac.com that the maximum amount of RAM for that model is 1.5 GB.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    #5
    Im not even thinking about Leopard but maybe the last update of Tiger. I think the max RAM was 1.5gb, but the graphics card is not very pwoerful and I would like to be able to video chat with either Skype or iChat via an iSight.
     
  6. macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    #6
    I'm not sure about doing video chat with it. It might struggle there.
     
  7. macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #7
    I would certainly agree with the advice above to upgrade the RAM- you can find the correct sticks at OWC Cube RAM.

    By the way, there is a special web page on OWC (that I have only seen as a link on a Cube owner's site, not in the OWC listings) that has special pricing for Cube owners on a number of Cube-applicable items including some RAM. That page is Cube Owners Specials

    I have Tiger running on a similarly mint Cube with 1Gb of RAM and it runs quite smoothly- the bad news is that the copies of Tiger still out there are commanding very high prices! :( If you check eBay, make sure you are getting a full retail version of the disk/disks BTW- many of them listed there are upgrade disks that shipped with computers that had 10.3 on their hard drives when Tiger was first released, and others are System Restore disks that shipped with various computers that won't work as installers on other models of Macs. One supplier that still has them is HardCore Macs, but as is the case with many of their products the prices are high-- $229 in this case- http://hardcoremac.stores.yahoo.net/macosx10tire.html I just checked Amazon and one Amazon marketplace has a used one for $85- and that is surprisingly cheap in light of the other prices there- http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0002G71T0/ref=dp_olp_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1225182390&sr=8-3 Here are a few more on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000BWZZLG/ref=dp_olp_0?ie=UTF8&condition=all

    I don't have any experience with trying to video chat with mine, but I share the opinion above that that might be a struggle for your Cube! :(
     
  8. macrumors regular

    fohawk17

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    #8
    the max amount of ram is 1.5mb for sure. i would suggest a 128gb. anything higher is not supported. so if you need more i suggest a 500gb firewire external.
     
  9. macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #9
    True about the 128Gb limitation unless you use the Intec Hi-Cap Driver software which removes that limitation from systems without high capacity drive support and allows them to use up to the 750Gb level drive (which is the highest capacity for IDE/PATA drives). Still easier to get a FireWire drive equipped external though! ;)
     
  10. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #10
    Advice from a long-time Cube owner, in general order of importance:

    • Upgrade the RAM (1 GB should be fine)
    • Upgrade the hard drive (that original drive is 5400 RPM -- you'll get substantially better performance out of a 7200 RPM drive)
    • Upgrade the video card. The RagePro 128 is really elderly. Your options here are somewhat limited, and what you choose will depend somewhat on what kind of display you will be using.
    • Upgrade the CPU. This will give you the largest boost in performance, but will be the most costly, and complicated.

    Did you get original speakers with your Cube? If not, you'll need to find a pair of USB speakers, or an old pair of Cube speakers (the better option). Note that the speakers which came with the Cube were not the same as the speakers which came with the iMac G4. They only look the same.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    misterredman

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    Denver, CO.
    #12
    chefhow, keep that lovely machine in mint shape, it's a wonderful and beautiful machine. http://www.cubeowner.com anything that has to do with a cube will be found here and the help is great. hell, I luv my cube and I will be giving it to my sister under the condition that if she dies before me, I get it back.
     

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