G4 Cube 1.4ghz Upgrade Questions...

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by adamjay, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. adamjay macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2004
    some background, i am an electronic musician. i have two powerbooks that i use in the studio and on the stage, but i want to lighten their load so to speak in the studio and maybe get some extra power in the studio as well, i want to do more realtime VST work. I don't use protools so i don't really need the G5. The main programs i run are Bias Peak 4, Reason 2.5, Ableton 3, Cubase SX.

    So i've been doing some comparisons, checking reviews, xbench's, user experiences, price comparisons , etc. And i've found that for about $1200 US total i can buy a used G4 Cube and install the Powerlogix 1.4ghz G4 7457 upgrade card. If configured correctly with enough Ram, this machine could compete very well (at least in terms of my applications) with a G5 1.6ghz, and for a considerably lower price, and would be 80% more powerful (based on averaged Xbenches) than my 867mhz powerbook. I already have a 120gb 7200rpm HD that i could upgrade into the Cube.

    So my questions for cube owners or anyone with the knowledge are:
    1) Are there any "first you must consider" type problems when performing this upgrade, as it is the largest upgrade CPU available for the Cube. i.e. additional Fan, different power supply, or any additional hardware to keep the upgraded CPU from frying the Cube.
    2) Would i need to purchase the different Powerlogix Cube Case? or is that just in the event of also upgrading the video card?
    3) As a cube owner, was the upgrade worth it? are you glad you did it? (i'm not asking if its worth it vs. the G5, i have already made that decision.)
    4) Was the noise level of the computer considerably increased when upgrading your cube (single processor upgrades)?

    I think i have exhausted all the research i can do online with exception to getting some real life reviews based on the questions above.

    anyone's experience would certainly help me in deciding to embark on this project.
  2. Opteron macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2004
    South Australia
    The cube's had over heating problems @400MHz, with that processor I'd want something rather active in the reat removal system.

    Remember though It's old tech, and it's not getting any younger. The G5 will serve you well for years to come, or even a PMG4 tower DP1.25.
  3. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    Sure it's old tech, but it's friggin' cool. Toss a 15" studio display on it, you have one of the most elegant computers i've ever seen.

    IIRC, the 1.4 does cause some serious heating problems, but Apple left a space in the Cube for a fan, if necessary... so, i think you pop a fan in there, and you're good. Double check that, it's been a while since i've known this stuff ;)

    on this page, it shows a photo of the Cube card, and a smaller picture of a fan below it, so I would assume it requires that as well (perhaps ships with it, i don't know). According to the article, using the upgrade cards is pretty simple, and they didn't note any special hardware mods necessary.

    Best of luck--

  4. Flowbee macrumors 68030


    Dec 27, 2002
    Alameda, CA
    All of your questions are answered on cubeowner.com. Check the FAQ and the forums over there.
  5. adamjay thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2004
    thanks paul, further reading just now told me that the 1.4ghz PL card comes with a fan, which i did not know so that is a plus. and all the users of that card that i have heard from say it runs just as silent as the stock config.

    i realize the G5 is a great computer, but to be honest, i'm not trying to cure cancer. a 140 xbench on the 1.4ghz Cube compared to my Powerbook's 83 (which does everything i want to do, and swiftly) tells me that a 1.4ghz Cube would last me YEARS. I use my Mac(s) for Audio Production, and i've been set in my ways software wise for a few years and don't plan on changing those ways for quite a while.. i have friends that are graphic designers still using Quark for OS9 and they wouldnt change to OSX if you forced them at gunpoint.
    I figure i should get something to reduce the use of my Powerbook and i don't necessarily need 3 times the processing power i have now. So, if i am going to spend the money, i may as well get the computer that i could in no way afford when it was first released, but desperately wanted. To me it is still the most visually appealing computer that one could buy. And this is why i am asking questions about the upgrades, because i have long since made the decision that i will buy a cube.

    Consider me a 45 year old balding business man who has to have that '66 Chevy he always dreamed of, but would certainly put a new engine in it.
  6. sonofslim macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2003
    if you're putting a new processor in a cube, it will come with a fan -- and if it doesn't, don't put it in your cube. there was just one cube-specific G4 upgrade that was meant to run fanless, made by gigadesigns, but i believe they've already stopped making that particular card. so, in a nutshell, processor upgrade == adding a fan.

    aside from the addition of a fan, though, there's no hardware you'll need to add. you don't need a new power supply. the powerlogix case will hold a larger video card, and improves airflow, thus helping with heat management. but if you're adding a fan anyway, a new case isn't necessary. and there are quartz-extreme enabled video cards that will fit the original shell. (they'll also require a fan.)

    and as a cube owner, i'll say this: YES! it's worth upgrading! but make sure you do your homework first; some upgrades have known sleep issues. head on over to cubeowner.com, as Flowbee mentioned. they've got extensive reviews & discussions.
  7. Dreadnought macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2002
    Almere, The Netherlands
    I have been thinking... Some music programs need a pci card installed in computer. In the Cube you can put a pci card, but only a short one. Most of pci cards that come with a pro musicapp are long ones.

    Btw the difference between a G5 and a cube isn't much, moneywise. In case of performance, I would say you are better of with a G5, even if it is a 1.6.
  8. adamjay thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2004
    no need for PCI hardware, i use a 8input/8output rackmount firewire audio device. none of the software i use requires pci dsp's., and most were written with the G4 / dare i say Pentium 4 in mind.

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