G4 Cube GPU Upgrade

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by SuperKerem, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. SuperKerem macrumors 6502a

    SuperKerem

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2012
    Location:
    London, England
    #1
    Quick question here. I'm looking for a video card to upgrade the stock Rage 128 in my Cube and am in a bit of a dilemma. I don't have another AGP computer to flash a PC video card, I'm using an Apple Studio Display via ADC (would prefer to avoid bulky DVI/VGA adapter cables), and Quartz Extreme/Core Image support would most definitely be a plus.

    What would be the best option for a Cube in this scenario? (ADC compatible, without flashing)

    From what I can tell, the Radeon 9000 (ADC variant, Mac edition) seems like a good choice. I would appreciate Core Image support but that seems to be GeForce 6200 only - a card which needs to be flashed (cannot find any Mac versions online) and is not ADC compatible.

    Thanks - any input would be appreciated. I hope to follow up this thread with another one about my latest PPC additions and modifications!
     
  2. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #2
    The 9000 requires a VRM move, as does the Geforce 4MX.

    The easiest drop-in choice is a Geforce 2MX. These run hot, and the OEM Cube ones had a large heatsink covering most of the card. I'd suggest a base fan at a minimum when using the common non-Cube version.

    The Geforce 3 is the best drop-in Cube card, but these are quite difficult to find. It took me two years of hunting to get one(and then found two within a week of each other).

    Both the Geforce 3 and 2MX can use the same(Cube-specific) faceplate as the stock Rage 128.

    The Radeon 7000 is also a nice plug-in choice, although you are on your own for a faceplate.
     
  3. SuperKerem thread starter macrumors 6502a

    SuperKerem

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2012
    Location:
    London, England
    #3
    Thanks. This page says the 9000 "can be installed without hardware modification", but taking into consideration what you've said, it's probably not worth the risk. There is only one GeForce 2MX I could find (here), although it has an ADC connector and is likely Mac compatible, it doesn't seem to have the large heatsink you described.

    I'll also be on the lookout for a GeForce 3, but unfortunately they are indeed nowhere to be seen online :confused:.

    As for the faceplate, I believe that's the adapter board that connects to the Cube motherboard although I may be wrong - is it only compatible with certain cards? EveryMac (+ any other info sites I've come across today) does not mention any details relating to it so I am a bit lost when it comes to that.

    Well, for now...
    Radeon 7000 is incompatible with the Cube faceplate
    Radeon 9000 requires a VRM move (not 100% sure what that is to be frank haha)
    GeForce 3 is unavailable
    GeForce 2MX with Cube heatsink is unavailable
    GeForce 4MX requires a VRM move
    GeForce 6200 is not ADC and requires flashing

    Hmm... :eek:
     
  4. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #4
    What I'm talking about with the faceplate is the metal plate that interfaces with the ports and the Cube case.

    On a normal expansion card(PCI, AGP, PCIe) this is an L shaped bracket. On the Cube, it's a flat metal strip with two pass-throughs for the ports and two screw holes to pass through the case.

    Offhand, the 2MX and the Geforce 3 are the only cards that have faceplates interchangeable with the Rage 128. I think that's also only true of the regular 2MX(not the Twin-View) but haven't physically confirmed. The 2MX Twin View is readily identified by having RAM chips on the back of it.

    The lack of a faceplate isn't a deal-killer. I've run 7000s without any faceplate at all-there is a screw and bracket at the top of the card that will hold the 7000 reasonably well. You can also dremel off part of the stock faceplate on any card and then drill and tap the appropriate hold-down screws in it. I've not done this, but have a few faceplates on which it has been done.

    Although the 2MX is hot, I have run it in several Cubes and it has never been a huge issue. I also run a base fan in all of mine, though-that's a good idea in general even with a stock CPU.

    The VRM is the power distribution board. It is located next to the video card-opposite the AGP riser-in a stock installation. It interferes with most of the wider cards. Some folks use a ribbon cable to move it more to the "core" of the Cube where it can also be cooled more effectively by the base fan.
     
  5. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #5
    A Mac GeForce 2MX is probably your easiest and best choice of a quick upgrade. Anything else will be pricey or difficult to locate. As long as you have a base fan in your Cube, you can run a stock Mac GeForce 2MX fine. You can even flash the TwinView ROM to it and enable dual displays on it. Just now that the MX has half the VRAM that the TwinView has.
     
  6. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
  7. SuperKerem, Feb 3, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017

    SuperKerem thread starter macrumors 6502a

    SuperKerem

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2012
    Location:
    London, England
    #7
    Thanks guys! I've got my eye on a GeForce 2MX card originally from a G4 Digital Audio. I'll try running it fanless and if temps are too high I'll install a small fan per your recommendations. Pretty much exactly what I was looking for - and I'll also be on the lookout for a GeForce 3 further down the line. Also appreciate the heads-up regarding the faceplate and VRM!

    Fingers crossed, and I'll be sure to do a write up after this last upgrade is done :)
    --- Post Merged, Feb 3, 2017 ---
    Damn, that looks solid. Is that the GeForce 3/2MX/6200? :eek:
     
  8. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
  9. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #9
    You need to run a fan in the base of the Cube with a non-Cube GeForce 2MX or it'll overheat and cook the video card.
     
  10. MikeatOSX, Feb 4, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017

    MikeatOSX macrumors regular

    MikeatOSX

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2007
    Location:
    Austria
    #10
    I included an external sensor of a cheap thermometer in my Cube, so I can always watch the inside temperature, as I don't believe to software solutions for temperature data logging.
     
  11. topbanana_ macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2017
    Location:
    Manila, Philippines
    #11
    I remember my
    I remember my GeForce 3 Ti very fondly (in a PC, sorry..) was a great card in it's day and as a gamer I can say it kept up with new games longer than most.
     
  12. mode11, Feb 10, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017

    mode11 macrumors member

    mode11

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    Location:
    London
    #12
    The 6200's often have problems with waking from sleep in any case. A close substitute is the GeForce 5500 256MB - no VRM move necessary and supports Core Image / QE, though admittedly won't work with the Cube's stock faceplate.

    If going for a tower GF2, why not add an aftermarket heat sink with fan? Some are quiet (like the Titan TTC-CUV3), and even undervolted should move enough air to stop the GPU overheating.
     

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