G4 Cube GPU Upgrade

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

  1. SuperKerem macrumors 6502a

    SuperKerem

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #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

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    #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

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    #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

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    #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

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    Jan 24, 2010
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    #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

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  7. SuperKerem, Feb 3, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017

    SuperKerem thread starter macrumors 6502a

    SuperKerem

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    #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

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  9. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #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

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    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 regular

    mode11

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    #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.
     
  13. developer27 macrumors newbie

    developer27

    Joined:
    May 31, 2019
    #13
    Hi, I just found this page because I was looking for something similar.

    I have the G4-Cube and the video card went bad. I was hoping to upgrade the video card to something that had HDMI. Is this possible?
     
  14. Amethyst1 macrumors 6502

    Amethyst1

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    Oct 28, 2015
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    Germany
    #14
    None of the video cards you can put in a Cube ship with an HDMI port AFAIK. However, if you just want to transmit video (no audio), a card with DVI and a simple passive DVI-to-HDMI adapter should work.
     
  15. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #15
    Also note that all Cube cards, even the lowly Rage 128, have DVI on them "hidden" in the form of ADC. It can be converted to DVI with a simple passive adapter, which can then in turn go to HDMI.

    I don't suggest RUNNING a 1080p display on a Rage 128-I'd want a Geforce 2MX at a minimum(and even that's making some compromises in performance), but it's there.
     
  16. LightBulbFun macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

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    Nov 17, 2013
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    London UK
    #16
    I dont think not suggesting it even comes into play here :) , as I dont think the DVI output on the rage 128 even supports 1080P outright :)

    (I sadly? dont have an AGP Rage 128 Pro to test with (LOL first time thats been said) but I think the max rez on a Rage 128s DVI output is 1600x1024)
     
  17. mode11 macrumors regular

    mode11

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    #17
    Might be worth considering a VGA to HDMI convertor: Amazon link. This device also takes an audio input (e.g. from the headphone jack on the Cube's USB sound card), so you get sound out of a TV / a monitor with speakers.

    Old cards like the R128 go to higher resolutions on VGA than early implementations of DVI did. Even PC versions of the 5200 have dodgy DVI outputs at 1080p.

    This type of thing is very cheap, and the quality difference vs DVI at 1920x1080 is likely negligible in practice.
     
  18. developer27 macrumors newbie

    developer27

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    May 31, 2019
    #18
    I seen a video on YouTube where someone completely rebuilt the Cube. It looked like he gutted the inside and replaced about 90%. He added everything that was missing from the original. I didn't want to go that far, but was hoping there was a direct replacement for the video card that had a full feature HDMI port that I could plug into a 50in flatscreen TV like I'm able to do with a Raspberry pi.. If it is allowed, I can send the link to the YouTube video.. I think the title is "Hackintosh G4 Cube". But like I said, I'm hoping there is a full audio/video HDMI video card that works in the Cube.. Thanks
     
  19. mode11 macrumors regular

    mode11

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    #19
    Well no. Because the Cube uses an AGP slot for the graphics card, which were phased out in the early 2000's before HDMI existed on video cards. Plus, the Cube has very tight physical and power restrictions. Plus the OS that runs on the Cube (up to OS X Leopard) would need to have drivers for the video card. Add up those restrictions and there's a very short list of compatible cards. And as I said, none have HDMI.

    The Pi would smoke the Cube performance-wise in any case - just tape it to the bottom of the Cube.;)
     
  20. developer27 macrumors newbie

    developer27

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    May 31, 2019
    #20
    Ok, so I guess from what you're saying, there is no out of the box solution here..
    So, my options so far are to get some adapters to go from adc to hdmi in several steps...
    Or, roll my own video card and write hdmi drivers for it...

    If I go option 2, what are the parameters I need to work with?
    IE: bus, power limits, erc...
     
  21. Amethyst1, May 31, 2019
    Last edited: May 31, 2019

    Amethyst1 macrumors 6502

    Amethyst1

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    #21

    --- Post Merged, May 31, 2019 ---
    If that's purely due to a pixel clock limitation on the TMDS transmitter, just dial down the refresh rate a few notches. :D
     
  22. Jiggly Billy macrumors member

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    Nov 2, 2012
    #22
    Option 2 simply won't work. If the card has HDMI and is on AGP, it'll lack driver support even up to 10.5. Your best bet with a Cube is a USB audio card, then using a standard 3.5mm cable to transfer audio to your TV (provided it allows for that).

    Easiest route would be to just get a Radeon 7500 (if OS 9 booting is a requirement) or Geforce 6200 (if it isn't) and either go from ADC-DVI-HDMI on the 7500, or DVI-HDMI on the 6200. There is a seller on ebay with flashed 6200s but I'm not sure if it'll fit in the Cube (it's not the XFX WANG card that's for sure)
     
  23. mode11 macrumors regular

    mode11

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    #23
    To what, 30Hz? That would feel a bit choppy. Digital displays (especially TV's like the OP's) expect standard refresh rates - you can't just send e.g. a 53Hz signal to it over HDMI.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 1, 2019 ---
    Sure, why not upgrade the Cube with an i7 while you're at it?
     
  24. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

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    #24
    Get a Radeon 7500. I have one in my Cube, it works great. It is also ADC, if taken from a Quicksilver G4 as mine was.
    The only caveat is no backplate unless you mod it. No VRM move needed. It works decent in Leopard as well as OS 9.
     
  25. Jiggly Billy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    #25
    You can get half a backplate! Take the ADC end of the Cube-friendly card, trim it at the ADC connector, and you'll be able to get both small philips screws in and 1 Torx for the chassis.
     

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26 February 2, 2017