Gone Cube Crazy

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by bunnspecial, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #1
    I've wanted a Cube for a while, but always managed to talk myself out of various Ebay ones.

    In any case, one appeared in the For Sale section here a week and a half or so back, and I was able to make a deal with the seller on it. The first one did include the speakers.

    Right along the same times, one of the regulars in this section PMed me that they wanted to sell theirs. Although I probably didn't need it, I decided to go ahead and buy both.

    The first Cube-from the classifieds here-arrived yesterday and I've had fun playing with it. At this point, I'm trying to install OS 9, but have been having some teething pains with that that I won't go in to. The optical drive(DVD) is dead, and I have a message out to the seller as this wasn't disclosed in the listing. After exercising some, it will eject fine, but won't mount any disks at all(CD or DVD, pressed or burned) and just spits them right back out. I couldn't even get it to read my cleaning CD :) . In any case, this keeps me from installing OS 9 from a disk, and I've had issues with a stable install by copying a system folder from another computer. I'll get all that worked out, though, if I just take the time to play with it.

    The first one is below. The second will likely be here tomorrow or Tuesday.

    I have upgrade ready to go for both. Both close to stock base models, with 450mhz CPUs and Rage 128s. The one I already have has 1x 512mb and 2x256mb for 1gb. The other has 1.25gb with 2x512 and 1x256. I think I have enough 512mb modules to get both all the way up to 1.5gb. I'm not sure which computer will get what, but I do have a GEforce 2 ready to go for one of them(supposed to be a drop in replacement if I transfer over the front plate). I also have a Radeon 7500, which is supposed to be a drop in card also although I don't think that a front plate transfer necessarily works-I'll figure something out. Both, of course, are getting at least if not multiple fans(one directly on the GEForce 2 if I can figure out how to do it). I've also experimented with an SSD via a an IDE to SATA adapter in another G4 tower and it worked fine, so I think one will be getting an SSD(I have an OCZ Vertex 60gb that's laying around with no other immediate plans) and I expect that to make a decent difference in performance plus should cool the internals down a fair bit.

    One is likely going to work with me to be a dedicated OS 9 machine.

    I'll continue to update this thread with my progress and experiments, but I'm mostly posting now just to brag that I got one :)
     

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  2. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #2
    Congrats, Cubes are nice machines. Wish I cared enough about mine to give it a proper SSD and GPU upgrade.
     
  3. ctmpkmlec4 macrumors 6502

    ctmpkmlec4

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2014
    Location:
    Lyons, KS
    #3
    Be careful with the upgrades you throw at it. Recall an incident I had a month or so ago where installing a Radeon 7500 fried the VRM in one of my Cubes. There is a seller on eBay who has listed a beefed up VRM, but it's expensive and comes from Japan. Congrats on finally getting a Cube, or two. :)
     
  4. PowerMac G4 MDD macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    At the intersection of Conch and Coral.
    #4
    Ooh, what is that I see in the top-right of the photo? ;)
     
  5. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #5
    I know that base fans are very much recommended.

    I've spent a while this evening reading up on Cube cooling upgrades, and from what I've found an 80mmx15mm fan is the "correct" one to fit the bracket. Unfortunately, 15mm are not as easy to find, and everything I found about them was that they were less efficient(moved less air) than the standard 25mm, or if they moved a comparable amount of air ran at higher speeds and thus were louder. I'm not overly noise sensitive(and everywhere I work has a fair bit of background noise), but still don't want anything too loud. All of that said, I found several suggestions and modifications on modifying the fan and/or bracket to fit an easy to find 25mm fan.

    So, with that in mind I just ordered a pair of 80mmx25mm fans(one for each Cube) to install in both of mine. That looks like a fun project to tackle :)

    That just leaves me with the video card. Since I was on an Ebay buying binge, I plopped down another $9 for another GE Force 2-I'll probably end up putting that in my other cube rather than the 7500. Whatever the case, since both the one I already have and the one I just ordered are the desktop cards, I'll need to figure out some sort of cooling solution for those. I found the fan connector on the DC in board, and I have a couple of spare MDD G4 door fans lying around(these are fairly slim) so I may experiment with trying those to keep the GPU temperatures down.

    Of course, I'm also really hoping that the SSD will cut down on heat a lot.

    ----------

    A working Apple Hard Disk 20 sitting on top of a Macintosh SE.

    It's actually what I use to boot and run the SE since the internal hard drive is dead. I had plans to replace the internal drive, but they've sort of stalled out since it was contingent on replacing hard drives in other computers. Ultimately, the plan is to put upgrade my Quadra hard drive and put its original drive in the SE. In the mean time, the HD 20(with system 6) works great!
     
  6. flyrod macrumors 6502

    flyrod

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2015
    #6
    Congrats on the new toys! The thicker fans can be fit with some slight modification. On mine I bent the metal tabs on the cube to sit on the back side of the mounting holes of the fan, and used a few zip-ties through the holes to secure it. The bigger fans can move more air and can also be quieter.

    For video, the 6200 cards work well. They are significantly faster than the GF2 etc. and not nearly as power hungry as a 9700.

    For the VRM, many people add heatsinks to FETs that get hot, and this seems to help significantly. I have a dual 550MHz cube that has run for years this way.

    Good luck!
     
  7. ctmpkmlec4 macrumors 6502

    ctmpkmlec4

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2014
    Location:
    Lyons, KS
    #7
    My "dead" Cube came with the 1.5 GHz Powerlogix upgrade. The base fan in a Panaflo model which is really quiet. I would be happy to supply the part number; maybe you could cross-reference it to find a similar fan.
     
  8. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #8
    Here's the second. It arrived this past week, but I didn't get around to setting it up until today.

    The Cinema Display was a Craigslist find that my brother in law picked up for me last weekend. I went up to Microcenter in Cincinnatti today(a friend is building a new gaming desktop, and he went to buy his processor) and we stopped by to get the display from my B-I-L.

    While at Microcenter, I picked up a 2.5" to 3.5" drive sled, as I'm planning on mounting an SSD in this one(via an IDE-SATA adapter). Microcenter also had big stacks of refurbished hard drives, and I couldn't resist picking up a pair of 160gb IDE drives for $14 each. I passed on the 80gb IDEs for $8 each). It pains me to pay for IDE drives :) , but I'm running low on larger drives(120gb+) and there aren't too many places where you can walk in the door and pick up an IDE drive for any price.
     

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  9. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #9
    Both my Cubes now have base fans.

    Rather than disassemble the whole thing, I went for something of a "hybrid" approach. I removed the optical drive(on the first to replace it, which was how I discovered this strategy), which gave me access to the fan bracket. I bent the two mounting tabs up, then slid in the 25mm fan. It fit perfectly. I then bent the two mounting tabs back down to retain the fan.

    This was easy, painless, and could probably be done in about 10 minutes if you are reasonable familiar with the insides of a Cube(something I've become over the last few days).

    The fan is also virtually silent, but provides a noticeable breeze(of cool air) through the center vent. I'm not sorry that I went with 25mm fans, as they can move the same volume of air as a 15mm fan at lower rotational speeds, meaning in turn that they are quieter. The fans I bought were relatively inexpensive(about $4 each).

    I still have one of my Cubes apart installing an SSD. That should really cut down on heat too.

    Now I just need to figure out something to cool the "hot" GeForce MX2 GPU installed in both of my computers. I went "shopping" today in surplus for laptop fans(I pulled several out of junk computers) but couldn't really figure out anything workable. Several of the fans I picked up have attached copper heatsinks/pipes and I think would probably actually work decent, but unfortunately the GEForce heatsink appears to to be glued onto the GPU.
     
  10. ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020

    ToroidalZeus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
  11. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #11
    You do realise this is the PowerPC forum, right? ;)
     
  12. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #12
    I've seen Hackintosh discussion in then PowerPC forum, like this thread http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1824314

    However, it is totally out of context and drives me crazy. I even said so in that old thread.
     
  13. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #13
    Not even a consideration.

    I use PowerPC hardware because I like PowerPC hardware. I am not opposed to upgrading(within reason) to the limits available with the architecture I have, but turning one of these into a hackintosh is not even on my radar.

    On another note, my SSD plan is on hiatus for the time being. I couldn't make the IDE-SATA adapters that I have fit within the space available in the Cube.

    I'm going to prowl Ebay and see if someone in China makes a 3.5" IDE mSATA adapter. Otherwise, I may experiment with a 2.5" IDE mSATA enclosure and then a laptop to desktop IDE adapter(those are small and should fit).
     
  14. jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    #14
    Here is a link to the slickest solution ever.

    It's by far the most elegant solution but unfortunately not the cheapest.
     
  15. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #15
    I keep seeing these 'cube' posts and I'm green with envy! Had one and got rid years ago and have regretted it since!!

    I will buy one this year and bastardise a Mac mini into it.
     
  16. ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020

    ToroidalZeus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    #16
    I just bought a G4 cube off eBay and the first thing I did was gut all the PowerPC junk. PowerPC G4 is so out of date that even with upgrades it'll lag trying to play youtube.

    I have the 2 IDE->SATA adapters from eBay. They are trash. One doesn't work and one can't sustain read speeds.

    mITX i5 it instead.
     
  17. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #17
    I don't normally respond to trolls, but I'm in a bad mood after dealing all day with students who can't follow a procedure out of a paper bag, so I'm going to bite.

    There's not a single regular to this forum who is not aware that PPC hardware has its limitations.

    That doesn't make it junk by any means. We play with the computers because we enjoy them, or in some cases to accomplish specific tasks that require PPC hardware and older versions of OS X(Appletalk anyone?) or even OS 9 in some cases.

    My PPC computers that I actually use have been worked over and tweaked to where they accomplish their specific tasks excellently.

    And, believe it or not, some of us actually do more on our computers than watch Youtube. My Quicksilver doesn't even do a bad job at that, with its upgraded graphics card and using Mactubes.

    My Cubes-and all of my PowerPC hardware-will keep their PPC processors, thank you very much, and will continue doing what they do well.

    When I want to use an Intel Mac, I use a real Intel Mac(yes, I have several).
     
  18. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #18
    Well said. I'll tell you one thing that a PowerPC Mac is still good for, and that is posting to threads like this. Posted with a iBook G4.

    For most other things I do however, an Intel Mac is required, or at least preferred. PowerPC Macs are mostly a hobby for me.
     
  19. ToroidalZeus, Jan 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015

    ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020

    ToroidalZeus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    #19
    Steve was never about supporting old hardware. Nor was he ever about hassle or headache e.g. 3rd party video players. In that sense upgrading the Mac to modern hardware is most in-line with his beliefs.

    My PowerMac G5 games better than a real Mac Pro thanks to its i7-5820k CPU and Nvidia GTX 980.

    My G4 Cube will feature an i5 quad-core cpu, GTX 750 Ti graphic card and include a 29" monitor for the price of a top-of-the-line Mac Mini. In other words it'll be over twice as powerful and cheaper too.
     
  20. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #20
    As I said, Youtube is not the end all and be all of computing, nor are games. I don't watch much Youtube, and don't game.

    I have a concurrent thread running in another sub forum here about how a piece of productivity software I use frequently. It's an older piece of software, and is actually still released as a universal binary. It runs like crap on Intel like my i5 powered Macbook Pro with 8gb of RAM. By contrast, the same program(remember, universal binary) cruises right along without a hitch on my 1.5ghz Powerbook G4 with 1.25gb of RAM. All I can figure is that the Intel program is coded badly.

    Even so, when I'm using the program(as part of my work flow for listing Ebay auctions) I can get my listings photographed, edited, and listed a lot faster on a Powerbook than I can on my Macbook Pro.

    I'll also point out that your Powermac G5 is no longer a Powermac G5-it's a Hackintosh in a case that use to house a Powermac G5.

    At the end of the day, I'm perfectly happy with what my PowerPC hardware is doing where I use it...I'm the one in this thread who has plunked down close to $400 on Cubes, and have no intention of changing them other than the upgrades I've already outlined here.
     
  21. redhatcode29 macrumors 6502

    redhatcode29

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Location:
    Kuala Lumpur
    #21
    Hi bunns, u have couple of cubes now ! And it looks as if it has been well taken care of. Make me want to take the day off and go meddle with mine:( Hmm. Cant though.

    Have fun with it.
     
  22. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #22
    It's a hackintosh in an old PowerMac case. They ceased to be a PowerMac G5 and G4 cube when you replaced the innards with generic off the shelf PC parts.

    Anyway, whatever floats your boat. I appreciate the original hardware for what it is.
     
  23. redhatcode29 macrumors 6502

    redhatcode29

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Location:
    Kuala Lumpur
    #23
    ...gutting it and stuffing it with a hack is very much an easy task....compARED to restoring a PPC to its original state.

    Given the patience and effort to obtain parts which are no more in production and then putting em up in a piece....is far more an accomplishment ..... the satisfaction in having the restored Mac to boot...

    as for the hacking wares..one is spoilt for choice.

    i am not against a hack, i've hacked one too, but PPC is another joy of mine.
     
  24. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #24
    God no!
     
  25. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #25
    I have a friend who is building a "portable" gaming rig- or at least portable in the sense that he can take it from his apartment to his parents house without too much hassle. He's using desktop grade components, including an mITX board and a high-end i5.

    I texted him the other day to ask how things were going with it, and he responded with a stream of obscenities about how much he hated working with the mITX board.

    That's the limit of my experience with them(which really isn't any experience at all) but it didn't leave me with a favorable impression :)
     

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