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Marche90

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 5, 2022
78
44
As the title says, someone locally sold me his G4 cube (450Mhz, Ati Rage 128, 512MB RAM and 40GB HDD) at a very reasonable price and jumped in, even knowing that I would need to do some fixing myself. It came with the 15" Studio Display and a broken Pro keyboard. However, there's a very weird issue that I'm having with it. 90% of the time the display will only come alive after loading the OS, and thus I can't do anything that requires key combinations unless I'm very lucky, like entering Open Firmware or single-user mode. I've already swapped the PRAM battery and opened up the case to press the button in the Logic Board to reset the PMU, but I'm still having issues. There's no rhyme nor reason whenever the display turns on at boot. What could it be?

Oh, and the DVD drive is dead, so I can't install anything from it. I wanted to wipe the drive but I've been unable to boot from a USB to reinstall Tiger using the Open Firmware. My plan for later is to get a FireWire 800 to 400 to use the drive in my 2011 iMac, but that'll be for later.

Lastly, any advices for my new toy/collectible? Should I upgrade something, what to install (tempted to install sorbet leopard on it, but the graphics card is a concern...), where to buy replacement parts relatively cheap, etc.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that I've already reseted the PRAM with Option+Command+P+R. Multiple times.
 
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DearthnVader

macrumors 68020
Dec 17, 2015
2,193
6,376
Red Springs, NC
Not real sure on your issue with the display, is your 15" Studio Display the LCD ADC display?

The only thing I can think of is a weak PSU not providing full power to the ADC( 75W Max ) tho the LCD shouldn't draw that much power.

Also could be the Rage128 is failing somehow.
 

Marche90

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 5, 2022
78
44
Not real sure on your issue with the display, is your 15" Studio Display the LCD ADC display?

The only thing I can think of is a weak PSU not providing full power to the ADC( 75W Max ) tho the LCD shouldn't draw that much power.

Also could be the Rage128 is failing somehow.
I was thinking about those, but I discarded them, because as long as the OS has loaded the display works fine even at full brightness.

And yes, it's the 15" LCD ADC Studio Display.

I actually tried connecting it to my tv with an adaptor (I don't have a monitor with a VGA port handy) but it didn't displayed anything either. Maybe the resolution was too much for it?
 

Amethyst1

macrumors G3
Oct 28, 2015
9,448
11,626
I actually tried connecting it to my tv with an adaptor (I don't have a monitor with a VGA port handy) but it didn't displayed anything either. Maybe the resolution was too much for it?
If you connected using a DVI-to-HDMI adapter, that’s the case. If you connected using VGA, 1920×1080 should have worked.
 

Marche90

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 5, 2022
78
44
I managed to source a tv with a VGA port on it. Interestingly, it does work like that, and the boot screen shows without any issues every time. My guess is that there's something wrong with the ADC port or the cable.

EDIT: seems to have fixed itself even with the ADC Display. Very weird issue, but at least it's fixed. I finally managed to reinstall OS X 10.4, and tomorrow I'll install OS9
 
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cubeover

macrumors member
Mar 30, 2012
63
31
I have kept a Cube from 2001-2010 but no more.
Have some parts still, lemme know if you want any.
I doubt it is a useful toy these days but in my time i used it for both work, play and gaming of course.
You should upgrade everything, if you can still find parts.
RAM to 1.5GB. CPU to dual Powerlogix or Sonnet, video to ATI Radeon 7500 ADC
I have tried Geforce 3 ADC but disliked the fan and heat, i reckon you would need to install a base fan if you go that route. I have sold mine Gf3 and kept Radeon 7500, it is fanless.
There also was a DC-DC board upgrade and relocation, which i did not do, i simply replaced blown transistors few times on it from spare cards.
Finally, or should i say firstly, try finding SATA - PATA converters so you can instal SSD instead.
Leopard 10.5 is the latest OS for it, ran OK in 2010 . System 9 sucks, hangs often and you need a bunch of extensions… yuck. But it is fun showing off how you can rename system folder on the go and move it anywhere, even deep into your documents, right on the go. No other OS can do this, they are all “literal text path” based now, after something from the 70s called ”UNICS”… ;)
 

Marche90

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 5, 2022
78
44
I have kept a Cube from 2001-2010 but no more.
Have some parts still, lemme know if you want any.
I doubt it is a useful toy these days but in my time i used it for both work, play and gaming of course.
You should upgrade everything, if you can still find parts.
RAM to 1.5GB. CPU to dual Powerlogix or Sonnet, video to ATI Radeon 7500 ADC
I have tried Geforce 3 ADC but disliked the fan and heat, i reckon you would need to install a base fan if you go that route. I have sold mine Gf3 and kept Radeon 7500, it is fanless.
There also was a DC-DC board upgrade and relocation, which i did not do, i simply replaced blown transistors few times on it from spare cards.
Finally, or should i say firstly, try finding SATA - PATA converters so you can instal SSD instead.
Leopard 10.5 is the latest OS for it, ran OK in 2010 . System 9 sucks, hangs often and you need a bunch of extensions… yuck. But it is fun showing off how you can rename system folder on the go and move it anywhere, even deep into your documents, right on the go. No other OS can do this, they are all “literal text path” based now, after something from the 70s called ”UNICS”… ;)
I'll send you a PM ✌🏻
 

Wouter3

macrumors regular
Oct 31, 2017
199
60
Netherlands
Upgrading the CPU is relative easy but a 1.2 GHz processor upgrade will cost you around $180. As it takes more power you need to upgrade the VRM. Mine blew up and took the motherboard with it. The VRM is newly manufactured for the Cube in Japan and costs $150. You would also need to install a fan.

The upgrade to an SSD is not too difficult and certainly worthwhile. It makes the Cube more silent and stable. I can advise you what adapters to buy if you are interested.

You say your DVD drive is dead. If it is a rubber belt, it can be easily fixed. If it is really dead I would advise you to install a slimline DVD with the housing of the original DVD. For that you would also need to buy a special adapter as the IDE connection to the original Apple DVD drive is "upside down" from the slimline (laptop) drives. It is more of a challenge but certainly doable and makes your Cube more usable.

I would also advise you to find/create a firewire external SSD drive from which you can boot. It comes handy when your Cube does not boot up from your disk for one reason or another, and it is very fast to transfer files with the Cube.

The next would be to upgrade the graphics card. The Radeon 7500 would need some Dremel work as the faceplate is not compatible with the Cube. The best Card for the Cube is the NVidia Geforce3 but it is difficult to get and very expensive ($300 +). I am using a Nvidia 6200 with a VGA display. Works great.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you need advice on adapters, slimline DVD players etc
 

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Marche90

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 5, 2022
78
44
I'll be doing a list of what I want to do to see how to proceed from there.

This will probably be a project for months. And I definitely want to get rid of that ATI Rage 128. Installed the original The Sims and I couldn't believe how crap it was running.

I should probably think what to do about the 15" Studio display that I have. Since the original stand broke one of the previous owner stuck an HP stand on the back protruding from one of the vent holes. Not only it looks tacky, the case can't be fully closed and the back is permanently damaged...

I saw the Stratos VRM. Holy crap, $220 USD.

By the way, an NVIDIA A74/Geforce 4 MX doesn't work with it, right? Asking because I'm seeing one for sale for $25 locally.
Upgrading the CPU is relative easy but a 1.2 GHz processor upgrade will cost you around $180. As it takes more power you need to upgrade the VRM. Mine blew up and took the motherboard with it. The VRM is newly manufactured for the Cube in Japan and costs $150. You would also need to install a fan.

The upgrade to an SSD is not too difficult and certainly worthwhile. It makes the Cube more silent and stable. I can advise you what adapters to buy if you are interested.

You say your DVD drive is dead. If it is a rubber belt, it can be easily fixed. If it is really dead I would advise you to install a slimline DVD with the housing of the original DVD. For that you would also need to buy a special adapter as the IDE connection to the original Apple DVD drive is "upside down" from the slimline (laptop) drives. It is more of a challenge but certainly doable and makes your Cube more usable.

I would also advise you to find/create a firewire external SSD drive from which you can boot. It comes handy when your Cube does not boot up from your disk for one reason or another, and it is very fast to transfer files with the Cube.

The next would be to upgrade the graphics card. The Radeon 7500 would need some Dremel work as the faceplate is not compatible with the Cube. The best Card for the Cube is the NVidia Geforce3 but it is difficult to get and very expensive ($300 +). I am using a Nvidia 6200 with a VGA display. Works great.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you need advice on adapters, slimline DVD players etc
 

Wouter3

macrumors regular
Oct 31, 2017
199
60
Netherlands
The Nvidia Geforce 4MX works with the Cube but you have to relocate the VRM, otherwise it doesn't fit. Relocating the VRM requires a special flat cable which I have not come across. You could make one yourself, but I would not even try it. A Nvidia Geforce 6200 requires no relocation and would cost around $100 (https://www.ebay.nl/itm/26490496677...Mdwy+zn+vo8rWZ4OXBCxXbRg==|tkp:Bk9SR5r7vYn4YA)

You might find it for a lot less but then you would have to flash the ROM yourself. I am sure there you people on this forum that can tell you how to do it.

But the 6200 does not support ADC. The one above supports only VGA. But 19" VGA panels are very cheap to get these days and work perfectly on the Cube. I am using one myself. Not the same look as the vintage Studio Display. If you want to stick with the Apple Studio Display I would certainly try to find a larger one than the 15".

The crappy speed with running The Simms might also be due to the slow 450MHz Cube processor. Finding an upgrade might be a challenge but if you search eBay regularly they are still around for I guess around $200

Yes, the Artmix VRM went up to $219, but it now comes with the internal fan. A lot of money, but I see no alternative if you want to upgrade the processor.
Replacing the harddrive with an SSD will certainly reduce the Cube's power consumption but it won't be enough for a processor upgrade using the stock VRM.

The Nvidia Geforce 2MX might be a cheap replacement for the the original ATI Rage graphics card. It has 32 MB memory in stead of 16 MB. But with the original larger Cube heatsink they are not easy to find. I still have got one with the smaller heatsink, but they gets very hot.
 

DearthnVader

macrumors 68020
Dec 17, 2015
2,193
6,376
Red Springs, NC
The Nvidia Geforce 4MX works with the Cube but you have to relocate the VRM, otherwise it doesn't fit. Relocating the VRM requires a special flat cable which I have not come across. You could make one yourself, but I would not even try it. A Nvidia Geforce 6200 requires no relocation and would cost around $100 (https://www.ebay.nl/itm/264904966772?hash=item3dad910274:g:HBcAAOSwmY9fjUoK&amdata=enc:AQAHAAAAwL9pe1cLEKtgYdaafk4OAhD8rrf5gOsYXkLr7+luAyVO6joWK0lh0mfMwnLSgGzi/DSckCTPjRnUVr8uCmZ4dLfCHPaN+RyvhDzA4eVY+nVCiWp6cpNN2jj3b3E+7q4mqipkyPSy+D+hqKBnZf+2rnYtGqr1xDjAtKOCmotdi5nuAjNIWaUhRY6Krr6KgJsPlPM+i3LlTZo7aR/wPqIUOE3ys/OSRtJKlLOIrpRjXDMdwy+zn+vo8rWZ4OXBCxXbRg==|tkp:Bk9SR5r7vYn4YA)

You might find it for a lot less but then you would have to flash the ROM yourself. I am sure there you people on this forum that can tell you how to do it.

But the 6200 does not support ADC. The one above supports only VGA. But 19" VGA panels are very cheap to get these days and work perfectly on the Cube. I am using one myself. Not the same look as the vintage Studio Display. If you want to stick with the Apple Studio Display I would certainly try to find a larger one than the 15".

The crappy speed with running The Simms might also be due to the slow 450MHz Cube processor. Finding an upgrade might be a challenge but if you search eBay regularly they are still around for I guess around $200

Yes, the Artmix VRM went up to $219, but it now comes with the internal fan. A lot of money, but I see no alternative if you want to upgrade the processor.
Replacing the harddrive with an SSD will certainly reduce the Cube's power consumption but it won't be enough for a processor upgrade using the stock VRM.

The Nvidia Geforce 2MX might be a cheap replacement for the the original ATI Rage graphics card. It has 32 MB memory in stead of 16 MB. But with the original larger Cube heatsink they are not easy to find. I still have got one with the smaller heatsink, but they gets very hot.
The 6200 is a great card for the Cube as long as you don't need OS 9 support.

You can boot OS 9 on the 6200 in the Cube, but it won't support 2D/3D acceleration or changing the bit depth or screen resolution.

It will support Classic Mode under OS X as well as any card does tho.

You can make a proper ROM for the card with DVI support with:


However it requires a PC with an AGP slot to do the flashing of the ROM.

I think I'll message the eBay seller and tell them about the ROM Maker so they can enable DVI.....
 
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cubeover

macrumors member
Mar 30, 2012
63
31
GeForce 2mx is crap, i have burned through two, with consequent mobo / dcdc repairs.
3 is a nice idea untill you hear the fan. I have some XFX 6200 ROM files still, DVI out.
Radeon 7500 ADC with that big aftermarket sink was the way to go.
i also remeber german company ForMac was making ADC replicas of the bigger Cinema HD 23in but i could not travel that far…
If i found a display like that, I may have resurrected my phoenix cube… otherwise ‘been there
 

Amethyst1

macrumors G3
Oct 28, 2015
9,448
11,626
i also remeber german company ForMac was making ADC replicas of the bigger Cinema HD 23in but i could not travel that far…
Formac only offered 17” (1280×1024) and 20” (1600×1200) ADC displays AFAIK.
 
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