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JohnKCG

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 16, 2018
35
4
Hello people, I write here because I Would like to share my experience restoring a mac cube to be used in daily use, First, I found a Mac cube which was described as non working, it did not turned on or showed signs of life, althought, the seller told me That the cube last boot was With the classic Gray screen With the folder and question mark, then a few motnhs passed and the cube wont turn on, he also told me That the cube never ever has been opened or fixed, so I suspected it Was the Pram battery, so I ordered it, the seller gave me the original monitor, speakers, psu, keyboard and mouse for only 10 bucks, all of them in good shape, I dissarmed complete y the cube for intensively cleaning because it Was, well, effing dirty, and to my surprise, the Pram battery was the original one which was shipped With the cube, being specifically made in september of the 2000,I then concluded That the seller sold me a working cube, because IIRC, If PRAM battery is totally dead, the aforementioned problems I listed avive will happen in the order I listed, so I was in a dilema, here in Mac rumors are cube hacks using X86 processors vía ITX motherboards and cube case mods, which consiste on modifiying the original case which, althought derived in a super Intel Mac cube, damaged the cube, so I thought, it will be fun to fix and upgrade this so It can run debian, and thought debian dropped officially big endian ppc With debian 9,there is debian 9 and 18 vía debian ports, so it can be worth it, but obviously hardware must be upgraded to meet today requirements, So I researched intensively about PowerMacs and cubes upgrades, and I ended buying the following:

Zhieng nand SSD 128GB PATA/IDE
WANG GeForce 6200
512 133mhz SDRAM (3 units)
The adapter for the ssd from 44 pin to 40 pin to fit the cube adapter
The rack for the laptop pata ssd to fit in the cube bay
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut, because it is the best non metal thermal grease/compound and it will do good to the processor and gpu

In this Journey, the most difficult things has been finding a processor upgrade for a good price and a pc to flash the gpu for PowerMac use, but I think I already found both of them, in next post I will put the images of the cube and the parts I listed
https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArQY7EvET1_PpB6Hw27mYlMl-m8A
s!ArQY7EvET1_PpB6Hw27mYlMl-m8A
 
Last edited:

jbarley

Contributor
Jul 1, 2006
4,023
1,882
Vancouver Island
Hello people, I write here because I Would like to share my experience restoring a mac cube to be used in daily use, First, I found a Mac cube which was described as non working, it did not turned on or showed signs of life, althought, the seller told me That the cube last boot was With the classic Gray screen With the folder and question mark, then a few motnhs passed and the cube wont turn on, he also told me That the cube never ever has been opened or fixed, so I suspected it Was the Pram battery, so I ordered it, the seller gave me the original monitor, speakers, psu, keyboard and mouse for only 10 bucks, all of them in good shape, I dissarmed complete y the cube for intensively cleaning because it Was, well, effing dirty, and to my surprise, the Pram battery was the original one which was shipped With the cube, being specifically made in september of the 2000,I then concluded That the seller sold me a working cube, because IIRC, If PRAM battery is totally dead, the aforementioned problems I listed avive will happen in the order I listed, so I was in a dilema, here in Mac rumors are cube hacks using X86 processors vía ITX motherboards and cube case mods, which consiste on modifiying the original case which, althought derived in a super Intel Mac cube, damaged the cube, so I thought, it will be fun to fix and upgrade this so It can run debian, and thought debian dropped officially big endian ppc With debian 9,there is debian 9 and 18 vía debian ports, so it can be worth it, but obviously hardware must be upgraded to meet today requirements, So I researched intensively about PowerMacs and cubes upgrades, and I ended buying the following:

Zhieng nand SSD 128GB PATA/IDE
WANG GeForce 6200
512 133mhz SDRAM (3 units)
The adapter for the ssd from 44 pin to 40 pin to fit the cube adapter
The rack for the laptop pata ssd to fit in the cube bay
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut, because it is the best non metal thermal grease/compound and it will do good to the processor and gpu

In this Journey, the most difficult things has been finding a processor upgrade for a good price and a pc to flash the gpu for PowerMac use, but I think I already found both of them, in next post I will put the images of the cube and the parts I listed
https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArQY7EvET1_PpB6Hw27mYlMl-m8A
s!ArQY7EvET1_PpB6Hw27mYlMl-m8A
Whew! I'm all out of breath after reading this post, the whole post is one very long sentence.
Good luck on your upgrade journey.
 
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mode11

macrumors 6502
Jul 14, 2015
422
173
London
I had to translate this to be able to read it; others may benefit:

"Hello people, I am writing this because I would like to share my experience of restoring a Mac Cube for daily use. First, I found a Mac Cube which was described as non-working. It did not turn on or show signs of life, although the seller told me the Cube’s last boot was to a gray screen with a folder and question mark. Then a few months passed and the cube [still?] won’t turn on. The seller also told me that the Cube has never been opened or fixed, so I suspected it was the PRAM battery, which I then ordered. The seller gave me the original monitor, speakers, PSU, keyboard and mouse for only 10 bucks, all of them in good shape. I completely disassembled the Cube for intensive cleaning because it was, well, effing dirty.

To my surprise, the PRAM battery was the original one it shipped with, the Cube being made in September 2000. I then concluded that the seller sold me a working Cube, because IIRC, If the PRAM battery is totally dead, the aforementioned problems I listed above will happen in the order I listed (?). So I was in a dilemma. Here on Mac Rumors there are Cube hacks using x86 processors vía ITX motherboards and Cube case mods. These consist of modifying the original case which, although resulting in a super Intel Mac Cube, damage the Cube. So I thought it would be fun to fix and upgrade this so it can run Debian. I thought Debian officially dropped big-endian PPC with Debian 9. There is Debian 9 and 18 (?) vía Debian Ports, so it can be worth it (?), but obviously the hardware must be upgraded to meet today's requirements. So I researched PowerMac and Cubes upgrades intensively, and ended up buying the following:"


Did fitting a new PRAM battery actually result in the Cube turning on? Unlike, say, a G3 PowerBook, a dead PRAM battery won't stop a Cube from booting - it just won't remember the date / time and so on. If this completely stock Cube is still not showing signs of life, I would suspect the PSU. It sounds weird, but carefully heat the middle of the PSU with a hairdryer for a minute or two, blowing through it's top. Be careful not to melt the plastic, obviously. Then try turning on again.

I wouldn't have bought a load of upgrades without getting the Cube working first, but the SSD will make it quieter (the original HDDs are noisy) and definitely make it feel more responsive. I've got a similar Kingspec IDE SSD in mine. CPU upgrades are hard to find. I don't know where you are located, but there is a 1GHz G4 on eBay UK at the moment. Costs £100 though. Others can advise on the best Linux OS for old PPC Macs, but I would suggest trying it with OS X Tiger first, before going down that route. The Camino web browser works quite well with it.
 
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CooperBox

macrumors 65816
Nov 28, 2010
1,438
1,533
France - between Ricard & Absinthe
Agree with mode11, I wouldn't have launched into purchasing a number of upgrades - especially the graphics card before ensuring correct functioning of the Cube.
My G4 Cube ran perfectly even with a dead original PRAM battery, which I later renewed to avoid frequently changing the time/date. I found too that without a valid recent date it refused to connect to the internet using TenFourFox. The new battery obviously cured that.
 

mode11

macrumors 6502
Jul 14, 2015
422
173
London
My G4 Cube ran perfectly even with a dead original PRAM battery, which I later renewed to avoid frequently changing the time/date.

Another consideration is that a 20 year old battery might start leaking at some point, though am not sure if these Lithium-something-something batteries do. I've been meaning to open up my iMac G4 for that reason (and to upgrade the RAM / blow any dust out / apply new paste).
 
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1042686

Cancelled
Sep 3, 2016
1,577
2,308
Nice score. The monitor, keyboard & mouse & HK designed speakers alone are worth the $10 bucks (even if the cube itself is dead).

Best of luck on the repair.
 
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