PowerMac G4 Cube project?

quidire

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Hello all,

Noticed a dual-G4 1.7GHz upgrade for the PowerMac Cube ( :eek: ) here and started thinking, how powerful could a Cube be made?

From what I understand, the RAM can be upgraded to 1.5GB. Can you guys help hunt down:
• a specific location to buy a cube from
• a video card upgrade if such is possible
• a good source for cube-compatible RAM

My understanding that the G4 is as powerful as the G5, controlling for clockspeed. Thus I'd expect a dual-1.7 Cube to be nearly as speedy as a dual-1.8 G5 PM; is that a reasonable assumption?

Thanks!

-RS
 

macbaseball

macrumors 6502a
Feb 27, 2005
988
0
Northern California
quidire said:
My understanding that the G4 is as powerful as the G5, controlling for clockspeed. Thus I'd expect a dual-1.7 Cube to be nearly as speedy as a dual-1.8 G5 PM; is that a reasonable assumption?
I don't think so. The G5 is a more powerful chip. Why would they change from the G4 to the G5 and go through all the trouble of engineering a system to keep the G5 cool. It's pretty obvious the G5 must have some advantage.

Also why would you want to invest probably $1,500 into a cube, when it's getting pretty old. Eventually other components will break and then you'll have to replace them, a lot soon than you would with a new computer. Don't get me wrong, it sounds like a way cool idea, I just don't think it's very economical.
 

Lucky736

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2004
827
344
US
macbaseball said:
I don't think so. The G5 is a more powerful chip. Why would they change from the G4 to the G5 and go through all the trouble of engineering a system to keep the G5 cool. It's pretty obvious the G5 must have some advantage.

Also why would you want to invest probably $1,500 into a cube, when it's getting pretty old. Eventually other components will break and then you'll have to replace them, a lot soon than you would with a new computer. Don't get me wrong, it sounds like a way cool idea, I just don't think it's very economical.
Clock for clock a G4 is faster than a G5. The bus etc on the G4 will be slower. The Cube now has the ability to run all the the latest cards for video as well with recent hacks, along with these insane processor upgrades.
 

Eniregnat

macrumors 68000
Jan 22, 2003
1,841
0
In your head.
You can't use the stovepipe if your going to jam a g5 in there. I don't know how you would do it.

Heck, just gut the thing and throw an overclocked mini in there.
 

dejo

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 2, 2004
15,725
447
The Centennial State
Lucky736 said:
The Cube now has the ability to run all the the latest cards for video as well with recent hacks...
Yeah, but you have to be careful. Not all (many?) of them will fit within the tight confines of the Cube...
 

alexeismertin

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2005
240
0
Bristol, UK
Cube

I have a Cube amongst other things, & you would be surprised what it is capable of once upgraded. You can pick cubes up from ebay at a reasonable price.

Things to bear in mind:

1. The original Hard Drive is ATA100, so if you go for a seagate 7200rpm (the quietest in my opinion) you will need a PC & use the Seagate Tools (http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/) to clock down an ATA133 drive to ATA100. You are limited to 120GB as the logic board doesn't have large drive support (i.e above 120GB). The original maxtor is really noisy. The change of Hard Drive makes one of the most economical differences - fast & quiet.

2. Consider adding a slim profile fan by Panaflo (there is a space & connectors for it but Apple decided not install one). This is will increase the longevity of the Cube, it is actually very very quiet (in fact quieter with a fan and new hard drive than with the old hard drive & no fan)

3. There were only 2 types of original graphics; ATi Rage 128 16mb & Geforce 2 32mb. Your best bet is a low profile (standard size cards won't fit) flashed card but make sure the ports you want are working - sometimes the DVI or TV out don't work which just leaves a working VGA - eBay is your best bet.

4. There are 3 ram slots, just use the Crucial selector for the Powermac / G4 Cube. Go 1Gb minimum (more is better).

5. The Cube had specially designed Harmon Kardon USB speakers with amplifier - if you don't get a set with your cube get them off ebay - nice addition, good sound.

6. The CD rom is a DVD/CDRW but you can change it to a 8x superdrive (slot loading like the iMac G5 & Mac Mini)

7. FSB on a G4 is the biggest drawback, but depending on what you're doing this may/may not make much difference to you.


Visit http://www.cubeowner.com/index.php
 

quidire

macrumors 6502
Original poster
macbaseball said:
I don't think so. The G5 is a more powerful chip. Why would they change from the G4 to the G5 and go through all the trouble of engineering a system to keep the G5 cool. It's pretty obvious the G5 must have some advantage.

Also why would you want to invest probably $1,500 into a cube, when it's getting pretty old. Eventually other components will break and then you'll have to replace them, a lot soon than you would with a new computer. Don't get me wrong, it sounds like a way cool idea, I just don't think it's very economical.
Well, it isn't necessarily the most economical choice. My default choice is to buy a PM2x2.0+20" ACD. The cube will never be a true competitor, but it has a certain... uniqueness (once upgraded).

Anyway, I'm mainly curious about the feasibility of taking this four year old computer and yanking it into modernity.

-RS
 

quidire

macrumors 6502
Original poster
alexeismertin said:
I have a Cube amongst other things, & you would be surprised what it is capable of once upgraded. You can pick cubes up from ebay at a reasonable price.
Is the upgrade I linked to initially reliable?
alexeismertin said:
1. The original Hard Drive is ATA100, so if you go for a seagate 7200rpm (the quietest in my opinion) you will need a PC & use the Seagate Tools (http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/) to clock down an ATA133 drive to ATA100.
I would have imagined it would automatically step down.
alexeismertin said:
2. Consider adding a slim profile fan by Panaflo (there is a space & connectors for it but Apple decided not install one).
Added to my list :)
alexeismertin said:
3. There were only 2 types of original graphics; ATi Rage 128 16mb & Geforce 2 32mb. Your best bet is a low profile (standard size cards won't fit) flashed card
What is an example of such a card? I've never heard of low profile cards.
alexeismertin said:
but make sure the ports you want are working - sometimes the DVI or TV out don't work which just leaves a working VGA - eBay is your best bet.
wouldn't the card be the source of the ports?
alexeismertin said:
7. FSB on a G4 is the biggest drawback, but depending on what you're doing this may/may not make much difference to you.
I imagine that it is comparable to a PB or an iMac... is it?

-RS
 

Eniregnat

macrumors 68000
Jan 22, 2003
1,841
0
In your head.
quidire said:
I'm afraid I don't follow... stovepipe?

-RS
Heat is removed from the Mac Cube via a stovepipe air circulation. You would have to add a FAN to help cool the unit instead of relying on the stovepipe (passive heat removal) effect. I could only think of you doing this if you were some sort of super hardware hacker and could manage to fit a G5 in the tiny little cube. For now, I don't think anybody makes G5 upgrade kits.
 

aquajet

macrumors 68020
Feb 12, 2005
2,384
0
VA
alexeismertin said:
1. The original Hard Drive is ATA100, so if you go for a seagate 7200rpm (the quietest in my opinion) you will need a PC & use the Seagate Tools (http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/) to clock down an ATA133 drive to ATA100. You are limited to 120GB as the logic board doesn't have large drive support (i.e above 120GB). The original maxtor is really noisy. The change of Hard Drive makes one of the most economical differences - fast & quiet.
That's not necessary. ATA/133 drives are backwards compatible to ATA/33. And the upper limit is 137 GB.

4. There are 3 ram slots, just use the Crucial selector for the Powermac / G4 Cube. Go 1Gb minimum (more is better).
Crucial is some of the most expensive RAM on the market. Check out http://www.ramseeker.com to see prices from a number of different outlets.
 

krimson

macrumors 65816
Eniregnat said:
Heat is removed from the Mac Cube via a stovepipe air circulation. You would have to add a FAN to help cool the unit instead of relying on the stovepipe (passive heat removal) effect. I could only think of you doing this if you were some sort of super hardware hacker and could manage to fit a G5 in the tiny little cube. For now, I don't think anybody makes G5 upgrade kits.
i dont think he's trying cram a g5 proc into the cube.
 

alexeismertin

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2005
240
0
Bristol, UK
I don't have the exact 1.8Ghz or the dual 1.7Ghz upgrade (wow) but Powerlogix are reliable - check the cubeowner forums for people who may have this exact upgrade card.

The seagate drive I had 7200.7 is backward compatible but it had to be set to ATA100 manually using seagate tools (comes as ATA133 but seagate tools allow ATA100 & ATA66).

Low profile cards are made smaller, they are not called low profile by name but that is their physical state. In an ebay search try something like Radeon + cube (or geforce + G4 Cube), I saw a GeforceFX 5200 for a cube recently went for about $40-$50, but you will get ATI radeon 7000's, 8500's some 9000 series as well. Read the description carefully on ebay as it may mention ports that may not work - there is no one card which has this behaviour.

The cube has a logic board (motherboard) onto which is attached the CPU card (a smaller circuit board with the CPU). It is this CPU card that you replace with the upgrade not the whole motherboard. This means the motherboard retains the original charisteristics - ATA100, Same FSB, Firwire/usb ports etc.

If you get a single 1.8 or dual 1.7 then it is the fastest G4 ever!! Powermac G4's maxed out at dual 1.42. Its a bit of guess with performance as a G5 imac is 64 bit with a higher FSB vs this much faster dual G4 CPU with lower FSB. Looking at my saved Xbench scores:

G4 Cube ....................... 450Mhz ........................ 66.19 (just HD change + 512mb ram)

G4 Cube ......................1Ghz...............................104.12 (HD change + 1Gb ram + upgrade card)

Mac-Mini ......................1.50Ghz ........................139.85 (overclocked 1.25Ghz + 1Gb ram)

G5 iMac (auto).............1.8Ghz.............................140.23

Cube + Powerlogix single 1.8 somewhere here

G5 imac (high).............1.8Ghz.............................166.06

Cube + Powerlogix dual 1.7Ghz somewhere here

These are logical guesses - perhaps someone on cubeowner may have the exact results.
 

alexeismertin

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2005
240
0
Bristol, UK
aquajet said:
That's not necessary. ATA/133 drives are backwards compatible to ATA/33. And the upper limit is 137 GB.

Yes they are backward compatible but you still need to change it from ATA133 to ATA100, & actually its 128Gb upper limit & thats why I recommended a 120Gb hard drive.

In fact things have changed since I upgraded my cube now you can have any size you want with Intech's HD Speedtools (from OWC).