The Ultimate G4 Cube

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by FSFitzgerald, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. FSFitzgerald macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2016
    #1
    Hey guys, I am writing this from Turkey. I am about to buy a G4 Cube and want to make an Ultimate 9.2.2 machine with it. What's the highest GFX, CPU, and RAM updates? I found a CPU upgrade on Ebay that says 1.8, is it a good one?
     
  2. bobesch, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016

    bobesch macrumors 6502a

    bobesch

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    #2
    If you want to run just MacOS 9.2.2 it should run fine just out of the box (as it does with Tiger 10.4 too ...)
     
  3. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    Oct 17, 2014
    #3
    You have to be careful when choosing a CPU upgrade for a Cube, because most aren't compatible due to power draw or cooling. The RAM can be upgraded to 1.5 GB, 3x512 MB 168-pin PC-133 SDRAM will work fine.

    As mentioned above, Mac OS 9 is a light OS and will run fine even on a stock Cube. Mac OS X is a bit more demanding.
     
  4. bobesch macrumors 6502a

    bobesch

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    #4
    I'd go for this configuration (same did I):
    - Stock CPU,
    - maxed RAM of 1,5GB
    - mSATA-mod
    - Tiger with Classic (for MacOS9.2.2 Emulation); iTunes 9.1.1,
    - Edimax-USB-WLAN-Adapter for fast WiFi
    - USB-Soundcard (since there's no Sound in/out via Klinke3.5 nor even a sound-card)
    - external Firewire-Drive for bootable SuperDuper! drive-images
    Have fun!
     
  5. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    Kentucky
    #5
    I have several Cubes, and my best OS 9 one has a Radeon 7500 and an 800mhz Sonnet. I have faster ones, but 7447As(which most of the upgrades use) don't always play nicely with OS 9. The 7410 on the Sonnet is nicely peppy and has 1mb of L3 cache-that helps things a lot.

    The only thing I really see doing to make mine better is a GEForce 3, which is a very difficult to find card(in fact one of the few PowerPC cards I don't have). This is among the best OS9 compatible cards that will fit a Cube without modification.
     
  6. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

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    Central US
    #6
    The faster of my 2 Cubes is really a nice OS 9 system. I went with a 500MHz CPU, 1.5GB of RAM, Radeon 7500, 7200rpm HDD, and kept using the Airport card. Its inexpensive, simple to maintain, doesn't strain the power or cooling capabilities of the enclosure, and still boots into Leopard and runs fine there too.
     
  7. MikeatOSX macrumors regular

    MikeatOSX

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    Location:
    Austria
    #7
    I think, the weak point of the Cube is the DC-to-DC board. So I would read everything here:
    http://cubeowner.com/kbase_2/
    I have a Cube with 1.2GB processor card, mSATA SSD, Geforce3 video card, original Cube speakers and a "base fan" on the bottom of the Cube.
    As Cubes are 15/16 years old, it's electronic components are old too. :)
    So I bought an expensive NEW and powerfull DC-to-DC board from artmix (Japan) at ebay and I'm constantly measuring the temperature inside the Cube with a cheap temperature measuring station.
    So I'm very happy with my Cube now. :)
    http://tim.id.au/laptops/apple/powermac/g4cube.pdf
     
  8. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

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    #8
    If OP's main purpose is as a Mac OS 9-specific machine, I'd have a "real OS 9" install, not just Classic. While Tiger is fully usable on a Cube with added RAM, Mac OS 9 just flies on it.
    SATA mod is good.
    USB WLAN isn't going to increase the WiFi speed at all - USB 1.1 is all the Cube has, and that tops out at 12 Mb/s, only slightly faster than AirPort-b's 11 Mb/s. The big advantage is being able to connect to newer WiFi networks that block 802.11b - but even then, OS 9 can't use WPA encryption, and Tiger can't even use WPA2 that is the current standard. I'd stick with Ethernet. (Or an Ethernet WiFi bridge - even an AirPort Express would work for that.)

    If you want to play games, I'd look for a better video card. I have a GeForce 2MX in mine, I'd love to get an Apple-original GeForce 3, but those are insanely hard to find. I do have a GeForce 6200LE set aside for use with my Cube, but I haven't gotten around to installing it. (It doesn't have ADC, so I'd need to use an ADC-DVI adapter with it.)
    CPU is a toughie. As bunn mentions, OS 9 has some issues with some of the faster G4s. And the Cube can have heat issues with others.
     
  9. bobesch, Mar 10, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016

    bobesch macrumors 6502a

    bobesch

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    #9
    Ah ok, got it... no speed improvement with the Edimax.
    So then the Edimax-Mini-USB-WLAN-Stick does only makes sense if you use it with OS X (e.g.Tiger) and want to connect to newer WLAN-standards, since there are no drivers for MacOS9. For the purpose of native MacOS9 clearly the Wifi-Ethernet-bridge is the option to connect the Cube (and any other device with ethernet) with a newer WLAN-network. Nice to hear, the Airport express does serve well for this task.
    AFAIK the Edimax ethernet-driver is capable to use WPA2, since it's separate software/driver to bridges WLAN to a virtual ethernet-socket and you may switch off Airport (or even do not need apply any Airport-card).
    Best thing is, to try out both Tiger/Classic and native MacOS option with two or more booting partitions. (guess I'm going to set up my Cube this way too, 'cause starting to fiddle around with Classic had been good fun recently and there's a lot of interesting stuff at MacintoshGarden)
     
  10. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #10
    Be forewarned that by switching to a 6200, you get Core Image support. This is great for Tiger and Leopard, but you will have no GPU acceleration in OS 9. For OS 9 use, you're much better off with a 7500 or 2MX(or GEForce 3 if you can find one). I give the 7500 a nod because it runs a fair bit cooler than the 2MX. The OEM Cube 2MXs have a huge heatsink on them that covers most of the card-this helps temperatures a little bit. I have Cubes running both cards(along with the Rage 128 that comes stock in most of them) and the Cube gets toasty with a 2MX.
     
  11. WalnutSpice Suspended

    WalnutSpice

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    Canton, Oh
    #11
    You can use these videos from The PowerPC Hub for reference

    Part 1 :
    Part 2 :
    Part 3 :
     
  12. bobesch macrumors 6502a

    bobesch

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    #12
    Nice videos - really impressive, especially watching this guy disassemble, maintain and reassemble everything with so much ease.
    Leopard and TFF do really run smooth on that system - that's really worth the upgrade.
    Interestingly an SSD wouldn't make a big difference in speed (and would heat up this system even more).
    Currently my use of the Cube is that of a Terminal-Client for RemoteDesktop-sessions and my priority is silence and low power consumption, so I still think about the mSATA mod. For the purpose of using the Cube as a stylish file-server a huge HDD with a 128GB booting partition (keeping the original low-power system) would my second option (think about those 8TB ones, but AFAIK I was told here in the forum, there's not enough space to fit drive and IDE-SATA-connector...)
    Since I don't have much use of USB-peripherals (and keyboard/monitor do offer 3 more USB-socket) the tiny Edimax-USB-WLAN-stick is still my first choice: the connecting software automatically starts at booting and connection to higher encrypted WiFi is running seamless in the background. Another USB-socket is reserved to a Soundblaster USB-Audio-Card since the later Soundsticks connect with Klinke 3.5 (the latest models are still in the shelves for about 180€/$ and I wouldn't recommend to buy 2nd-hand old ones since the "sticks" are really fragile and sometimes broken with rattling speakers.) Does anyone know, if that USB-Audio solution would work with MacOS9 ...?
     
  13. MikeatOSX macrumors regular

    MikeatOSX

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    Austria
  14. bobesch macrumors 6502a

    bobesch

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    #14
  15. mode11 macrumors regular

    mode11

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    #15
    Hi Bunnspecial. Have you had any issues with your 7500 when in OS 9? Tiger and Leopard run fine on my Cube, but since I put a 7500 in, OS 9.2.2 hangs any time within about 0-5 minutes of booting. I'm using an 'Ultimate' version of OS 9, but might try installing vanilla OS 9 and then update.

    Of course, it could be something else entirely, but thought I'd ask. It had a FX5500 in there previously, but decided I wanted proper OS 9 support, ADC, a fanless GPU and an OEM look. The Cube otherwise has a 1.2GHz 7455, a base fan and heatsinks on the VRMs.
     
  16. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

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    #16
    I’m running a 7500 in my Cube dual booting OS 9 and Leopard. No issues with freezing in OS 9. It’s an install straight off a factory CD though.
     
  17. swamprock macrumors 6502a

    swamprock

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    Michigan
    #17
    Bunn has a hard-to-find GeForce 3 in his Cube these days, that he found shortly after he posted in this thread :D
     
  18. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    Kentucky
    #18
    Yes, I'm running a Geforce 3 in my 800mhz Cube now. I have two of these cards, and the other will probably make it into my 1.8ghz when I get around to it.

    With that said, that particular Cube runs OS 9 almost exclusively, and I didn't have any issues when I was running 7500.

    The OS 9 install I generally use on Quicksilver and earlier G4 towers(and Cubes) is the OS 9.2.2 disk that shipped in the Quicksilver restore disk set.
     
  19. Jiggly Billy macrumors member

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    Nov 2, 2012
    #19
    Absolutely sure you won't part with one of them? :D
     
  20. mode11, Jul 2, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018

    mode11 macrumors regular

    mode11

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    #20
    Just a note to anyone updating a Cube after some time. I had recently swapped the FX5500 GPU in my Cube for a R7500, and encountered a load of freezing and HDD issues in OS 9 - but not OS X - afterwards. After several days of swearing, I solved the issue.

    It's possible these issues would have surfaced previously, but as the FX5500 doesn't accelerate OS 9, I hadn't spend much time in that OS. To cut a long story short, it turned out that I was using the wrong Mac ROM. For convenience, I had been using various Universal / Ultimate 9.2.2 discs that are floating around the web. These tend to have later revisions of the Mac ROM on them, e.g. 10.2. This was causing issues whether booting directly from the CD, or having cloned a Mac OS partition from another machine in TDM. I had used these discs previously on my QS 1.0DP (obviously a newer machine) with no problem, and I believe my Pismo G4 too (though haven't checked).

    My Cube has a 1.2GHz Sonnet upgrade. Having eliminated the GPU (swapping in a R128) and the SSD (using a regular 3.5" drive) and pulled all but one stick of RAM, I had investigated the CPU. I found the Sonnet site's FAQs specifically refer to this issue (OS X fine, OS 9 dodgy, booting from later machines' OS 9 discs), and recommends using a Retail OS 9 disk. So I installed Retail 9.2.1, then updated to 9.2.2 and all is well. This resulted in the Cube having a Mac ROM of 8.7.

    If doing this with an R7500 already installed, you'll need to turn off all ATI extensions in Extension Manager on first boot of 9.2.1, otherwise the setup assistant will freeze. Once the 9.2.2 update is applied, it's fine to turn them all back on. I also installed ATI's "Radeon-0210" update afterwards for fuller functionality e.g. of DVD playback.
     
  21. mode11 macrumors regular

    mode11

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    #21
    Btw, I installed the R7500 in the Cube using a 3D printed faceplate designed by someone who posted it on these forums. I got it printed on 3D Hub for less than £4 delivered, and it fits like a glove!
     

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