Upgrade G4 Cube

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Wouter3, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. Wouter3 macrumors member

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    #1
    Hi, Just bought a 450 MHz Cube which I want to upgrade. I ordered 1.5 GB memory and have a larger HD. I also got through eBay a Motorola/Freescale 7447A CPU (1.67 MHz) which I would like to install on the existing Logic Board.
    Does any of you know whether I need to upgrade the firmware to make this CPU running or do anything else except for replacing the CPU and adding a fan for cooling.
    I look forward to any of your experiences in upgrading the Cube, including upgrades of the graphics card.
     
  2. CooperBox, Jul 21, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019

    CooperBox macrumors 65816

    CooperBox

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    #2
    This LINK gives specs for the CPU's that were available to upgrade the G4 Cube. Others more knowledgeable that myself could possibly advise if your 7447A is compatible - although I would tend to guess not.
    Indeed any faster CPU transplant would certainly require the addition of a fan, even if you decide to install an SSD.
    I have a Gigadesigns 1.6GHz upgrade in one of my G4 Cubes, together with maxed out RAM and an SSD. Good fun, but somewhat frustrating for internet use.

    I see you also have a G4 iMac 800 MHz. Fwiw I much prefer my G4 iMac6,3 to the Cube, although both are very collectable and fun machines.
     
  3. bunnspecial macrumors 604

    bunnspecial

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    #3
    Do you have a loose(BGA) 7447A? If so, I'm pretty sure there's no possible way you can install it in a Cube as is. @LightBulbFun and @dosdude1 know a whole lot more about this than I do, but I don't think the pin-out is even remotely compatible between a 7400/7410 and a 7447.

    As a side note-if I'm not mistaken 1.67ghz clocked 7447As are not exactly a common thing, as I seem to recall that only Apple was able to actually buy them from Motorola.

    If you bought a Mac-compatible 7447A processor card-first of all research the specific card you have and make sure it's Cube compatible. Not all are, both from a standpoint of power requirements and also physical size of the heatsinks. I have two Cubes with 7447A based upgrades-one at 1.5ghz and one at 1.8ghz. I didn't install either one, but it's decently involved "surgery". Aside from that, they MUST be used with a base fan(which is a good idea in any Cube).

    You do need to flash the firmware. I have a handful of 7447A upgrades across a bunch of different G4 towers made by a few different makers(Sonnet, Newertech, Powerlogix, and Gigadesigns off the top of my head). I've always used the firmware supplied by the company that manufactured the upgrade, but failing that I SUSPECT that you can probably get most to work with the Sonnet firmware. I mention it because it's the one most readily available-it's still available for download on Sonnet's website with a bit of digging. You MUST flash the firmware before fitting a 7447A-based upgrade.
     
  4. Wouter3 thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    Hi Cooperbox, I found the same link as you to "Bare Feats", which also lists the 7447A, so I assumed it should do the trick. I tried to contact them, but did not get any reply

    When you put in your Gigadesign 1.6 GHz, did you do any updates to the firmware, or would the processor just run after putting it in with the fan?

    I indeed had a G4 iMac 800 MHz but I sold it as I wanted the more performing iMac. So I bought a 1.25 GHz 17" iMac G4, but in trying to upgrade the harddisk, I used the wrong screws which probably caused some damage which again resulted in the machine no longer booting up. I then decided to turn it into an iLamp which still serves on my desk. (see attached pic). If I find a 20" iMac I will probably buy it
     

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  5. Wouter3 thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    I indeed ordered a bare 7447A from eBay for $9 including a fan. If I cannot install it on the existing Cube logic board then I can throw it away.
    So where did you find the complete logic boards with the 1.5 GHz and the 1.8 GHz and what was the "surgery" about. Are there still ways for me to update the Cube processing power, or are these logic boards no longer available?
    I will certainly update the memory to 1.5 GHz so i can install Leopard. But with the 450 MHz processor speed it should be very slow
     
  6. bunnspecial, Jul 21, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019

    bunnspecial macrumors 604

    bunnspecial

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    #6
    We seem to maybe have a bit of disconnect here.

    The CPU in a Cube is not directly on the logic board. It is rather on a "daughter card" that is attached via a 300 pin connector and held down by 3 screws in stand-offs. The card actually has the same dimensions and the same connector as many other G4 towers-the Sawtooth, Gigabit Ethernet, Digital Audio, and Quicksilver(although the QS stock cards have a 4th screw post that supplies an additional +12V to the card). This daughter card is about the size of small note pad, or maybe a couple of credit cards put together.

    The CPU itself is only a small part of the CPU daughter card. The "package" it's mounted on is about 2"x2"(probably a bit smaller), while the actual silicon CPU is a few millimeters wide and a bit over a centimeter tall. The package is attached to the daughtercard via ball grid array(BGA) soldering, which means that there are a few hundred solder "balls" holding it in place and making electrical connections to the rest of the daughter card.

    Some folks who frequent this forum-mainly the two that I've mentioned-have done a fair bit of work upgrading CPUs on daughter cards(or on logic boards where the CPU is on the board-that's no the case on Cubes). I'm GROSSLY oversimplifying the procedure, but basically they use either hot air or a hot place to heat the old CPU and lift it off, clean up the attachment site, and then use a similar procedure to solder the new one back in place.

    This is ONLY possible when replacing CPUs that are "pin compatible." Some PowerPC 750 CPUs(G3s) can be replaced with 7400s(G4s). 7447As can sometimes be replaced with 7448s(which are in many cases a better CPU than the 7447A). There are probably other examples, but those are the only ones I know of.

    If all you have is a bare BGA 7447A(i.e. a chip with BGA pads on the bottom) you are out of luck on fitting it to your Cube as is. If it's on a daughtercard, it MIGHT work in the Cube, but it might only work in other roomier G4 towers with better thermal management.

    If it's a bare BGA chip, I'd discourage you from throwing it away as someone who does BGA work may be able to make use of it. If it's actually a 1.67ghz CPU(i.e the top of the CPU carries that marking in the silicone) it could probably be used as a nice, stable upgrade for something like a late iMac G4.

    7447A based upgrades-again-are complete daughter cards with a 7447A CPU on them. They pop up for sale on Ebay, but make ABSOLUTELY sure that the one you're buying is compatible with Cubes. I suggest sticking with Sonnet for the fewest headaches, and avoid Gigadesigns at all costs(I have one Gigadesigns CPU that's made its rounds on this forum-I'm at least the 3rd owner on here-and I finally have it running stably, but not at its rated clock speed-it was sold to me inexpensive after the previous owner fought with it for a few years, and I managed to make a big improvement by lapping and polishing the heatsink). Expect to pay $100 or better for one.

    BTW, I have an 800mhz Sonnet in one of my Cubes that was given to me by a member on here. It's actually quite a nice little CPU. It's 7450 based, not 7447A, and has L3 cache which makes it peppier than the clock speed would make you think. I mostly run it in OS 9, but it runs Leopard decently well, especially with a Geforce 3 GPU. That CPU uses the stock Cube heat spreader plate and heatsink assembly rather than its own heatsink, although I have a base fan in it(all my Cubes-even the stock 450mhz, have a base fan).
     
  7. Wouter3 thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    Hi Bunnspecial, Thanks for your elaborate answer. I bought my CPU at eBay (see: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Motorola-Freescale-PowerPC-G4-CPU-MC7447-HX1667ZF-BGA-1667MHz-RARE/392240658871?_trkparms=aid=555018&algo=PL.SIM&ao=1&asc=20131003132420&meid=5b68ad95717a44459c0bf7fe68f2905b&pid=100005&rk=2&rkt=12&sd=392334835141&itm=392240658871&pg=2047675&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851). and from your explanation I will not even try to get it into my Cube. If someone is interested he can get it from me. I will need to keep my eyes open on eBay for a Sonnet daughter card. I saw one from Powerlogic the other day on eBay (https://www.ebay.com/itm/Sonnet-Enc...-G3-Blue-White-/273756408338?oid=293145174721), and asked the vendor if it would be compatible with the Cube. But the auction ended before I got an answer.
    I would also be interested in upgrading the GPU, but only after I would have successfully upgraded the processor.
     
  8. LightBulbFun macrumors 68020

    LightBulbFun

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    #8
    can I call dibs on the 744A CPU? :)

    (I would add something to this thread but @bunnspecial has everything covered pretty well :) )
     
  9. bunnspecial macrumors 604

    bunnspecial

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    #9
    That CPU you bought will be useless to you.

    The second you linked you posted looks to have a form factor that would be reasonably adaptable to being "Cuebable" although I'd want to see the full spec sheet. It actually would be a nicely performing processor. The specs make me think it's 7450-series CPU, which is plug and play without messing around with the firmware. At 1.1ghz and 1mb L3, it probably will "feel" about as fast as a ~1.4ghz 7447A-based single(in my experience).
     
  10. Wouter3 thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    If I find something on eBay I would like to call upon you to check if it would fit my Cube
    --- Post Merged, Jul 21, 2019 ---
    I will happily donate it to you, however it is on its way to me from China to the Netherlands, so it may take a while to arrive
     
  11. bunnspecial macrumors 604

    bunnspecial

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    #11
    I'm happy to answer to the best of my ability.
     
  12. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

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    #12
    Absolutely DO NOT THROW IT AWAY. Hopefully you can just send it to lightbulbfun, or @dosdude1 as well would be able to use it. BOth of those people have made their own upgrades (or sold) using loose chips such as this one.
    G4s are no longer made. That would be a waste.

    Also, if you aren't already aware, PowerMacs do not use socketed CPUs. They CPU cards, and the CPU chip itself is soldered onto said card. The only upgrades possible are the premade ones or from re-soldering a CPU. Which as everyone else has already pointed out, a 7450 is a completely different pinout from a 7400/7410. They are actually physically larger in size too.
     
  13. z970mp, Jul 21, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019

    z970mp macrumors 68000

    z970mp

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    #13
     
  14. Wouter3 thread starter macrumors member

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  15. z970mp macrumors 68000

    z970mp

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    #15
    That made me laugh far harder than it should have.

    Excellent... :D
     
  16. Wouter3 thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
  17. bunnspecial macrumors 604

    bunnspecial

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    #17
    Not a great idea...

    You would need to run +12V to the extra screw lug on the board, and it would run at 550mhz in a Cube rather than 733mhz without messing around with the multiplier resistors.

    When looking for a CPU upgrade card for a tower of this era, you're often better off going aftermarket rather than adapting a part from a different Apple computer.
     
  18. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

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    #18
    No. The only ones that will fit in the cube are from the Graphite G4s. (Sawtooth/GigE [mystic]/Digital Audio). Though the DA model is a faster bus speed so the card will not run at its intended speed if used in a cube.
     
  19. Wouter3 thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    Thanks Bunnspecial and Project Alice. This will save me a useless investment.
    I am still waiting for the 7447A CPU to arrive. I will keep you posted
     
  20. jmilan0302 macrumors newbie

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    #20
    I did see someone put a Dual 500 card from a Sawtooth in a Cube once and it worked fine. Maybe find one of those? It will require slight modding, you will have to relocate the coil on the card so it fits in the Cube. It'd be great if MDD or Quicksilver cards worked in a Cube, but they probably don't. If there were any Sawtooth CPU cards that didn't have L3 cache there is a possibility you could put the 7447A on there instead if it is pin compatible and with a firmware update it should work in the Cube.
     
  21. Wouter3 thread starter macrumors member

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    #21
    I found some thoughts using the 7447A on a Cube on: https://barefeats.com/cubeup.html. I tried to contact them but did not get any reply. Understandable as this site dates back to 2005.
    How to find Sawtooth CPU cards without L3 cache might be a challenge and even then there is no guarantee it works with the 7447A.
    What is a Dual 500 card? What sort of CPU does that have?
     
  22. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

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    #22
    All sawtooth\GigE models use 7400 or 7410 processors. The first "G4e/G4+" ie the 7450/744x series was the 667Mhz in the DA PMG4, and TiBook.

    https://everymac.com/systems/by_processor/powerpc-g4-powerpc-7400-macs.html
     
  23. Wouter3 thread starter macrumors member

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    #23
  24. LightBulbFun macrumors 68020

    LightBulbFun

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    #24
    the G4 cubes you find with 7447As have 3rd party CPU daughter boards fitted that have been built around the 7447A CPU

    you cant directly solder a 7447A CPU to a stock G4 cubes Daughter card

    you have to get a daughter card from the likes of Sonnet, PowerLogix DayStar etc that where built around the 7447A/7448 (and well already have one soldered on of course :) )

    sadly these CPU upgrade cards can cost a pretty penny especially the faster ones
     
  25. jmilan0302 macrumors newbie

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    #25
    Nvm, it was actually dual 450, but that's only a 50mhz difference, so you could always OC to get a dual 500 cube.
    It uses the 7400, just like the Cube.
    http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/systems/cube/dual_g4_cube/dual_g4_cube.html
     

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62 July 21, 2019