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Track down a number of hardware problems using the Power Mac G4 Cube Troubleshooting Guide.

Identification and Background

The infamous Powermac G4 Cube, Apple's original failed attempt at a compact G4-based Macintosh. Released in 2000 at a cost of $1599, the cube was considered too expensive compared to full-size PowerMac G4s. Unlike most other computers, the Cube used passive cooling, with no fans. This was seen as a mistake on Apple's part, because G4 processors run very hot. However, overheated CPUs are a rare problem with stock hardware, a fan is a necessary addition with any third party CPU-upgrades.

The Cube boasted a 450MHz or 500Mhz G4 CPU, wich was faster than entry-level PowerMac G4s of the same year. While this clock rate is significantly lower than the competing intel chipsets of the time (1.3 Ghz Pentium 4 at the high end), the Cube's G4 featured an AltiVec module and a more efficient architecture (RISC vs CISC), making the PowerPC chip faster than an Intel CPU running at the same clock speed.

Thanks to its passive cooling, the Cube was virtually silent—except for the original 5400 RPM hard drive. After one year of production, Apple put the Cube "On Ice."

The Cube is also a popular candidate for MacQuariums. It has an internal fan hookup, but isn't used by Apple. You can buy a fan and connect it to the 12V 2-pin connector, and find somewhere to put it in the Cube. This is a popular mod to cool overheating Cubes.

It was replaced by the Mac Mini in 2005, 5 years later.


You can cost-effectively upgrade a number of components in the PowerMac Cube.

  • Memory: The PowerMac Cube originally shipped with 64 MB of RAM. 64 MB, 128 MB, and 256 MB configurations were available later. The maximum amount of ram you can add is 1.5 GB.
  • Hard Drive: The PowerMac Cube came standard with a 20 GB (5400 RPM) hard drive. You could upgrade to a 40 GB (5400 RPM) or 60 GB (7200 RPM) even a 120 GB hard drive, but drives larger than 128 GB are not supported.
  • Processor: A couple of companies made faster processors (also known as "accelerators") for the G4 Cube. They must be specifically designed for the G4 Cube. Some of the companies that made this processors upgrades were: PowerLogix, Sonnet, GigaDesign and NewerTech. All of these processor upgrades require adding a fan. The G4 Cube already has a tray for a 80mm slim fan.
  • Optical Drive: The PowerMac Cube originally shipped with a standard optical drive 5X DVD-Drive.
  • AirPort: The airport (802.11b) for the PowerMac does not come standard, but it can be easily added.
  • Video Card The PowerMac originally shipped with an ATI Rage 128 Pro graphics card with 16 MB of SDRAM. You could also upgrade to a NVIDIA GeForce 3 video card with 64MB of SDRAM. Either video card occupies a dedicated "short" 2X AGP slot. You can also use some "flashed" PC video cards such as the Nvidia 6200FX (also fanless). This should be a huge improvement over the stock video card, because of the use of graphics acceleration technologies (Quartz Extreme and Core Image).
  • Modem The PowerMac shipped with an internal modem and 10/100Base-T Ethernet standard.

Additional Information

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