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The Official Mac G4 Cube Thread!

mac apple g4 power mac cube

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#1 travistouchdown OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:25 AM

I wanted to start a G4 Cube thread and pool some information and resources here as they are slowly disappearing elsewhere around the web.  The cube is moving slowly from a viable web surfer (you still can do web and email no problem) to being more of a vintage program and gaming machine.   Pictured below on the desk is my example. I am running OS 9.2.2 and 10.4.11 Tiger.  More info on the Cube:

 

http://lowendmac.com...er-mac-g4-cube/

 

 

https://en.wikipedia...wer_Mac_G4_Cube

 

I have currently upgraded my RAM to 1.5 GB (the most it will take.)  The HDD to 120GB, it will take 128 without partitioning schemes, though apparently there is a patch available that will allow it to accept "big" drives (more on that later.)  And I found a Nvidia Geoforce3 MX 64 GB graphics card to replace the stock 16mb unit.  Also will soon be ordering a DVD-R Superdrive (internal) to replace the stock unit which is prong to failure.  Currently using a MCE external CD-R firewire drive.  Here are the best places to get Cube upgrades, as well as for most other macs (ebay as well of course):

 

https://www.macsales.com/

 

http://www.wegenermedia.com/

 

http://www.mcetech.com/

 

http://fastmac.com/

 

I am still looking for a G4 Cube processor upgrade.  They don't seem to be available anywhere commercially, so I'm waiting until one pops up on ebay.  Please do PM me if you have an extra one you are willing to part ways with. 

 

Some articles on the Cube:

 

http://www.cultofmac...-looks-amazing/

 

http://www.macworld....puter-ever.html

 

I will post updates on upgrading various aspects of the cube, for starters RAM, Graphics card, and HD, but hopefully eventually the Processor and various software/hacks as well.  

 

More to come!  Please post all your cube memories, wisdom and info here.

 

https://youtu.be/69PE6XSqE0g

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#2 doctorclu OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:32 AM

You make me want to get a G4 Cube now.  I actually still run three G4 devices.  Two of the Aluminum 12" Powerbooks (800 mhz and 1.2 ghz) and one Mac Mini (1.2 ghz)   Good little machines.   I use one at work, one is my game loader for the Jaguar and one is a remotable computer I do photoshop on.

 

Yeh, a had a lot of programs on the G4 that broke with the intel Macs so I keep them around to still use them for the older software.



#3 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:49 AM

I'm a proud G4 Cube owner. I don't have it out at the moment due to lack of room though. I've always wanted an accelerator for it but they're still really pricey and hard to come by.

#4 travistouchdown OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:36 AM

Upgrading the Ram and AGP Video Card this Past weekend.  Ram is now maxed out at 1.5GB

 

Unfortunately the GeForce 3 64MB card didn't fit, but it worked out because I have returned it and am waiting on a GeForce 6200 256mb AGP card which is slimmer and is pretty much the most powerful graphics card that will fit in the cube and has firmware for 9.2.2.  

 

Games purchased this week, all OS9 for now:

 

-Quake, Diablo, Unreal, Age of Empires

 

 

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#5 travistouchdown OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 2:24 PM

So I went to a local mac shop recently, one man operation, and spent 4 hours with this bumbling fool trying to format a 250gb hard drive and install 9.2.2. and 10.4.11.  We couldn't get the hard drive to boot remotely, but he said that when inserted in my cube that "it would have to work."  Of couse no it didnt....I have half a mind to call and have my check cancelled.  He wanted to charge me 300 hundred something but I talked him down to $264 which I still think is outrageous.  I am going to re-insert the 20gb factory drive to get the cube up and running for now.

 

Is anyone on here good at formatting Mac HD's?  I just want 9.2 and 10.4 tiger on a high capacity drive that will boot in my cube.  Didn't think it would be SUCH a pain in the ass to make that happen.  Anyone got any advice or any AA members that are known to be Mac gurus that I could reach out to.  Thanks!!

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#6 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 2:37 PM

You're trying to dual boot 9.2 and 10.4?  I've never had that work on a Mac.  I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm just saying that I've heard of people trying this and they've all run into problems.  Something about the drive needing to be 'blessed' IIRC.



#7 Osgeld ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 2:49 PM

i have done it with 9.22 and osx 10.2 when I had my 9600, but the 9.22 installer was patched to get around the artificial "it cant run that  buy a g3"  thing, I would offer to help but the newest mac I have in the house is an LC2

 

ps blessing is required on all mac os hard drive installs, simply marks the system folder as bootable, if its not blessed (like you installed it on that drive when aother drive already had a blessed system folder) you get teh ?



#8 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 3:12 PM

ps blessing is required on all mac os hard drive installs, simply marks the system folder as bootable, if its not blessed (like you installed it on that drive when aother drive already had a blessed system folder) you get teh ?

Maybe that's his problem then?

 

My G4 Cube has an updated video card in it (NVIDIA GeForce2 MX maybe?) that needs OS 10.3(?) or higher.  It won't work with anything lower IIRC.



#9 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 4:12 PM

Do you have the startup CDs for this machine? The Cube is old and obsolete, but getting it going shouldn't be as hard is it's been for you. If you don't have those discs (or images of them), that would be my next get if I were you. 

 

I think there's a top size limit for bootable volumes from those times, since we didn't have 256GB drives in ye olden days. 

 

I shudder to think what you've spent on this thing.  :-o  



#10 Osgeld ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 6:20 PM

190 gig apparently (well on a volume not a disk, I guess you can have a 2tb drive in there split up) 

 

https://discussions....m/thread/128888


Edited by Osgeld, Fri Feb 3, 2017 6:21 PM.


#11 travistouchdown OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 6:24 PM

Maximum readable is 128gb.

I did install OS9 onto the second HD while it was hooked up so I think it wasn't "blessed." I think I need to install my old drive, re format the new one, install it, and then install to it from disk.

Many Mac's from early 2ks ran both OS9 and OSX. There is a patch by intech so that older Mac's can read big drives. Thanks for the input everyone, getting there!

#12 Osgeld ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 6:35 PM

you dont have to reinstall and all that, you just need to boot with the drive you want to use installed and double click the system suitcase icon located on the drive, it should change to include an apple logo on it, boom blessed

 

should be noted OSX doesnt do this its only for classic 


Edited by Osgeld, Fri Feb 3, 2017 6:36 PM.


#13 adamchevy OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 6:43 PM

I've always wanted a G4 cube, but every time I think about buying one I end up thinking about a quad G5. Then I can't decide on either one, and I end up moving on again.

#14 Grig ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 6:50 PM

Funny thing for me - i was having an issue installing 9.2 on a Titanium Powerbook G4 1gHz. It had 10.4.11 and i wanted to erase the drive and re-install 9.2 but it would not let me ... then I used my 8.5 OS CD, attempted an install (it started and "upgraded" or fixed/blessed whatever happened) my hard drive and then viola! 9.2 worked. crazy. Same thing happened on my ibook G3 that had 10.4.11 installed. I used the 8.5 OS CD first and then the 9.2 and it worked perfectly.

 

I'm not sure if this helps but I wanted to try.



#15 HardZero OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 7:00 PM

Dang, I got 2 iMac G3s but I might have to get me a G4 Cube. That thing looks super sexy. I wish Apple would make something nice and compact like the Cube. I know they got the current Mac Pros but they haven't updated the hardware in them for a while I think.



#16 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 8:44 PM

I hope you got a good one. We bought several hundred of these when they were new because they have a small footprint, and had a bad failure rate because of the unconventional power switch. They'd sense a shutdown command and turn themselves off. Also make sure you keep it very cool, the passive heatsink is neat but it without a fan it's easy to overheat these.

We called them "toasters." Any sentimentality I would have had because of the cute case or the Jobs presentation died because of our experience with them.
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#17 Emehr OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 9:26 PM

I bought a Cube from a guy on Reddit a little over a year ago. I then found original disks for it on eBay and restored it to Mac OS 9 (and later installed X). I do have issues with it shutting off by itself though. The firmware is already as far as it can go (v1.4, IIRC) so it must be something else? Until I can iron that out I don't use it for anything important. It's more of a novelty of impressive design and engineering at this point.

 

As far as dual-booting these old Macs there really shouldn't be any problems. It's been a while but I think "folder blessing" is an issue if you're simply copying a System Folder from another drive. I've always had good luck installing from factory disks. I triple-boot my Quicksilver G4 between 9.2.2/10.4/10.5 with no issues. I don't remember doing anything special. Just booted from original install disks and formatted the new drives and did a clean install. I then used my original Tiger and Leo disks from there. I even dual-boot my old Performa 6116CD between System 7.5.5 and Mac OS 8.6 on its SCSI drive.

 

2015-10-05 07.03.34.jpg 2015-10-04 18.21.09.jpg



#18 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 9:29 PM

Several hundred G4 Cubes? Where were you working?

#19 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 4, 2017 6:03 AM

Several hundred G4 Cubes? Where were you working?


Research labs. It was the worst computer bulk buy I can remember because of their unreliability -- and they weren't cheap. They're super cute but even Low End Mac calls them "road apples" now. http://lowendmac.com...cond-class-mac/

#20 doctorclu OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 4, 2017 7:41 AM

So thought on this dual boot Cube:

 

There are two schools of thought on this.

 

1) Two partitions.   Can't recall if there was a 4 gb partition limit for OS 9.   But you could install 9 on one and X on the other partition.

2) Classic mode.   Have one partition, but install 9 for the backup for classic mode support under X.  (only worked on G3-G5 Macs).

 

Also, you probably already know this but I got X working on the older Mac with XpostFacto.

 

Let's see, disk utilities back in the OS 9 days?   There was Disk First Aid.  But there was another HDUtility I think.   Loved OS 9, but since most of what I like aside from games like Wolfenstein 3D play on X now, doubt I'll personally be tinkering with it in the nearly future.   Thought tinkering with 6.08 Mac on a Atari ST under Spectre Mac emulator would be fun.

 

Found this article that might help.



#21 SkylarkNZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 6, 2017 9:12 PM

Hi everyone,  my trusty 450 Cube RAM 768MB has been doing daily service since September 2000.  Hard drive upgrade in 2002 - 20MB to 40MB.  Initially used for design and up to very recently, only for google searches and timesheet records.  Now the hard drive has started to show signs of flakiness so I'll upgrade HD, Memory and maybe CPU and graphics.  Thanks for starting this thread, Travistouchdown, yours and the other contributions have already been very useful :)


Edited by SkylarkNZ, Mon Mar 6, 2017 9:13 PM.


#22 0078265317 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 8, 2017 7:40 PM

I installed linux on a g5 imac works great.  I am sure g4 would be good too.



#23 lolitaloca OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:51 PM

Thanks @travistouchdown for starting this thread!  I've never owned an Atari, but joined the forum because I was Googling for anything *recent* on G4 Cube fans. Until I found this, the most current was 2010!!

 

I bought my Cube in 2001, just as they were being discontinued. It's my last desktop computer, as my later computers have been laptops. It has "toaster" DVD drive and was technically my first DVD/CD player. One great thing about the Cube's DVD player: it doesn't record. I'd later discover some DVDs wouldn't play in my laptop's DVD player but would in the Cube. Some DVD copyguards are set to not play if it detects player has DVD recording capability.

 

In 2005 I upgraded Cube RAM to its max 1.5 gig but still hadn't upgraded from OS 9. Shortly after, I'd bought aluminum Powerbook laptop (OS 10.4) that allowed OS 9 boot within OS X. However, I discovered several OS 9 programs wouldn't work with this environment. So, when I finally upgraded my Cube, I partitioned my drive, one for OS 9 and the other OS X. This way, I could run OS 9 while in OS X, or boot up OS 9 to run those conflicting programs natively.

 

So far, my Cube hasn't had case cracking as most report. The worst is the clear power cord turning dull yellow. At one time, I wanted to upgrade the Cube with modern components but never had $$ to do it. Having to downsize all my stuff now, I feel my Cube should go to a good, loving home. If anybody would be interested in adopting my Cube, please PM me for more details. The only cost involved would be packaging supplies and shipping. (Any $ donation would be appreciated, though: I'm on low income and my web hosting account needs renewal this year.) I didn't buy the matching monitor, but I could throw in the 15 inch LCD square screen I used with it. It's an analogue TV combo with remote. I had my VCR and DVD player hooked up to it, too. After all stations went digital, I added a digital converter. Right now, they're all in sister's storage unit in Phoenix. (I'm currently staying with her.)

 

Though I can't get to it at this moment, I also have a 5300CS laptop, bought new "back in the day." It still works but battery won't hold charge.This is in my storage unit in San Diego. If anyone might be interested in the Powerbook for cost of packaging/shipping, I'm letting that go, too. It comes with special zip drive that goes in slot for floppies, besides original floppy drive. This is the laptop model that was featured in the movie "Independence Day."  I'd maxed out its RAM but not sure of rest of specs until I look at it again.

 

Both Cube and Powerbook have original software and user manuals.

 

Rather than sentence these to death by computer recycling, I'd like for these to go to good homes. BTW, they're great for playing the old Mac games; many, such as Glider Pro and Mario's Game Gallery, are now online downloads in public domain.



#24 travistouchdown OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:44 AM

A helpful update for those with the issue of their cube randomly turning on and off.  It seems with time, the touch activated power button can become overly sensitive.

 

From the following article:

 

http://www.smalldog.com/techtails/46/

 

"The front power gasket (Apple TIL #88044) can be another reason for a

misbehaving Cube. If your cube randomly turns on or off, especially if it
happens when you bump the desk on which the computer sits, look to the power
button gasket. While reading about this failure in a lot of different
sources, I've found several possible fixes for the power button issue. One
source states that you should take the switch apart and make sure that the
metallic disk within the switch is firmly seated in the housing. Another
states that the power button is too sensitive, which you can solve by simply
taping a piece of paper to the backside of the power button, between the
cube and the gasket. I tried that one, and it fixed the random powering on
and off, but I could not put the cube to sleep. After trying various things,
some that I'm to embarrassed to mention, I discovered that removing the
power gasket and turning it over so that it makes better contact with the
metal ring of the power button solves the problem in most of the Cubes.:"

 

I was leaving my cube unplugged because of this issue, but am happy to report doing the following worked like a charm.

 

-Flipped rubber ring to increase contact

 

-Cut a piece up paper, placed in center of strip of electrical tape

 

-Placed two pieces of tape (one with paper) over power switch cover (to reduce sensitivity.)

 

Works great, no more issues! 

 

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Edited by travistouchdown, Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:46 AM.


#25 cyberjason OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:32 PM

travistouchdown thanks for creating this thread! I think it's important to have a resource for the g4 cube...a machine that was ahead of it's time. All you need to do is go on ebay to see how these machines are starting to creep up in value. I recently acquired two g4 cubes for $15 each from the e-waste recycler I go to and I got the power supplies for $5 each...a steal in my opinion as these machines are becoming very rare. Both machines are in working condition. One has os x 10.3 and the other OS 9.2.2

My first project will be to replace the spinning drives with solid state drives...this way you can truly enjoy the fanless quiet design. I think it's funny they designed these computers to be quiet yet you have a loud obnoxious drive churning away that can be heard from across the room. I purchased a used 40gb SSD on ebay for $20 bucks and a SATA-to-IDE converter card. If all goes well I'll have an SSD booting up os x 10.4 which is the version that can run the tenfourfox web browser. I'll attempt to make a video of it and post it to youtube if I am successful.

I did have two questions which I was unsure of regarding OS 9.2.2. Perhaps someone knows the answer:

1. Is there a clear way where you can have a clean dual boot setup? I think for one to really enjoy the 'vintage' experience you should be able to boot up either os x 10.4 or OS 9.2.2
2. Do you have to use the ADC connector and the original monitor when booting up into OS 9.2.2? The machine I have running 9.2.2 won't allow you to use a regular monitor connected to the vga port. I'm wondering if this is simply a configuration setting that needs to be fiddled with? I did get my hands on the original monitor with ADC connector but I feel it would be limiting to always have to use the old monitor.

Thanks -Jason


 


Edited by cyberjason, Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:35 PM.






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