Mac Music  |  Pc Music  |  440 Audio Software  |  440Forums  |  440tv  |  Zicos  |  AudioLexic

Power Mac G4 Cube

From AudioLexic

Jump to: navigation, search

Power Mac G4 Cube was a quiet, fanless, compact Macintosh personal computer from Apple Inc. It was sold from 2000 to 2001.


[edit] Features

This diminutive 8" x 8" x 8" cube suspended in a 10" tall Lucite enclosure, housed a PowerPC G4 processor running at 450 or 500 megahertz, and had an unconventional vertical slot loading DVD-ROM or CD-RW drive. A separate monitor — with either an ADC or VGA connection— was required for the Cube, in contrast to the all-in-one iMac series. Also unlike the iMacs, it had an upgradeable video card in a standard AGP slot. However, there was not enough space for full-length cards. The Cube also featured two FireWire ports, and two USB ports for connecting peripherals. Sound was provided by an external USB amplifier and a pair of Harman Kardon speakers. Although the USB amplifier had a standard mini-plug headphone output, it lacked any audio input. The Cube also used a silent, fanless, convection-based cooling system like the iMacs of the time.

[edit] Design

Apple Designer Jonathan Ive won several international awards for the Cube's design. The Cube can be found in many publications related to design and some technology museums. It was also featured as [noted Mac fan] Drew Carey's computer on The Drew Carey Show as well as in the kitchen of the design-conscious Eddy on "Absolutely Fabulous".

[edit] History & Sales

Apple targeted the Cube at the market between the iMac G3 and the Power Macintosh G4. Despite its innovative design, critics complained that it was too expensive. It was initially priced $200 higher than the comparably-equipped and more-expandable base Power Mac G4 of the time (450 MHz CPU, 64 MB RAM, 20 GB hard drive) and did not include a monitor, thus leading to slow sales. Additionally, early Cubes suffered from a manufacturing issue that led to faint lines in the clear plastic case. These lines were often identified as defects when in reality they were natural byproducts of the manufacturing process.

After seeing low profits, Apple attempted to increase sales by bundling more software with the cube, lowering the price of the base model, incorporating a CD-RW drive standard for the 500 MHz version, and offering an improved NVIDIA graphics card as an option. These efforts could not offset the earlier perception of reduced value compared to the iMac and Power Mac G4 lineup. In[July 2001 Apple issued a short and slightly unusual press release announcing the product was to be put "on ice". Although not "officially discontinued", this was seen as a way to quietly terminate the Cube product line. As a result of the failure of the G4 Cube, Apple Computer's stock had dropped back to the low levels from before the iMac was released. It was not until the introduction of the iPod MP3 player that Apple shares would recover.

Apple's previous statement indicated that there was a slim possibility of Cube production being resumed in the future, and it would appear that the Mac mini has succeeded the Cube as a small, screenless computer.

In 2003, the Apple Cube received a brief return to the spotlight after a series of articles in Wired magazine charted its cult popularity. The articles, focusing on upgrades installed by individual users and retailers such as Kemplar, led to a sharp rise in the Cube's resale value. Nevertheless, with the release of the relatively inexpensive Mac mini (coupled with Apple's switch to G5 processors and eventually Intel Core based processors) the Cube again faded into the background.

[edit] Inconveniences

While the Cube was generally considered visually attractive, the limitations of its design led to several practical inconveniences. The most noted inconvenience was the placement of the thermal vent. If this is blocked, the unit may start to overheat, and will then automatically shut down. Unfortunately, the flat top of the unit makes a very tempting place to put down books and papers, rendering this scenario not unlikely. Also, if the user was not using an ADC monitor the unit had no fewer cables than other Macs, as the computer needed to connect with the keyboard, mouse, and monitor, and wireless solutions for the aforementioned connections weren't prevalent in 2000; this meant a tangle of wires in the void below the computer and elsewhere, diminishing the "clean lines" effect. The power supply for the Cube was a large external brick which added more bulk to the "spaghetti cables" problem. While a few manufacturers have come out with CPU and optical disk upgrades designed specifically for the G4 Cube, the lack of space inside the Cube's enclosure prevented owners from making any other substantial internal upgrades.

[edit] Modifications and upgrades

Since the Cube's demise, a number of Cube enthusiasts have made modifications to their machines. Some of the more popular upgrades are high performance video cards (complete with ductwork to allow the GPU fan to work correctly in the small Cube case) and third-party CPU upgrade cards (up to 1.8 GHz per Aug. 2005); a few people have even modified their Cubes to take a dual-processor upgrade. A popular upgrade is the Geforce 2 MX, which exists in a version specially created for the Cube. Other popular changes include case modifications such as lighting and extra cooling. The Cube uses the same memory and hard drive components as a traditional desktop machine and these upgrades were common. Although the Cube uses a fanless convection-based cooling system, the mounting points for a standard desktop cooling fan are already in place. Upgraders of the Cube often take advantage of this to add a cooling fan to the system.

[edit] Succession by Mac mini

Although the G4 Cube was a flop, it later lead to the development of Mac mini, with a much more compact and slimmer computer housing a more powerful G4 processor.

[edit] External links

This article was started using a Wikipedia Mac G4 Cube article
Personal tools
In other languages