Stunningly compact, the Power Mac (not Macintosh) G4 Cube came as a surprise, despite numerable contradictory rumors. Just 7.7″ square and a bit under 10″ tall – about the same height at the 2013 Mac Pro, but with a larger footprint – the Cube does everything the iMac DV does (except contain a monitor) – but with the same 450 MHz G4 processor as the Sawtooth Power Macintosh G4.
Like the iMac, the Cube is a quiet fanless machine cooled by convection. The hard drive, ports, and AirPort antenna are all built into the Cube, but the power supply and twin Harman Kardon spherical speakers are external. The Cube supports both digital and VGA displays using the same ATI video subsystem as the Power Mac – and it’s on a 2x AGP slot, making it possible for serious gamers to replace the video card with something even better.
Best of all, the Cube shipped with Apple’s incredible optical mouse, where the entire mouse acts as a button, and the 108-key keyboard, eliminating the need to immediately buy a better mouse and keyboard (which many iMac and G4 owners had been doing).
All the ports are on the bottom of the computer, although the DVD drive is unique in loading from the top.
In the final analysis, the Cube may have been the most computing power available in such a small amount of space at the time – and various 1 GHz and faster single- and dual-processor upgrades offer far more power than the original G4. Apple wouldn’t provide a desktop with as small a footprint and G4 power until it introduced the Mac mini in 2005.
Approximately 150,000 Cubes were sold before Apple decided to “suspend production of the Power Mac G4 Cube indefinitely” in July 2001, just a year after it had been introduced. Apple VP Phil Schiller stated: “Cube owners love their Cubes, but most customers decided to buy our powerful Power Mac G4 minitowers instead.”
We consider the Cube a Limited Mac.
You should have the most recent firmware installed in your Power Mac G4. The newest version for the Power Mac G4 Cube is Power Mac G4 Cube Firmware Update 4.1.9, which is only for the Cube. To install this firmware update, you must boot into Mac OS 9.1-9.2.2 from a writable partition
- Got a G3, G4, or G5 Power Mac? Join our G-List Group.
- Our Mac OS 9 Group is for those using Mac OS 9, either natively or in Classic Mode.
- Our Puma Group is for those using Mac OS X 10.1.
- Our Jaguar Group is for those using Mac OS X 10.2.
- Our Panther Group is for those using Mac OS X 10.3.
- Our Tiger Group is for those using Mac OS X 10.4.
- Introduced 2000.07.19 at US$1,799 (450 MHz) and US$2,299 (500 MHz); began shipping 2000.08.12; discontinued 2001.07.03
- Model identifier: PowerMac5,1
- Model no.: M7886
- Part no.: M7642 (450 MHz DVD), M7642 (500 MHz DVD)
- Requires Mac OS 9.0.4 through OS X 10.4 Tiger; 10.5 Leopard is not officially supported but will run. CD-RW version requires Mac OS 9.1 or later.
- Latest Firmware: Power Mac G4 Cube Firmware Update 4.1.9 (bad link)
- CPU: single 450/500 MHz PPC 7400 (a.k.a. G4), in mid-April 2001 Apple switched the 500 MHz Cube to the cooler running 7410
- L2 cache: 1 MB 2:1 backside cache
- Bus: 100 MHz
- Geekbench 2 (Leopard): 257 (450 MHz)
- Geekbench 2 (Tiger): 282 (450 MHz), 325 (500 MHz)
- Speedmark: 139
- RAM: 64 MB standard, expandable to 1.5 GB using PC100 SDRAM (3.3V,unbuffered, 64-bit, 168-pin, 100 MHz) in 3 DIMM slots
- Video: ATI Rage 128 Pro in AGP 2x slot (was Rage 128 prior to December 1999); supports resolutions to 1920 x 1200 with 32-bit support, VGA and ADC connectors, and digital video output
- VRAM: 16 MB
- Video, optional: ATI Radeon with 32 MB of VRAM; Nvidia GeForce2 MX with 32 MB VRAM
- Hard drive: 20 GB 5400 rpm Ultra ATA/66 with 30, 40, and 60 GB options. Maximum IDE drive size is 128 GB without third-party support. See How big a hard drive can I put in my iMac, eMac, or Power Mac? for your options.
- DVD-ROM standard, CD-RW became available on 2001.02.22
- no PCI slots
- internal v.90 56k modem
- two 400 Mbps FireWire ports (one internal)
- two 12 Mbps USB ports for keyboard, mouse, and peripherals
- 10/100Base-T ethernet
- antenna and connector for AirPort card
- size (HxWxD): 9.8″ x 7.7″ x 7.7″
- Weight: 14.0 lb. (6.6 kg)
- PRAM battery: 3.6V half-AA
- upgrade path: processor upgrades
Accelerators & Upgrades
- 4x SuperDrive DVD±RW upgrade, MCE Technologies. $329 if replacing CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, or CD-RW drive; $279 if replacing Combo drive or SuperDrive. 4x2x8x DVD, 24x24x24x CD. 2x DVD-RAM. 2 MB buffer.
- 4x Combo drive upgrade, MCE Technologies, $249. 2x DVD, 24x10x24x CD. 2 MB buffer.
- for CPU upgrades, see our Guide to Power Mac G4 Upgrades
- Best Power Mac G4 Deals.
- Best Classic Mac OS Deals. Best online prices for System 6, 7.1, 7.5.x, Mac OS 7.6, 8.0, 8.1, 8.5, 9.0, 9.2.2, and other versions.
- Best Mac OS X 10.0-10.3 Deals. Best online prices for Mac OS X 10.0, 10.1, 10.2, and 10.3.
- Best Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger Deals. Best online prices for Mac OS X 10.4.
- Best Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Deals. Best online prices for Mac OS X 10.5.
- The Five Weirdest Macs of All Time, Benj Edwards, Macworld, 2012.10.12. Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian iMacs. Twentieth Anniversary Mac. Power Mac G4 Cube. Macintosh XL. Power Mac G3 All-in-One.
- Unsupported Leopard installation, Dan Knight, 2007.10.31. How to install Mac OS X 10.5 on unsupported hardware – plus field reports.
- Faking out the Leopard installer with Open Firmware, Dylan McDermond, Unsupported Leopard, 2007.12.06. You don’t have to hack the installer to make the Mac OS X 10.5 installer run on sub-867 MHz G4 Macs by using this simple Open Firmware trick.
- What’s the Best Version of OS X for My Mac?, Ian R Campbell, The Sensible Mac, 2008.02.28. Which version of Mac OS X is best for your hardware depends on several factors.
- Low End Mac’s Compleat Guide to Mac OS 9, 2008 Edition, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.05.12. Mac OS 9 remains fast and stable, but Classic software hasn’t kept up with the changing internet. Which Macs support OS 9, where to buy it, and how to update to 9.2.2.
- Know Your Mac’s Upgrade Options, Phil Herlihy, The Usefulness Equation, 2008.08.26. Any Mac can be upgraded, but it’s a question of what can be upgraded – RAM, hard drive, video, CPU – and how far it can be upgraded.
- WiFi Adapters for Desktop Macs Running Mac OS 9, MetaPhyzx, Mac Daniel, 2009.02.10. USB, ethernet, PCI, and other wireless hardware compatible with the Classic Mac OS.
- Re-imagining the Mac Cube for the Intel Era, Dan Bashur, Apple, Tech, and Gaming, 2009.10.07. The Power Mac G4 Cube was one of Apple’s most beautiful computers. Here’s how Apple could resurrect the concept – and succeed this time.
- The Future of Up-to-Date Browsers for PowerPC Macs, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2009.08.31. With Intel-only “Snow Leopard” shipping, software support for PPC Macs will continue its decline. Also, a look at SeaMonkey 2 and Camino 1.6.9.
- Optimized Software Builds Bring Out the Best in Your Mac, Dan Knight, Low End Mac’s Online Tech Journal, 2009.06.30. Applications compiled for your Mac’s CPU can load more quickly and run faster than ones compiled for universal use.
- Tips for Installing or Reinstalling Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, Adam Rosen, Adam’s Apple, 2009.06.10. Mac OS X 10.4 uses less memory than Leopard, supports Classic Mode on PowerPC Macs, and, unlike Leopard, is supported on G3 Macs.
- Is Leopard Slower than Tiger on G4 Macs?, Simon Royal, Tech Spectrum, 2009.04.17. Truth be told, when you have 1 GB of RAM, Leopard benchmarks an insigificant 4% slower than Tiger.
- The 25 most important Macs, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2009.02.17. The 25 most significant Macs in the first 25 years of the platform, continued.
- The ‘Better Safe Than Sorry’ Guide to Installing Mac OS X Updates, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.12.16. Most users encounter no problems using Software Update, but some preflight work and using the Combo updater means far less chance of trouble.
- Why You Should Partition Your Mac’s Hard Drive, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2008.12.11. “At the very least, it makes sense to have a second partition with a bootable version of the Mac OS, so if you have problems with your work partition, you can boot from the ’emergency’ partition to run Disk Utility and other diagnostics.”
- Every working computer is useful to someone, Allison Payne, The Budget Mac, 2008.11.19. Whether it’s a PowerBook 1400, G3 iMac, or Power Mac G4, it could be all the computer someone needs.
- The future of PowerPC Macs and software as ‘Snow Leopard’ approaches, Simon Royal, Tech Spectrum, 2008.11.13. Apple phased out Classic Mode and G3 support with ‘Leopard’ last year, and next year’s OS X 10.6 won’t support any PowerPC Macs. Will other developers abandon PowerPC as well?
- Attractive and ugly Macs, discontinued MacBook Pro value, and writing with TextEdit, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.10.30. Readers weigh in on the good, the bad, and the ugly of Macintosh design over the past 24 years.
- How to clone Mac OS X to a new hard drive, Simon Royal, Tech Spectrum, 2008.10.07. Whether you want to put a bigger, faster drive in your Mac or clone OS X for use in another Mac, here’s the simple process.
- The Compressed Air Keyboard Repair, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.07.24. If your keyboard isn’t working as well as it once did, blasting under the keys with compressed air may be the cure.
- Turn your old Mac into a web server with Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, Jason Packer, Macs in the Enterprise, 2008.07.09. Step-by-step instructions for installing and configuring Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP on an older Mac.
- Turn your old Mac into a website server with free open source software, Jason Packer, Macs in the Enterprise, 2008.07.02. By installing Linux without a GUI, your old Mac can dedicate all of its resources to running Apache, MySQL, and PHP.
- 10 cult Macs adored by collectors, Tamara Keel, Digital Fossils, 2008.05.13. Macs are not only noted for their longevity, but also by the passion which collectors have for some of the most interesting models ever made.
- Leopard on a Cube, G4 CPU swap limitations, Power Mac G5 a good choice?, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2008.03.06. Also looking for a scanner that works with Panther and the hsitory of expansion slots in low-cost Macs.
- Penryn advantages, Leopard on a G4 Cube, scanner advice, upgrading Sawtooth, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2008.03.05. Also why no LED backlight on the new MacBook, Final Cut mostly works with integrated graphics, and Diablo II problems under Leopard.
- Is the MacBook Air Another Cube?, Daniel Eran Dilger, Roughly Drafted, 2008.01.30. “In the past decade, the closest Apple has come to releasing a form over function flop was the 2000 Power Mac G4 Cube, an elegantly designed PC in a Kleenex-shaped lucite box.”
- Leopard problems with GeForce graphics, on eMacs and Power Macs, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2007.11.14. More success running Mac OS X 10.5 on iMacs, eMacs, Power Macs, and PowerBooks. Also failures with a Cube and a Blue and White G3 with a G4 upgrade.
- Beyond Google, 10 years on the G3, the Cube is not a Road Apple, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2007.11.13. Also the 64-bit advantage of Core 2, OS 9 on a USB flash drive, sound problems since switching to Leopard, and 7200 rpm in an eMac.
- Leopard faster than Tiger on Intel, slower on PowerPC, and possible below 867 MHz, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2007.10.29. Early benchmarks indicate Mac OS X 10.5 is 10-15% slower than 10.4 on PowerPC, while 64-bit Leopard on Intel Core 2 hardware is over 5% faster. Also Sawtooth and Cube success stories.
- FastMac 8x SuperDrive and BurnAgain DVD: Fast and easy multisession disc burning, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2007.10.08. FastMac’s 8x SuperDrive upgrade is remarkably fast compared with older PowerBook burners, and BurnAgain DVD makes it easy to append files to a previously burned CD or DVD.
- APG Card Compatibility, The Mac Elite, 2007.08.09. Guide to which ATI and nVidia AGP video cards are compatible with which AGP Power Macs.
- Make AGP 8x video cards work in G4 Power Macs, The Mac Elite, 2007.08.19. Instructions for disabling pins 3 and 11 so Mac compatible AGP 8x video cards will work in most G4 Power Macs.
- Unmatched Classic Mac OS apps, TiBook reliability, Matias Tactile Pro 2.0 disappoints, and more, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2007.06.18. Also Netscape 7 and 9, MacBook causing problems with iMac’s display, and graphics cards for a Power Mac G4 and an ADC display.
- Format Any Drive for Older Macs with Patched Apple Tools, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2007.04.25. Apple HD SC Setup and Drive Setup only work with Apple branded hard drives – until you apply the patches linked to this article.
- The Cube: Out of the Mountain Too Early, Thom Holwerda, OSNews, 2007.03.29. “It is surprising to see how well this aging beast actually runs Tiger, probably largely due to the cache size of the processor (1 MB of L2 cache).”
- Installing OS X 10.4 ‘Tiger’ on DVD-challenged Macs using FireWire Target Disk Mode, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2006.07.10. Mac OS X ships on a single install DVD, which Apple will exchange for CDs at $10. But if you have access to a DVD-equipped Mac and a FireWire cable, you’re good to go.
- Making the move from Jaguar (OS X 10.2) to Panther (10.3), Ted Hodges, Vintage Mac Living, 2006.04.11. One advantage of Apple’s “no upgrades” policy for OS X – someone can give you their old copy after upgrading without worrying about violating their license.
- FastMac’s $190 8x dual-layer SuperDrive for PowerBooks and dual USB iBooks, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2006.01.30. For US$190-250 you can replace the CD-ROM, CD-RW, Combo, or slow old SuperDrive in most PowerBooks, white iBooks, slot-loading iMacs, and Cubes with a faster, dual-layer drive.
- Web browser tips for the classic Mac OS, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2006.01.03. Tips on getting the most out of WaMCom, Mozilla, Internet Explorer, iCab, Opera, and WannaBe using the classic Mac OS.
- The best browsers for PowerPC Macs and the classic Mac OS, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2005.12.16. Two browsers stand out from the pack: iCab 3 is modern and remains under development, and WaMCom brings Mozilla to older Macs.
- How big a hard drive can I put in my iMac, eMac, or Power Mac?, Dan Knight, Mac Daniel, 2005.10.24. A lot of older Macs don’t know how to deal with drives over 128 GB in size. We look at three options.
- Hands-on review – PowerLogix PowerCube, Macs Only!, 2003.11.25. Larger aluminum replacement case for Cube’s acrylic enclosure permits larger video cards, faster CPU upgrades, better heat management.
- Apple Cube: Alive and Selling, Leander Kahney, Wired, 2003.07.28. “…there’s a thriving trade in aftermarket upgrades, and dedicated owners are going to extreme lengths to keep their much-loved machines current.”
- Review: 1.2 GHz PowerForce G4 Series 100, Bill Fox, Macs Only!, 2003.02.10. Very, very fast. Only drawback: Cube won’t wake from sleep with upgrade installed.
- Review: 800 MHz PowerForce G4 Series 100 in a Cube, Bill Fox, Macs Only!, 2002.10.16. “The Cube with the 800 MHz PowerForce G4 Series 100 upgrade averaged 80 percent faster than with the original stock 450 MHz CPU.”
- CubeOwner.com, “a heaven for Cube owners.”
- New G4 Cubes powered by PPC 7410?, The Cube-Zone, 2001.04.19. Field reports indicate latest Cubes use cooler running processor.
- Review: G4 Cube & Cinema Display, John Siracusa, Art Technica, 10/26/00. Perhaps the longest Cube review yet, and worth every page. Reviewer understands the Cube’s market.
- The Cube: Looks Aren’t Everything, BusinessWeek. “All of the Cube’s beauty doesn’t change the fact that it is overpriced and under-featured, with no clear target audience.”
- How to rescue the Cube, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 10/5/00. The Cube is cool and costly. Here’s how Apple can address the price issue.
- I come not to bury the G4 Cube but to praise it, Jim, MacSpeedZone. “…in the interest of balanced reporting and fairness I’ve got to let you know that my Cube is nothing short of magnificent.”
- Blame the Cube?, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 10/2/00. Apple stock tanked on Friday. People quickly pointed fingers at the Cube. But should we really blame the computer?
- Power Mac G4 Cube: Insane first, András Puiz, Applelust, 8/15/00. “Insane” as in “insanely great.” A very good read.
- The Cube: Just what we ordered?, Adam Robert Guha, Apple Archive, 8/11/00. A look at the limitations of the Power Mac G4 Cube.
- Apple specs online: Power Mac G4 Cube
Short link: http://goo.gl/vKgHyg
searchwords: powermacg4cube, g4cube