The Cube: Just What We Ordered?

2000 – With the introduction of the amazing new Apple Pro Keyboard (welcome back, full-sized keys) and the Apple Pro Mouse by Apple at Macworld New York, came something so new, so different, so amazing – the new Power Macintosh G4 Cube.

Power Mac G4 Cube

NeXT CubeYes, it’s only about 8″ square. Yes, it’s a G4. Yes, it does look like the NeXT Cube (well, sort of – it is a Mac, it is silver instead of black, and it is only a small fraction of the size of the NeXT Cube).

This new computer is most likely Steve Jobs’ idea, almost a reincarnation of his NeXT Cube. The G4 Cube is essentially a monitorless iMac with a G4 processor and several other options. All you have to do to use it is plug in the power adapter, plug in the monitor, plug in your phone line (and/or ethernet cable), and turn it on. That is four steps to set up your new G4 Cube.

Pretty easy for a “supercomputer“.

After you have bought tons of PCI cards for your new computer, figuring it must have at least three slots, you will look at the back and notice there are none. No PCI slots. There go your plans to use all those new cards, and there go quite a few people possibly interested in the new G4 Cube. They are doing what they did to the Macintosh IIsi and LC back in 1990, purposely crippling it so it doesn’t hurt the sales of the faster models, in this case the Mystic Power Mac G4.

The G4 Cube does come with some great improvements, like the new Apple Display Cable, which integrates all of the previous cables into one that plugs right into the back of your computer.

You may be wondering what that little slot in the top is. No, it’s not for toast. It’s for a DVD or CD! The new G4 Cube has a CD drive mounted vertically so that you can just drop your CDs in like it was toast going into a toaster. Pretty cool.

The G4 Cube also features a separate power supply, which reduces case size. It, like the iMac, uses Apple’s “special” air cooling system, which means no fan, just a bunch of slots on the top (hello out there, Apple, remember the 128, 512, and Plus? They had slots too, yet they still overheated). The parts that tend to get warm are positioned around a centre column with vents at the top. The G4 Cube comes complete with new digital stereo speakers from Harmon/Kardon.

20th Anniversary MacAfter thinking about all its features, you might be wondering, “Who the heck is gonna buy this thing?” It’s for those who buy for looks, those who bought the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh and the Macintosh TV, those who want the coolest looking thing on their desk.

If you want to be practical, you can buy a much more expandable Power Mac G4 for $1,599, so the G4 Cube is just not worth buying. Without the PCI slots, it’s a Mac IIsi with a high price.

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