G4 Cube Love


I remember the launch of the cube. I remember thinking “awesome computer, crazy price”. It was like a super powerful consumer version of the Powermac G4, an upmarket iMac if you will.

I worked at an Apple reseller at the time, but I can’t remember ever selling one! It was the ‘halo car’ without a doubt - the show of technical prowess without being the thing most people buy. The PowerMac G4 at the time was such better value (slots, HDDs, ZIP drive built in, dual processors available, etc).

It kinda saddens me that the new Mac Pro is like the cube of Mac Pros, but they killed the other line to release it! Lucky Apple didn’t kill the PowerMac G4 when the released the Pro range or they would have been in trouble with their biggest markets back then (creative pros, people they don’t seem to care about now).


I’ve just fired up my 1.25 Ghz 2004 eMac, which has 500MB of RAM… and it could play a wide screen “Standard Def” Divx AVI without blinking… The Cube has a faster CPU, faster hard drive, better graphics card (well, I’m guessing), and yet it is slower at playing video?

Could I use Plex Server on one of my Intel Macs, to re-encode video files for the Cube as MPEG2? (Is that even how Plex Server works??)


System bus (167MHz) and RAM speeds of eMac are quicker than Cube (100MHz). There’s a bottle neck there.

Radeon in eMac is better than GeForce in Cube. Not sure of video acceleration capabilities of Radeon compared to GeForce, but being newer I would think that eMac would be more advanced than cube.
Not sure if Quartz aceleration comes into play with the Radeon and video decoding.

I’ll fire up my Cube with 7500 and see how it handles different video files.
I encode most files to ATV2 standard with handbrake.


Mm, I had just been wondering how the Cube’s bus speed compared with the 1.5Ghz G4 Mac Mini that I had been using previously as my HTPC, given that it could handle “SD” video files pretty well, compared to my Cube’s performance to date… I hadn’t thought of the eMac as being particularly amazing, but I do see that both it and the Mini have 167MHz buses… so indeed, I guess that would help them over the Cube’s 100MHz.

I note that everyone seems to criticise the Cube’s 2x AGP… Was that a bad (ie penny pinching) choice by Apple?

The eMac didn’t support Quartz/core image…

Thanks for offering to test your Cube’s video performance. :slight_smile: Will be interesting to see the results (but no rush!) I am hoping at this point still to get it functioning as a HTPC for SD footage (having totally now accepted that HD is a non reality), so any added knowledge is great.


love to see the Cube getting the love. I led the Product Design team at Apple and was the lead on it. Super fun project!




You never know who’s going to show up on the intarwebz.

And I’ve always loved the Cube design, but not the specs. I’ve loved the various Mac Mini in Cube or Hackintosh in Cube mods. The case is stunning, if you were lead on the design team, kudos to you!


@wayne - Welcome, and - thanks! :slight_smile: I loved the Cube as soon as I saw it… Thought it was a great idea - just needed a) to be continued, and b) allow better expansion options… But hey - we can’t have everything.

@jaysee - Well, these clever people have to shop somewhere… :wink: Many years ago I crossed paths with a guy who had helped develop the TAM…!


The G4 Cube is the machine that the 2013 Mac Pro most reminded me of. Pity Apple only just now learnt the lessons they should have then! :wink:


I have a Mac Mini at home, and would love to be able to squeeze it into a Cube case…


Well, according to my iMac’s daily reminder, it’s been 365 days since my last backup :astonished: meaning I’ve been in this house for 1 year, and not dug out the backup drive… Also, I’ve done nothing about setting my G4 Cube back up, and finding a useful purpose for her.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to pick up an XBox One S from Aldi (tax return, thankyou) to serve as a BluRay, Netflix, and Plex machine, which will do away with my current setup of MacMini, Panasonic BluRay, and XBox 360. So, the nail is totally driven into the coffin on any thoughts of using the Cube for a video machine… (And, it really just couldn’t handle modern video…)

I’m still thinking maybe a headless music box… just not sure how to control it. It’s a shame my 17" Studio Display doesn’t work, as I could set them up together seems they totally look the part.

I’ll also have to do some YouTube classes on sanding perspex to clean up the scratches in the case… cos they’ll bug me…

Maybe VPN to do screen sharing via an iPad…


I have had great results using this on my G4 Cubes.
If you end using something else please report back, as it would be great to know what else is available.



So as noted above, my Cube wouldn’t talk to my 17" Studio Display (which I confirmed does work). It does however operate via the VGA (?) output…

Is there any chance that my G5 1.8GHz dual processor stock video card would fit/work??

I’m getting ready to try to sell it / toss it down a drain, and was thinking about what I may rather salvage off it first…




Even a dual processor, G5 wont handle HD video. If you’re interested in that you should probably rehouse something like an Apple TV 4 inside your G4 Cube case.

If you just want a better video card then you can get a Geforce 2 MX Mac edition for it such as this one https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Nvidia-GeForce-2-MX-AGP-ADC-VGA-PM-G4-CUBE-Apple-/162660653043?hash=item25df5497f3:g:nYoAAOSwZ4dZHDH0

You must get one that will fit in the Cube case.


What about some of the PM G4 graphic cards. Obviously space and heat are a problem, but the Radeon 9000 Pro from later model G4’s wasn’t a particularly big card and should give some extra room over the standard. Even the Geforce MX4’s weren’t huge. They were never range toppers but performance would definitely be a step up.
Having said that I have done no research into Cube capabilities before and am just saying what comes to mind.
Biggest graphic card i’ve ever owned is in my PM G5. The Geforce 6800 Ultra DDL. Massive card.

May have missed it in your posts, but assuming the RAM is maxed out on this as well?


G’day everyone and thanks for the replies :slight_smile:

Firstly - yes, the RAM is maxed out at 1.5GB. Had to go back to my confirmation email from eBay to confirm that - can’t believe I didn’t mention the proper specs above anywhere! I’m doing an inventory of my Macs tomorrow, so will try check the Cube out again then.

Given lots of feedback and research into the topic, I accept the Cube will not be playing HD video. That little bee is out of my bonnet - Now using an XBox One as my main HTPC. As such I’ll settle for using the Cube for:

a) MPEG2’s (ie DVD rips) (hopefully via Airport, but doubting it will keep up unless I find a faster 3rd party option)
b) Music

(Ok - I’ll throw in another fantasy - I’m currently using my wife’s 2009 MBP as a full-time Netflix box in our bedroom… Would be great to set the Cube up instead and free the MBP to be a laptop… But given that my Intel Mac Mini 2.0GHz couldn’t handle Netflix, I’m guessing the Cube will have no chance!)

Based on above, if I can’t get the existing video card to talk to my 17" Studio Display, I’ll need a new video card… So that leaves the option for an upgrade. It’s just going to have to wait though, as I just picked up a 23" Cinema Display off eBay, and am now looking at Mac Pro 3,1 / 4,1’s so I can relieve my iMac of all duties…


If you could get a modern video card in the box which handled video decoding, you might stand half a chance of doing something interesting. I hear there is a way to hack a Geforce 6xxx series video card (such as a Geforce 6200 on that basis will work with a cube with some effort). This may work towards giving you a Quartz Extreme enabled video card and a fighting chance to have a video card that does on chip decoding freeing up the CPU a bit more. It would all be a matter of finding the right card or ROMS these days, and a place to flash them if you couldn’t find one on Fleebay. You’re good with computers so it shouldn’t be too difficult http://barefeats.com/mutant2.html. The Geforce 6200 is a gimped 6800.

The 6200 has all the decoding features of one of the last great series of AGP cards. It has 256MB of RAM which is way more than you need and it has a DVI port so you can hook it up to modern monitors/TVs and such (but you wont get sound).

Not sure what you’re currently doing for sound, but I’d opt for an external USB/Firewire sound card which had SPDIF so you could get optical audio out of your cube to plug in to a modern receiver and give yourself 5.1 support. A lot of the older style audio interface devices for recording studios will still support G4 Macs you just have to hunt around for the right one such as one of these which will give you upgraded sound and SPDIF support via USB

If you could also find a CPU upgrade kit floating around on fleebay this might also help improve your chances also. These cards that used to come from Other World Computing pop up from time to time and will give you a nice little speed bump.

If you really want to max out the use of the cube in another way, you can use it to store all the MPEG4 rips that you like and then hook it up to an Apple TV 3 via iTunes. It will serve perfectly well in serving movies to an Apple TV. I was using a G5 Xserve for this purpose for a time. Just put in the largest hard drive it will take and go from there. Use the Apple TV as the decoder.


Revisiting my above issue of connecting my Cube to my Studio Display…

Cube’s video card has 2 output options, ADC and VGA. VGA works (tested on Samsung TV), and the Studio Display works (tested on G5 PowerMac). But they wont work together.

As such my presumption is that the ADC port is fried…

Is it worth re-seating the video card, RAM, resetting X, Y, or even Z, etc etc to try to remedy this?

At this moment, my hope is to set the Cube up with the Display, and turn it into a living photo frame, as well as using it for music. (Going to have to remedy the pro speakers’ cones/foam for this, too.)



Excuse my ignorance here, I’d read back through the entire thread but I’m a little pressed for time.

Is the G4 Cube video card the same (or at least compatible, with or without modification) with the standard Apple-supplied GeForce 2 MX in the Power Mac G4 QuickSilver? (AGP w/ VGA + ADC.)

The reason I ask is I have a couple of Power Mac G4 QuickSilvers sitting at work at the moment with these video cards, and while I’ve been attempting to give them away locally, there haven’t been many takers. I may be able to remove the video card from one if it’s of any use. It’s not the most powerful card, but at least all the connections seem to work.


G’day @iMic,

Just reading on EveryMac, and the Quicksilver’s GeForce card needs 4x AGP slot, the Cube however only has 2x “short” AGP slot…

As such I’m guessing it wont fit.

Thanks for the offer though - much appreciated!