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G4 Cube to 'Killer Kube'

Originally posted March 25th, 2005, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Updated July 11th, 2005, with info on GeForceFX 5200 card and
source of orignal and custom Cube parts

We continue our transformation of "mild mannered" G4 Cube to "Killer Kube" on this page with some graphics tests using various graphics cards:

Graph Legend
Cube 500MHz = Original G4/500MHz Cube
Cube 1.6 (MP47) = Gigadesigns' Dual G4/1.6GHz upgrade (7447A, no L3 cache)
Cube 1.6 (SP47) = Gigadesigns' Dual G4/1.6GHz upgrade (7447A, no L3 cache) with second processor disabled using developer CHUD tools.
Cube 1.5 (MP47) = PowerLogix Dual G4/1.5GHz upgrade (7447A, no L3 cache)
Cube 1.5 (SP57) = PowerLogix Single G4/1.5GHz upgrade (7457, 2MB L3 cache)
Cube 1.3 (MP57) = PowerLogix Dual G4/1.3GHz upgrade (7457, 2MB L3 cache per cpu)
2MX = nVidia GeForce 2 MX (32MB) -- original "high end" Cube option
Rad90 = ATI Radeon 9000 (128MB)
GeF3 = nVidia GeForce 3 (64MB)
Rad92 = ATI Radeon 9200 Mobility (32MB) -- in Mac mini and iBooks

When it comes to 3D graphics, the GPU upgrades available to the Cube transform it into a much faster performer than the stock Cube especially when used in combination with a CPU upgrade.

And as you can see, a Cube with a CPU upgrade and fast graphics card easily beats the Mac mini in 3D Games.

The L3 cache of the 7457 version of the G4 upgrade seemed to add an extra advantage to 3D Gaming.

We dusted off our old GeForce3. It fit the Cube like a glove and was much faster than the original Rage 128 Pro, Radeon ME, and GeForceMX 2 originally shipped with the Cube. As you can see in the graphs above, it was even faster than the newer Radeon 9000 with 128MB of VRAM in all but one test.

However, GeForce3s are scarce, since they are no longer in production. That makes the Radeon 9000 the best alternate choice if you are looking for a faster graphics card for your Cube. It's available from ATI resellers at reasonable cost. However, it's taller than the original Cube cards And the stock VRM/DC power board is in the way. PowerLogix created the PowerCube, a larger Cube outside enclosure which not only provides better cooling but includes a kit to move the VRM/DC board to an alternate location, thus allowing the taller graphics cards to fit.

The Radeon 9000 also lacks the correct backplate. In the case of the GeForce3, you can "borrow" the plate from the original card since it has the ADC and VGA ports on the same location. The 9000 has an ADC and DVI port. You either have to modify the original plate or leave it off.

GigaDesigns actually replaces the VRM with one of their own design. One could squeeze the taller 9000 card between the VRM's capacitors but that risks causing the two boards to short each other out.

In case you missed our PAGE ONE, be sure to go see the results from upgraded Cubes running iMovie, iTunes, Photoshop, and FileMaker.

Round two of graphics cards for the Cube -- including the Radeon 9800 Pro and GeForceFX 5200 -- has very informative Cube upgrade forum, including instructions for flashing PC cards for use in your Cube (or G4 Power Mac). You can also buy used equipment listed on that site. -- repository for ROM files needed for flashing various PC graphics cards to work on your Cube (or G4 Power Mac).

Patch to allow hard drives larger than 128GB from IntechUSA

Macintouch compares the Mini mac to the iMac G5, eMac, and iBook using xBench, Cinebench, iTunes, and other tests.

GigaDesigns CPU upgrade for Cube

Sonnet Technologies CPU upgrades for the Cube and G4 Power Macs

Daystar Technology's CPU upgrade for the Cube

Other World Computing sells PowerLogix, Sonnet, and Mercury CPU upgrades for the G4 Cube. They have various models of the Radeon graphics cards plus the Power Cube, a larger enclosure for your Cube which includes the VRM mover kit. They also have memory and hard drives for your Cube.

Don't forget to ask OWC about the 8X SuperDrive upgrade for the Cube.

TransIntl has processor, memory and hard drive upgrades for the Cube.

Small Dog Electronics for GigaDesigns and Sonnet CPU upgrades for the Cube.

If you want to add a slot load 8X SuperDrive to your Cube, visit FastMacs.

For all kinds of original as well as custom parts, go to They are working on a custom end plate for the Radeon 7500 (and other graphics cards) that lets air circulate and eliminates cutting of your Cube's frame to make it fit.

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2005 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster and mad scientist