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Manufacturer: Apple

Power Mac G4 Cube
February 5, 2001 | Christopher Morin

When I first laid my orbs on the Cube, I was watching a tape-delay broadcast of Steve’s MWNY keynote speech. I have to confess I was one of the zillion Mac-heads who checked the rumor sites a day or two before the keynote to see if they had any hard news to report. They were buzzing about this cube thingy. I could not fathom a computer in a cube-shaped box. Well, after the keynote, I was hooked. The only thing that kept me from handing my American Express card to the dealer who was there was that there was no ATI RADEON card in the Cube. I already had a Rage128 PCI card in my 8600/300 at home, so what would I gain? Well, September 13th was my lucky day. In Paris, Steve announced the availability of the RADEON card in the G4 line. I spent the next ten days convincing my wife this was a good purchase. I couldn’t resist any longer. I HAD TO HAVE A CUBE!

I have to say, my experience ordering this system from the Apple Store was pleasurable. I placed the order on Monday, 25 September and watched my order progress to the “shipped” stage on Thursday, 28 September. The next three business days were exhausting. I was worse than my seven-year old on Christmas Eve. My wife had strict orders not to leave the house until after the FedEx guy delivered my cargo. [End of unsolicited, shameless plug for the Apple Store.]

Well, the day came. My Cube arrived. Just to be sure, I removed the core to visibly see the word “RADEON” on the graphics card. Satisfied, I connected my monitor and cable modem, and booted the machine. Worked like a charm. The Cube booted effortlessly and quickly. The only noises were occasional clicks from the hard drive and the fan on the OEM ATI RADEON card. So, this Cube is not entirely silent, but compared to the huge 8600 tower parked next to it, it was quiet as a church mouse.

And speaking of mouse, the new Pro optical mouse is a thing of beauty. It isn’t the best for FPS gaming, but for everything else, it is wonderful. It has just the right weight and feel for accurate mousing. I had a Microsoft Optical mouse for a few days, and found it to be a little light-weight for my taste. The heft of the new optical mouse is perfect. Besides, it is just so cute.

I did replace the Cube’s stock 5400 rpm hard drive with a faster and larger IBM Deskstar 75GXP (7200 rpm / 30 GB) and boosted the RAM up to 320MB. This made an already responsive system just that much more responsive. I did experience a couple system freezes with the stock 64MB prior to my 256MB DIMMs arrival from MacGurus. Since then, there have been no system freezes. If you decide a Cube is right for you, be sure you have the money to buy extra RAM. Also, do not buy the RAM from Apple. There are much better prices to be found for equal or higher quality DIMMs (e.g. Macgurus, OWC). Right now, RAM prices are so low, you should be able to upgrade to a hefty amoung of RAM (>256MB) for very little extra money.

Let me be the first to say, “I love this machine.” I am definitely a power-user on a budget. My old 8600/300 was upgraded to the maximum with the exception of an upgrade daughtercard. With all of that stuff crammed into the 8600, it was a sweet machine that was definitely showing its age. The G4 Cube is the perfect solution.


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