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Review: Powerlogix's 1GHz G4 Upgrade for the Cube
Tests vs Original G4/450 and Dual G4/500
By Mike
Published: 8/19/2002
Intro | Benchmarks  | Apps Tests | Game Tests | Installation | Specs/Design
Installation, Docs and Kit Contents

1GHz G4 Cube CPU upgrade

Note: As of 2003, PL says that the shipping upgrades should have firmware enabled L3 cache without needing the enabler software required for this early sample.

PowerForce G4 Series 100 Cube Model Kit Contents:

  • CPU module w/attached heatsink (AGP model has fan on heatsink)
  • DVD-ROM Disc with Video installation guide and links to Powerlogix's product page with download links for the OS 9 and OS X L3 cache enablers (PL may be doing this to ensure users download the latest version)
    (Note - PL says the latest upgrades shipping in 2003 should have firmware enabled L3 cache)
  • Large printed installation sheet (for G4/AGP models)
  • Red printed flyer with Product notice information

Although it's not nearly as clear and complete as the DVD movie on the supplied disc, Powerlogix also has a PDF file Cube installation guide. The DVD movie however is a complete start to finish how-to on the install, walking you through each step and can be paused as needed while you perform the installation. The person installing the upgrade in the movie pauses at each step to note any special screws that are different in length for instance. You'll need a DVD (home/TV player) or 2nd Mac w/DVD ROM drive of course to view the movie while doing the install.

The start to finish installation took me under 30 minutes (not rushing), but I've disassembled my Cube before to install the Duet DP500. However even if you're not familiar with the Cube internals, the movie walks you through each step of the way. (BTW - the Duet install required a home-made heatsink and was a lot more work than installing the Powerlogix upgrade.)

The Fan:
Some Cube owners may not want a fan of any kind in their system - but it's a must if you want a faster graphics card and CPU. I had already installed a GeForce3 AGP card (the fastest graphics card that will fit in the Cube to date) and its fan seems louder than the Powerlogix 80x15mm fan. The Powerlogix fan is sized to fit properly in the Cube's fan bracket in the bottom of the case and includes a tiny 2 pin connector that mates with the Cube's power supply board. With both fans installed I primarily hear the GeForce3's fan, but I personally don't find it annoying. (It is not the almost grating sound I've heard from fans in some of the G4 Towers.)
However some people may find any fan in the Cube a turn-off. If you do, then keep your Cube as it is (fanless GeForce2MX or Rage128 card). If you want higher performance in the Cube, a fan is a must in my opinion. Even the stock G4/450 (without fan) soaks the entire core in heat after hours of use. (I was surprised when I first removed the core of my Cube after hours of use.) If time permits, I'll install a fanless Rage128 card in my Cube and see how the 80mm fan alone compares to the GeForce3's fan.

System Compatibility:
The PowerForce G4 1GHz Series 100 is compatible with the following Mac models:

  • Apple G4 Cube (using cube version heatsink)
  • Apple G4/AGP "Sawtooth" (using AGP heatsink/fan)
  • Apple G4/AGP "Gigabit Ethernet" (using AGP heatsink/fan)

Powerlogix also has announced a Series 133 for the 133MHz bus Digital Audio and Quicksilver/Quicksilver 2002 models. The Series 133 upgrades have not yet shipped as of this review date however.

    OS Requirements:
  • OS 9.2.1 or OS 9.2.2
  • OS X 10.1 or later

The next page has photos and information on the Powerlogix 1GHz CPU revision and cache. Or you may use the links below to jump to a specific page.

Index of PL 1GHz Upgrade Review Pages

Intro | Benchmarks  | Apps Tests | Game Tests | Installation | Specs/Design

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