Cube Owner Comments on long-term use
Updated 6/21/2001 for more owner comments
(Updated 7/3/2001 for Apple's note that production has halted.)
Apple Halts G4 Cube Production: On 7/3/2001, Apple posted a story today at their web site titled Apple Puts Power Mac G4 Cube on Ice that confirms the recent rumors. The article notes that:
"(Apple) will suspend production of the Power Mac G4 Cube indefinitely. The company said there is a small chance it will reintroduce an upgraded model of the unique computer in the future, but that there are no plans to do so at this time."
In the 6/18/2001 news I asked for Cube owner comments as far as any problems seen during long-term use. I was surprised at the number of reports. Most were positive, but some did note problems.
Considering buying a Cube? Before buying a new or refurbished Cube model, you might want to read the section below which covers the issues of mold lines, and things to consider before buying a new vs. refurbished Cube. Also included in a note/tip about shutdown problems seen on a refurbished Cube that had OS 9.04 (and no 4.1.8 firmware update) when trying to boot from an OS 9.1 CD.
I have got a cube recently, and can see no reason why the other people
complain. I was opping for a 500 mhz version (thinking that, after
hearing the complaints of using a G4 with Deus Ex). I got a 450 with the
rage 128 pro (16 meg of vram), and all I can say is WOW! Not only is
this sucker quiet (except for the pleasent hd access sound), but its
powerfull. I am currently running Deus Ex on all high details and not
getting a slowdown.
The only problem I have had is that DX quits (DX
fragments memory like nothing flat).
This Cube still amazes me, I am
opting for the Radeon card for it, and more memory. After feeling the
speed it can do, I think Apple is wrong to get rid of it, it is clearly
their fault for pricing it too high or not including a display. Well
their is always the hope of having it put into the 25th aniversary mac (COMEON APPLE...), or the re-introduction of it. The seams in the
case are very hard to find, the case has been proven to be rock solid
for me, Only a few more addons and this comp will be one of the greatest
David Kure-Proud to own a cube
"We are the few,the elite, We are the cubists"
[Replies added on 6/21/2001]
I've had my Cube/450 DVD since early this year. I bought the 15" Flat
Display and also ordered the HK Soundsticks. In addition, I ordered a
512 MB DIMM and performed the firmware update with no problems. I also
removed the stock 20GB Maxtor 5400 RPM ATA Drive and replaced it with a
30GB 7200 rpm Seagate ATA 66 Barracuda (toggling the mode to ATA 66 from
the default ATA 33 from within DOS before I installed it - YUCK!)
Needless to say, this machine feels fast, faster than my G4 Sawtooth 450
at work with the same Seagate drive. I have not had one problem with
shutoffs or startups as others saw with the early Cubes. I installed
9.1 and also am running 10.0.3 with no problems.
An interesting tidbit for those with too much time on their hands. If
the injection molding knit lines REALLY bother you, you can... with much
time, patience, and elbow grease, polish them out with acrylic polish.
I used "Plus 210" manufactured by Sumner Laboratories and removed ALL of
the exterior knit lines including even the deep ones by the rivets
(those were by far the toughest) on top. The interior surface knit
lines still remain but are so much harder to see, even in the right
light. Perhaps on a rainy day I will remove them as well.
Of all of the Macs I have owned: A IIci, a 7600/132 and now the Cube, I
put the Cube right up there and perhaps even a bit beyond in terms of
the best machine I have ever owned. In terms of PCI slots, everything I
would have bought cards for in my 7600 has been included. All that
remains to be seen is the real world long term usage results. But based
upon all I have seen so far, I would buy another. It will be a shame if
(Be careful on using polishing compound on the housing - if it's too abrasive or coarse, it could mar the finish and do more harm (appearance wise) than good.-Mike)
Just wanted to add my observations. I've had my Cube (450MHz/Radeon/448MB
RAM) along with the 15" Studio Display since mid December. I use it mainly
for bringing in video from my digital video camera. When it first came out,
I went through the usual "must have now" routine but held off as I've always
done in order to avoid the initial problems. After Apple dropped the prices
via the rebate, I took the plunge to give myself an xmas gift.
Aside from a small cosmetic problem (mold line on the upper right front
corner), the system itself has worked without any problems (no sensitivity
problems with the switch). The silence and very small amount of heat that
it puts out are also a nice thing. Another observation is that unlike my
other systems (prior PC's, past/present PowerMac's including 8500/7600/B&W
G3/G4-AGP), the internals were virtually dust free after 3-months of
continuous operation (the Cube is always running) whereas my towers need a
I'm quite satisfied with it and will purchase additional units especially if
the prices drop more. It really is too bad the Cube got a bum rap but Apple
deserves the blame for that by initially pricing it too high. Aside from
initial teething problems that some experienced, the product is an excellent
piece of work and it would really be a shame if the product was
[Replies added on 6/20/2001 follow]
I first bought my G4 Cube in October of 2000. First off, let me say that I
think the Cube is one of the best products Apple has ever made. I was
shocked to hear that they might be discontinuing it. I would have thought
the Cube would have been a huge seller by being the smallest super computer.
When first checking out the Cube, looking closely I saw the "scratches"
that everyone has been saying makes the computer look bad. These scratches
are actually where the molding fits together. And looking at the Cube right
now they are not visible at all. The only way you see these lines is if
you're really looking for them.
I started up my Cube and everything worked perfect. A week or so later
I got some more memory for it. This was my first computer that I have owned
and I've never put memory into a computer. And I followed the directions
and I actually thought it was too easy and was amazed when it worked. It's
as simple as turning the Cube over, pulling the handle, and putting in the
The only problem I've had is that two times the Cube suddenly shut
itself off. This worried me some, but as time went on and updates were
released it didn't do it anymore which made me releaved.
The speakers with the Cube are amazing. They are very cool looking and
very small and the sound it crystal clear. The pro keyboard and pro mouse
are also wonderful. I've never had problems with them.
I have a 17-inch [LCD] studio display which I got this month (June). And so
far I haven't had any problems with it either. It is a beautiful display
and everything is crystal clear.
Over an 8 month span I have had one problem (shutting itself off, which
only occured twice) that went away. I am very pleased with the Cube and I
highly recommend getting one.
Cube long-term use
Cube 450 MHz, configuration: ASIP Server 6.3, OS 9.1, Now Contact and Now
Up-to-Date Server 4, Web Server and Mail Server running, Doorstop ASIP
security suite (to replace the buggy OT Auto Push Support Extension), a
backup is made twice a day using Retrospect remote to a DVD-RAM drive.
Installed and configured December 2000, up and running since then, twice
restarted, 1) after upgrading to 9.1 (from 9.04), 2) after upgrading to Now
Contact and Now Up-to-date 4.0. So far not a single crash or freeze. The
cube is definitely best Mac ever produced! Ok, my new 500 MHz-TiBook comes
I've had the cube with 15" flat screen since last August and have loved
every minute of it..the best machine I've had in 12 years of
Mac-life...cube got a raw deal with the press and the results we are
aware of..I still believe it is the best computer for all..continues to
be quiet and unassuming..is just there and always working...have had
ZERO problems....on 24/7 with OS X since March....I love it!!
When I got my Cube at work in November, the erratic rebooting problem
rendered it unuseable out of the box. Apple estimated 7-10 business days to
fix, but they returned it in only 3. A few months later it acted up again.
Same symptoms, but according to Apple support, different cause. The guy
pinpointed the problem upon hearing the startup chime when I plugged in the
powercord. This time they fixed and returned it in 5 days.
The first problem was fixed with a mounting bracket to support the DC
converter card. The second problem required replacing the powerswitch
mechanism. The quality of support was excellent. They neither babied me
nor overwhelmed me with tech talk. Although the woman noted the expiration
of my 90 day free phone support, it was never brought up again, I wasn't
charged for the multiple calls or the repair, and I even recieved a courtesy
Beyond service issues, I love the Cube!! It stands out at work, an entirely
PC based company. The Cube and a Dell are both connected to the same 21"
Sony monitor; I toggle between them using the HD15/BNC input switch. The
Cube has the best sound quality, the "measly" 450mhz G4 screams, and it just
looks **really** cool.
There definitely is a market for the Cube, just not at the current prices.
At a lower price, the Cube is the ideal sub-$1,000 competion for the junk
Wintels. It won't hurt iMac sales because it's monitorless, and won't hurt
PowerMac sales because it's not as fast and expandable. Apple would be
foolish to drop the Cube line instead of the price!
No internal modifications except added RAM and Airport. Heavy multimedia
use, works fine. As solid as any Mac we've owned (and that's a lot of
Macs). Also, it hasn't been switched off for more than a few minutes since
we received it last August.
Using ADC 17" CRT "Studio Display" now discontinued.
No problems at all with my cube. Of all the reports I have read about
the cube, I have experienced none of the troubles. Knock on wood.
I have a Cube 450mhz 320mb ram, 20 gig, with a graphite lcd 15" via an
I did buy this a little later in the ball game. I have been running OS
X flawlessly since May or so. I have shutdown a few times, but mostly
just put it to sleep. I have had no freezes when awaking from
sleep. I do miss my rev 1. BW G3 a little though.
The small footprint is the best thing about he cube besides looks.
I set up my boss's cube around December of last year. ITs pre-CD burner
model (though Software Update keeps trying to install iBurn..).
No problems with it and its on all day, 5 days a week.
The display is the 15" LCD Display. The setup, with speakers, is quite slick
on my boss's credenza. The LCD is sharp and equal to a 17". And its quiet.
We use to play UT on it during January "blah" days. But lately, its been a
stock watcher, uBid watcher and administrative machine (mostly Office 2001
for Mac and IE).
No problems with top power/sleep switch. I have found the power adaptor to
be rather warm, which contradicts any heat the LCD saves ;)
All in all, no problems.
I am rather sad if the Register is correct. I was hoping the Apple store
would release some refurbs as a friend wants one. It fits the niche of
someone that has a professional need over an iMac yet does not have the
budget for a large, workstation.
The cube fills this void. As a designer, the cube is perfect. It was the
memory upgrade (and drive) path for big software apps (photoshop), the
expansion for external (though chaotic in wire scheme) devices (CDRW, DV,
LAN, ...). With the intro of the 17" LCD, it seems the ideal net/work
Apple's mistake: if Apple had released the Cube at $999, or paired it with
the 17" LCD for $1999 (include an inkjet, and coupon for Office 2001/Adobe
production pac), they would not have met the demand. IMHO.
Although I've only had my Cube for 3.5 months, it might interest you to
know that during that time, I only turned its power off for a period of
4 days when I was away on a vacation. The other 110 days or so, my Cube
has been up and running 24/7 (except, of course, when I've had to
restart after a freeze, or when I switched between the 2 OSes, 9.1 and
I have seen NO problems at ALL with this mighty little Cube, and if
Apple really is going to discontinue the product, I think right now is
definitely a good time to purchase one.
I've been pleased with my Cube & 15" ADC TFT screen.
I had initial problems with the switch on the monitor but the monitor was
replaced under warranty, no further problems.
It's a nice little machine, the only real criticism is that the ports are a
bit inaccessible underneath. It takes up hardly any deskspace and is no
different to a tower minus the PCI slots.
We bought a 450MHz Cube a few weeks after they were introduced and it
has had zero problems with heavy daily use (it is on for about 12
hours/day). We added 256MB of RAM, but otherwise it is stock. We
have upgraded system software with everything from system upgrader as
it has become available. The monitor is the 15" flat panel studio
This has been the most reliable Mac we've ever had (and we've had
them since the Mac 128)
i've been using my cubge as my main daily machine since early october. I
have not had any power button problems.. up until 2 months ago i had been
using the ADC 17" crt display with absolutely no problems.. I didn not use
the cubes power button often , instead using the monitors power button..
now i am using a huge mitsubishi 22" crt, and still no problems.. no i use
the power button regularly.. to power up, to sleep and to force power off
(when a lock up occurs.)
the one "problem" i had with the cube was not with the cube it self but
with the fan on the radeon card in it.. the fan would make an annoying whine
for the first minute or so after startup... apple fixed that problem.. and
the machine has been flawless since...
i also installed a 7200 rpm drive in the cube and at first worried of the
added heat it may produce but that was less than a month after getting the
cube , and as i said, no problems.
I have used the Cube from september last year for serious graphic design work for more than 8 hours daily.
I changed the internal HD to a very fast 41 GB IBM 75GXP drive and ubgraded the RAM to 576 MB. The Cube drives the wonderful Cinema 22 inch display and is connectet to a lot of peripherials like Heidelberg 1450 Firewire Scanner, Plextor 12/10/32 CD-writer in an ADS case, a lot of USB stuff (Wacom ADB Tablet via iMate, Palm Craddle via MiniDock, etc).
All this works pretty good for me without any problems except the power switch problem I had months ago wich I could fix by myself.
I love my Cube like on the first day because it has enough power and it is so quiet, which is very important for me. A lot of my friends who also are familiar with Macs - were looking with a lot of skepsis at my Cube. "Could this little thing really be a workhorse for serious business?"
I think, this isn't the reason for the little success of the Cube: People and even Mac users for many years don't believe this small box is equal to the standard PowerMacs.
I hope Apple will design another even faster computer without a noisy fan in a compact pretty enclosure like the good old Cube in the very near future as a good alternative to the classic computer box.
Graphic designer - Austria
Absolutely stellar. I never had problems with my cube, apart from the
occasional crash. My family all use it at home with DSL and Multiple
Users and it's the best computer I've ever bought from Apple. I was an
early adopter, but never had problems with cracks in the case or power
button problems that have come to be associated with the Cube. I've
recommended the cube to 4 other people who've purchased it and they also
love it, and have not run into those problems.
The only problem I had was my hard drive was noisy. I swapped it out for
a quieter drive and am quite happy with it now.
For anybody who doesn't need PCI, but wants a desktop, the cube is the
best. I have no idea why it doesn't sell.
Market Connections Inc.
I've a 500 MHz Cube with Radeon card. About 8 months old. Was hooked
up to a 15" Apple LCD via ADC but is now purring with a 22" Cinema.
Standard in every way except for 256M RAM and 40 gig drive. No problems
whatsoever. Slight hiss from Radeon fan. Running OS X like a charm.
DOesn't seem to get hot, left on all of the time (but its set to sleep
after 60 mins inactivity). Managed to crash OS X once so far (Mail.app
was doing something screwy and couldn't escape to the shell). No
issues, no regrets - quiet efficiency encapsulated.
I am a very SHORT time CUBE user as I bought one off
of the Apple Online Store site (as a refurbish a couple of
I decided to pick one up to use at home as I believed that
all of the major annoyances would be fixed by now
(this has been, I believe, to be a correct assertion - so far).
The CUBE was very cheap & has performed flawlessly for
about 2 weeks now without a hitch
Cost: about $1099 (obviously an Apple Inc. dump it price!)
CPU: 450 MHZ Cube with DVD,
Graphics: low end (silent) graphics card
RAM: 64 MB...
(which I bumped immediately with some
PC133 ram from frys (for 89 bucks) following
some research from some web sites (yours included, of course))
OS: I am running latest OS 9.1 + the CUBE firmware update...
System has no cracks, strange shutdown behavior
or DVD weirdness...
If your readership is interested in getting a CUBE
before they 'go' at a reasonable price -- keep trying
'the store' & some of the 'refurbish' sites like smalldog
& perhaps some more will become available in the
So far, a very positive experience.
Cheers & good luck to all,
PS - forgot to mention that I am using
a 19 inch VGA monitor & not an Apple
ADC monitor at the moment...
[Replies received 6/18/2001 follow]
"Happy Cube Owner -
hi Mike, my name is Pat, and I'm a happy Cube owner." I always feel I
should start out my introduction to Mac users like that as the Cube has put
"us" in some type of crazy support group.
Anyway, I've been using my Cube since last November and ditched my Dual 450
for it. I use Photoshop/Illustrator/GoLive all day and the Cube has to be
the most stable system I've used in my 11 year Macintosh experience. I never
had the power button problem, nor the erratic shut down syndrome. I did have
a problem with the firewire ports after 2 months of use. Seemed the cables
bent the ports towards the casing and would cause an annoying "hum". I
doubled over a piece of electrical tape, and haven't had the problem since.
My model is the 450, and I immediately dumped the 5400 drive for a Western
Digital 7200 drive. All has been great, and if the Cube dies off it will be
a shame. There's no doubt the reason for buying one of these is for style
rather than substance. But once you enjoy an evening of "silence" while
working, you can never go back to the Sesna Props that occupy the G4 towers.
WD 30GB HD
ATI Rage Pro (no fan)
Cinema Display via Belkin ADC to DVI connector
We have 5 cubes. Two have the Apple LCD monitor, the rest various
non-Apple CRTs. One had a problem with the power switch (on the
monitor). The rest have been trouble-free.
Information Systems Manager
(University name withheld)
I've been using a Cube since they were released and I have encountered
none of the problems that seem to plague other users. I Have only good
things to say about my G4 Cube. I use a LG Flatron 17 inch VGA monitor.
All I can say is that I couldn't be happier and given the opportunity I
would do I all over again.
I'm a happy 450 Cube owner/user and have been since September. I'm using
the 17" studio display [CRT model] and just bumped the RAM to 640 megs. With my
40-hard drive, I hope I’m set for a time. I don’t leave it on 24 hours a
day, but it gets a workout with Photoshop, InDesign, Word, Communicator,
etc. I've had no problems with the hardware at all. No smoke, flameouts,
or even cracks in the case. For the first time in my 16-year Mac
experience (this is my fourth model since 1985), however, I did opt for
AppleCare. Seemed the sensible thing to do in light of the new design.
I paid the full $1799, those who can buy the new lower-priced CD-RW
model are getting a great deal in my opinion. I have a DVD-RAM external
drive and have said farewell to the days of SCSI. I was very
disappointed to hear that the Cube's days may be numbered. I have a G4
tower at work and in the future would hate to give up my newfound desk
real estate here at home to upgrade to a space-hog.
In terms of software (and this isn’t the Cube’s fault, of course), my
only complaint is that when I start up under OS X I feel like a stranger
in my own home. I won't be a steady OS X user until my core apps are up
and running — and Apple decides to give back most or all of the
ease-of-use features they've taken away from OS 9.1: customizable Apple
menu, smart scrolling, the ability to empty my own trash, etc., etc. I
bought my first Mac because I didn't ever want to type a command line —
and I'm not about to start now.
The question you asked has gone through my mind as well (since I need to get
a computer for my kids). Though I don't own a Cube (I own a Dual G4 450
Tower and G4 400 PowerBook), the discounted Cube with the recently
discounted 15 inch LCD monitor represents a potential alternative to the
rumored new iMac. My best friend owns this combo, and loves it. He's had
no problems outside of the fan noise associated the Radeon graphics card
(resonates on hard surfaces).
I only have four months in on my G4/Cube at work but it has worked as
good as any Mac I have had with absolutely no problems. I must have
waited long enough to avoid the reported problems. The heat is minor
after being on all day. I added a Sony Firewire CD burner which works
well with the internal burner for copying CD's, etc.
The only complaint would be that the cables are short and it is expected
that the Cube be placed near the monitor and keyboard. I hooked to an
old 1705 Apple monitor which required an adaptor since it just has VGA
out. My 15" screen will be here next week.
I've been using a cube at work for over six months with the 17 inch ADC
CRT Monitor. I have had problems with the power. Not so much the
switch, but the card itself. The socket to the motherboard seems to have
a little give . My desk is on the outer wall of the office and, if
someone shuts the door a little too hard, the desk vibrates, shakes the
card and the system goes down. Besides that little bug, I would
recommend the cube to anyone who has no need for SCSI. My boss, who is
"old school IBM", even thinks the cube is the next wave in desktop
computer design. Let's hope the rumors are false, unless of course the
"rumored" iMacs live up to their potential...
My Cube experience (other than the first week) has been absolutely
incredible. I'll cover the painful part first, namely the first week.
I received my Cube on a Saturday, and immediately set it up to start
playing with it. It didn't take long before the machine mysteriously
started booting, shutting down, or restarting on it's own. The
problem was made worse by the fact that when restarting or shutting
down, it didn't even prompt me to save changes, it just plain
restarted. It didn't take me long to find the cause on the Apple
support Web site (and rule out the couple of other possibilities) in
a bad O-Ring on the power switch. A call to Apple, and a couple of
minutes on the phone, had a new O-Ring on it's way to me via FedEx on
Monday Morning (I called on Sunday).
[Note - Apple's Cube Customer Installable Parts page has a guide to replacing the power button gasktet, as well
as other components like the hard drive, RAM, Airport card, etc.-Mike]
After installing the replacement O-Ring which appeared to be just a
hair thicker than the old one and was a breeze to install, everything
has worked perfectly. I have since upgrade my Cube with 1 GB of RAM,
a 7200 RPM IBM hard drive, an ATI Radeon graphics card (driving a
Sony 19" VGA monitor), and a serial port to connect my Palm device
to. Externally I have a second hard drive (FireWire), two Epson
ink-jet printers (USB), a flatbed scanner (USB), a slide scanner
(FireWire), and an external video adaptor (FireWire). What more do I
need at home? To boot, the entire setup is insanely quite, making it
a joy to work on. The only thing missing is an Apple Cinema Display
to make my setup complete.
A quick word on PCI slots, at work I have a dual processor box (which
I'll admit I'd love a dual processor Cube) but I've come nowhere
close to using up the slots. Other than a SCSI PCI card, I'm not
using a singe additional slot. Don't get me wrong, I was happy when
Apple added the fourth PCI slot (for the people that need them), and
I'll even admit that a few people may need more (for example a high
end video editing studio), but I don't need any at home. In my
opinion, the lack of expendability of the Cube has been way over
blown and I highly recommend one to anyone considering a purchase.
On a side note, I hope the rumors of Apple totally killing the Cube
are false and Apple is just clearing out inventory to give us a new
Cube on par with the current towers. Same bus speed, same processor
speeds, and same AGP port (after all one needs to be able to install
a GeForce 3 or whatever ATI comes out with next). Throw in 800mb
FireWire and I'd be all set. In any event, I would buy a Cube again
in a second (and will if Apple comes out with new ones).
I hope my 2˘ helps.
I have been using a 500 Mhz Cube since August 2000. I have been using it
with the 15" Studio Display (ADC) since Christmas. No problems what so
ever. I have used it with the Rage 128 until December 2000, the OEM Radeon
tell about a month ago, and a fanless Radeon ever since. It continues to
work well. It was a little unstable with the 128 MB stock configuration.
Since I added 256 MB in September 2000 (250$ back then) it has been
extremely stable. Again, there have been no problems to date.
Hope this helps.
I'v had a cube 450 since October '00.
I had to send it back immediately for the "fix" by Apple.
It has been rock solid since.
I like it, its quiet and stylish.
21"crt using the vga port.
For about the past 5 months, I have been using a G4 Cube/500 with 256 RAM, ATI Radeon graphics card, 15˛ ADC LCD display and running Mac OS 9.1 (I wonąt switch to Mac OS X until there is a MS Office update later this year). I LOVE my Cube! I have not had any problems with the machine, except for the somewhat noisy fan on the ATI Radeon card. I have highly recommended this machine to other people like myself who are not regular power-users, and do not need numerous slots in order to do my work (my last machine was a B&W G3/450, and I never used all of the slots on it).
I am saddened to hear about the Cube end-of-life rumors, but it wonąt dampen my enjoyment of using the most cleverly engineered and beautiful desktop I have ever seen. Besides, since 1984 I have bought a new Mac every two years; and for the last 6 years I have also bought a new laptop every 2 years ( I currently have a TiG4/500, which is the best laptop I have ever worked with- despite couple of minor criticisms with the machine). For the next 18 months, this is the perfect machine for me (and it is finally satisfying to own Macs that generate curiosity, and ENVY, with the majority of PC users in my office).
I've been using a basic 450 Mhz Cube (Refurb. from Apple Store) for
several months, with no problems. Quiet, I mean absolutely Q-U-I-E-T
(except when CD/DVD drive decides to hum) and uncluttered. Does
everything I need it to do. In PhotoShop, it combines with my 22 inch
Cinema Display to do a great job. I've partitioned my 20 GB hard drive
to run OS 9.1 and OS X. With 576 MB RAM, OSX runs very well, and
Classic seems to run as fast in OSX as in 9.1. Sufficient RAM is the
key to running OSX and Classic apps. For analog input, I use a Formac
Studio. I replaced an 8600 with dual CRT's, regained knee room under
the desk, and shed a maze of cables. Since I don't need to burn CD's,
and don't have a DVD player sitting under my TV, the Cube's DVD drive is
a nice addition for playing movies.
Way to go, Apple...the Cube works
Hi, I've been using a cube for at least 8 months
15" apple LCD with Apple connector
I'm a network engineer (mostly novell/windows environment) and the cube
was purchased to get some idea of what MacOS X will mean to our few (50
osX capable) macintoshes.
My machine has pretty much run in macos x continually (i've probably
only booted to 9 less than 40 times since the public beta was initially
installed) and its been getting more and more stable.
I've never had a problem with the power switch, except of course when
tilting the cube to plug in connectors to the base.
since the MacOS X 10.0.1 the machine has been running well. I leave it
on at night and that seems to have helped (i believe there are system
mainainence jobs that are cron'd for night time running).
The only kernel panic I have had is while holding up the display to show
a quicktime clip to someone else. The USB connector for the Zip was
plugged into the monitor and I believe that it was the connector being
under strain that caused the panic.
The cube itself has proven to be the most reliable mac i've ever used
(big ups to OS X here as when it was in 9 it could be tardy comming out
of sleep, and had issues with a firewire drive and sleeping).
recently I have updated the apache webserver to enable use of proxying
and hence disabled CPU sleep. that also seems to have helped.
hope this is of some interest.
I've been using my Cube since mid-September without a hitch. I have a 15"
Studio Display (ADC) connected with speakers and keyboard/mouse hooked up
through the display. None of the widely publicized glitches have imposed
themselves upon my Cube, though I purchased AppleCare just in case.
I've added 2x256MB DIMMs and use FireWire Target Disk Mode on occasion to do
bulk data transfers. Internet access has always been via DSL so I've never
used the modem.
It came with Mac OS 9.0.4 and has since been upgraded through all stops to
Mac OS X 10.0.3, performing like a champ the whole way. Remember, though,
You asked for experiences of a long time Cube users. I had my Cube 450 MHz
since october 2000, and I didn't have any problem with the machine
whatsoever. No mysterious on/off problems, nothing. I am using it with a
iiyama CRT monitor, so I can't comment about the LCD monitor issue. The only
thing that bothers me is that during the transportation of the Cube from US
to Europe the case got damaged, and now I've been unable to get the
replacement case for months (In Europe you have to send your Cube to Apple
service center in Netherlands, and I don't want to send the whole machine
and wait just because I need a new case). You can post this as a desperate
cry of a Cube owner who had no luck finding a place to buy a replacement
case. If anyone has one to sell, contact me :(((
Otherwise, it is a wonderful machine, probably the best Mac I've ever had,
and I don't regret paying almost $2000 at the time. It offers everything the
tower does, except the extra PCI slots, which I figured I almost never used
anyway. The quality of workmanship is exceptional, no cheap plastic to be
seen, the case is heavy and solid.
I'm planing to get a new 17" Apple LCD display, and I think this would be a
setup that would serve me well for the next couple of years.
I'd suggest anyone who doesn't have the need for extra expansion options to
run out and get himself one of these wonderful machines while they are still
Too bad the minority of users who were so picky about mold lines and had
some initial issues with he cube outyelled all the happy owners. What's more
interesting, I know of the three persons in my vicinity who bought the cube,
ad only one who's got the tower. Go figure.
There is one thing that I don't like - the fact that the ports are
inaccessible during normal operation.
Hope this helps,
If anyone knows a faster way to get a Cube housing, let me know and I'll pass it on.
Hi this is for the cube report.
I live in italy and own a cube. Had it for 7 months.
I had no problems altought my uncle changed one because he had power on problem. The only thing that makes me angry is that you cannot plug usb speakers in a hub, so or you have an adc display or you have to connect periperhals to keyboard, since the keyboard must be connected to the central usb port. This is because it works normally on a hub, but sometimes it stops working and you have to disconnect it and reconnect it after a 30 seconds. I do not know why, but since i started plugging keyboard to central usb it stopped doing it. I have now connected my hub to the other port on the keyboard...
I've had my G4 450 Cube since October 2000. Here are my system specs:
G4 450 Cube
30GB IBM Deskstar 75GXP HD
ATI RADEON graphics
Mitsubishi Diamondtron 91 NF CRT (VGA)
Various USB and FireWire peripherals (Iomega Zip, Que CDRW, VST floppy, etc)
To date, the only real problem I've had with my Cube was sudden loss of both
the USB and FireWire bus(es). This was repaired by performing a clean
install of OS 9.1. I think it was due to a power surge and an old surge
Anyway, I've not had an other problems with the Cube (power switch, etc.).
It has been a flawless Macintosh for me. My Cube is on just about all the
time. I put it to sleep at night for the few hours that I actually get some
sleep. About the only time it gets turned off or restarted is when some
offending application crashes the machine or I install new software that
requires a reboot.
I do not like the fan on the RADEON card; but have been neither ambitious
enough to install a quieter fan nor brave enough to disconnect the fan and
see what happens.
The spherical speakers provide excellent sound. I have not replaced them
because none of the USB alternatives I have seen have a headphone jack on
them. The new Monsoon iM700 system is tempting as are the Soundsticks, but
I need to have the ability to connect headphones. Curse Apple for
eliminating the audio in/out ports. :D
Anyway, that's my review after almost 9 months of use. I use my machine for
running a home business, freelance writing, playing way too many games, and
of course frequenting Xlr8yourmac.com. Is this my favorite Mac? No. That
honor is reserved for my Titanium PowerBook G4 500.
Let me know if you need any more detail.
I bought my cube used and I love it.. It's fast and quiet and works
great. One thing though.. and I haven't been able to confirm where the
problem lies but the combination of Cube as basestation and TiBook makes
for ridiculously poor range.. Like intermittant in the next room.
Forget the front porch or back yard....
I've been using my 450 Cube with Apple's 17" CRT since last September and so
far I've had no problems with it. I've installed an additional 256MB ram
from ramjet and I've been running OS X without any trouble.
I've been using a Cube since they came out-- I bought the 450MHz model
with the Radeon card and a 15" Apple flat panel.
It's been wonderful. There were some initial touch-switch problems (as
others have reported) but after I rerouted some internal wiring
according to a Web article, the problem vanished never to return.
I've stuffed it with a Maxtor 80G drive and 512M of RAM. It's fast,
reliable, and (except for the very faint hum of the Radeon fan) silent.
Although I use a dual-processor G4 tower for development work under OS
X, my personal preference is the quiet, elegant Cube.
-- David R.
I have had a Cube for over 6 months now. It has been back to Apple for
the spontaneous shutdown problem. They replaced the video card,
according to the report. I replaced the power button gasket myself. It
no longer seems to shut down on its own. The speakers do not work.
Having them attached causes the sound level in the sound control panel
to migrate left to zero. External speakers or headphones plugged into
the miniplug do work.
Although it is a pretty cool design and mine has performed well (when
working), I can see where Apple would ditch the Cube since its sales
I ordered my cube from my cell phone while Steve Jobs was finishing his
keynote @ MWNY last year, so I have one of the first. I originally used a
15" Cinema Display and now use a 22'. My Cube has been great. I was and am
still mad that I had to buy a Radeon card after the fact but have had no
problems before or after installing the Radeon. I also upgraded the HD from
a 30 to a 60 and have gone happily back and forth from 9.1 to X. The 30G HD
is working fine in an OWC Mercury case.
I did have to send back the 15"
display because the monitor control panel would open randomly. It was
returned in 4 days and has worked fine ever since. The Cube is a great
machine and I would love to see it with a superdrive. Plugging cameras,
rio's and other digital devices directly into the Cube isn't easy. If apple
built a compatible combo firewire/usb hub to complement it, it would be
perfect. I use the Belkin firewire hub and an AMP usb hub.
I have a 450MHz Cube that was factory refurbished. I've owned it since
December 2000. I also have a 15" Studio Display (flat panel). I have 320 MB
memory and have a firewire external drive as well as the internal. I have
had no major problems with it since I've owned it. I have never really seen
the "cracks" nor have I experienced any power-switch problems. It is quiet,
dependable and very attractive. I am sad to hear the rumors that Apple
might be discontinuing it. But no technology lasts forever and the Cube is
before its time and definitely a look at what's to come for the future of
If anyone is considering buying one of these machines, I would recommend it
unless you have a need for PCI cards.
So far my Cube has been reliable. It is not quite 6 months old, but it
takes a beating. It has an 80gb drive in it and another 80gb drive velcro'd
to the outside. I use it as a mobile computer with a KDC 19" monitor and I
have the external drive, a Sony 10X CDRW Firewire drive, a USBhub and a
Lexar card reader all velcro'd to it. It's rather scratched up but always
works fine. It's cheaper then a Powerbook which would be ideal for what I
need. I paid $1050 for it at CompUSA open box with a 3 yr warranty.
Never a single problem with my cube or Apple 15" ADC Flat Panel. Works like
2 More at work and NO problems with them either.
Tale of the Cube
Have had mine now for almost a year. Upgraded the memory to 192M, the hard
drive to 30G, and the graphics card to the Promax dual head card.
Unfortunately I have had problems including, but not limited to the
1) power switch problems (sent in for repair)
2) FireWire ports malfunctioning (sent in for repair)
3) Ethernet port malfunctioning (sent in for repair)
4) not waking from sleep problem (sent in for repair)
Other than that, I have been real happy with mine....
Hello: My Cube report:
I own a small design firm in Minneapolis. We have two G4 workstations, 3
iMacs, one iBook 500 and two Sony PC's. I also own a Cube, my office
I purchased the Cube right after it came out, and I have a 15" LCD Apple
Monitor. Mine does have the crack/flaw/line/whatever near the top, but they
have never posed a problem. I have 385 Megs of RAM, all of it is OWC private
The Cube did go out, as in the Power switch problem after about two months
of daily use. I called Apple, they FedEx'd a shipping box and labels and had
it back to me inside three days. Apple replaced the CPU power switch and
something called a "cage".
My Cube is really a fun Mac. I did not need the expansion space of a G4, but
I do have a Belkin USB hub on one port with four usb items attached. Since
the warranty fix last year I have had no problems. The Cube is on 8-10 hours
a day, 5 days a week, with no problems from heat, spontaneous shut downs
etc. I use a compressed air duster to keep the air vents and the dvd slot
clean. I am a bit sad that Apple is going to EOL the Cube, I'll keep mine
for until the Fall and then get the next "big idea".
I only use myself as the bleeding edge guinea pig in the office. The G4's
and the iMacs are where we make money and they are all workhorses.
If you want a cool box to sit on your desk so your other middle age friends
will be impressed, get a Cube. The design is outstanding and it really works
Regards, Mike M.
Hi Mike. This is actually the first time that I've written to your
site, but I want to share my experience with the Cube. Basically, it's
awesome! I'm a physician in a small office, and other than the number
of "ooooh's and aaaaaah's" I get from my patients, it's the perfect
computer for me- it's small, QUIET, fast, nice looking (it fits right
into my decor- I have a picture of my daughters on the screen and it
looks like a picture frame). Other than a few power button glitches at
the beginning, I've been up and running with OS X (24/7) over a DSL line
for about 8 months (I had the Public Beta). Does everything I need,
I have a 450MHz Cube with 256MB RAM, 15" flatscreen and an Epson DJ
935C. I burn CD's regularly with my 12/10/32 Que Firewire CDRW, and
also edit movies (I did a great Easter flick recently). I also have
iTunes running in the background- on the "Beethoven Rocks" station via
internet. Adds a nice mood to my office. Nothing but good stories here.
I have had one of the G4 Cubes since last September (one of the G4/450
models, with the ram brought to 192 megs - the easiest upgrade I've ever
done) and have been using it with the 15" ADC monitor. It's been a great
machine, and actually a huge draw into my office (I teach at a small
university, and usually have several students a week [some not my mine!]
walk in just to see it after glimpsing it from the hall). I've had many
firewire and USB peripherals plugged into it without a hitch (including
a Que CD burner, Zip drive, optical mouse, TI-86 calculator, and a Sony
hi8 camcorder). The monitor and speakers are very nice - especially when
combined with their small footprint. I've been also running OS X on it
(both the beta and all the versions through 10.0.3) without any problems
(the performance seems slightly better than that of X on my Pismo
To my chagrin, after many months of problem-free usage I developed the
sleep/shutdown bug. After a week of truly annoying behavior, I came
across the simple "paper" fix (where you open the Cube, cut a small
piece of paper trimmed to fit over the power button, tape in down, and
close the Cube up), and haven't had the problem since (it's been about
10 days of trouble-free behavior).
It's a shame the Cube never really caught on - it's been a great machine
Hey Mike; saw your call for Cube owner experience and since I've had mine
for 10 months now, I figured I'd mail in.
My experiences with the Cube (450 Mhz, Rage 128 Pro) (and my 17" CRT ADC
monitor) have been mostly good, with no serious issues coming up. The
issues I have had are these, in order of seriousness (most serious first):
) The USB bus occasionally gets very confused; the keyboard sometimes loses
the media keys or thinks the right Command key is mapped to Command+Option.
) When the machine puts itself to sleep with Energy Saver, it sometimes does
not wake up. Needs to be rebooted. Putting it to sleep normally causes no
) The CD drive is finicky and often has issues ejecting CDs that have custom
labels. Due to the form of the machine, there's no manual eject either, so
needle nose pliers are necessary.
) After transporting the machine around a few times, something inside it
started to whine. So it's no longer silent, it's just mostly quiet.
) There's no comfortable way to put the speakers and monitor together with
the amp under the monitor without either bringing the monitor back off my
desk a little bit, or having the monitor rest on the cables. Also, the USB
cable from the amp is too short.
) Also due to transporting it, some debris has gotten stuck between the
plastic casing and the actual machine, which can look a little grimy.
Despite these issues, I'm happy with the machine. Better than an iMac, for
not quite as much as a desktop (well, at least, now.) High recommendations,
especially since the cost has come down.
I've been using a G4 Cube for some time now, and haven't experienced any
of the Power Switch failure or Case cracking problems mentioned here and
elsewhere on the web. A great machine IMHO, and far more impressive than
the Dual G4 500 I have at work. Size does matter, and I really hope they
don't ditch this beauty.
Dartington Crystal Limited
I've had my Cube since November and can only say good things about it. I
have the Cinema Display hooked up to it and have been using OS X since
3/24. The only reason I'd even consider a tower is DP, GF 3, and the
super-drive. The Cube has preformed flawlessly! 500 mhz Cube, DVD,
256 megs RAM, Radeon, Cinema Display, H/K SoundSticks
My cube is great - love it - no problems...
I do pro audio/video/net work on it just fine...
I think the only real problems with it was that it was over priced at
- but I'll easily pay $200 bucks extra for a small silent type!
People are strange... Just don't have a clue.
I ordered my Cube with the 15˛ LCD when they first became available. At first my system suffered from the random sleep bug. After adjusting the shield around the touch switch it has been rock solid ever since. I added a Radeon video card and the performance has been excellent. I will probably purchase another one some time soon
I have had three Cubes for about eight months now. One at home for night web stuff and two at work for business users. The home unit have an Apple 17in. display with HarmonCardon sound sticks. One at work is connected to a 22 inch Cinema display in our front office/lobby, it looks great and is a great topic of conversation. The other office cube has a 19/20inch Sony 420 GS.
All three have been very reliable, none have had the power button problem. I think they are fine machines.
Fred C. - General Manager
TheTroupe Modern Media Design & Production
It's very funny, because I got my cube 12/15/00, and now it's 6/18/01, 3
days more than six months. I've been using the cube and here's what I have:
384 RAM, it's a 450Mhz Apple Refurb. It has a 75GIG IBM deskstar hard
drive, and the Rage 128 graphics card. (All installed by an Apple
It doesn't get nearly as hot as my souped up 9600 did. (Gauge Pro said it
went to 140 degrees before it froze playing games.) This goes to about 110
degrees F MAX while doing intensive tasks (games, adobe premiere) Never
goes higher than 110.
The problems I've had:
Airport is one interesting thing. I could never get a strong signal, and it
would always die out and such. They even sent me a replacement airport
card. I found out that by moving it a centimeter to the right, or rotating
it more than a few degrees would change it dramatically, so after very
careful moving around, I got the perfect position. I used a sharpie to mark
it on the desk, and I don't touch the cube.
A problem I can't seem to shake is a monitor resolution problem. I'm using
a ViewSonic PT813 professional series 21" display. Every few startups (at
random) the viewable area would be too narrow. I would have to make the
screen wider to fill the display via the monitor controls. Apple tech
support couldn't fix this problem. (Meaning I went through all the trouble
Recently, I've had these two problems that I think may or may not be related
to the cube but to my software. Command Save is a key combination. Let's
pretend that at random, every few minutes, I press it. that's what's going
on. In explorer, e-mail programs, anything with a command save function,
the save dialog would come up at random as though I pressed command save. I
got a replacement keyboard from apple and so far that has seemed to have
fixed the problem. (Thank god for applecare) The second problem is that my
apple menu options seem to be corrupt. (Despite trashing the prefs file,
the same recent apps come up, and they don't change)
So, I fixed problem number 1. Problem number 2 is extremely scarce so it
doesn't matter, and problem number 3 is probably not the cube's fault.
I give the cube an A+ it's worked great ever since I got it. It's a
beautiful machine and I wish that Apple had more luck selling it.
I've owned a Cube for about 6 months. The first one arrived dead in the box
and I determined that the power supply was faulty. When I replaced the power
supply it turned out that the thermal protect sensor was defective on the cube.
Apple replaced the unit with another (refurbished unit) that wouldn't boot. Only
a gray screen with a folder welcomed me. No luck booting from any alternate
So now I have this Cube and it has been working faithfully ever since. No problems
of any kind.
Mike, I'm just reporting on the state of my cube. Even though my
cube is only around 3 months old, it must have been sitting in
the store for a while because the creation date puts it back
around october last yar. It is a dvd 450Mhz cube, and I have
since upgraded it to 192Mb RAM and a 40GB 60GXP IBM hard
disk drive. Both upgrades went smoothly. I have never noticed
the "power on off" problem, and suspect this was a minor defect
in really early model cubes that has since been corrected. My
cube does feature 2 or 3 "mold" lines but they are certainly not
bad enough to make me regret the purchase. For example, in
showning off the cube to friends, no-one has ever even come
close to noticing them. Initially, I was a little disapointed with
noise of the hard drive, which rendered the noise of operation
considerably above "silent", but you get use to it after a while and
it is still certainly much more quiet than most computers.
Other than that, the cube has been very stable with only a few
unexplained crashes in 3 months of use. Admittedly, I had to
wait for the dvd cubes to be discounted and bought through
education before I was convinced it was a good deal. I think
possibly future sales are becasue they refuse to put >500 Mhz
chips in them, which is certainly possible. The cube features a
massive heatsink and heat isn't as big a problem as most
Overall, very happy with the cube, hope that helps.
I've been using a Cube since they were a few weeks old. At home I have a
500 MHz Cube, 1 GB RAM, original 40 GB hard drive, upgraded to Radeon
display card. Up 24 x 7. No problems whatsoever. Runs cool. My
machine never had the power switch problem reported by others. OS 9.1
would have an occasional wake from sleep problem, but this is gone in OS
I use the 15" LCD Apple ADC display, also trouble free. Other
peripherals include Sony 145XE CDRW firewire drive, a Polaroid
Sprintscan 4000 slide scanner (SCSI) and a Sprintscan 45.
Now using OS X nearly exclusively except for high resolution slide
scanning with legacy SCSI peripherals (using Microtech's excellent
I still get lots of comments like "wow, THAT'S your computer, cool!" All
in all, a real marketing failure by Apple. Most of the PC-heads out
there still have never seen one of these.
I am the Macintosh Computer Administrator on Campus. I work at a small College with the Graphics Dept. taking care of at least one lab of 18 Cubes. They were installed last September 2000. They are configured 400Mhz, 256 MB RAM, 40 Gig HD, standard Video cards.
I've had many problems with at least a 30% failure rate on the Cubes and with the 17" Apple Displays too.
1 Hard Drive (IBM shot) replaced with a Maxtor if it matters.
5 Switch problems along with those 2 had a video problem. Both different One had totally blurred screen the other shaking problem at only 2 resolutions.
Security tabs just almost fall off. Security is useless.
6 Monitor problems, various in nature. One had been sent back a second time because it came back dead.
We also got in 5 G3 500Mhz Powerebooks for faculty. One had a bad logic board. 1 out of 5 that's 20%. rotten also.
In my opinion, the Cubes have no place in an academic venue and I think they are junk ! They run quirky too. Is junk too strong ? I used to be a Mac advocate
but not after I seen what happened here. We own 2 Macs and I just purchased a PC 1400Mhz for myself.
Thanks to all that responded.
Notes on Case "Mold Lines", New vs. Refurbished Cubes:
I have bought several refurbished Macs over the years and they have all looked like new and worked well. Recently I had a first-hand look at a refurbished G4 cube and wanted to post some comments about this particular sample as well as the issue of mold lines in the housing. Although I have seen several Cubes in stores and read many stories on the net about the 'mold lines' in the case, I now know why some owners were upset about them, especially the one on the top right side of the case. On this sample, the upper right hand corner had a very visible line that stood out like a sore thumb and clearly looked like a scratch. (It was deep enough to actually cast a shadow onto the white surface of the inside sleeve.) I was convinced it was not a mold line since it was wavy and stopped (disappeared) long before the edge of the case. However looking at a ZDnet page close-up, this is a common mold line apparently. So be aware this will not likely be cause for a replacement housing, no matter how visible it is on any particular sample. No wonder Apple got some many calls on this issue.
Nobody I know would have guessed this was not a scratch based on the shape, location and depth. (Even a dealer thought it was a scratch.) Since the line "disappears" farther down, my guess is that the housing is polished on some surfaces/areas, but not that far up on the housing. (Just a guess, but I've never seen mold lines suddenly stop like this unless they were polished out as part of the final manufacturing process.)
I'm sure the visibility of this front surface mold line will vary and note that many owners above did not comment on mold lines at all. This sample may be a worst-case example (just bad luck), since I never remember seeing anything this noticeable on any Cube on display at a retail store. (Of course they may be specially selected housings since they're for display purposes.) The only way to get this housing replaced (after a call to Apple) was to take it to an Apple authorized dealer/service center for examination. A dealer took one look at the condition of this particular housing (the mold line visibily which they thought was a scratch, the debris inside the housing and even glue residue in several areas) and he called Apple for a replacement. [Update - a replacement brand new housing from Apple had the same visible line on the front upper corner, although not quite as noticeable as the refurbished one. The new housing was spotless otherwise. Although it took a dealer's ok to get it sent - it arrived very quickly.]
I'm posting this as a FYI to readers that are considering buying a cube based on the recent rumors it may be discontinued. [Upate - Apple noted on 7/3/2001 it has stopped production of the Cube.] And remember even on a new system the mold line visibility alone will not qualify for a replacement housing (based on the call to Apple support that said this line was normal). If you're intent on buying a Cube, my advice is to buy new, from a dealer that will let you look at the case before buying. Although refurbished Macs now have a 1 year warranty just like the new models, here is a list of other benefits of a new Cube vs a refurbished one.
- May have a better housing (there were reports the molding process was improved)
- Free OS X installed w/CDs (or at least eligible for the free OS X offer) [$129 list]
- Later CD versions included (OS, software restore, hardware test, etc.) Many refurbs have OS 9.04 CDs and OS install, and this sample didn't have the DVD ROM drive firmware update applied.
- The Apple store lists Appleworks 6 as included w/new Cubes (not w/refurb. models).
- No need to update the DVD ROM drive firmware, system firmware, etc.
- May have other subtle improvements over the earlier refurbished models
- Until this refurbished Cube had the 4.1.8 firmware update applied, it would shut off when trying to boot from a Mac OS 9.1 CD. (Both a software restore OS 9.1 CD and the OS 9.1 CD included with the OS X package - and each time it not only powered off, but cleared the novram also.) The firmware update won't apply unless you're running OS 9.1, but updating from the OS 9.1 CD was possible after booting from the hard drive.
It's your call if a refurb. is worth the appx $200 savings over a new model. (Based on a new Cube list price of $1299 vs. typical refurbished price of $1099.) I've owned several refurbished Macs and was always happy with the condition they were in out of the box, so I was shocked at the condition of this refurbished Cube. As the old saying goes, your mileage may vary.
Also note that if you buy from a mail-order dealer, they often have free RAM offers on new Macs, but if there's an install fee ($30 often times), remember a 128MB SDRAM dimm now costs only about $30. For any system with only 64MB, I'd highly recommend adding at least 128MB more of RAM.
Apple had a page of G4 Cube parts replacement guides that included installing RAM, an Airport card, replacing battery, the main enclosure, replacing the hard drive, optical drive, replacing the power button gasket and more.
For other Systems related articles, reviews and guides, see the Systems Topics page.
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