Power Mac G4 Cube
The Power Mac G4 Cube was a small form factor
Small form factor
A small form factor is a computer form factor designed to minimize the volume of a desktop computer. For comparison purposes, the size of an SFF case is usually measured in litres. SFFs are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, including shoeboxes, cubes, and book-sized PCs...

The Macintosh , or Mac, is a series of several lines of personal computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. The first Macintosh was introduced by Apple's then-chairman Steve Jobs on January 24, 1984; it was the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a...

 personal computer
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

 from Apple Inc. It was sold from 2000 to 2001. Its cube shape is reminiscent of the NeXTcube
The NeXTcube was a high-end workstation computer developed, manufactured and sold by NeXT from 1990 until 1993. It superseded the original NeXT Computer workstation and was housed in a similar cube-shaped magnesium enclosure. The workstation ran the NeXTSTEP operating system.- Hardware :The...

 from NeXT
Next, Inc. was an American computer company headquartered in Redwood City, California, that developed and manufactured a series of computer workstations intended for the higher education and business markets...

, acquired by Apple in 1996. The machine was designed by Apple industrial design
Industrial design
Industrial design is the use of a combination of applied art and applied science to improve the aesthetics, ergonomics, and usability of a product, but it may also be used to improve the product's marketability and production...

er Jonathan Ive
Jonathan Ive
Jonathan "Jony" Ive, CBE is an English designer and the Senior Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple Inc. He is the leading designer and conceptual mind behind the iMac, titanium and aluminum PowerBook G4, G4 Cube, MacBook, unibody MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iPod, iPhone, and iPad.- Early...

. The New York Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world...

 holds a G4 Cube, along with its distinctive Harman Kardon
Harman Kardon
harman/kardon is a division of Harman International Industries and manufactures home and car audio equipment.Founded in 1953 by Dr. Sidney Harman and Bernard Kardon — two men with a deep interest in music and the arts — the company helped create the high-fidelity audio industry. Their first product...

 transparent speakers, as part of its collection.


The diminutive 8" x 8" x 8" cube, suspended in a 10" tall Acrylic (PMMA)
Acrylic glass
Poly is a transparent thermoplastic, often used as a light or shatter-resistant alternative to glass. It is sometimes called acrylic glass. Chemically, it is the synthetic polymer of methyl methacrylate...

 enclosure, housed a PowerPC G4
PowerPC G4
PowerPC G4 is a designation used by Apple Computer to describe a fourth generation of 32-bit PowerPC microprocessors. Apple has applied this name to various processor models from Freescale, a former part of Motorola....

 processor running at 450 or 500 megahertz, and had an unconventional vertical slot-loading DVD-ROM
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

 or CD-RW
A CD-RW is a rewritable optical disc. It was introduced in 1997, and was known as "CD-Writable" during development. It was preceded by the CD-MO, which was never commercially released....

 drive. A separate monitor — with either an ADC
Apple Display Connector
The Apple Display Connector is a proprietary modification of the DVI connector that combines analog and digital video signals, USB, and power all in one cable...

 or VGA
Video Graphics Array
Video Graphics Array refers specifically to the display hardware first introduced with the IBM PS/2 line of computers in 1987, but through its widespread adoption has also come to mean either an analog computer display standard, the 15-pin D-subminiature VGA connector or the 640×480 resolution...

 connection — was required for the Cube, in contrast to the all-in-one iMac
The iMac is a range of all-in-one Macintosh desktop computers built by Apple. It has been the primary part of Apple's consumer desktop offerings since its introduction in 1998, and has evolved through five distinct forms....

 series. Also unlike the iMacs, it had an upgradeable video card in a standard AGP slot. However, there was not enough space for full-length cards. The Cube also featured two FireWire ports and two USB
Universal Serial Bus
USB is an industry standard developed in the mid-1990s that defines the cables, connectors and protocols used in a bus for connection, communication and power supply between computers and electronic devices....

 ports for connecting peripherals. Sound was provided by an external USB amplifier and a pair of Harman Kardon
Harman Kardon
harman/kardon is a division of Harman International Industries and manufactures home and car audio equipment.Founded in 1953 by Dr. Sidney Harman and Bernard Kardon — two men with a deep interest in music and the arts — the company helped create the high-fidelity audio industry. Their first product...

 speakers. Although the USB amplifier had a standard mini-plug headphone output, it lacked any audio input. The Cube also used a silent, fanless, convection
Convection is the movement of molecules within fluids and rheids. It cannot take place in solids, since neither bulk current flows nor significant diffusion can take place in solids....

-based cooling system like the iMacs of the time.

History and sales

Apple targeted the Cube at the market between the iMac G3
IMac G3
The iMac G3 was the first model of the iMac line of personal computers made by Apple Inc. , and the originator of the Legacy-free PC market category. Like the first Macs, the iMac G3 is an all-in-one personal computer, encompassing both the monitor and the system unit in a single enclosure...

 and the Power Mac G4
Power Mac G4
The Power Mac G4 was a series of personal computers that was designed, manufactured, and sold by Apple between 1999 and 2004. They used the PowerPC G4 series of microprocessors. They were heralded by Apple to be the first personal supercomputers, reaching speeds of 4 to 20 Gigaflops...

. Despite its innovative design, critics complained that it was too expensive. It was initially priced US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

200 higher than the comparably-equipped and more-expandable base Power Mac G4 of the time (450 MHz CPU, 64 MB RAM, 20 GB hard drive) and did not include a monitor, thus leading to slow sales. Additionally, early Cubes suffered from a manufacturing issue that led to faint lines (referred to as "cracks" or "mold lines") in the clear plastic case. This was often considered damaging to the aesthetic quality of the computer.

After seeing low profits, Apple attempted to increase sales by bundling more software with the Cube, lowering the price of the base model, incorporating a CD-RW
A CD-RW is a rewritable optical disc. It was introduced in 1997, and was known as "CD-Writable" during development. It was preceded by the CD-MO, which was never commercially released....

 drive standard for the 500 MHz version, and offering an improved Nvidia
Nvidia is an American global technology company based in Santa Clara, California. Nvidia is best known for its graphics processors . Nvidia and chief rival AMD Graphics Techonologies have dominated the high performance GPU market, pushing other manufacturers to smaller, niche roles...

 graphics card as an option. These efforts could not offset the earlier perception of reduced value compared to the iMac and Power Mac G4 lineup. In July 2001 Apple issued a short and slightly unusual press release announcing the product was to be put "on ice".

In 2003, the G4 Cube received a brief return to the spotlight after a series of articles in Wired
Wired (magazine)
Wired is a full-color monthly American magazine and on-line periodical, published since January 1993, that reports on how new and developing technology affects culture, the economy, and politics...

charted its cult popularity. The articles, focusing on upgrades installed by individual users and retailers such as Kemplar, led to a sharp rise in the Cube's resale value. Nevertheless, with the release of the relatively inexpensive Mac Mini
Mac Mini
The Mac Mini is a small form factor desktop computer manufactured by Apple Inc. Like earlier mini-ITX PC designs, it is uncommonly small for a desktop computer: 7.7 inches square and 1.4 inches tall. It weighs 2.7 pounds...

 (seen by some as a replacement), coupled with Apple's switch to G5 processors and eventually Intel Core-based processors, the Cube again faded into the background.


Component PowerPC G4
Model July 2000
Model #s M7642LL/A (450 MHz) Configure to order only (500 MHz)
Dimensions 14 lb (6.4 kg), 8.9" H × 7.7" W × 7.7" D (248×195×195 mm)
Central processing unit
The central processing unit is the portion of a computer system that carries out the instructions of a computer program, to perform the basic arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations of the system. The CPU plays a role somewhat analogous to the brain in the computer. The term has been in...

450 MHz or 500 MHz PowerPC G4 (7400/7410) with 1 MB L2 cache.
Front Side Bus
Front side bus
A front-side bus is a computer communication interface often used in computers during the 1990s and 2000s.It typically carries data between the central processing unit and a memory controller hub, known as the northbridge....

100 MHz
Random-access memory
Random access memory is a form of computer data storage. Today, it takes the form of integrated circuits that allow stored data to be accessed in any order with a worst case performance of constant time. Strictly speaking, modern types of DRAM are therefore not random access, as data is read in...

128 MB, 256 MB, 384 MB, 512 MB, 768 MB, 1 GB, or 1.5 GB of PC-100 SDRAM clocked at 100 MHz
Graphics Card ATI Rage 128 Pro with 16 MB of SDRAM, nVidia GeForce2 MX with 32 MB of SDRAM, or ATI Radeon with 32 MB of DDR SDRAM
Hard drive 20 GB, 30, or 40 GB Ultra ATA hard disk drive @ 5400 rpm, or 60 GB Ultra ATA hard disk drive @ 7200 rpm
Optical Drive 24X or 32X CD-ROM, 5X DVD-ROM drive or CD-RW
Maximum Operating System
Operating system
An operating system is a set of programs that manage computer hardware resources and provide common services for application software. The operating system is the most important type of system software in a computer system...

Mac OS X 10.4.11 and Mac OS 9.2.2
Unofficially can run Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" with LeopardAssist

Modifications and upgrades

Since the Cube's demise, a number of Cube enthusiasts have made modifications to their machines. Some of the more popular upgrades are high performance video cards (complete with ductwork to allow the GPU fan to work correctly in the small Cube case) and third-party CPU upgrade cards (up to 1.8 GHz per August 2005); a few people have even modified their Cubes to take a dual-processor upgrade. A popular upgrade is the Geforce 2 MX, which exists in a version specially created for the Cube. Other popular changes include case modifications such as lighting and extra cooling. The Cube uses the same memory and hard drive components as a traditional desktop machine and these upgrades were common. Although the Cube uses a fanless convection-based cooling system, the mounting points for a standard desktop cooling fan are already in place. Upgraders of the Cube often take advantage of this to add a cooling fan to the system.

G4 Cube as an art piece

The G4 Cube and its peripherals were showcased in The Museum of Modern Art, as well as in Digital Design Museum (a division of Design Museum
Design Museum
Design Museum is a museum by the River Thames near Tower Bridge in central London, England. The museum covers product, industrial, graphic, fashion and architectural design. It was founded in 1989 and claims to be the first museum of modern design...


G4 Cubes are also a popular candidate for "MacQuarium
A Macquarium is an aquarium made to sit within the shell of an Apple Macintosh computer. The term was coined by computer writer Andy Ihnatko as a joke but Macquariums have since been built both by Ihnatko himself and by others.Ihnatko originally designed his Macquarium around the Compact...

s", fishtanks made from the chassis of Apple computers.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.