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Cubing the Power Mac G5

By Trollaxor in Op-Ed
Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 05:07:08 AM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)

Recently, many in the Mac community have been discussing the possibility of a G5-based Cube design, similar to Apple's Power Mac G4 Cube. I don't think this will happen, as the thing that killed the original G4 Cube, and that would damn the G5 cube to the same fate eventually, is the lack of market for the thing. Yes, I would like to have one, but being a Mac geek is not a characteristic most Mac users share. Let me explain the lack of market for the Cube and why it's destined to fail.

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comments (24)
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The Power Mac G4 Cube was an 8"x8"x8" masterpiece of space efficiency. It was a powerful system; especially considering the space it existed in. But it was also a powerful system with no expansion capabilities. For years Mac users had been clamoring for a low-budget headless iMac-like device, and the Cube almost met those requirements. The premium of a PowerPC G4 processor was not one of the things that had been asked, even though it's safe to assume that people like power. It was that premium, however, that killed what the Cube could have been.

Apple had a headless iMac G4 well before it came up with the real iMac G4 much later. Apple had answered the calls of something small without a monitor, but they flubbed up when they included a G4 and made the Cube unaffordable: At the time of its release, as is true now, the G4 cost a lot more than any G3 chip. Professionals had little interest in the Cube due to its lack of expansion.

So, where was the Cube meant to go? Into the homes of the old NeXT fans, Apple aficionados, and the niche of people who wanted a workstation and knew that they would never, ever need to add anything to it. In short, the market for the Power Mac G4 Cube was virtually non-existent and it was doomed to low sales figures before it ever made it out the lab. Perhaps Apple expected this, but publicly Apple had been pushing the Cube and then stated regrets when they killed it -- Apple has been known for its marketing blunders before, if you can believe that.

Before Apple prepares the Power Mac G5 Cube, maybe they should take a look at the 20th Anniversary Power Mac and look upon the project with a very limited lifecycle. Already the G5 Cube is hobbled more than its predecessor was: heat considerations over the G4 will require more R&D effort to overcome and maximum RAM will be severely hobbled from the current platform's 8 gigabytes due to space considerations. R&D costs would outweigh potential profits at this point, but Apple has a few other roads to take if it's dead set on a Cube.

IBM's PowerPC 750GX processor, with 1 MB L2 cache on the chip, running at 1 GHz and up, will be a performer. Folks who don't need the Velocity Engine and already have a monitor would be the perfect target for the system. Development costs wouldn't be so steep since Apple has worked the G3 over for years. If Apple wants AltiVec, they could wait for IBM's successor to the 750GX, the VX, which is rumored to have the Velocity Engine but still beat Motorola's G4 in the space and heat departments. Such an economy system could go for well less than anything else Apple offers and could just be Apple's first true foray into the budget PC market, nudging aside Windows competitors in the $700 and lower price range.

If Apple wants to move far and away from the G3, which it seems to of late, then the latest G4 processors from Motorola would be apropos. They're smaller, faster, and cooler than the G4 that Apple used in original Cube, have on-chip L2 cache, and run Mac OS X more than swiftly. Of course, Apple isn't likely to repeat history, so a G4 Cube Mark II isn't likely to happen either, as easy as it would be to update the old design for a minimum of effort. Customers may avoid a system because similarities to the old Cube, dooming it even more than it might be before it ever reaches shelves.

Since Apple likes to push itself and not rely on old technology, making a G5 Cube would still be the most likely move for Apple, just a very difficult one. They must realize that such a system has a limited market and should in turn expect a limited life cycle. It would make a great Mac to commemorate 20 years of Macintosh, and with Panther's darker, metallic look, this could be a great opportunity to return to the black cube motif of yesteryear and allow Mr. Jobs a true revitalization of his dream machine of almost two decades ago. But even that scenario sounds like a dream.

The Cube carries with it a Biblical metaphor: It will return one day, but no one knows exactly when that day will be. Nothing tells Apple to concentrate on a product more than sales, and the chorus of Mac geeks clamoring for Cubes is infinitesimal by comparison. Mac users need to remember what killed the last Cube and realize that things have evolved in a manner that would only complicate development of a new one. There are plenty of Mac lines out there with healthy life cycles and established market interest with something to offer to everyone. Rest assured that the reality of Apple's product line is more than good enough to serve us even without a Power Mac G5 Cube.


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Cubing the Power Mac G5 | 75 comments (55 topical, 20 editorial, 2 hidden)
oopsi (1.00 / 4) (#7)
by fae on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 06:18:26 PM EST

I just moved it to voting and cast -1.

-- fae: but an atom in the great mass of humanity
No sir. (none / 3) (#9)
by Trollaxor on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 06:26:49 PM EST

I moved it to voting.

[ Parent ]
I own and still use a Cube (2.42 / 7) (#10)
by zephc on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 06:32:14 PM EST

and as cool as the concept was, and as solid and reliable as it is, expansion is a pain the ass.  It basically lacks the upgradability of a tower, but also the real portability of a laptop.  That's fine for some people (iMac target audience)  but I found out after a while it wasn't so fine for me.  I'm looking forward to a new PowerBook soon.

+1FP Trollaxor (1.16 / 12) (#11)
by Ronald Reagan3 on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 07:03:54 PM EST

hmmmm (2.33 / 6) (#13)
by Joh3n on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 07:36:17 PM EST

Folks who don't need the Velocity Engine...:

Given the use of quartz extreme, and the likely increased use of it in future OS implementations, I doubt if there will be many of them left.

A new chip without altivec (or whatever IBM will decide to call it) seems a silly idea to me.
You can learn a lot about someone by popping in their un-rewound pr0n tape and seeing where exactly they came.

But (2.66 / 6) (#14)
by Trollaxor on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 07:44:56 PM EST

QE isn't based on AltiVec, it's based on having a certain GPU and VRAM or better.

[ Parent ]
you are correct (none / 3) (#15)
by Joh3n on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 07:49:07 PM EST

And I'm stupid.  For some brief instant of time, my brain swapped the GPU with altivec.

You can learn a lot about someone by popping in their un-rewound pr0n tape and seeing where exactly they came. [ Parent ]

A suggestion: (2.60 / 5) (#16)
by Trollaxor on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 07:54:24 PM EST

Perhaps reading this will help keep Quartz Extreme straight in your head.

[ Parent ]
wait, I'm confused (none / 2) (#54)
by Joh3n on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 02:15:55 PM EST

I thought you needed 32 megs of VRAM for....
You can learn a lot about someone by popping in their un-rewound pr0n tape and seeing where exactly they came. [ Parent ]
Superb article. Slightly flawed? (2.00 / 12) (#19)
by My Trole on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 08:58:09 PM EST

I wholeheartedly agree with your overall supposition. I would just like to tussle over a few of your statements.

  • There would be no problem in using a G5 in a new Cube. It does not run hotter than the latest G4's. If you look at Apple's own specs, you will see that it actually runs cooler. The reason for this misunderstanding is that the new aluminum Power Mac case does not "breathe" as well as the old plastic case. That is the only reason for the 9 fans in the Power Mac G5.
  • Apple would still not be able to compete with PC makers even if the new Cube were sold for under $800. Why buy a Cube that will run a substandard port of Linux when you can buy a cheaper PC, with a native Linux, for less money?
  • Your Biblical metaphor is insufficient in my opinion. We learn from Revelations that Christ does not return without forewarning. The Holy Land will be mired in conflict before His arrival. So your metaphor should read, "It will return one day, but we won't know when that day will be, until the Mac rumor sites are in a flurry a few days or weeks beforehand."

What Linux? (1.50 / 8) (#23)
by igny ignoble on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 10:21:00 PM EST

Nice try.  Linux can't compete with Apple's NeXTStep operating system or mindshare for that matter.

[ Parent ]
Linux? (2.57 / 7) (#29)
by Mindcrym on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 12:51:31 AM EST

Why buy a Cube that will run a substandard port of Linux when you can buy a cheaper PC, with a native Linux, for less money?

An even better question would be why would you want to run Linux on anything that can run OS X? When I got my G4 PowerBook I was fully intending of putting Linux on it. I had to use OS X for all but one day and I was hooked. Its Unix that doesn't looks like ass. The Unix world has been trying to acheive that for 30 years now. Apple did it.

The Holy Land will be mired in conflict before His arrival.

Holy shit! The Holy Land is mired in conflict!! Christ must be coming back Real Soon Now(tm).


[ Parent ]
Speaking of which... (none / 1) (#66)
by Eccles on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 12:29:08 AM EST

...is there any sign Mac OS X is helping open source?  Linux may or may not be ready for the desktop, but Mac OS X certainly is, but should still be capable of running just about any Linux/X/Gnu-style app.  So you can have a usable system and a system for playing with open source in one already-configured bundle.

If so, the XCode development system may also help open source; they have some decent profiling and other tools that are free, if not open-source.

[ Parent ]

BSD!! Asshat! (2.38 / 13) (#42)
by sparklebutt on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 06:42:33 AM EST

UNIX != GNU/Linux
Darwin != GNU/Linux
Darwin = NEXTStep/FreeBSD

There's a reason why linux zombies look at Darwin and go "ick! that's not linux/unix! i want my cute widdle penguin! that debil and bwack box sho scares me!!"

GNU/Linux is not unix.

You leech-faced parrot-heads make me ill. You're just jealous. You see it, you want it, you pack another bowl and go "fuck! i want that. but i want it for free! i want it on my shit for brains x86 legacy crapware! waaaah!" Lamers. Go back to your toys.

I did PC/wintel/linux for years, nay, nearly decades now. (Remember Windows 2.0? BLechh!!) I did Free/Net/OpenBSD. I did Desqview, OS2/Warp, DR-DOS, Atari, Amiga. Hell, I've even done CP/M.

I hated Apple. I hated Apple a whole lot. I've hated MacOS more than any human has any reasonable right to hate anything. It was a black, burning dead neutron star of loathing and purest evil. I renamed Mac lusers system folders to ".sony" whenever I could. I've even beat working Macs to death with aluminum baseball bats.

I sinned. I really did. I mashed something good until no good.

Even though Apple was my first, back when their computers were still called Apples. Even though once I loved them. Back when 128k was more room then any good user could use. Back when having two 360k 5 1/4" floppies was fuck-you-clown straight up bling.

And then, somehow, somewhere, they did something right. And it all went away. Suddenly, it's a joy to compute again, and you can have it any way you want, all the time, non-stop.

Quit whinging. You will be assimilated, or we'll crush your bones and drain your blood to laminate our PCBs with. We'll make your little sister cry. We'll make fun of your mom.

And you're powerless to stop us, sucka.

[ Parent ]

Substandard version of Linux? Bwahahahahaha. (2.00 / 5) (#45)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 07:03:44 AM EST

Now, there's a piece of historic revisionism that even Stalin never tried. Claim the grandfather is the bastard offspring of the grandchild.


"Leftists believe they are the creators of a new world. They see themselves as godlike. That's why they are so rude and so dangerous" - D
[ Parent ]

Wrong and wrong! (2.50 / 6) (#52)
by wolrahnaes on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 01:31:04 PM EST

the new aluminum Power Mac case does not "breathe" as well as the old plastic case.

Hmm... So in your logic, a case that is basically three wind tunnels is worse for airflow than a case with only a few small openings...

That is the only reason for the 9 fans in the Power Mac G5.

Maybe it's because 9 slowly spinning fans are much quieter for the same airflow as the 3 high speed fans in the average computer. The MDD PMG4 was noisy as hell. The G5 is whisper quiet until you start maxing out the processors (not very easy).

substandard port of Linux

As has ben already mentioned, Mac OS X is based on BSD (FreeBSD IIRC). It's not a port of Linux. Also, why would it be substandard? It has all the power of a *NIX system and a nice GUI on top of it all. If Linux could have a GUI that nice, maybe MS wouldn't be completely dominating the desktop.

I am a PC fan (at least until it's possible to build a Mac rather than buy Apple's overpriced hardware), but I see that the best chance for a non-MS desktop still comes from Apple. Having a large app selection for OS X helps Linux fans because it is trivial to port between the two.

[ Parent ]
Yoshi! (none / 2) (#59)
by CrocoStimpy on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 04:17:54 PM EST

We've missed you sooooo much! When Adequacy sank, we thought you were gone forever.

You forgot to mention that the G5 processor is far less susceptible to the Exploding Monitor virus.

[ Parent ]

Hahahaha (1.50 / 4) (#20)
by Talez on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 09:04:15 PM EST

Folks who don't need the Velocity Engine and already have a monitor would be the perfect target for the system.

So thats what? 3 users? or 4?

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est

Me, for one. (2.40 / 5) (#21)
by Trollaxor on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 09:08:31 PM EST

I'm a writer. What use do I have for AltiVec? Aside from certain functions in the operating system being a lot less intensive on the CPU with it, I don't miss it at all.

[ Parent ]
Why did it fail? (2.20 / 10) (#22)
by polish surprise on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 09:51:25 PM EST

I'll give you the real reason: shitty engineering. Who else remembers all the reports of cracking plastic and overheating units? Apple just couldn't get their act together before the released the old one, and I doubt they'll be dumb enough to repeat their mistake. Also, who wants a computer that looks like a toaster?

Controversy is my middle name.

Who else remembers that the cases weren't cracked? (2.80 / 5) (#44)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 07:00:59 AM EST

But, rather, certain Apple users didn't like the idea of mold-lines on their precious machines.

As for who wants one, apparently there are people willing to hack and upgrade old Cubes so that would indicate a certain amount of repressed demand, eh?

"Leftists believe they are the creators of a new world. They see themselves as godlike. That's why they are so rude and so dangerous" - D
[ Parent ]

Who wants it? (2.50 / 4) (#50)
by geesquared on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 01:26:41 PM EST

Hmm... well, if eople objected to computers that looked like toasters, I imagine we'd not see the prliferation of small form-factor PCs, such as Shuttle's XPC offerings.

I've often wondered about people who sneer at small form-factor PC's as not being expandible. Not expandible in what sense? With USB 2.0 and FireWire, all sorts of components what once needed to be able to plug into a bus can now be just daisy-chained off of one of the high-speed ports.

[ Parent ]
No danglies! (none / 1) (#65)
by Eccles on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 09:24:07 PM EST

With a Shuttle, you can have *everything* you want in the box.  Got hardware MPEG-2 encoding/decoding in a cube?  Video capture?  Digital audio out?  Component video out?  And can you do it for a grand?

If they could do it for not much over $1000, with decent PVR software, I for one would buy one.

[ Parent ]

And Who wants a computer that looks like a lamp... (none / 1) (#53)
by vectormatrix on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 01:39:18 PM EST

I loved the Cube and I don't see why it can't make a comeback. They just need to rethink their manufacturing process so the thing that crack and overheat so easily.

[ Parent ]
Cube (1.16 / 6) (#36)
by the77x42 on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 04:42:11 AM EST

The cube fails because it is meant for people who just want something cool and have lots of money. It was billed as the computer for people in small apartments, but a laptop has more upgrade capabilities and takes up less space. Mac needs to stop sucking its own dick.

The iPod is sweet becase it is practical. My G4 is sweet because it's fast for my video editing needs and is really stable. My PowerBookG3 is also great in its practicality. To build something that is hobbled from the get-go is a stupid idea and should be scrapped for better design into their more useful products.

"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

You sir, (1.50 / 4) (#47)
by ec on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 10:18:19 AM EST

are a turd. My cube has more upgrade capabilities than an apple laptop. Upgraded the processor on a G4 powerbook lately? Sure I think the G3s had a few upgrade options, but not much. The cube can go to 1.2Ghz, or dualies. And 1.5GB of memory, how much do the new powerbooks go to? My powerbook goes to 640Megs, although with 1GB DIMMS, you can go higher, its just really expensive. And my cube has an AGP slot. Sure its only 2x, but have you ever upgraded the video card on a laptop? Yea, I didn't think so. The cube was a great computer, because it offered similar performance to the towers (at that time), and was very astetically pleasing, something that a lot of people really seemed to like. Its in a friggin' museum for christ's sake! And on anothe rant, why do people always say 'mac' when they mean 'apple'? Your sentance should have been: "Apple needs to stop sucking its own dick." Mac is the computer, made by a company called Apple. If you're gonna troll, at least get the basics right.

[ Parent ]
Pray tell, (1.75 / 4) (#58)
by templurkeracct on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 03:56:14 PM EST

what exactly is wrong with sucking your own dick?
I was the original drduck back before mod-bombing was cool.
[ Parent ]
Nice article. (1.23 / 13) (#37)
by wederausschaltennochrebooten on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 05:12:45 AM EST

packaging is only part of what makes a mac (none / 3) (#38)
by dimaq on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 05:47:51 AM EST

since I never had a mac and only used one for a few days at a summer job, I think I can be a bit more objective than the author :)

I think that the only reason why macs are still alive is that apple sells what other manufacturers would call a complete system - that is the user is not even expected to understand how the display is plugged in (hece imacs).

since there shalt be no upgradability, cube is as good as anything else, how about a curtain mac? would certainly save space! Anyhow, my biggest obection to cube is that while cube itself is a nice form factor, when you connect all the wires (1 for display, 1 for kbd+mouse, 1 for power, plus optionally audio cables, peripherials), it's not realy a cube anymore - it's a hairy cube at best.

other than that it's cool alright.

right (2.50 / 4) (#39)
by wederausschaltennochrebooten on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 06:23:02 AM EST

I think that the only reason why macs are still alive is that apple sells what other manufacturers would call a complete system - that is the user is not even expected to understand how the display is plugged in (hece imacs).

I agree with you. I have been using Macs a lot lately and they are complete not only in the sense of hardware (while being non-upgradable), but also in software. They have a pretty decent e-mail client, web browser, the ability to create pdf files using practically any application, etc. For the average user this is good. For the advanced user this is even better, especially now that so much open source software is available for OSX too.

[ Parent ]

weder ausschalten noch re booten (none / 1) (#71)
by rains fall on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 10:16:06 AM EST

neither RH boats nor switch off

weder relative Feuchtigkeit Boote noch ausschalten

neither relative humidity of boats nor switch off

weder relative Feuchtigkeit der Boote noch ausschalten

neither relative humidity of the boats nor switch off

[ Parent ]

I am truly ecstatic! (2.26 / 15) (#41)
by Hide The Hamster on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 06:40:35 AM EST

It is about time that we saw more technology articles, from the trenches. And Sir Trollaxor's wonderful offering of not one, but but two technology articles, both posted to the front page, shows that the general reader has been yearning for technology articles. Let's face it: articles about armchair politics, Iraq, tarrifs and shit are tired as hell. As if you can't find more comprehensive articles at say, oh, I don't know...the World Socialist Web Site. I for one commend Sir Trollaxor for ushering in a proud new wave of interesting articles, all pertaining to the very fundamentals of Kuro 5hin. I salute you, sir.

Free spirits are a liability.

August 8, 2004: "it certainly is" and I had engaged in a homosexual tryst.

You forgot to make a goatse link. (1.04 / 21) (#43)
by King of Prussia on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 06:51:05 AM EST

So I made one for you!

No need to thank me.

Join me on irc.slashnet.org #kuro5hin.org - the official Kuro5hin IRC channel
[ Parent ]

Hey, now. (2.75 / 4) (#46)
by bakuretsu on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 09:20:17 AM EST

I agree that kuro5hin has been mired in a veritable plethora of non-tech stories, many of them primarily worthless wastes of time (whine, whine, I have an opinion, too!).

I must point out, however, that kuro5hin.org is Technology and Culture from the Trenches. As we approach elections here in the States, and as the Iraq conflict continues, it is only natural that the readers and trolls of kuro5hin discuss the issues.

Sure, I would rather see armchair politics discussed with a technological overtone, such as the use of new technologies in our continuing incursion of Iraq, or more continuing coverage of the Diebold voting machine fiasco. In the end, however, I think kuro5hin offers a good mix, and we are only experiencing higher "culture" levels now due to the circumstances in the world.

Personally, I want to submit a story about how bland my Columbian coffee is, and how many foreign workers we've hired at my company. I think that yarn could be more interesting than some of the proselytizing and whining that has hit the front page in the past.

-- Airborne
    aka Bakuretsu
    The Bailiwick -- DESIGNHUB 2004
[ Parent ]

A "Cube" G5? (none / 3) (#48)
by old Architect on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 12:37:31 PM EST

The next iMac will have a new form for the G5 chip. It will likely be the new IBM .90NM due in January. While the original cube was a failure due to poor pricing and inability to meet the heat issue of the next MOTO G4 chips, there is a market for a small desktop computer such as the current iMac. I hope the next version has limited expandability with at least one PCI slot. I wouldn't expect a "cube" form due to the heat issue and costs associated with the components. We could see a revised G5 tower lineup with a dual 2.8 and dual 2.0, using the older chips, with a 2.4mhz dual using the new chip. The new G5 server would use the new 2.2mhz and a dual 2.6mhz chips in a new size. Late next summer IBM will introduce the 980 and it could very well use the .65NM mask they plan on producing in 2004. That chip could find it's way into a "cube" in 2005, as well at Powermac portables, leaving the planned G3 with Altivec processing for the iBooks and other devices next fall.

0.90 and 0.65 nanometer? (none / 3) (#51)
by Tex Bigballs on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 01:28:31 PM EST

Wow that is a breakthrough. Even I might buy a MAC if I can get it to run at 300 THz and have maybe a Gb or so of on chip cache.

[ Parent ]
.90 and .65 nanometer? (none / 3) (#67)
by old Architect on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 11:39:51 AM EST

Sorry, I shouldn't have used a decimal, obviously! But, IBM's press releases and timeline does state introduction of their 65NM chips in 04 vs. Intel's 05 timeline.

[ Parent ]
That's hilarious! :-) (none / 0) (#70)
by lens flare on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 10:44:38 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Somewhat related... (2.40 / 5) (#49)
by JWhiton on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 12:44:57 PM EST

Does anyone know if/when they're going to make G5 Powerbooks?  I might be in the market for a laptop at around this time next year and I'm hoping that they'll be able to do it by then without increasing the price too much.

I've heard some rumors that it might be a heat issue that's keeping Apple from talking about G5 laptops now.

Summer 2004, at the earliest, probably (none / 3) (#55)
by Tritone on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 02:25:29 PM EST

Jobs has said that they're working on Powerbook G5s. The heat issue is a problem, however. Nobody is really expecting them before summer 2004, at the earliest. http://www.macrumors.com/pages/2003/09/20030921161035.shtml


Rick: Yeah, this is the sort of thing that Limp Bizkit would play. I'm down with him, you know. With Mr. Bizkit.
[ Parent ]
good (none / 2) (#56)
by ljj on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 02:52:33 PM EST

I was thinking about this quite carefully. I took delivery of a new 15" G4 Powerbook this week. I thought alot about how long it would take Apple to bring out a G5 Powerbook. I looked at pictures of its architecture and realised that it would be no simple task.

So far, I am more than pleased with my baby. I'm using Safari only for browsing, getting good connection speeds through my bluetooth connection with my GPRS Sony Ericsson and Panther is just beautiful.

Small attention to detail is really pleasing, like the keyboard that lights up when the ambient sensor reads low-level light, and adjusts the screen brightness accordingly. It runs Final Cut really fast and all in all, it's a great computer.

The G5 Powerbook will probably be something quite special, but I am sure it's still a long way off.

[ Parent ]

They are going back to G3s for powerbooks (none / 0) (#75)
by neomonkey on Wed Jan 07, 2004 at 02:01:34 AM EST

At least that's the knowledgeable rumors.  It will be a new version, an IBM 750VX, which will have Altivec and go to at least 2Gh.  Apple wants to get away from Motorola in the worst way.  But we'll see...

[ Parent ]
The NeXT Cube was expandable, sort of... (none / 3) (#57)
by PhoTwenny on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 03:42:57 PM EST

The Next Cube had 4 NeXT-bus slots inside. One held the motherboard, but the other 3 were available for expansion cards. The only expansion card that I know of was the NeXT Dimension color video card to drive the color monitor, giving you a double-headed cube, which was pretty sweet back in the day, even if the processor only crept along at 25-40Mhz (depending on the model). I don't remember if there were any other cards available, but in grad school I worked on a project that developed a video conferencing and ATM (packet-switching network, not cash machine) interface for the cube. It was pretty bitchen. But much like the Apple cube, there wasn't much of a market for NeXT.

R&D outweighing profits?? (2.75 / 4) (#60)
by apelet on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 04:22:26 PM EST

I don't accept the argument that the R&D to fit the G5 into a cube would outweigh any potential profits. Apple has to eventually move the powerbook line up to the G5, and the engineering challenges to do this are essentially the same as those of fitting into everything into a cube. I have not heard it said outright, but I imagine that building the G4 cube drew on powerbook design, and it probably contributed something back to it too.

The G4 Cube was a design exercise (3.00 / 4) (#61)
by edmundv on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 04:32:26 PM EST

What you are forgetting is that the G4 Cube was basically a design exercise for what later became the G4 iMac. The Cube was a study into creating a quiet machine with a G4 processor in a small space.

A G5 Cube would also fulfil that role. This time for the G5 iMac, which is probably right around the corner. Apple usually redesigns their models every two and a half years. This January the new iMac will have been on the market for exactly two years.

What is better than to produce a low selling, high priced, nice product, and sell that for a year or so. The engineering has to be done any way. Better make some money while learning how to do it best.

Not upgradeable? (none / 2) (#62)
by lordpixel on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 05:14:51 PM EST

I've never really understood why people thought the G4 cube wasn't upgradeable.

It had firewire & usb ports like anything else, so you could add external devices to your heart's content.

I guess you couldn't:

- add internal drives, but that's what the firewire bus is for

- add PCI cards, but the thing's a Mac, not a PC. It  has decent sound & networking on the motherboard

At least some of the RAM could be removed and replaced with a larger sized module, right?

You could even change the video card, though I understand space was limited.

Sure, it wasn't *as* expandable as a tower, so if you needed a midi card or something else specialized it wasn't for you - but it was far from not upgradeable.

I am the cat who walks through walls, all places and all times are alike to me.

Professionals. (3.00 / 4) (#63)
by Trollaxor on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 05:45:40 PM EST

They wants to add cards. The thing had a professional-level chip in it. Consumers are happy only with FireWire and USB expansion. The thing did not have a consumer-level chip in it.

[ Parent ]
RE: Not upgradeable? (none / 0) (#72)
by jo42 on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 05:19:50 PM EST

First off, visit "http://www.cubeowner.com/" for the p00p on upgrades.

My Cube has a 1.2GHz G4 upgrade, 1.5GB of RAM and a 120Gb 7200 RPM hard drive. Yeah, it had to have a fan installed, but you can get very quiet fans these days. It may no longer be silent, but a lot of machines from Dell, HP, et al are pretty quiet. What it has is Cool Factor(tm) - especially when running with a LCD Studio Display, white Apple Pro keyboard and wireless Messysoft 'ice' mouse.

Oh, and Mac OS 10.3

Sweet, real sweet...


[ Parent ]

Heh (1.16 / 6) (#64)
by trhurler on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 07:55:28 PM EST

Yeah, you'll get served all right. Stevie boy and his buddies will serve you with some brutal assfucking, no lube, as per usual. Apple does cool things, but they're rarely worth the asking price, and they've yet to figure out the holy grail: cheap, adaptable, practical. They think everything about the PC is important and salesworthy except those things, when in fact those things are the ONLY ones that matter.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Cheap, Adaptable, Practical? (none / 2) (#68)
by NightInWhiteSatin22091955 on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 08:26:28 AM EST

Cheap - maybe pcs are cheap to buy first off, but that TCO'll give you a real sore ass.

Adaptable - yeah, when A doesnt work with B because of C, so you have to install patch D which breaks E and before long you daren't add anything in case it brings the whole house of cards crashing around you - funny definition of adaptable tehre mate

Practical - how much of a PC owners life is spent doing system maintenance?

I think I'll stick with my expensive and impractical Mac thanks :-)

[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 0) (#74)
by trhurler on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 06:57:35 PM EST

Yeah, you can't have interoperability problems if there's no third party software or hardware except some Firewire and USB peripherals, can you?:)

I mean, get real. A Mac comparable in actual utility(not jerk-off potential, as we all know that Mac fanatics will jerk off to even the slowest piece of shit,) to a midlevel PC costs three to five times as much. It will run Microsoft Office(ported because Microsoft owns an assload of Apple stock and wants its investment to pay off,) a bunch of Adobe programs that were written specifically for it and ported to other platforms as an afterthought, a handful of games(relative to the PC market,) and the crap bundled with the OS. There's NOTHING else of note that anyone but Mac geeks actually wants to use. And guess what? If I limit my PC to that sort of thing, it has no problems.

And I know. I have never done ANY work, hardware or software related, on my PC. I bought it, I use it, and that's it. Total cost of ownership? What I paid plus the electricity it uses, more or less. I use Microsoft Office, some games, and I've put a second drive in it that has OpenBSD since most of my machines are presently in storage. I've never had a single problem of any kind.

And it still is so much cheaper as to make the comparison laughable. For what I paid for a very capable, expandable machine, you could get a nicely outfitted, probably slower, maxxed out, no room left to add anything iMac, but you'd pay extra for Office, and half the games I play aren't available at any price.

Sorry, but while I'd buy a cheap Mac to use as a desktop for my Unix work if I were setting up a big network again, that's about the only use I can think of. Oh, and that much touted "coming soon, full integration with X" thing never seemed to happen. Funny, eh?

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
There was lots of demand for the G4 Cube (none / 1) (#69)
by chigaze on Mon Dec 15, 2003 at 10:43:01 AM EST

Everyone I knew wanted one it was just that very few could actually afford one. Apple simply overpriced the product and it died.

As for now I don't think Apple needs a G5 Cube, they need a G4 Cube. Our office would buy a ton of them instead of the eMacs and Powerbooks we're buying now for our desktops (the PBs go to people who are mobile). In an office environment expandability is not an issue as it's not something that happens. Most of our staff couldn't come anywhere near to stressing out a G4 Cube.

The lack of an affordable, compact, headless machine in Apple's lineup is one reason many offices don't switch.
-- Stop Global Whining

pulling everyones head from the MacSand a second.. (none / 0) (#73)
by spyderfx on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 06:47:30 AM EST

First up I'm not a 'mac' person but it beggars belief that in all the comments above only one person managed to even mention the SFF/Cube revolution going on in the rest of the PC industry!

SFF is the fastest growing sector of the industry at the moment and has been for quite a while, It was all started by the original Cube (which by the way fetches truly insane prices on E-Bay) in fact the whole situation seems oddly familiar, a truly breakthrough product which was just a bit too extreme in its approach, adapted by others from more 'off the shelf' components and a less technologically adventurous approach into a whole new market sector, original examples fetching almost as much as the original selling price second hand.... It's the newton all over again.

As to whether Mac should 'Cube' the G5 that rather depends, the Mac and PC markets are different, but the success of the SFF PC market seems to point to a shift in what people want from their PC's (or maybe a shift in the people buying PC's) which would seem to bode well for a new cube, just becuase the last cube 'failed' doesn't mean a new one would, the market has shifted a long way in the intervening years.

However something like a shuttle XPC is a very different animal to the original cube (slightly bigger, less 'designer object', but infinitely more flexible) so maybe that would be the future for the cube... less radical more like a really small, really quiet tower.

Just a shuttle XPC owners two penneth...

Cubing the Power Mac G5 | 75 comments (55 topical, 20 editorial, 2 hidden)
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