Last semester I was introduced to the Power Mac G4 Cube, or more affectionately known as, the “G4 Cube”. This computer was made for only one year between 2000 and 2001. This machine was, to put it simply, beautiful. In fact, the New York Museum of Modern Art holds a G4 Cube in its collection. The G4 Cube shipped, in its most basic form, with a 450mhz G4 processor, 64mb of RAM, and a 20 GB hard drive all in the 8" x 8" x 10" form factor. One of the more remarkable features of this computer is its convection-based cooling system, meaning it has no fans and can run completely silent.
I decided I wanted to find a Cube for myself and eventually was able to track one down on eBay. When I got it everything was stock, including the original ten year old 20 GB hard drive which by now was quite noisy. It was time to do a few modifications…
At first my only intention was to put a new hard drive in. I got a 500 GB IDE hard drive from my dad that wasn’t currently being used and swapped it out for the old 20 GB. I cloned the data from the old drive to the new one and to my astonishment it booted up just fine. Then I decided it needed more ram, so I went downstairs and found some old PC133 ram that wasn’t being used anymore and installed what I could find and what would fit, bringing my ram up to 768mb. Next I discovered there was a slot inside the computer for an Apple Airport card, which would give this old Cube wireless internet capabilities. I found one of those on eBay for $1 and put it in too.
At this point I was only using this computer for file storage and as a media server so I wished I had even more disk space available. I decided to remove the DVD drive from the Cube and replace it with a second hard drive. This got a little tricky because a hard drive is quite a bit different size than a DVD drive. After messing around for a while I found a solution holding the hard drive in place by using longer screws to suspend the drive from the metal frame of the computer.
Now this old computer can sit in my living room hooked up to my stereo and I can access it from my iPod, iPad, or macbook and tell it to start playing music. It also now has 750 GB of space instead of the original 20 and I store and back up my files on it. I can let it sit there and leave it on 24/7 and it is totally silent, not to mention it looks really cool. Pretty good for a 10 year old Mac.