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Think Small, Think Square, Think Cube

Apple's G4 Cube7-19-00
Today at Macworld Expo NY, Steve Jobs and Apple once again redefined the concept of the personal computer with their announcement of the G4 "Cube." The cube stands less than 10" high and under 8" wide and deep but still manages to pack most (but not all) of the features found in its tall Graphite brother. The cube is available in two configurations, 450MHz with 64MB RAM and a 20GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive and 500MHz with 128MB RAM and a 30GB Ultra ATA/66 drive. These few differences aside, the two cubes share a wealth of features in common.

Features - What's New, What's Not: Like their bulky siblings, the cubes make use of ATI's RAGE 128 Pro graphics card residing on a 2x AGP slot. The cards sport 16MB SDRAM and can support resolutions up to 1920- by 1200 at 32 bits per pixel (millions of colors). At press time, it was not clear whether the AGP slot will accept alternate graphics cards but given the compact design of the cube I would guess that options may be limited in this department. Still, 16MB should keep most users outside of the hard core gaming community happy. Both cubes also sport vertical slot loading DVD-ROM drives which has already prompted some to make "toaster" cracks.

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In spite of the compact design, the Apple engineers have managed once again to make use of convection cooling and do away with the cooling fan. This should help the cube run with a minimum of noise, helpful as Apple has once again teamed up with Harman/Kardon to deliver the system's sound. Harman/Kardon developed a pairs of round speakers with a design that compliments the cube quite nicely. The 20 watt speakers (10 per channel) have a range of 80Hz to 20KHz and, like the iSub, connect via USB. The speakers also draw all necessary power from the USB bus, eliminating the need for an external power supply.

Continuing its commitment to wireless technology, Apple has made both cubes AirPort ready. Instead of the wire antenna found on Apple's other AirPort ready machines, the cubes use a less obtrusive ceramic patch antenna. Ground based connections are covered as well with the built in 56k, V.90 modem and 10/100BaseT Ethernet connections. Gigabit (1000BaseT) Ethernet is a build to order options at the Apple Store.

After taking heat for close to two years, Apple has finally ditched their round mouse and undersized keyboard in favor of an ergonomically shaped optical mouse and full sized extended keyboard. In fact, these were Steve Jobs' first product announcements in his keynote presentation. Thanks to its optical design the mouse should work on most non-reflective surfaces and require a minimum of maintenance. The "pro" mouse lacks a button per se but pivots instead to click. The level of sensitivity can be adjusted to suite your style. The 108 key keyboard uses the popular extended keyboard layout and sports a few improvements as well, most notably integrated volume adjustment and disk eject buttons. Both the mouse and keyboard will be standard across the Apple desktop line including all iMacs and G4 towers.



Below we provide you with a quick comparison of the two cubes features along with links to reviews and other information available around the web. Feel free to post your thoughts on the cube below on our discussion board.

Model/Mhz Bus Speed RAM & Graphics Expansion
Slots
Storage  Networking
Modem
 Aditional
Features

G4/500/1MB
"Cube"

July 2000
(Discontinued)

100MHz

128MBPC100 SDRAM
(1.5GB Max)


ATI RAGE 128 Pro graphics controller in 2x AGP slot. 16MB SDRAM

None

30GB 5400rpm Ultra ATA/66

DVD-ROM

Optional AirPort

10/100BaseT
(1000BaseT build to order option)

56k V.90 internal modem

ADC Connector & 15-pin mini D-Sub VGA connector

2 USB Ports
(12 Mbps each)

2 FireWire Ports

Reviews & Information

Reader Reviews | Reader Reviews | MacSpeedZone | ZDNet | GCN | | | ArsTechnica | LowEndMac | MacAddict | Macworld | Macworld | Macworld | LowEndMac | | BusinessWeek | BusinessWeek | USAToday | MacCreator | | PCWorld | AppleLust | MacAddict | LowEndMac | MacFixIt | Macintouch | Chronicle | BareFeats | MacProf | MacintoshGuy | IMG | MacOpinion | Kleenex Cube | More Cube Reviews

 

G4/450/1MB
"Cube"

July 2000
(Currently available)

100MHz

64MBPC100 SDRAM
(1.5GB Max)


ATI RAGE 128 Pro graphics controller in 2x AGP slot. 16MB SDRAM

None

20GB 5400rpm Ultra ATA/66

DVD-ROM

Optional AirPort

10/100BaseT
(1000BaseT build to order option)

56k V.90 internal modem

ADC Connector & 15-pin mini D-Sub VGA connector

2 USB Ports
(12 Mbps each)

2 FireWire Ports

Reviews & Information Reader Reviews | Reader Reviews | MacSpeedZone | ZDNet | GCN | | | ArsTechnica | LowEndMac | MacAddict | Macworld | Macworld | Macworld | LowEndMac | | BusinessWeek | BusinessWeek | USAToday | MacCreator | | PCWorld | AppleLust | MacAddict | LowEndMac | MacFixIt | Macintouch | Chronicle | BareFeats | MacProf | MacintoshGuy | IMG | MacOpinion | Kleenex Cube | More Cube Reviews


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