/ Vintage Computing

G4 Cube

The 2000 MacWorld New York keynote is a classic Steve Jobs keynote which includes some great segments:

  • A demo of the not-yet-shipped Mac OS X
  • A demo of Halo
  • iMovie 2
  • and one more thing… the G4 Cube

Jump to 1h 21m 46s for the introduction of the G4 Cube.

I recently bought one on eBay that was wasn’t in great shape, but it was cheap and serviceable and was up and running with just a cleaning and a hard drive replacement.

Upgrades

Instead of buying an ATA66 IDE hard drive, substituting an SD card for it wasn’t difficult or expensive (around $30 total with card).

Following an iFixit guide to replace the hard drive, I bought the following and was surprised it just worked.

The Cube booted up and was even more quiet now (no fan and now no hard drive spinning noises). To round it out, I added more memory and installed a copy of Mac OS X 10.0 (luckily the CD-ROM still worked).

The SD card will probably go out quickly because of virtual memory reading and writing, but SD cards are relatively inexpensive and it’s usage is going to be light.

Mac OS X 10.0

Some observations about Mac OS X 10.0:

  • It’s amazing how much of OS X is still the same
  • Registration completion is required but you only have to enter your email address “if you have one”
  • Registration also asks you connect the modem to a phone line and dial in to submit the information
  • Automatic software updates don’t work (the servers have probably been turned off for a while)
  • The modern Internet doesn’t work in Internet Explorer 5 Beta (including this website – due to its use of a shared SSL cert)

Future plans

I plan on getting an IDE cable and figuring out how to mount the SD card reader in a way that exposes the slot without pulling the core of the cube out so I can have a card for each major OS that the machine supports and swap them out.

Photo by Pedro Moura Pinheiro