Can't Replace G4 Cube Video Card?
2:13 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
A helpful reader pointed us towards a recent update on Apple's web site concerning the Customer Installable Parts of the new Power Mac G4 Cube and Power Mac G4 tower. This guide gives detailed instructions for replacing or installing the G4 Cube's Airport card, battery, hard drive (ATA only) and Memory; missing from that list is any mention of the video card.
The G4 Cube's ATI Rage 128 Pro video card has been the subject of much controversy since the Cube's initial announcement. Though our recent benchmarks of the Rage 128 Pro in comparison to the Voodoo3 and Voodoo5 series of cards show it to still be a worthy contender at low resolutions, many feel it is time for Apple to move on to faster technology, such as ATI's Radeon series. The G4 Cube has a single AGP slot, according to its listed specs, but photographs of the Cube's innards do not clearly show either the video card or how it is attached to the motherboard. The extremely short form factor of the card (less than 6 inches) seems to preclude the installation of any current third-party card, including the full-size Voodoo5 5500.
The video card may have been left off the list of user-serviceable parts for exactly that reason -- there are no cards you could replace the standard one with, at this time. When ATI ships their Radeon cards this September, it will be very interesting to see if these cards meet the Cube's strict heat, power and space requirements.
Many users and developers we have spoken to feel the Cube is just a few short steps away from being an ideal gaming machine; if Apple could find a way to include the Radeon card without increasing cost, it might tip many fence-sitters towards considering the Cube as their next system. Apple has a history of bumping up graphics hardware in later revisions of a system, as revealed by the rapid transition of the iMac series from Rage IIC to Rage 128 Pro over nine months, so a Cube with faster video hardware in the future seems inevitable. However, the question remains if this part will be user-serviceable or upgradable in the future.
Apple's CIP Data Sheet
For a detailed look at the Cube's interior, check out the other installation guides and their accompanying video.
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