Upgrading the Cube

I was thinking of upgrading the G4 Cube 450 Mhz in some way without spending too much money on it, as the machine is quite old now, so it doesn’t worth spending a whole lot on it. The one place where performance could see a significant boost was with the hard drive. The default 20 GB Maxtor IDE drive is just SLOW as HELL. Even slower than 4200 RPM laptop drives!

So, we went to Fry’s on weekend to find something like a 80 GB Western Digital disk (I am not a great WD fan, however they work fantastically well with the Cubes, so I aimed for them!). We expected to pay about $80 bucks for 80 GB, 7200 RPM very fast IDE drive.

In our surprise, Fry’s had a promotion! So, we instead got a musch faster, 120 GB ATA-100 7200 RPM WD drive, for ONLY $58. Isn’t that a great price per gigabyte? 🙂

Buying anything bigger wouldn’t make sense anyway, cause the Cubes can’t see more than 128 GB of disks. Anyways, after fiddling with the Cube after installing the drive (it wouldn’t boot because the drive was set to “cable select” and the ATA controller on the Cube requires it to be set as Master), I installed Panther 10.3 on top and everything is running much-much faster now. Apps just loading much faster than before, especially apps like Mozilla. Loading iTunes is almost instant, while it was taking about 3-4 seconds on the old drive!

Just because of this upgrade, the overall XBench benchmark score went from 61 to 67! That’s almost 10% overall speed boost for the system and huge boost for loading apps and data.

My next (and final) upgrade to the Cube, *might* be to remove its 64 MB memory stick (I have 128+64+256=448 MB RAM in there) and put a 256 MB instead, so I can boost its overall RAM to 640 MB.

So, I installed Panther on the 0-92 GB of the drive, and on the rest of the drive I installed Yellow Dog Linux 3.0.1 (my first Linux on a Mac – I already have Debian on my Pegasos PPC system). Expect a review of YDL on Macs soon at OSnews…

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