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> Something to watch.
Didge
post Jan 14 2012, 11:24 AM
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Thoughts? Obviously none of you guys must think the Cube is a failure.

A discussion on whether the Power Mac G4 Cube was a failure for Apple and what constitutes a tech failure in general.

Watch this Youtube Video here

This post has been edited by Didge: Jan 17 2012, 07:54 PM


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Pablo
post Jan 14 2012, 12:12 PM
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Apple sold something like 150,000 Cube systems. I don't think that's a failure. To put it in perspective, when the cube was new one 512 Mb stick of memory cost $1500. Now, cubes and components are affordable for the many people who always wanted one. On the other hand, the cost for a person to always own the latest Mac and all the latest gadgets and software Apple sells has certainly gone up. It is certainly very spendy to stay up to date in the Apple ecosystem and own all the cool stuff.


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Didge
post Jan 14 2012, 04:28 PM
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I feel the Cube was aimed at the wrong market, like the video explains. It was aimed at the pro users despite being less powerful than some of the G4's out at the time.
Although for it to appeal to a more casual user market it would've had to be much less expensive.
I feel the Cube was released at an awkward time, it if were to be produced a few years later (2002 - 2003), they might have been able to use the same form factor but components would have moved on enough for them to not be so expensive.


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AtmChm
post Jan 14 2012, 06:15 PM
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One of the comments on YouTube stated the obvious: it was a design success (it's in the MoMA!), but a commercial failure (even though Apple sold 150,000, it lasted less than a year, never had an upgrade/version 2. Not many Apple computers in that category).

I'm not sure why Apple chose the price point it did for the Cube. It's unclear (to me) if the reason was marketing (it's a PowerMac!) to high end users, or if it really cost more to design and produce than the PowerMac towers and iMac. I would agree that the Cube probably would have sold much better if it had had the specs and price of an iMac.

Regardless, aren't we happy Apple made them!


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HAL2001
post Jan 14 2012, 06:36 PM
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QUOTE(AtmChm @ Jan 14 2012, 11:15 PM) *

it was a design success (it's in the MoMA!), but a commercial failure (even though Apple sold 150,000, it lasted less than a year, never had an upgrade/version 2. Not many Apple computers in that category).

I'm not sure why Apple chose the price point it did for the Cube. It's unclear (to me) if the reason was marketing (it's a PowerMac!) to high end users, or if it really cost more to design and produce than the PowerMac towers and iMac. I would agree that the Cube probably would have sold much better if it had had the specs and price of an iMac.



Exactly the same can be said about the 20th Anniversary Mac.

This post has been edited by HAL2001: Jan 14 2012, 06:37 PM
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CubeIt
post Jan 15 2012, 01:56 PM
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Was it a case of form before function?

* The VRM does not seem to fail-safe, but rather often passes forward the 28V powering it
* Anyone who has opened up the power supply brick knows how badly it breaths
* Why was there a place for a fan, and then none added, as if major design changes were happening close to completion
* Why does the VRM have room for extra transistors, but none were added
* The ADC was a lot of effort just to save one extra power lead
* There is an audio connector on the mother board which was never used, again as if major design changes were happening close to completion
* All that Engineering effort so that the Cube and monitor would 'snore' together
* The core being suspended made for bad transportability, as people have found out when the core has torn itself free
* It pretended to have a small foot-print by having the power supply and monitor separate
* The price was pushed up by demands such as a fancy transparent case

I am one who is of the opinion that one cannot rid oneself of flaws unless one first faces them squarely

For me a cool cube idea would be one with a finned anodized aluminum case, that would be tough and dissipate a lot of the heat, perhaps sealed with a fan circulating air internally so it gets to the surrounding case; strangely the present cube core could work well as the fan is small and so would push air up the core, which would then return down the sides.

Apple is legally obliged to make money for its share holders, and financially it was surely a failure.

This post has been edited by CubeIt: Jan 15 2012, 03:00 PM
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GrySql
post Jan 15 2012, 06:03 PM
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QUOTE(CubeIt @ Jan 15 2012, 09:56 AM) *

Was it a case of form before function?

I still think a Cube sitting on a desk is a work of art.
I'll keep mine a while longer. wink.gif
Just for comparison, the modern equivalent to a Cube that include your observations might be the new IMac's.
It just took them a few years to iron out all the things you didn't like.
New iMac's are:
Made of aluminum frame and back for the heatsinks, convection assisted with multiple zoned silent fans.
Monitor included in unit with no messy cables, 17w sound system, small 'footprint' (with a big screen), Sleep mode integrated.
Power supply integrated and cooled, logic board/1GB graphic card integrated and cooled, multiple Core CPU's with Hyper-threading and Turbo Boost, up to 32GB of fast 1333GHz RAM and many other tricks.
Plus, they are beautiful and meet the ENERGY STAR 5.0 requirements & are rated EPEAT Gold.

They are as fast as blazes too, my Xbench score is 265, GeekBench is 10,060.
Look at this info from my 27" Quad iMac after a 5 minute blast at 100% of the application 'SystemLoad':
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Didge
post Jan 15 2012, 06:44 PM
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QUOTE(Fangsuede @ Jan 15 2012, 10:03 PM) *

1: I still think a Cube sitting on a desk is a work of art.
I'll keep mine a while longer. wink.gif
Just for comparison, the modern equivalent to a Cube that include your observations might be the new IMac's. It just took them a few years to iron out all the things you didn't like.


2: They are as fast as blazes too, my Xbench score is 265, GeekBench is 10,060.
Look at this info from my 27" Quad iMac after a 5 minute blast at 100% of the application 'SystemLoad':
Attached Image


1: As I mentioned I feel the Cube was ahead of its time, Apple were trying to do something amazing with limited hardware. CPU's weren't efficient enough yet, the original Cube's CPU was 200nm (I think) which meant it required a lot of power and generated a lot of heat for what it is. Given a few more years with better manufacturing processes for components and Apple may have been able to release the Cube that's faster and cooler. Apple had to cut corners to get what they wanted from the Cube ( a silent, fast (ish), compact, attractive computer) thus the last minute design changes.

2: Why are 7 core temperatures shown there?


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GrySql
post Jan 15 2012, 08:49 PM
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QUOTE(Didge @ Jan 15 2012, 02:44 PM) *

1: As I mentioned I feel the Cube was ahead of its time, Apple were trying to do something amazing with limited hardware.
2: Why are 7 core temperatures shown there?

1. I think they accomplished the amazing part.
The use of colorful plastic and design was incorporated in the follow-on Mac's.
One of my in-laws did the molds for the first Apple iMac case.
Apple was determined to make it that shape and no one was able to until he figured it out for them.
They got the outside case as designed and made the mechanicals to fit inside.

2. It only has one (1) 4-Core 2.93GHz CPU.
Hyper-threading makes up the other quasi Cores as it needs them, you'd think it would show as pairs.
Sometimes only the real 4 Cores show, sometimes up to 8, depending on the data load - it's weird science.
Right now, just browsing temps.
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Didge
post Jan 15 2012, 10:25 PM
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QUOTE(Fangsuede @ Jan 16 2012, 12:49 AM) *


2. It only has one (1) 4-Core 2.93GHz CPU.
Hyper-threading makes up the other quasi Cores as it needs them, you'd think it would show as pairs.
Sometimes only the real 4 Cores show, sometimes up to 8, depending on the data load - it's weird science.
Right now, just browsing temps.



Hm never seen anything pick up the temperature of a thread. Learning new things every day still!
I thought threads were completely logical and had no physical place they could be read with temperature readouts.

This post has been edited by Didge: Jan 15 2012, 10:25 PM


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H3NRY
post Jan 17 2012, 12:48 AM
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QUOTE(CubeIt @ Jan 15 2012, 11:56 AM) *

Was it a case of form before function?


The Cube is definitely form before function. If function per dollar is your goal, get a Dell or H-P low end PC. It's the form that makes a Cube desirable. For function, get one of the towers for ease of upgrade etc.

The missing fan and the rest of your points can be blamed directly on Steve Jobs' sense of esthetics. Apples designed under Jobs have no fans, usually to their detriment. The original Mac has many problems with cracked solder joints and short-lived electrolytic capacitors due to heat. Jobs' babies are usually not expandable. They have two serial ports, since Steve considered a printer and a modem to be all the peripherals anyone should need. For those of us who like to hook the world to our Apples, we can thank Woz and J.L. Gassée for expandable versions.

As for "shareholder value", Apple is about the only large company which isn't driven by raising the stock price. Apple tries to please its customers. As it happens, that's a winning strategy for growing a business, and Wall Street has noticed that Apple is growing and has bid the stock way up.

But I do love my Cubes for their looks. Enough to make a miniature aluminum Intel cube sitting on an acrylic base. And Steve did make a finned magnesium cube without a fan, the original NeXT cube. It also lacked a floppy drive, much to its detriment. The NeXT cube was so far ahead of its time in some ways and behind its time in others it was bound to fail. Still, it was very important to the development of computer software, especially in networking and the WWW.


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CubeIt
post Jan 17 2012, 01:02 AM
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The Cube is quite something, and it still catches my eye; but I really like downright dependability in my machines. Then again, I never had anything on my Cubes fail me, except maybe a power supply, and that did no collateral damage.

I like my Honda Civic, well priced, good looking, reliable and with an economy close to a hybrid; so it can be done.

I have thought about a hackintosh, but the saving would not be worth all the accompanying troubles, so maybe todays Macs have indeed reached what the Cube did not due to price.

Then again, not being able to swap out the hard drive because of the Apple firmware in them makes me wonder. I also prefer having the OS on some sort of media, so I am not too reliant on the network if things go wrong; but the rescue partition of Lion is very reassuring.

From what Dave tells, there is now more than enough power under the hood; so much to look forward to in my next Mac.

This post has been edited by CubeIt: Jan 17 2012, 01:08 AM
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Pablo
post Jan 17 2012, 11:30 AM
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I remember in the day, when I visited a computer store in an upscale mall, a cube system was featured in the display window facing the mall. It drew customers into the store; it was a conversation piece. I think people were, however, more likely to walk out with a blueberry iMac for the much lower price. The clamshell iBook was the really exciting product at the time, getting great reviews. Perhaps Apple's decision to let the cube go was a recognition that it needed to devote all available resources to further development of laptops. As they became the bread and butter, in retrospect that would have been a very sound decision. As for the new iMacs, the concern I have heard most often expressed is "How can they stand on one foot? Won't a child or pet knock it over?"


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GrySql
post Jan 17 2012, 07:46 PM
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QUOTE(Pablo @ Jan 17 2012, 07:30 AM) *

As for the new iMacs, the concern I have heard most often expressed is "How can they stand on one foot? Won't a child or pet knock it over?"
All LCD monitors sit on desks don't they?
Mine would be easier to knock over than a tower computer stuck under a desk, that's for sure.
Fore and aft movement is nil, side to side is easier but still difficult.
I'd guess that Mr Ives gave this some thought.
Kids? They can break anything......and unless you own huge pets that roam your desk I think you're quite safe.
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.. and I still haven't found that heatsink, sorry.
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Didge
post Jan 17 2012, 07:53 PM
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Those that have taken apart an iMac know how surprisingly heavy the foot section is when you open up an iMac, it's not much lighter than the display/logic board assembly, it'd very well balanced and I'd doubt anyone would be able to knock it over accidentally unless it was placed precariously close to the edge of a desk and the desk got knocked.

As for LCD monitors sitting on desks, they do weigh about 1/3, maybe even a 1/4 of the average iMac....


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