Tips on computer technology By: Bill Michling

Posted on Sep 13 2000

Welcome back, how was your Labor Day holiday weekend?

Last week we finished out talk about Apple’s Airport wireless network technology. Just imagine, no more network wiring, no more wiring closet, put your Macs where you want them, and save a bundle on network wiring costs.

This week I will attempt to give you my experience on the new Apple PowerMac G4 Cube.

I would also like to remind everyone that all the year 2000 articles on the website ( ) are now searchable by keyword(s) or article date. This has been requested a number of times from many of my loyal readers, and now it is available, check it out.

Remember, this article and all past articles are available online at: ( ) as well as the online version of the Saipan Tribune, which you can access by clicking the banner on that same page.

By now most of you have either seen or at least heard about the new Apple PowerMac G4 Cube! Lets go through the technical specs first.

*** Tech Specs on the PowerMac G4 Cube

** Processor

-450 MHz or 500 Mhz PowerPC G4 processor

-Velocity Engine vector processing unit with 162 integrated Single

Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) instructions

-Full 128-bit internal memory data paths

-Powerful floating-point unit supporting single-cycle, double-precision

-Data stream prefetching operations supporting four simultaneous 32-bit

-1 MB backside level 2 cache running at 225 MHz

-100 MHz system bus supporting up to 800 MBps data throughput

** Memory

-64 MB of PC100 SDRAM expandable to 1.5 GB (3.3-volt, unbuffered,

-64-bit-wide, 168-pin, running at 100 MHz)

-Three DIMM slots support up to 1.5 GB of PC100 SDRAM (999 MB maximum per application in Mac OS 9), using up to 35 mm DIMMs as follows:

-32 MB, 64 MB, or 128 MB DIMMs (64-bit-wide, 64-Mbit technology)

-128 MB or 256 MB DIMMs (64-bit-wide, 128Mbit technology)

-512 MB DIMMs (64-bit-wide, 256 Mbit technology)

** Storage

-20 or 30 GB 5400 rpm Ultra ATA/66 hard disk drive (See Note 1.)

-DVD-ROM drive for playback of DVD movies, DVD-ROM and DVD-RAM discs, and CDs

** Graphics support

-ATI RAGE 128 Pro graphics card with 16 MB of SDRAM graphics memory installed in a dedicated AGP 2X graphics slot Support for up to 1920- by 1200-pixel resolution at 32 bits per pixel (millions of colors) -Apple Display Connector (ADC); carries analog and digital video, USB, and power -15-pin mini D-Sub VGA connector

** Communications

-10/100 Mbit BASE-T Ethernet connector (RJ-45)

-Built-in 56 Kbps V.90 modem card (See Note 2.)

-Optional 11 Mbps AirPort Card; IEEE 802.11 DSSS compliant (See Note 3.)

-Optional AirPort Base Station containing 56 Kbps modem and 10 Mbit BASE-T Ethernet port
** Peripheral connections

-Two 400 Mbps FireWire ports; includes 4-pin-to-6- pin FireWire cable for
connecting DV camcorder, connect up to 63 devices

-Two USB ports (12 Mbps each), connect up to 127 devices

** Speakers and audio

-Digital amplifier and speakers with Harman Kardon audio technology

-Total power output: 20 W

-Frequency response: 80 Hz to 20 KHz

-Single USB cable carries both power and audio; plugs into USB port on the G4 Cube or a display with ADC

-Removable guards protect speaker cones

-Digital amplifier module includes locking loop for theft prevention and
mini jack for connecting stereo headphones Support for external third-party FireWire and USB digital audio peripherals such as microphones, speakers, and MIDI devices

** Keyboard and mouse

Apple Pro Keyboard with full-size function and navigation keys, audio
controls, and media-eject key

** Apple Pro Mouse

-Optical sensor provides precision cursor control

-Features a comfortable design that allows virtually the entire upper
surface to be clicked

-Works on a wide variety of surfaces

-Has no mouse ball to require cleaning

** Electrical requirements and agency approvals

-Line voltage: 115 V AC (90 V to 132 V AC) or 230 V AC (180 V to 264 V AC)

-Frequency: 47 Hz to 63 Hz, single phase

-Maximum continuous power: 225 W

-EPA ENERGY STAR compliant

** Size and Weight

-Height: 9.7 inches

-Width: 7.6 inches

-Depth: 7.6 inches

-Weight: 14.5 pounds

** My experience

The above specs are probably more than you ever wanted to know. I just wanted to be thorough as possible as we do have PowerUsers out there.

When the Cube arrived I couldn’t wait to open the box. The configuration was a PowerMac G4 Cube running at 500 Mhz and the new mini cinema LCD display.

I opened the box containing the cube first, the usual Apple System CD, Apple stickers, and mini manuals were there. The cube is surrounded by styrofoam and is well protected.
The top styrofoam holds the optical mouse and the new keyboard pro as well as a firewire cable to connect your digital camcorder, power cable, and phone wire for the internal 56K modem. The Cube and the Harmon Kardon speakers and the power supply were I the bottom area.
The speakers are about the size of a softball, a little larger than I expected. Oh, but there are beautiful clear crystal, and very well made. Apple did not cut corners on this one!

When I lifted the cube out of the box, it seemed light considering I was holding in my hot hands a “Super Computer” that runs at 3.5 gigaflops! That is over 3 and a half Billion operations a second!

** The mini cinema display

I unpacked the mini Cinema display and it also was well protected in styrofoam.

** Connecting it up

Connecting up the system could not be easier. A single cable connects the display to the Cube. Through this cable is received signal and power as well as USB connections. Yes the display has two USB connectors.

1. Connect the display to the Cube

2. Connect the keyboard to the Cube or display.

3. Connect the optical mouse to the keyboard.

4. Connect the power cord to the Cube.
Touch the power on sensor and the Cube comes to life. You have to listen close, why, no fan! Then you hear the wonderful sound through the speakers, what a sound!

Is it fast, you betcha! Do you want one, you betcha!

Where can you get one? Just see the friendly folks down at Marianas Electronics on Saipan or send email to The Cubes are readily available, so get yours, they really are selling like hot cakes.

When was the last time you saw or owned a “Super Computer” about the size of a facial tissue box. So what are you waiting for, get yours now!

Oh my, I think we went way over the length this week.

Have a wonderful week.

See you here and on the web next week.

Bill Michling is a computer professional and welcomes any comments or questions you may have. Just send email to: or

You may also go to Marianas Electronics and ask help from the friendly staff there, or call them at: 234-5424, Just ask for Annie, Jun or Joseph.

For world access this Wednesday column is also on the Saipan Tribune website at: ( or at the site at: ( ), now connected to the Internet via broadband T1+….

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