Cracking Up?

The minute Apple debuted its sleek G4 Cube, you plunked down $1,799 for the pint-size supercomputer with the singular look. When it arrived, you immediately opened the box to marvel at your eye-catching machine . . . only to notice hair-thin lines on the Cube's casing.

If you put it that way, it's easy to see why the very faint lines are causing such a very big fuss. The appeal of the G4 Cube lies as much in how it looks as in what it does.

The lines appear around the two bolts and DVD drive on the top of the Cube and near the logo on its front. Apple says these are mold lines - not weaknesses or defects in the plastic - that appear because of the injection molding process used to form the Cube.

Some Cube owners don't buy that; they argue that the lines are actually cracks, an allegation Apple denies.

Given the uproar over the lines, is the Cube the right machine for you? Here are three arguments for and three against the square computer with the much-debated design.

3 Reasons to Buy a Cube

1. Lines, schmines -- they're hardly noticeable. Besides, it's a cosmetic issue that doesn't affect the Cube's performance.
2. It's not just the Cube's look that makes it revolutionary; this is a 7-inch-square computer that takes up little space and is a snap to open.
3. Nothing changes the fact that you get a 450MHz processor and 20GB of storage in a tiny computer.

3 Reasons to Take a Pass

1. If your interest in the Cube is purely aesthetic, the lines  --  no matter how minor  --  are a visible blemish.
2. The Cube doesn't have any PCI slots, and expandability is limited.
3. You're paying a premium for a radical design, especially when a 400MHz G4 tower can be had for a lower price.

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