What Happens When You Burn a Magnesium NeXTCube Computer Case?

Illustration for article titled What Happens When You Burn a Magnesium NeXTCube Computer Case?

If you are old enough to remember, NeXTCubes were high-end workstation computers built in the late '80s and early '90s that featured a die-cast magnesium case. Magnesium was an attractive metal because it was strong and light-but as any high school chemistry student with a penchant for pyromania can tell you, magnesium burns with a brilliant white light. Naturally, this lead some to wonder what would happen if you set one ablaze.

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Illustration for article titled What Happens When You Burn a Magnesium NeXTCube Computer Case?
Illustration for article titled What Happens When You Burn a Magnesium NeXTCube Computer Case?
Illustration for article titled What Happens When You Burn a Magnesium NeXTCube Computer Case?
Illustration for article titled What Happens When You Burn a Magnesium NeXTCube Computer Case?
Illustration for article titled What Happens When You Burn a Magnesium NeXTCube Computer Case?
Illustration for article titled What Happens When You Burn a Magnesium NeXTCube Computer Case?
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Back in '93', Simson L. Garfinkel, then Senior Editor at NeXTWORLD Magazine, indulged his curiosities and discovered that, with some effort, it will generate a magnesium fire. The pictures are the main attraction here, but Garfinkel's quest to burn the cube is a definite must read for retro geeks and people who get a twisted pleasure out of watching things burn. Hit the link for the full story. [Simson via Macenstein]

DISCUSSION

This makes me sad. I not only remember this, I desperately wanted one. It was the ultimate computer of it's time, even if only major educational institutions could afford it.

Some of the stories behind the design that Steve Jobs required and the technical hurdles that they caused are equally amusing. Little things, like it had to be a perfect cube, whether the hardware would fit or not. Then again, none of that will come as a surprise to anyone given the requirements he puts the Apple engineers through today.

For those of us that wanted the NeXT Cube, this is like watching our dreams burn up before our eyes.