For years I have been trying to solve the 3x3x3. Over the last several weeks I was determined to do it. With the help of several online tutorials and video's I can now solve it. My average is probably very slow compared to what you can do I am around 4 minute solve now. I am doing this on a normal off the shelf Rubik's cube its not a speed cube and is slow to turn and locks up from time to time when I try and go to fast.

My question may be a bit broad, or opinion based but I really need your help in deciding what I should do next. Should I go for a speed cube 3x3x3 and try and improve my times or should I try a 4x4x4? or both :)

Update in response to comment:

This is more for me, I have no intention of entering speed contests. It might be fun to be a little faster. I do think I need to memories the last 4 steps I still have to look at my cheat sheets to solve the last face on the 3x3x3.

Background I have been solving every wooden IQ puzzle I have found for the last 10 years. This is me moving to what I guess are called twisty puzzles. Back in the 80s I had and solved the pyramix, rubik's magic and the snake thing. I find sitting there and trying to figure them out a challenge and I enjoy sitting on the couch at night just messing with it.

I am fascinated by the concept of the megaminx but I think it's probably too soon to move to that.

In an attempt to be less broad, maybe I should ask what I should try next, that won't be too much too soon.

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    $\begingroup$ I think it is very opinion based. Maybe you can narrow it down into a more useful question by stating what your overall goal is? Do you want to compete and be in any tournament? Or if it is only personal satisfaction then what gives you most satisfaction? The puzzling it out? The show-off moment when you are with others? The comparison with record-holders... $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Dec 17 '14 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ Good point hows that :) $\endgroup$ – DaImTo Dec 17 '14 at 12:23
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    $\begingroup$ Much better. I've taken the liberty to edit the title, but you may think of something more appropriated for yourself. Just keep in mind, that the title should have a meaning and be easily understood by new users coming to the site or people just browsing the titles... $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Dec 17 '14 at 13:42
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah I am better when asking programing questions on stack sites. I wasn't really sure what the title should be on this either. Besides Help what do I do next $\endgroup$ – DaImTo Dec 17 '14 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ I'd like to suggest that whatever you do next, don't look at solutions/algorithms. Try to figure something out yourself first. If you do have a problem, find an algorithm that you need, and only look at the first step (or not-step, just the setup part). Figuring out how to solve it by yourself is a very rewarding exercise, and is a very good way to pass time. $\endgroup$ – Justin Dec 17 '14 at 21:00

In my opinion you should look up the Fridrich method for the 3x3x3. At least the first 2 layers (F2L) methodology is really nice in this method. You will see that it is very natural feeling, no algorithms are needed for this. The top layer you can solve with the beginner method then. After a short while you will be able to solve the cube in under a minute.

Then for the 4x4x4, there is a tricky thing here that is called parity. All cubes with even numbered sides (2x2x2, 4x4x4, 6x6x6) have parity. Perhaps an easier thing to do is going straight to the 5x5x5 since it is basically the same technique as the 4x4x4. You bring it to a state where you can solve it as a 3x3x3 cube.

Another option is to just take the 4x4x4 and give it a go. You could then ignore the parity and when you understand how it is done, you will be able to solve the 5x5x5 as well. Obviously, this all sounds easier than it is. Practise makes perfect!

And most important: HAVE FUN! :)

  • $\begingroup$ wow F2L looks faster then what I have been doing $\endgroup$ – DaImTo Dec 17 '14 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, and it's really intuition, no algorithms to be learnt. $\endgroup$ – Valentin Grégoire Dec 17 '14 at 14:00
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    $\begingroup$ I have spent the last two days messing with F2L, who needs a new cube this is fun :) thanks $\endgroup$ – DaImTo Dec 19 '14 at 12:56

The 3x3 and 4x4 are very different. If you had fun in trying to solve the 3x3 by yourself for years and don't want to enter speed contest then you can probably enjoy the same feeling on the 4x4 (or on the 5x5 which might be closer to the 3x3).

You can try to solve other formats by yourself, it will take time so you can keep practicing on the 3x3 to improve your speed occasionally.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not a big Rubik's expert or fan, but your answer provoked a question: Can you expand a bit on how the 5x5 is closer to the 3x3 than the 4x4? $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Dec 17 '14 at 13:35
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    $\begingroup$ It has to do with 3x3 and 5x5 being odd while 4x4 is even, this give them different set of permutation and characteristics (no center pieces in even cubes for instance). More practically for the relation between the 5x5 and 3x3 you can actually solve some part of the 5x5 exactly as as 3x3 (for instance like that alchemistmatt.com/cube/5by5cube.html ). $\endgroup$ – Ara Dec 17 '14 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ If you think of a 3x3 as having rows abc, a 5x5 can be seen as aabcc in some ways. There are extra steps, but to some extent you can solve major parts of it in the same way. You have a "central" piece/row to solve it around, whereas a 4x4 is symmetrical and has no "centre" piece on each side. It makes a big difference. $\endgroup$ – Jon Story Dec 18 '14 at 11:54

My answer is completely subjective, but personally, I find that puzzle-solving can be summarized as "having fun while finding new solutions to problems" (i.e. solutions you don't know).

If you think that you can "find" a new, more elegant, or faster solution on your own - then keep playing with the 3x3x3. If you feel you are going nowhere with the 3x3x3 or that it starts to get less challenging, then switch. Also, let's not forget that 4x4x4 or other bigger cubes introduce a new concept (parity errors). Also since you are not trying to speed-solve, you don't have any incentive to go easy on yourself with the 3x3x3.

Also 4D and 5D cubes are apparently available in a virtual environment.

Disclaimer: I have never tried solving a Rubik's cube, as I had to code a solver before I was able to get a real cube. I've never tried 4D and 5D, though.


I've been able to solve the 3x3x3 cube for probably 15 years, always using the same basic algorithm. I rarely pick it up anymore. Perhaps 3-4 years ago (maybe longer, can't remember) I decided to go for the 4x4x4. I had some trouble applying my standard technique to the new cube, so I went back and looked up speed cubing techniques for the 3x3x3. Got proficient enough with that to be able to complete the 3x3x3 with the new method (not particularly concerned with my speed), and then went back to the 4x4x4 with my new techniques, and solved it successfully.

That was a satisfying puzzle experience.

Can't tell you what you should do, but I'll say this:

  • I didn't feel the need to pick up the 4x4x4 for years. I was always curious, but then just felt the need for it.
  • Didn't particularly feel the need for the 5x5x5 yet (just curious), but was given it on a subsequent Christmas. Still haven't spent any significant time with it. I will someday though.
  • I've forgotten everything but my original tried-and-true basic algorithms. I do want to go back and re-learn the speed cubing techniques, as it's more fun to do something new and different.

Hope that helps!


As someone who can solve a 3x3x3 but only after learning an iterative technique I would say that it is a worthwhile skill. I find it can be fun to impress people when I find one lying around their house.

I thought about learning a 4x4x4 but for me I just think it is going a bit far to "mildly surprise" people. I get enjoyment from figuring out a puzzle and so learning the steps online and applying them seems a bit like doing a crossword and using the answers just so I can leave it on my seat when I'm done to impress the next person.

Yes, being able to solve one will put you in a small percent of the world who can, but unless you get pleasure and satisfaction from doing it then I wouldn't bother.


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