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Upgrades Hardware Entertainment Games

A Commodore 64 For The New Millenium 306

Posted by chrisd
from the silly-but-pretty-neat dept.
samdu writes "The CommodoreOne is now available for purchase. The C=1 is a reimplementation of the Commodore=64 in an ATX form factor, 65c816 processor running at approximately 20 MHz, VGA out, an updated SID (with backward compatibility), 32 MB of RAM, standard IDE, PS/2 ports, and a 64 compatible cartridge slot. Let the hobbying begin." We've run previous stories on related efforts.
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A Commodore 64 For The New Millenium

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  • Ya! For the C64 (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The C64 was my first computer, I used to write my code on a legal sheet..debug it, then type it in!
  • ... for Junis [slashdot.org]!

    *nix.org [starnix.org] -- Got *nix?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 01, 2003 @03:53PM (#5205629)
    10 ? "IN SOVIET RUSSIA"
    20 ? "YOU ARE COMMODORE MILLLENIUM"
    30 ? " "
    40 GOTO 10
  • OK. I'm not a Commodore guy. My first computer was an XT.

    But still, wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to use something a bit more modern to emulate that Commodore rather than use x amount of energy to run a 20MHz CPU and all the disk drives etc that normally attend a PC?

    Other than sheer geek factor, what's the point of owning one of these?
    • But still, wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to use something a bit more modern to emulate that Commodore

      Sure you can emulate it, but you miss so much by simple emulation. The most hailed feature of the C64 was the sid chip (it's still used by some techo artists to make effects)

      It all comes down to timing, when you emulate you are forced to the timing of the host system. Emulated sound NEVER sounds as good as the real thing.

      I was on the other side of the fence back in the 8-bit days(atari user), we used to call commodore users "Commode Door" users, but I can still relate to them when it comes to sound reproduction. You just cannot get that vintage computer sound without the real thing.
      • Sure you can emulate it, but you miss so much by simple emulation. The most hailed feature of the C64 was the sid chip (it's still used by some techo artists to make effects)

        So go out and get yourself a SidStation [sidstation.com].

        There are some pretty damn good software emulators of the SID chip sound around these days. They've gotten much better.

        I still don't get the point of running something like this in this form factor.
        • Ya but what does that do for all the C64 music applications that were out there?

          I know musicians that STILL use an atari ST for their midi work, simply because they've never been able to find anything better. (don't even mention cakewalk)
      • You just cannot get that vintage computer sound without the real thing.

        Oh yeah, it was so grand.

        Vintage=crap

        Derek "former C64 owner"
  • Emulation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ergo98 (9391) on Saturday February 01, 2003 @03:56PM (#5205659) Homepage Journal
    Just as I wouldn't go out and buy a classic arcade console, but rather would run MAME, why would someone want this when the 6502 can be completely emulated [google.ca] very well? Emulation isn't an option when extreme performance is required, but I'd wager that a modern Ghz+ would emulate a 6502 and subsystems at a speed greatly outpacing a actual 20Mhz 6502.
    • Re:Emulation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Neck_of_the_Woods (305788) on Saturday February 01, 2003 @04:07PM (#5205730) Journal
      I will tell you why I own some older arcade classic coin-ops. Mame is great and all, but when you have an original you have and original. Something that has more to it than just the gaming value.

      I can tell you from the way people go "holly shit do those work!" when they walk into my shop and see original Galaga, Centipede, and Sinistar arcade games running . Those games have personal attachment to them. They bring back a time in my generations history that they loved.

      Everyone always plays them all the time. There is nothing like hearing "I HUNGER! RUN COWARD!" and the simple sounds from Galaga and people having a good time at those machines. The analog feel of the controls and the battle for the high scores with everyone that plays the games.

      It is just something about the classics that make you love them, be it your time with them, or the memories that you have. Sometimes you just can't make something old better with new stuff, it peaked and you can't recreate what the old games have with new equipment.

      Just my views....

      • Games like Sinistar have to be bought. Many arcade games have control schemes which simply cannot be emulated.

        RUN COWARD
      • isn't an original. It's basically an emulation as well. Just a very slick hardware one, rather than a software emulator.

        There's nothing original about it tho.
    • Re:Emulation (Score:3, Informative)

      I'd wager that a modern Ghz+ would emulate a 6502 and subsystems at a speed greatly outpacing a actual 20Mhz 6502.

      Maybe, maybe not. See here [btinternet.com] for details.
    • It's 20 MHz when the original was 1 MHz. Doesn't this mean that the Space Invaders will come down and kick your ass before you can shoot them, and the cars will run over Frogger before you can get him across the road?
  • No Thanks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Amsterdam Vallon (639622) <amsterdamvallon2003@yahoo.com> on Saturday February 01, 2003 @03:57PM (#5205664) Homepage
    A classic's a classic, and there's no denying that.

    New millenium this, new millenium that, but to me and many like myself, there'll only ever be one Commodore [ebay.com].

    *nix.org [starnix.org]
  • by Neck_of_the_Woods (305788) on Saturday February 01, 2003 @03:58PM (#5205666) Journal

    Reports are coming in that atari is making a Minitower 2600 and to our surprise here at the shop someone told us they have a Vic20 running at 3mhz with 4k of ram in a shuttle case.

    Blood amazing! Just when I broke my last paper weight I get a new bigger one. Could someone make me a Beta recorder in a xbox case please?!

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday February 01, 2003 @04:00PM (#5205682) Homepage Journal
    Sure its cool, and would be fun to mess with, but if its more then a box of parts in cost.. why??

    I can build a C64 for almost nothing, even if i didnt have 3 in the garage somewhere...

    Hell you can do this on a single programmable chip these days.. now THATS really cool.

    Does this mean we will see a 'modernized' atari 8bit as well, or an ST...

    • Sure its cool, and would be fun to mess with, but if its more then a box of parts in cost.. why??

      What it is:

      The Commodore One computer is a 2002 enhanced adaptation of the Commodore 64 -the most sold of any computer model (Guiness book of World Records) While retaining almost all of the original's capabilities the Commodore One adds modern features, interfacing and capabilities and fills a sorely needed gap in the hobbyist computer market.


      That's their answer [c64upgra.de] to your question.

      I can build a C64 for almost nothing, even if i didnt have 3 in the garage somewhere...

      This is not an exact replica of the C64 (btw, how would you duplicate the custom logic chips without an original?) This has a 20MHz processor, will take 32MB of ram, has a built-in CompactFlash slot, will handle video up to 1280x1024, and actually has a PCI bus.
  • The "hobby" is now about 3GHz processors, lights and liquid cooling, recording your own DVDs, and multi-gigabit wireless connectivity.

    I think I smell a horse on the wrong end of your cart.
  • Look at the pictures section !!

    Proof positive that hot chix love C64... (and guys with mohawks and stuff)
  • Economics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GeorgeK (642310) on Saturday February 01, 2003 @04:05PM (#5205719) Homepage

    This product seems to ignore economics. In particular, it would be less expensive to buy a standard PC and then emulate the Commodore 64 (and also be able to run lots of other standard software).

    Perhaps their team could have used one more person with a business degree, and one less engineer, to figure this out....

    .
    • Re:Economics (Score:3, Interesting)

      by epyT-R (613989)
      bah.. The C1 isn't about economics at all. This looks like a small scale effort done by hobbyists. They can't hope to make much money (if any) on it. If you were a fan of the hardware, you were a fan of the hardware regardless as to whether its 'economical' or not. It really is intended for 20 something geeks who had one of the originals during the 1980s and would like some real hardware to play with. Think about it, would you rather fly a real F22 or just fly a simulator?

      Thats the problem with business types. They are usually too rigid and closeminded to even CONSIDER an idea in any other way than dollar signs. If this project were run by business types, you wouldn't be seeing it at ALL. Think about it..
      • Re:Economics (Score:2, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816)
        The difference is, the F22 is today a screaming, top-technology fighter jet, where today the C64 is too big to be a doorstop, and too light to be a boat anchor.

        This is silly. It's nostalgia for nostalgia's sake. Users would be far better off with a similar machine based on a 68k chip (coldfire if you want to go new; 68030 or '040 if you want to be old school about it) which would be cheaper and faster, have a full MMU, have a 32 bit flat address space, et cetera.

        Now, I'm not going to tell anyone not to be silly, but it seems like an inane waste of money. It would be better IMO to provide a PCI card with sockets for SIDs and your FPGA, and hardware to emulate the C64 CIA more closely, for around a $100 price point. Then you could just slap it into your PC and go, using your PC's hardware to do all the video and whatnot, using your PC's memory, using your PC's processor -- rather than requiring users to build a whole new system. In fact, it seems entirely likely that if you were to buy all the supporting parts new, even if you got fairly cheap hardware it would still cost more to buy peripherals, monitor etc than to buy the system. That seems silly to me.

        If you yearn for the days when computers sucked that much ass, use a real C64. This is just wanking. If you're going to have something modern, you might as well have something which is ACTUALLY modern, something more like 2GHz than 20MHz.

        And of course, if you are using this to get real work done, you're a nobk. Zilog sells development boards with a CPU in this class for fifty bucks. It never ceases to amaze me that the crappier a computer commodore made, the more of a following it had. People loved the Amiga to death, but I actually think there are more C64 addicts than Amigans these days, and I'll never understand that. If you couldn't emulate the C64, it would make more sense.

        • Re:Economics (Score:3, Interesting)

          by delong (125205)
          I've discovered a frightening trend towards pop culture obsessive compulsiveness. Some of the guys I work with that are in their early 20s are, well, frightening. They bring toys to work. They bitch about how sucky the new Transformers episodes are compared to the (apparently masterpiece) originals. They obsess over comic books. They play with Legos. They put Autobot and Decepticon stickers on their cars. For crying out loud man, I'm 28 years old - I grew up with that stuff. IT WASN'T THAT GREAT! Jesus. They act like babies.

          It's Nostalgia as a lifestyle choice. Yeah, I owned an original C64, it has neatness value. I wouldn't mind playing with it - FOR FIVE MINUTES. You couldn't do crap with the damn things when they were new, you can do even less, comparatively, now that they're old. Give it up. Go to a museum.

          Rant over. Carry on. :)

          Derek
          • You couldn't do crap with the damn things when they were new

            What an ignorant statement.
            I know two people who ran businesses using the C-64. It did light accounting, printed out checks, etc.

            I wrote a program for my brother's business - it sent out telexes (remember them?) in four different languages.

            The Paperclip word processor, while not as feature-filled as Microsoft Word, certainly did its job, and had all the features (except for spellcheck) that a person needed to write papers for college, and letters to friends.

            The games were fun - they didn't look as good as the games do now, but four friends could get together with their favorite beverages and have a great time playing M*U*L*E and Raid on Bungling Bay.

            Computers are obviously better now, but if you "couldn't do crap" on a Commodore 64, you must not have had access to software, and were probably not the most creative of programmers.
      • OTOH, if you already have an F22, why would you want to bolt shit onto it so that it performs like the Wright Flyer?

        Grab.
    • Re:Economics (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JoeCommodore (567479)
      You fail to see the full market here, software emulations can be pretty lame, though they get the gist of the machine down quite well, there are always some nasty comprimises, such as inability to access some port (like serial to run modems, etc.). Not everyone interested in the C-One are game players (and even if they are they probably may want to use a 64 joystick over some PC gamepad), some people still do serious work on the 8-bits and would like to have a machine with a 65xx compatible processor as well as IDE, PS/2 ports, gobs of RAM etc. You can think of it like a 'BASIC stamp extreme' if that makes more sense to you...

      It all starts with the 64 emulation but if you read the specs, it keeps going and c64 is just one configuration possible.

      For me the Commodore fan it's the 64 with all the stuff I wish I had that I don't know how to connect to the 64. Sure there are hard disks and other interfaces out there to expand the 64, but these are built-in and not only that 20x the speed (very fast indeed), plus extended video and sound features... Old school video games have a new platform to be re-invented on.... :-)

  • Not good :( (Score:5, Funny)

    by Some Bitch (645438) on Saturday February 01, 2003 @04:15PM (#5205779)
    This is a trend that MUST be stopped! You don't see the consequences, I DO! One day Windows 3.0 will be retro enough to be 'cool' and some bastard will resurrect it!

    Stop it now before it's too late :(
    • Re:Not good :( (Score:3, Informative)

      by MonTemplar (174120)
      Well, if you get a copy of WindowBlinds [windowblinds.net], you can make your Windows 9x/2000/XP system look like Windows 3.1 ! :)
      • In 95 and 98 you could replace Explorer with Progman, which was still included in the install. I believe it's still included in 2000 as well.

        We used to have lots of fun changing some noobs workstation desktop shell to Progman and watching their complete and utter confusion after they got back from the john. Hilarious. Fun for the whole family.

        Derek
  • WTF, wouldn't this [ebay.com] be a better deal?
  • by Jacek Poplawski (223457) on Saturday February 01, 2003 @04:18PM (#5205791)
    ...can I run Linux on it?
    • Come on, this is Slashdot - the important question is "Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of those?"

      Honestly. Can't get the staff these days ...

      • No, no, no.

        This is Slashdot. The important question is "how will this affect my right to copy what i bloody well please".

        And the important observation is "if the VHDL code isn't open source we must immediately boycott this unfree threat to our society!"

    • no, but you can run lunix [sourceforge.net] on it.
  • Does it run LUnix? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 01, 2003 @04:21PM (#5205809)
    Does it run LUnix [sourceforge.net] - the free UNIX clone for the original C64?

    LNG is an operationg system primarly for the good old Commodore64 home-computer. There also is a native version for the successor Commodore128. Ports to other 6502/6510 driven 8Bit Computers are possible but not yet started. LUnix started in 1993 and reached the internet in 1994. In 1997 LUnix0.1 was rewritten from scratch, the result is LNG.

    Features of LUnix [sourceforge.net]:
    * Preemptive multitasking (up to 32 tasks, 7 priorities)
    * Dynamic memory management (in chunks of 256 or 32 bytes)
    * Runtime code relocation
    * IPC (inter process communication) through pipes
    * IPC through signals
    * (minimal) REU support
    * SCPU compatible
    * Hardware stack swapping (C128 only)
    * 256K RAM C128 compatible
    * >30 standard applications available
    * Support for standard RS232 userport interface
    * Support for swiftlink RS232 interface
    * Virtual consoles
    * Hardware accelerated 80 columns console on C128 in C64 mode
    * Native C128 version available
    * (simple) command shell (with history function)
    * Support for CBM (IEC bus) devices (e.g. 1541)
    * Open source, comes with all needed (cross-) development tools
    * Widely configurable for your needs
    * LNG can be terminal and terminal server (RS232)
    * Support for SLIP packet encapsulation over serial links
    * Support for PPP (packet encapsulation) over serial links
    * Loop back packet driver for off-line client-server trials
    * TCP/IP stack (and clients for telnet, ftp and pop3
    * A simple web server (experimental)
    * Support for the DFC77 receiver (radio-transmitted time signal in europe/germany)
    * Support for the Smart Watch Chip (another real time clock)
    * Support for IDE64 RTC
    * Support for IEC bus via 64net/2
    * Support for o65 object format (experimental)
    * Online help system
    * ...
  • GEOS revival? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fuzzyscience (646580)
    Anybody fancy coding a brand new version of the mighty Geos to run on this beast?
  • excerpt from http://c64upgra.de/c-one/s_about.htm: " . . .fills a sorely needed gap in the hobbyist computer market."

    'Nuff said.
    • > fills a sorely needed gap

      Well, the gap is sorely needed so that this product can then fill it. Unfortunately the gap, since it is sorely needed, doesn't exist.
  • by MagerValp (246718) on Saturday February 01, 2003 @05:17PM (#5206271) Homepage

    Yes, emulators (especially VICE [t-online.de]) emulate the C64 almost perfectly. Yes, an old breadbox is only one tenth of the price on eBay. But the C1 is neither.

    If you've ever worked with the real hardware you'll know that emulators can't replace the real deal. They're great development tools, and they're great for playing games when the boss isn't watching, but just as MAME is not a dedicated Galaga cabinet, VICE is not a real C= machine.

    So why not just get a breadbox on eBay then? Well, I suggest that you do, it's an excellent machine. But then you'll also need to buy a 1541 disk drive to run games and demos. If you want to transfer software to or from the system you'll also need an X1541 cable [c64.org] or a 3.5" disk drive [cmdrkey.com]. And don't forget an S-video monitor, as you can't use a normal VGA monitor.

    The C1 makes it possible to use common PC hardware like VGA monitors and IDE drives. It has 20 times the CPU power and 512 times the RAM, which is great for us that actually use the machine for things like coding (assemble and test in less than 1 second, sweet). Another important point is that when the original C= hardware starts to disintegrate, the C1 will still be there, as it's all just VHDL code.

    This is not a machine for everyone, but there's certainly a market for it. There are still a lot of active C= users in the world, more than you'd think.

  • by x136 (513282) on Saturday February 01, 2003 @05:27PM (#5206337) Homepage
    Computer Memory (hard wired-on board) is expected to be 32 Megs or RAM

    So, uh, shouldn't they call it the Commodore 32768?
  • Jeri (Score:4, Informative)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Saturday February 01, 2003 @05:48PM (#5206468)
    Perhaps the most interesting factoid about the Commodore One is that its designer, Jeri Ellsworth, is hawt [amicue.org]! :-)
    • You mean, hot for a geek chick? I prefer Jeri Ryan, thank you. Maybe that's because I was weaned too early...
  • The C-One website has not been updated since a few weeks. Many changes have been made in the past, especially changes that make the board a lot more versatile.

    First there's to mention the SD-Ram socket. The board is not limited to 32 megs of memory, but it can take any 3.3V SD-Ram up to 1GB. Video/multimedia memory is also expandable to up to 128megs with a SIMM module.

    We have added a CPU slot. The board is no longer limited to a 65816 at 20Mhz. We can supply all kinds of different CPUs that have been used on all the classic homecomputers.

    Of course, the "glue logic" of the thing must be different for every CPU. This is achieved with completely re-configurable logic. As opposed to mainstream computers where each chip has it's dedicated task, the C-One's two main chips have programmable behaviour. That means we can not only clone the C-64, but also a VIC-20, C-16, Atari 2600, Sinclair ZX81, Spectrum, Ohio Scientific Challenger, and we've even looked into the Super Nintendo. The possibilities are infinite. Get us the documentation of your favourite 8-bit machine, and with a little luck, you'll be able to download a core file for the mainboard that turns the C-One into a clone of that computer.

    So please - do not see the C-One as a Commodore 64 replica. It's a giant leap in computer technology, having the opportunity to change the behaviour of the hardware on the fly, to adapt it's behaviour to the needs of the application that currnetly runs. This adaption is dynamic, the computer does not have to be restarted. Think of it as loading a sub-program, it's just that loading this sub-program equals installing a new add-on card on the board.

    The C-One aims at those who are into computer nostalgia, as well as those who want it for educational purpose. We'll supply all kinds of material for you to start VHDL programming, and instantly try it out on this board. Start modifying the board without soldering, extend the capabilities of your video output, or even switch to a completely different computer on the fly.

    This computer is not for the usual point-and-click user. It's going back to the times where each and every bit of the machine was documented, and forward to a new kind of computer technology: Re-configurable hardware.

    As for emulators, they're out of the question. Since the hardware is re-configurable, it would have to be emulated at the gate level. To do this in real-time, we calculated that it would take a 24THz (24000 GHz) computer to emulate the smaller FPGA with 30.000 gates in realtime. The bigger of the two chips has 100.000 gates. I think it'll take a few years until the C-One becomes obsolete.

    Jens Schönfeld
    (individual Computers, we're bringing the C-One to the market)
    • As for emulators, they're out of the question. Since the hardware is re-configurable, it would have to be emulated at the gate level. To do this in real-time, we calculated that it would take a 24THz (24000 GHz) computer to emulate the smaller FPGA with 30.000 gates in realtime. The bigger of the two chips has 100.000 gates. I think it'll take a few years until the C-One becomes obsolete.

      With all due respect for what has been accomplished here, saying that emulating the FPGA is impossible is arrogant at best. You only say that because no one has done it faster, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. I suspect that just as compilers are optimized, so too can FPGA emulation; detecting when shortcuts can be made and making them.

      It is obviously a very difficult problem with a large domain, as they say, but saying that it is impossible is like watching a bond movie and saying "he'll never get out of this one!" We'll find a way.

  • by Jace of Fuse! (72042) on Saturday February 01, 2003 @05:54PM (#5206494) Homepage
    The Amiga One is actually being produced, 4.0 is looking pretty cool and there is a new Commodore 64.

    What's the temperature in hell again?
  • http://wcm.krone.at/krone/C9/S12/A3/object_id__219 0/hxcms/

    Well hell if an article writer of an important newspaper thought it was newsworthy I think we've got a winner no matter what anybody says. Maybe not in the US but in Germany where it was made and the other european countries where it was a big hit (especially eastern european countries like hungary or poland) it will be a success.
  • This thing, according to the site, ships as an ATX MoBo. Anyone know how big it is? Also, is there any way to get a sufficiently small atx mobo to run off a flexATX power supply? (I've got an adorable flexatx case from directron, perfect for this little bundle of joy. :-) )
  • Before we start with why buy a C-One for $250 if I can buy an Intel MB for $75 and a 1 Ghz CPU and 512 MB of SD-RAM for $250~300. The C-One is not just a Commodore but a variety of computer platforms when you consider that the C-One is completely reprogrammable down to the hardware itself. The key components that makes this computer - Reconfigurable - is the two FPGA chips.

    Ok, some of you will ask what is FPGA ? FPGA is an acroynm for Field Programmable Gate Array. Now what does this mean ? The FPGA is a chip that can be reprogrammed to function as different kinds of controllers/ICs/processors to meet a specific task. For more info about FPGAs, check out http://www.altera.com

    The C-One is not only a c64 and many other platforms by simply reconfiguring the FPGAs and adding a CPU card (such as a Z80 CPU card) if the computer that you are trying to emulate needs something other than a 65c816. It may even be a custom platform of its own (customizable even by you).

    If your concern is to buy the C-One to replace your existing PC. Then you got the wrong idea by thinking "replace". Try thinking compliment/add.
    If you are truly fed up with Windows, C-One would be a fine replacement computer.

    The C-One is targeted for those who want to have fun with the computer. You are open to be creative. Sure it can be used for serious use.
    Think of it as a new platform that you can have part in shaping its future. Be involved and have fun. I even have some projects that I will love to work on for this machine. The ultimate point depends on how you want to do.


  • I am definitely going to pick up one of these machines. It's too bad it's not going to be an "unwrap it, plug it in" experience, though. Having to supply your own case will be a bit of a problem for some. I'm buying one anyway!
  • by Rellik66 (596729) on Sunday February 02, 2003 @02:52AM (#5209112)
    is that having a blue screen was considfered a good thing.
  • I am planning an interview with Jeri and Jens for OSNews.com [osnews.com] with regard to the c-one and Catweasel board [t-online.de] (targeted mainly at AmigaOne/Pegasos/AmigaOS emulation users) today. If there are any questions anyone would like to see answered, then you can suggest them here or send me an email.

    I am planning to publish this interview somewhere next week. My interview/article will likely emphasize that the c-one is a reconfigurable solution, not solely for c64 fans. So stay tuned.

    For the people who understand German, here's [c64.sk] an interesting piece regarding the c-one by a German Mag.

    Here's [amigapage.de] a video of an Amiga show where a prototype c-one was being demonstrated by Jeri. Also the Pegasos and AmigaOne were being sold at this event.

    Some more pictures of Jeri and some interesting Pegasos demonstration video can be found here [pegasos-uk.com].
  • I suspect that the C-1 will not be 100% C64 compatible; for example, software which uses "undocumented instructions" (opcodes which rely on 6510-specific quirks to do things) may fail if the 65C816 doesn't have these opcodes (which I suspect it won't).

    The 6510 was basically a 6502 only the first 2 memory locations were inside the chip and controlled which memory banks were switched into the 64K address space. I'd guess that there'd be a FPGA on the memory bus looking for writes to these locations and switching the appropriate lines. Could that cause any differences in operation between this and the 6510?

    Are there any other places where the C-1's behaviour would differ from a C64's?
  • by Kaz Kylheku (1484) on Sunday February 02, 2003 @09:49AM (#5209956) Homepage
    It has a silly paged memory model which tries to extend the life of a dead architecture. It is basically to the 6502 roughly what 8086 was to the 8080. (Though the 8086 was compatible with the 8080 at the assembly mnemonic level). The idea is to preserve 16 bit addressing: instead of widening the registers and whatnot, the design adds some segmenting to allow moving around ``windows'' on the address space under program control. I don't remember the details, but I seem to recall that the segments can't even overlap on the 65c816; they are an extra 8 bits that is tacked onto the address in a straightforward way; each unique eight bits selects a distinct bank of 64K.

    So although this new machine may have 32 megabytes of memory, forget about seeing it as one flat chunk!

    By the way here was already a personal computer based on the 65c816 about twenty years ago or so: the Apple II GS.
  • Gotta love the C64 (and Atari 800), for being cheap, understandable, reliable, unchanging, and far away from modern nonsense like cooling and crazy-high power consumption. I'd love to have something with the same characteristics, but not just a rehash of 1982 technology that runs a lot faster. Surely it wouldn't be difficult to put together a standard system that looks dated to the hardware junkies, but would be completely awesome and fun to play with. PCs are too complex to be fun (and Linux doesn't change that).
  • Kudos to the developers for such an awesome little box!

    My biggest question is how they're managing to sell it for only $200 bucks, and why I can't buy a similar board outfitted with a cheap-o Arm (or other 32-bit machine) to run linux on for about the same price.

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