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The Commodore Comeback at CeBIT 160

Posted by Zonk
from the old-skool-new-skool dept.
Peter Malford writes "Earlier this month Slashdot reported on Commodore's return with new gaming PCs that would be officially announced at CeBIT. Cnet.co.uk has got a first look at the four new models called the XX, GX, GS and G. "The high-end XX packs enough grunt to make an Alienware machine run to its deformed alien mum. It uses an Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM and two Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX graphics cards running in tandem... Commodore uses what it calls a 'revolutionary painting process' to make them look pretty damn gorgeous." Commodore also officially launched the Gravel In Pocket PMP and unveiled some new Gravel devices, one that has a 4" screen and one that features a built-in GPS receiver."
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The Commodore Comeback at CeBIT

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  • Wha? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai ... m minus language> on Friday March 16, 2007 @12:20PM (#18377317) Homepage Journal

    The high-end XX packs enough grunt to make an Alienware machine run to its deformed alien mum.

    Alienware is not a serious competitor. At least not any longer. They're just another Dell brand.

    Also, it's probably worth noting that the really high end systems are often hand-built. That way you can get both the hardware you want, and the case design you want. Many of the 'Gaming PCs' tend to be targeted at the market of wannabes who have too much money and not enough sense.

    Commodore uses what it calls a 'revolutionary painting process' to make them look pretty damn gorgeous.

    I'm so sorry, am I missing something here? Because "pretty damn gorgeous" is not how I'd describe these machines. "Pretty damn hideous" is a bit closer. "Treading on someone else's memories and goodwill to make a buck" is even better. "Looking li-"

    OMFG! What the hell is that Giana Sisters [commodoregaming.com] skin!?!?! ('scuse me, C-Kin)

    My beautiful sisters [lemon64.com]! What has become of you!?! I... I... I...

    I think I need to go now. If you'll pardon me. I... need to find the nearest restroom before I hurl.
    • by vought (160908)
      These cases hardly seem revolutionary, despite the ability to interchange "skins".

      Revolutionary...now that might be adding handles to the case to make it easier to bring the machine to a LAN party...or making the case a different shape...or something like that. Something at least useful.

      But this is a regular old square PC with a skin on it. Not revolutionary. Just different.
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        I've seen cases with handles before, that wouldn't be revolutionary either.
      • The full-tower PS/2 models had a great handle that folded into the top of the case.

        Now that was a SOLID case, must have been bulletproof. Google tells me they weighed ~24 kilograms.

        http://www.silicium.org/ibm/ibm/ibmps2mod80.htm [silicium.org]

        http://www.oldcomputers.arcula.co.uk/intl1.htm [arcula.co.uk]
        • by Weedlekin (836313)
          The PS/2 range was actually pretty revolutionary design-wise because you could open them and replace any component (including the motherboard and PSU) without tools. The fact that a quarter of a century has passed without anybody coming up with something as good (let alone better) is a testament to IBM's industrial engineering capabilities during the 1980s.
          • Yeah, that was Rolls Royce gear, and priced to match, which is probably why we don't see stuff like that today.

            • by Weedlekin (836313)
              Not at prices consumers are willing to pay, but then the PS/2 line wasn't targeted at consumers anyway. You still see nice designs with higher-priced hardware such as Apple's PowerMacs (not as well designed as the PS/2, but good nonetheless) and various servers that are built to a specification rather than a price, but the throwaway nature of modern consumer PCs means that there's little point investing significant engineering resources in them.
    • Lighten up a little, Batman. Nostalgia has a great purpose in life. We can always mod the case (make our own C-kin) and the internal cards at a later date. I'm guessing it's not all integrated.

      I want one of each so that I can test a home-grown aLFS [linuxfromscratch.org] in parallel.

      You're right about the Giana Sisters C-kin. WTH?
      • Lighten up a little, Batman. Nostalgia has a great purpose in life.

        I fail to see the nastolgia in this. I have a Commodore 64 sitting at home. This new behometh looks nothing like it, nor does it evoke any sense of the original. Nor is it even close to the grace of the Amiga. So I'd say, "treading on memories and goodwill" is pretty close, wouldn't you?

        We can always mod the case (make our own C-kin) and the internal cards at a later date. I'm guessing it's not all integrated.

        Um. Okay?

        It's a box. That's painted. If that appeals to you, good for you! To each their own. But it still has nothing to do with Commodore. It's just a label slapped on an unreleated company to generate press.

        I'm not really sure why you're mentioning expansion cards. I have no doubt that these are internally expandable. Just like you'd expect any machine of these specs to be. I also have no doubt that they'll be incredibly expensive, and highly impractical when compared to what you could custom-build for less. *shrug*

        You're right about the Giana Sisters C-kin. WTH?

        Please do not take this as sarcasm, because it is not intended as such. Thank You! I was worried that I'd get jumped on for "not liking Japanamation" or something screwy like that. My only concern is that the case design shown is not the Giana Sisters. That looks more like Pokemon with a new name slapped on it.
        • So I'd say, "treading on memories and goodwill" is pretty close, wouldn't you?

          Well, ummm, yeah... but it has a C= logo on it! It's turtles all the way down!

          it still has nothing to do with Commodore

          They bought the C= logo!

          just a label slapped on an unreleated company

          I've tried polling for more corporate geneology here [slashdot.org].

          I also have no doubt that they'll be incredibly expensive

          You're probably right--but I'm in La Jolla, CA. *looks around* What, is there a shortage of money in this town? They even have a job opening on the ethics commission [slashdot.org].

          you could custom-build for less

          Now that's a really good point. I've always preferred to buy as many no name parts as possible and build my own.

          That looks more like Pokemon

          I have no problem with anime, but make it good [google.com] anime [google.com].

          • Well, ummm, yeah... but it has a C= logo on it! It's turtles all the way down!

            You know what I just realized? My current sig suggests a business model that makes better use of the Commodore name than these guys are. What an interesting coincidence that ended up being.
          • You're probably right--but I'm in La Jolla, CA. *looks around* What, is there a shortage of money in this town?

            I went there once, after making a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

          • by Cadallin (863437)

            I have no problem with anime, but make it good [google.com] anime [google.com].

            Um, the 1980's called. They want their movies back. Seriously though, they didn't stop making good anime in 1995, man. Although I'm not too crazy about this season, there's been plenty of really solid series to come out in the last few years.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Seumas (6865)
      I'd love to buy a high-end Commodore gaming rig, presuming it is about as cheap as building it myself. I have never bought a pre-built machine in my life (except for laptops, of course). I would not mind letting someone else handle the trouble and hassle of the process of putting the components together for me, but I have yet to find thoroughly high-end and high-quality gaming rigs that are not significantly cheaper to build on my own. If they charged within about $100 of what I would pay for the parts via
    • Okay, so the "Classic" skins are fugly. But check out some of the other ones in the C-Kin library [commodoregaming.com]. I wouldn't mind having this one [commodoregaming.com] grace my compy at all.
    • Many of the 'Gaming PCs' tend to be targeted at the market of wannabes who have too much money and not enough sense.

      Now there's a statement that could be generalized almost indefinitely.

      "Pretty damn hideous" is a bit closer. "Treading on someone else's memories and goodwill to make a buck" is even better.

      I have fond memories of my C=64 and Amigas. Why the hell someone would buy the Commodore name just to drag it through the (brightly painted) mud just boggles the mind.

      • Maybe they're vaguely related to Mehdi Ali and Irving Gould and just live to piss people off who have any love for what Commodore's engineers were creating...

        I mean, we're geeks. We love great engineering. We saw the amazing stuff coming out of Commodore and we appreciated its underlying beauty. If we, as geeks, had taken over Commodore, it would be producing absolutely stunning, beautiful, powerful hardware, that works in a different but better way than anything anyone else does.

        But we're not exactly

        • Speaking of a takeover. If you recall, Commodore's assets originally sold for a mere $23 million. That seems high until you look at it that each Amiga user could have donated about $1 and owned the company. It'd have sucked majorly to try to get anything done with it but it'd still have been more productive than the Escom/Gateway/who-the-hell-ever-else-there-was combo that managed to turn Commodore/Amiga into the non-innovative, umm, company it is today.
    • "I'm so sorry, am I missing something here? Because "pretty damn gorgeous" is not how I'd describe these machines."

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Arguing over whether these machines are good looking or not is a foolish use of time. You're never going to change anyone's opinion.

      ""Treading on someone else's memories and goodwill to make a buck" is even better."

      That statement, on the other hand, is spot on and summarizes the whole thing.

    • by Like2Byte (542992)
      HA HA!

      I agree with what you said. Using your link, turn the machine over and its feet are little commodore symbols. I wonder if they're expecting that little symbol to carry their weight, too. (obviousness alert) Cute finishing touch, though. :)
  • too bad that it looks like just another PC clone. Well, a very good clone, it seems, however...
    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      too bad that it looks like just another PC clone.
      Well, a very good clone, it seems, however...
      I was using Atari 800XL back in the day and we hated Commodore 64 but it really hurts to see poor thing became a brand for "Gaming PC".
      • by pipatron (966506)
        Atari sucks! Amiga rewlz!
        • I guess I'm not a very good nerd. I grew up with Commodore, but that didn't stop me from buying an Atari ST when I started using MIDI a lot. I had no problem getting a PC when that was what I was being paid to work on. Despite learning Unix in school I use Windows quite often, although I have linux boxes too.

          Um, death to extremists!
          • by Dogtanian (588974)
            Oddly, I had an Atari 800XL and after a year of owning an ST, replaced it with an Amiga. Basically, the Amiga was more of a spiritual successor to the Atari 400/800/XL lines than the ST was. So the ST was "made" by the same company, big deal. And since Atari owners generally didn't like Atari (the company) itself, it begs the question as to why (for example) magazines for the Atari 8-bit also supported the ST when that came out.

            I didn't think it was that stupid at the time, but looking back, it's quite si
            • I suppose a bit of cheerleading for your favorite manufacturer or platform is understandable. If the manufacturer does well you're more likely to have access to resources for your own machine, even if it is obsolete. The funny thing is that there are more Commodore and Atari resources now than I ever had back when the machines were current!
              • by Dogtanian (588974)
                Hmm.... I think that was the theory at the time, Atari's health in the 16-bit market helping keep the 8-bits alive. But to be honest, Atari didn't do much with the 8-bit line after the mid-80s; they kept selling it and made a "new" XE console which was still basically the same 1979 technology (albeit with more memory). They released a few new peripherals. And the 8-bits they sold in the late 80s probably added a bit to the user-base and helped keep it alive a bit longer. But they didn't do anything radicall
  • I love the modular case design. It won't be long until users begin creating their own C-kin panels.

    We need more information in the about us [commodoregaming.com] section:

    Having acquired the Commodore brand in late 2005 as part of a joint venture with Commodore International Corporation, Commodore Gaming aims to re-establish the brand as a leader in its industry.

    Who was it that ponied up the cash to buy the old C= logo? Are they at all related (by blood or money) to the people who drove CBM into the ground? How is CIC related to the former CBM? Are they interacting with the current owners of Amiga Technologies (if that still exists)? How long until they make laptops?

    I want one... or four.

    • by pipatron (966506)
      Make me a 68060 based Amiga laptop with the AGA chipset, with a 1472 x 566 pixel TFT, and I'm sold. :)
      • Did the 68060 ever make mass production? After the A4k we were going to see, at various stages, HP-PA RISC chip based Amigas, 68060 Amigas, DEC Alpha (and then Motorola became involved with Alpha development as well), and PPC based Amigas. AGA was to be replaced with AAA, wasn't it?
      • by Shemmie (909181)
        Yum! I'll order a couple of those.
    • Are they at all related (by blood or money) to the people who drove CBM into the ground?
      Not in the least. The Commodore name and logo has changed hands many, many times. [wikipedia.org]
  • Okay, so I went to check out the "pretty damn gorgeous", saw their site, and clicked on the arrow for the XX. Looking towards the bottom of the page I saw the best thing ever:

    Preloaded with a C64 emulator, containing more than 50 classic games

    Why do you need all that processing power for 50 classic C64 games? I mean, don't get me wrong, I love C64 games. But why would I buy a quad-core, 2xGPU computer for that? I was kinda hoping for a computer more in the spirit of the original commodore (of course updated), not just another prebuilt set of computers. I'd rather just

    • I'd buy one for sure if you could punch a key combination at POST to get a little flashing cursor and then type "GO 64". It would really be a Commodore then.
      • I'd buy one for sure if you could punch a key combination at POST to get a little flashing cursor and then type "GO 64". It would really be a Commodore then.
        Isn't that what VICE is for?
  • Funny English (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Knertified (756718) on Friday March 16, 2007 @12:28PM (#18377429)
    "We Open Store Mid April!" "You have dedicated time for your gaming and you want the edge that gaming supreme will give you." "The Commodore gaming extreme takes your frag count to a whole new level with this high performance..." Why does this remind if me "all your base are belong to us?"
  • Finally! (Score:3, Funny)

    by rmckeethen (130580) on Friday March 16, 2007 @12:31PM (#18377475)

    Thank you Commodore, for putting out a new system actually capable of running Vista right out of the box!

    • by Fraktyl (673488)
      Unfortunately, that system will be crippled under Vista since the nVidia drivers do not support SLI currently.
      • I find it amusing that these purpose built "Gaming" machines come pre-loaded with Windows Vista. Just how many games will people NOT be able to play on them? I'm thinking Earthsiege is not going to run for starters.
  • by nuzak (959558) on Friday March 16, 2007 @12:34PM (#18377531) Journal
    "Gravel in Pocket"?

    I'm speechless.
  • ...can we get hold of that machine emulator thingy separately and install it on our home box? I'd definitely pay for that, but not for the whole box (which is kinda useless in my home office, stuffed to the gills w/ machinery as it is...)

    /P

    • "Machine emulator thingy"? To emulate what? Aren't these just standard Windows machines with a nostalgic logo attached?
    • ...can we get hold of that machine emulator thingy separately and install it on our home box?

      What, like this? [viceteam.org] I thought everyone knew about VICE? You can (legally!) get all the ROMs you want at C64.com [c64.com]. And if you want real C64 hardware, it costs less than $20 [wikipedia.org]. Oh, and you can mod it to your heart's desire without feeling bad about it. ;-)

  • Gravel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai ... m minus language> on Friday March 16, 2007 @12:34PM (#18377551) Homepage Journal
    Ok, I'm back. Looking at the "Gravel" (who names this stuff?), I'm much more impressed by it than I am their PC offerings. The CNet article shows a very compact device that appears to be well suited to portable television applications. I must say that I'm impressed. At least with the form factor and control scheme. The memory size seems to be a bit of a show-stopper, though. It doesn't take much to fill up 2 GB (or even 4 GB) of storage. With iPod videos starting at 30GB, this thing looks woefully small for the task.

    Of course, that's something that can always be fixed in future revisions. If it's going to fail in the marketplace, it will be because it lacks content. No media player ever sells without content. And with Apple sewing up the downloadable television/movie market, I'm not sure where that leaves the Gravel. (Groveling, perhaps?) It's a neat device irrespective of its Commodore branding, but I sincerely hope that The New Commodore(TM) has some content distribution deals in the works.
    • by ronanbear (924575)
      Or cost. There's always cost.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)
      The problem with the gravel is that it doesn't allow you to squirt at other users, either. You can only squirt to a squirt depository which will in turn squirt your content to other users. I want direct squirting.
    • If you're looking for a portable video/audio player with a long battery life and more space (30GB) then check the Cowon A2 [cowonamerica.com]
  • The PCs are a bit dull really. Would have been nice if they could run a different OS and have radically different hardware but I guess it's not 1985 anymore.

    That Gravel media player looks kinda cute though.
    • The PCs are a bit dull really. Would have been nice if they could run a different OS and have radically different hardware but I guess it's not 1985 anymore.
      Well, there's not much different hardware to pick, but you can get a "beige box" and install a different OS. GNU/Linux, BSD, Haiku, Solaris, Sanos, HelenOS, Nemesis, MenuetOS, Syllable, DexOS, E/OS, Minix... just pick one!
  • Big flipping deal. These PCs are not the Commodore that I knew and loved from my teenage years.

    The only way I'll buy another Commodore computer for gaming is if it's a PC in an original-looking Commodore 64-style case. There have been PCs-in-a-keyboard [cybernetman.com] for a while now, and the C64 was a hefty-sized unit. Modding a PC into a C64-style case should be completely possible, barring some necessary key changes, like F1-F12 keys instead of the C64's F1-F8. Slim-line DVD drives and 2.5" hard drives should mak
    • Okay, I missed that in the article. My bad. It still doesn't make these PCs Commodores.
    • by jandrese (485)
      What if they put BASIC in the BIOS?
      • I know you're saying that to be a smart ass, but actually that's a really cool idea. Make it a dual-boot system at power-up. Hold down the C= key at power-up to immediately boot into an emulator-on-a-chip that could be upgraded as necessary -- full C64 BASIC that could access .d64/.t64 images over a FAT-formatted USB drive or floppy disk. Otherwise, if you don't press the C= key it will boot up like any other PC.

        For the people who grew up using the C64 back when it was in its prime, it would probably
        • by Quixadhal (45024)
          On the other hand... with the size of BIOS chips ever-growing... perhaps we can get WindowsXP in the BIOS. Having the machine take 5 seconds to boot would almost be worth it.
    • If you want to know what they should really do, read the second page of my latest blog article [intelligentblogger.com]. I didn't realize it before, but it seems I came prepared for this article! :P
  • by gx5000 (863863)
    I'd love to get one of these XX riggs and set it up RetroStyle
    with the Beige colouring and the heavy set Keyboard (that used to be the whole unit...)
    Wonder how well the new 8800 Nvidia drivers are doing....
    Man, Us fan will sure be dating ourselves...yes I'm over 40.. lol
  • well if they trully think about pc gamers, they should think about the gamers themselves. be a gamer instead and not just some company that targets people who awes at colorfull pieces. what does the gamers want? higher capability to run graphics and such is one of the main reasons. gamers also would like to bring their own cpu to tournaments if that is permitted. the different between this type of casings is that its only for the looks, a trend amongst developing company nowadays which doesnt fullfill the e
  • OMG WOW a 800W box to play video games. Good thing to know my 300mW gameboy can play games too.

    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Or are people incapable of learning that lesson?

    Tom
    • OMG WOW a 800W box to play video games. Good thing to know my 300mW gameboy can play games too.

      But can your gameboy heat your den?

    • by Taulin (569009)
      That type of power is needed to compensate for the newer video cards and hard drives.
  • The LOGO (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Paolo DF (849424)
    At least, they didn't mess with the logo and butchered as Atari (the new Atari) did.
    Look here [myatari.net]
    • by nuzak (959558)
      This guy is seriously obsessive about some pretty small details. The logo is still instantly recognizeable and hardly butchered. He must have serious conniptions when he sees the animated version of the logo (on all Atari loading screens).

      You want to talk about butchered logos, how about Cisco's new Fischer-price look?
      • by Dogtanian (588974)
        Maybe so, but I agree with his basic point. The Atari logo (or more specifically, the Fuji symbol part of it) is a design classic. It's so deceptively simple, but that just emphasises how right they got it and how easy it is to upset the balance by fiddling with a few curves.

        To illustrate how it's hard to do simple design right, I'd ask someone to go away and design a very simple typeface from scratch. Nothing fancy, totally functional plain-as-you-like sans-serif lettering. And I *guarantee* that if you'
      • by mgblst (80109)
        Yeah, I agree with you. Well, I did, until I read the article. Sure, he is knick-pitting, but the new logo is quite distintively different, in that it is very ugly, compared to the original simple logo.
  • I think this company could have simply made more money by selling cases and maybe other components like power supplies and heatsinks -- if you look at their site, they focus 99% of the features on the damned case....
  • Sweet! (Score:1, Funny)

    by bozendoka (739643)
    Radar Rat Race with dual GPUs and 5.1 surround? Sign me up!
  • does it run... Mr Do's Castle?
  • Is this company a hardware company at all?

    They seem to own the branding, but do they even produce the mainboard PCB itself?

    I'm sure they didn't write a BIOS. I wonder if they will support LinuxBIOS...
  • .. joke, he plays up the "you can download trailers" big deal, I read that as "you can pay us and we can serve you advertisements, isnt it great you sucker!". If this is a delivery for trailers (movei advertisements), why should I pay? Their devices are nothing awe inspiring, nothing that hasnt been done before. They are just a BRAND company, not a company of invention or revolution. They are just milking the old historical Commodore brand just as the Amiga brand was milked and failed.
  • system with 2 8800? they should put the high end X-FI card in.
  • I just got one of these babies . . . I can't get the CD rom to recognize, anyone know the load extension for it? I tried Load "zaxxon",8,1 And Seriously, my commodore tape drive isn't USB OR Firewire...any thoughts? If you could fit, in some cases, 10-15 games PER SIDE of a non HD 5.25" floppy, can you imagine a DVD worth of C=64 games!? ooh man....
  • It looks to me like someone bought the Commodore name just to stick it onto a generic custom PC. They must have gotten a nice infusion of capital from investors to get things off the ground. Whether they manage to turn a profit is another story.

    They've really overdone it with the logos all over the box. They even went and printed the logo on the underside of the case and molded the rubber feet in the shape of the logo. That's just tacky.

    I like clean case designs, there are some horrendous ones out there, bu
  • How's that a commodore comeback?
  • This Case says it all [commodoregaming.com]

    As a long time Commodore Fan it just makes me want to cry. :-( Though I think those who think Skateboard deck art is really cool will love it.

    I was a big fan of the iMac flavors and Blue/Wite & Grey G3s and G4s, this new monoskin instead of a two-tone case look is really lousy looking (I always wished they did a ruby iMac with Chromed speaker grills and black trim.... sweeet.).

    I noticed the options were United Kingf\dom and nothing else for country.

  • Nothing new here. I bought a "Commodore" branded PC (beige box Pentium 75) about 10 years ago. A Canadian company named Campus Computer bought the rights to the name (at least here in Canada). It even had the famous logo on the case. I also remember seeing the Commodore logo on some old army green filing cabinets, which must have pre-dated their entry into computers, back when they were an office supply and calculator company.
  • Though they use the same logo, can one truly call these systems chicken head computers [computer-d...online.org] with these specs?
    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      Though they use the same logo, can one truly call these systems chicken head computers with these specs?
      Oh, absolutely. I hear that the new Commodore has a promotional tie-in with McDonalds; the Chicken Head Extra Value Meal [dumbnerd.com]. Yummy!
  • The cases may be pretty but from the looks of the pictures, they've resurrected Commodore's legendary problems with trapped heat as well.

  • Sorry, "Commodore", the only 'revolutionary painting process' I want to hear from out of you is the Amiga's Hold-And-Modify screen mode. 4,096-color graphics from a bit depth of only 6 bits per pixel? Now that's revolutionary.
  • by the_womble (580291) on Friday March 16, 2007 @03:11PM (#18379729) Homepage Journal
    Old Commodore: "revolutionary graphics chip" "revolutionary audio" "revolutionary OS" New Commodore: "revolutionary painting process"
  • 'revolutionary painting process' to make them look pretty damn gorgeous."
    Jesus on a bike. It's just a black painted box with rounded edges and not some Italian super style design.

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