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The New Commodore 64 339

Posted by samzenpus
from the blast-from-the-past dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After nearly 30 years, the Commodore brand has taken on new management and is re-releasing its flagship computer, this time with all the amenities of a modern-day computer packed inside. From the article: 'The new Commodore 64, which will begin shipping at the end of the month, has been souped-up for the modern age. It comes with 1.8 gigahertz dual processors, an optional Blu-ray player and built-in ethernet and HDMI ports. The new Commodore is priced between $250 to $900.'"
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The New Commodore 64

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  • 1st april? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:32PM (#35737630)

    1st april?

  • by dskzero (960168) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:32PM (#35737636) Homepage
    ... Why would I buy one?
    • by LastGunslinger (1976776) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:40PM (#35737752)
      FTA: “Thirty years ago computers were an all-in-one product, with the keyboard, memory and components built inside,” Mr. Altman explained. “Over the years that has changed, and we believe there is a huge potential to revive the early format.” Gee, I wish they made computers with all the components built together as one unit. Maybe they could call it a laptop or tablet.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by cayenne8 (626475)
        Does it run linux?
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:46PM (#35737844)

      1. Nostalgia
      It sure is a novelty item besides being a computer. And if it's a fully functional PC, too, you actually get a pretty usable office machine that way.

      2. All-in-one
      Computer and keyboard rolled back into one. At a price tag that a laptop probably cannot meet (due to flatscreens still being not free) while taking most likely much less real estate around your desk than the traditional PC, no matter whether it's tower or desktop.

      Where I see its space is (home) office users who don't need high end specs but want a simple computer while already having a screen to plug it to. In other words, average computer users. And they're plentiful. Add a few nostalgic geeks and you have a market share.

      • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:52PM (#35737924) Homepage Journal
        It's more expensive than a lot of laptops, and almost all netbooks.
      • You can buy any number of micro form factor PCs (usually business workstations) in this power range for equal or less money. I'd argue that nostalgia is the only unique trait that they're bringing to the table.

        • by tepples (727027)

          You can buy any number of micro form factor PCs (usually business workstations) in this power range for equal or less money.

          Which micro-form-factor PC do you recommend that has non-Intel integrated graphics? Is the AMD-powered Dell Zino any good?

        • It's not even that unique, the Commodore trademark seems to get passed around almost yearly and more Amiga or Commodore branded machines get pumped out.. at least Amiga has Amiga OS 4, but (possibly to my shame) I haven't ever tried it.. when I was a teenager I used to dream of having a PPC card for my Amiga so that I could run WarpOS.

      • Are you talking about the Asus Eee Keyboard?

        It's all-in-one and you can certainly run any emulator you want on it to get your nostalgia fix. On top of that, it has wireless HDMI and wifi built in.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASUS_Eee_Keyboard [wikipedia.org]

      • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @05:39PM (#35738434) Homepage Journal

        1. It is too expensive for Nostalgia.
        2. It is too thick to be comfortable to type on.

        I really think they are blowing this. I would love to see a modern C-64 but this isn't it. If I was building one I would start with one of the new AMD fusion chips. Put that into a a thin all in one keyboard that is no thicker than a Notebook. Include an HDMI port so you can hook it to a TV. Install a small Flash drive and no hard drives or CD/DVD. Include few USB 3 ports and maybe a Firewire port for people to add mass storage, and throw on a network port and possibly include wifi.
        Put A good Linux on it and a price of $100 to $200.

        If you want a DVD and or windows that will be extra.
        Schools would love it because it is cheap and should have no moving parts. Kids could use it with a TV in their room and it would actually work out. Of course many people could live with just a monitor anyway since cable boxes have HDMI out anyway. Don't make a copy of the C-64 make an new C-64. A cheap computer that will do what most people want it to do.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          I really think they are blowing this. I would love to see a modern C-64 but this isn't it. If I was building one I would start with one of the new AMD fusion chips. Put that into a a thin all in one keyboard that is no thicker than a Notebook. Include an HDMI port so you can hook it to a TV. Install a small Flash drive and no hard drives or CD/DVD. Include few USB 3 ports and maybe a Firewire port for people to add mass storage, and throw on a network port and possibly include wifi.
          Put A good Linux on it an

      • by bane2571 (1024309)
        My big issue with this thing is that keyboards are seperate from PCs for a very good reason. If I spill cola on my keyboard (we've all done it), I really dont want to have to buy a new PC to replace the damaged A key or even strip down and repair the keyboard. What I want to do is buy a new $25 peripheral.
    • My wife would probably love one for her studio in place of the space sucking and noisy desktop that's up there now. (Laptops with sufficient screen size for her research are too friggin' expensive.) I also might consider one for the living room - it's a cheap way to get an internet enabled TV without the bother of replacing my existing non internet enabled one.

      So, just because you wouldn't buy one doesn't mean others won't.

      • by hjf (703092) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:55PM (#35737948) Homepage

        Too bad this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASUS_Eee_Keyboard [wikipedia.org] never took off. It's a nice idea - all-in-one with wireless HDMI.

      • by wagnerrp (1305589)
        It's a 1.8GHz dual core Atom, paired with low end nVidia graphics. You can pick up a mini-itx board and case with the same specs for $250, and hide it and all the connecting wires behind the TV. Another $50 gets you a wireless bluetooth keyboard you can stuff on the side of the couch, and you have all the same functionality, only without the big clumsy keyboard on your coffee table and wires strung across the floor to your TV. There is literally no worth to this device besides a gimmick.
      • Most laptops have external display options as well... the netbook I'm typing this on has a tiny screen, yes, but it also has a D-Sub display out. My main laptop has a 16" screen (which is good balance between portability and useability, IMO), and also has D-Sub, HDMI, and DisplayPort output....

        Others have suggested buying a small form factor system like a Mac Mini, or an all-in-one system. Good suggestions. But why not also consider getting a laptop for the portability and using an external display? My main

    • by Flammon (4726)

      From the article.

      Mr. Altman says he sees two types of customers for the new computer.

      “There are a lot of really young computer users who want to own a retro-looking computer,” he said. ”And of course there are those 30- to 40-year-olds who owned the original Commodore 64 and want the nostalgia of their first machine.”

      I for one welcome our new C64 overlords.

    • by slinches (1540051)

      I agree. One version later and they drop support for all of the old cartridges and accessories. If I upgrade, my dot matrix printer, 5.25" floppy, joystick and sega genesis controllers will be useless.

    • Why would I buy one? (Score:5, Informative)

      by dnahelicase (1594971) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:54PM (#35737942)
      Why would I buy a new one when my old one still works?
    • by Urkki (668283)

      ... Why would I buy one?

      If you need to ask... You won't.

    • by wmbetts (1306001)

      I'll buy one as soon as I can. Not because it's OMG the best thing ever, but it's something that brings back good memories and I'd love to share something similar with my son.

  • Alternate headline (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:33PM (#35737644)

    "Yet Another Company Sells Retro Computer Case"

    • by hedwards (940851)

      It's a little bit more, they do apparently have some sort of proprietary Commodore OS that you can use. Not sure what they mean by that, if it's the old one or one that's been designed to be compatible with the original ones. Screen shot at the bottom of the page.

      • by StikyPad (445176)

        Yeah, but since you can install a full blown Amiga (let alone C64) emulator on any PC made in the past 10 years, a pre-installed version in hardware isn't really much of a selling point.

        • by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:49PM (#35737886) Homepage Journal

          Yeah, but since you can install a full blown Amiga (let alone C64) emulator on any PC made in the past 10 years, a pre-installed version in hardware isn't really much of a selling point.

          The one thing it would require is a drive to emulate the 1541. I have games on disks - not on 3.5 or HD or Flash drive, but original media. I trust I will have a bonafide 5 1/4 drive I can read my old disks with. If not, there's really very little point, unless I want to download the various images from whatever repositories exist. But I do have things you won't find on them, like programs, tools or artwork of my own making. I'd love to see this stuff again.

          • by feepness (543479)

            But I do have things you won't find on them

            Given they are going on thirty years old, I bet there's lots of things you won't find on them either.

      • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:55PM (#35737950) Homepage Journal
        The problem is that they're missing the entire point of the Commie-64. Every one should come with a full copy of LiveCode or something that lets kids mess around with building their own apps right out of the box, without the training overhead that comes from so many modern IDEs. ROM Basic is too primitive to be of much interest anymore (even with the sprite generator and SID chip), but there are lots of products that are similar and could engage a whole new generation. It needs to be simple enough that clever kids can figure it out by reading the (always available) source in existing programs, and powerful enough to be able to do something interesting.
        • by mangu (126918)

          Every one should come with a full copy of LiveCode or something that lets kids mess around with building their own apps right out of the box, without the training overhead that comes from so many modern IDEs

          Python with PyQt is the closest thing I can imagine. Although programming GUIs is still a PITA compared to the old ways, Qt comes close to having the best possible GUI API and Python has the simplest syntax among modern languages.

          And, yes, it should be a Linux computer. If you want to motivate kids, there's no reason to encumber them with all the cruft that MS-Windows has accumulated over twenty years.

      • It's a little bit more, they do apparently have some sort of proprietary Commodore OS that you can use.

        I don't see anything on the manufacturer's site [commodoreusa.net] that necessarily indicates it's a proprietary OS. For one thing, they say "Commodore OS 1.0" isn't available yet, but they'll mail it to people who buy the computer when it's ready. In the meantime, it says the machines will ship with Ubuntu LTS. That suggests to me that Commodore OS 1.0 is likely to be yet another Linux distro, maybe with some sort of nostalgic Commodore-like skin.

        • In order to run a Commodore 64 emulator, you need a copy of the Commodore 64 ROM images. Those are copyrighted and presumably owned by this company.
      • by Nikker (749551)
        Check this [commodoreusa.net] out. It's just a case that looks identical to the old C64 but with an Atom/ION2 combo, it runs Windows 7 "premium experience". Nothing really that special, you could probably just put a MicroATX board in an old C64 case and achieve the same. Not to hate or anything but I was kinda hoping for something like a dual boot BASIC or some sort of custom hardware that would let you at the registers but alas.
      • they do apparently have some sort of proprietary Commodore OS

        Actually, they have a "propriety" Commodore OS. What that is I have no idea. But it sounds snobbish.

      • by pscottdv (676889)

        It's a little bit more, they do apparently have some sort of proprietary Commodore OS that you can use. Not sure what they mean by that, if it's the old one or one that's been designed to be compatible with the original ones. Screen shot at the bottom of the page.

        It's Linux. Read the description.

        http://www.commodoreusa.net/CUSA_OS.aspx [commodoreusa.net]

        And for those of you pining for an Amiga look-alike, they have that too.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      If they were actually selling a case with integrated (USB) keyboard that would take a standard motherboard, then it would be a compelling product. It would save the trouble of interfacing to the C64 keyboard, and finding a power supply that would fit in the box. Having to buy a complete PC in that case isn't even interesting. Also, while nobody cared last time this subject came up, that's not the case I want. I want an Amiga 1000. If I were doing an all-in-one, a 1200. But I have a 1200 and I've never been

      • by bhtooefr (649901)

        First off, it's an Atom Mini-ITX board.

        Second, they've also announced an Amiga 1000 and 2000 version.

        (Not that I'd buy any of them.)

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          My point is that if they only sell it with their motherboard, ram, drives etc then that's dumb. I don't want their shitty Atom. In the same form factor you can get a real Socket M, for example, and run a Core Duo.

  • M.U.L.E.
    Paradroid
    Ultima II
    Below the Root
    Impossible Mission stay a while, stay FOREVER!
    Slot Car Construction Set...

    • According to their site [commodoreusa.net], you can "Play all your favorite 8-bit era games within seconds ... by selecting the C64 icon from the boot menu to run a C64 emulator directly".
      • by powerlord (28156) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:43PM (#35737804) Journal

        According to their site, you can "Play all your favorite 8-bit era games within seconds ... by selecting the C64 icon from the boot menu to run a C64 emulator directly".

        Yes, but they also say:

        ote: Commodore OS 1.0, along with emulation functionality and classic game package, will be mailed to purchasers when available. In the meantime, units come with the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS operating system on CD ready to install.

        So it doesn't sound like they've worked out all the details yet, and don't expect to be able to just pop in your old Floppies and run the programs (hey, I still have my old Amiga Floppies somewhere ... probably time to get rid of them though).

    • Raid on Bungeling Bay
      DROLL
      Choplifter!
      Jumpman
    • by demonbug (309515)

      M.U.L.E.
      Paradroid
      Ultima II
      Below the Root
      Impossible Mission stay a while, stay FOREVER!
      Slot Car Construction Set...

      Slot car Construction Set? Not familiar with that.

      Racing Destruction Set, now there was a game.

      I probably spent the most time on Pool of Radiance, but there were a lot of others...

  • Awesome press release, if they don't even get the terminology right.

    • by TeknoHog (164938)
      Because when you put two processors on a single die of silicon, it magically becomes "one processor" with "two cores".
  • they want their joke back.
  • Should'a done a Commodore PET 2001, that was space-age looking!
  • I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one.

    How sad. I never even had a C-64 when a youngster. I had to learn machine code on a Dragon 32 (6809 processor so not so bad!)

    But still, I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I want one I

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Come on man. You'll be much happier buying a real C64. They're dirt cheap these days, and still as much fun. This thing is just a boring PC.

      • by SharpFang (651121)

        you might recheck your data.
        A set of C64+power supply+disk drive+2 joysticks+all the cables+a box of floppies (and maybe even a monitor) currently costs an arm and a leg.
        A C64 without this all will be dirt cheap but good luck completing all the components on your own. In the end it may cost more than the whole set.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You mean...

      10 PRINT "I want one "
      20 GOTO 10

  • by tsa (15680)

    How many new C=64s have we seen already? How many are there still to come?

  • by name_already_taken (540581) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:40PM (#35737750)

    Covered a while back, here: http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/10/03/24/0625211/Commodore-64-Primed-For-a-Comeback-In-June [slashdot.org].

    It's just another article covering the same machine discussed previously.

    • Nope, this isn't quite the same thing. Of course, if you'd read the article, you'd know that, so I guess I shouldn't expect too much...

      • Nope, this isn't quite the same thing. Of course, if you'd read the article, you'd know that, so I guess I shouldn't expect too much...

        I read both articles; they describe the same machine, and both articles point to the same website, www.commodoreusa.net [commodoreusa.net]

        It's the same damn thing.

        Of course, if you'd read and understood both articles, you'd know that, so I guess I shouldn't expect too much...

  • by thebra (707939)
    250-900 for an expensive case? Why would anyone want this. If you want a modern pc buy a modern pc, if you want a Commodore 64 then get on ebay and buy one. I don't see this selling well at all.
  • Not laughing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dleemaas (2035220) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:44PM (#35737828)
    Did they just decide to completely ignore the fact that almost every major PC builder has been making media center and all-in-one PCs for a number of years? They act like having a computer built into the keyboard is something that's going to revolutionize the market. The Commodore 64 keyboard layout is a joke, and the "Pro" and "Slim" versions are a joke because there are already plenty of alternatives from the big names (HP, Dell, etc.) that have better specs and sell for around the same price, if not less for what you get in these pieces of junk. Maybe this is their April Fool's Month joke.
  • I'm interested to see what that's all about. Please, please, please bring back ",8,1"

  • by FrankSchwab (675585) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:47PM (#35737860) Journal

    Now, if they had followed through ...

    OS in ROM - no Virus worries or update hell. All the machines are the same.
    BASIC (replaced with something modern) in ROM - make it easy and attractive to program.
    Applications in ROM - Build in OpenOffice, FireFox, whatever else is commonly needed and make it front and center. Build an entire Linux Distro of applications in that are available with a bit of digging. But mostly, make it really friendly to start writing a letter, using the internet, whatever.
    Cartridge slot for commercial apps.
    An HDMI porrt

    Make the computer an appliance again. Don't require the owner to be a SysAdmin to use it. Sure, you lose some flexibility, but you gain hugely in usability. I know precisely the number of times my mother has opened her computer to install a new add-in card - zero.

    • by PCM2 (4486)

      OS in ROM - no Virus worries or update hell. All the machines are the same.
      BASIC (replaced with something modern) in ROM - make it easy and attractive to program.

      Sounds like it's got that. It can boot to a C64 emulator "within seconds." It's just not "replaced with something modern."

      An HDMI port

      It's got that.

    • by jd (1658)

      OS in ROM is easy enough - use CoreBoot (and/or OpenBIOS) to install the kernel. The equivalent of the old BASIC chip (which was really more than just BASIC, it was also your system shell) would be to have a mini root disk in the same prom as the OS - your minimal /bin, /sbin, /lib stuff. It just needs to be enough to boot from. You can have a more complete image file (compressed or whatever) elsewhere, or if you want to use the BBC style of sideways ROM then have each application plus non-editable suppleme

    • by mdm-adph (1030332)
      Sounds like a tablet computer with some sort of IDE built-in? Would that be the modern analogue?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mijelh (1111411)

      OS in ROM - no Virus worries or update hell
      BASIC (replaced with something modern) in ROM - make it easy and attractive to program.
      Applications in ROM - Build in OpenOffice, FireFox

      AKA permanently vulnerable. Back in the days of the Commodore 64 virus were practically non existent, and they were made only to show off how 133t the coders were. Today Malware is a huge business, a large industry, and with the population increasingly using the computers for stuff like buying online, checking the bank account, etc. this can only go worse. I do think that we need to figure out how to make things easy again, but just locking ourselves to vulnerable software is almost suicidal.

  • It's a fake! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:48PM (#35737872) Journal

    This is nothing but a PC in a custom case with a famous trademark. I read a lot of vintage computing sites and no one has expressed an interest in these. It's a dumb idea, not worthy of mention,

    What is worthy of mention, yet no one reports on, is all the custom retro modern hardware available these days. Want a C64 or Amiga without the hassle of maintaining old hardware? Try a C-One [c64upgra.de], an FPGA platform that implements both C64 and Amiga computers. Or, do you have a C64 but tire of floppy swapping? Get a 1541-Ultimate [1541ultimate.net], a cycle accurate 1541 emulator that even emits the sounds of a real disk drive. Or, do you love the sound of the SID audio chip inside the C64? Control it via MIDI with the MSSIAH [8bitventures.com] cartridge. Any of these projects are more worthy of attention in the tech media than the crass money grab we see in TFA.

    • Agreed. I'm an active C64 user and have released recent music software for the C64, but I just can't get that excited about a Commodore-branded PC put out by someone who bought some old trademarks and IP.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      MSSIAH sounds totally awesome. It's too bad there's no SID in the Amiga, because it has a 31250bps serial port and can do MIDI with a dumb converter box. I guess you could use an Amiga as a MIDI-playback sampler, but there's no point today.

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      Or, do you have a C64 but tire of floppy swapping? Get a 1541-Ultimate [1541ultimate.net], a cycle accurate 1541 emulator that even emits the sounds of a real disk drive.

      Wonder if you can make it play music [youtube.com].

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:50PM (#35737902) Homepage

    "You think your Commodore 64 is really neato, What kind of chip you got in there, a Dorito?"

    vid [youtube.com]

  • Yeah, yeah, ho hum, another story that his the nets on April ... 6?

    Huh?

    Checks date again.

    Not April 1. Still says April 6.

    <boggle>

    • by zill (1690130)
      The ethernet cards on these new C64 are having some serious latency issues, it seems.
  • This is not a Commodore 64, it's not in any way related to a C64, it has nothing to do with Commodore (don't care if they "own" the name) and we've seen it "featured" on slashdot before.

    The only positive thing to say about this is that fake-Commodore has a very good marketing department, congratulations on another free slashvertisement.
  • I just put together an i5 2400K sandy bridge rig with everything except the monitor for $1050. Including a pretty nice vid card.

    Someone already said it further up...buy an old one if you are feeling nostalgic. Still, I hope it takes off.
  • This was accomplished years ago http://www.mini-itx.com/projects/c64/ [mini-itx.com]
  • ...just to play "Questron" again.

    And "Forbidden Forest"
    And "Wizard's Crown"

    While I'm making wishes, maybe they could let it run the 3DO version of "Star Control II" as well.

    No, I don't want an emulator. I want all the same colors and the same beeps, though I do want it to run faster than my C64 did.

  • I might wait for the 128-bit version with 64-bit compatibility mode to come out.

  • From their site:
    "Note: Commodore OS 1.0, along with emulation functionality and classic game package, will be mailed to purchasers when available. In the meantime, units come with the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS operating system on CD ready to install. "

    So it's not a commodore... in any way shape or form... and they don't even have the licensing for the old OS emulator nailed down, and probably never will.
  • by scotts13 (1371443) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @06:21PM (#35738820)

    If it doesn't have a 6502/6510 processor, it's not a C64. They may stick something else in there for modern software; but if it has to emulate "itself" it's disingenuous to use the name. Of course, they may emulate other things, too - when I was selling the originals to schools, they'd put 15 on the truck for each 10 that were ordered. Because about 1/3 were dead out of the box.

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