Good Morning, Everyone!
And once more it's a low-entry system: the third model of the "264" product line (along with the C116 and the Plus/4).
It features a 7501 or 8501 CPU (depends on model), a 6510 compatible chip, 16KB of DRAM (faster than the C64 DRAM), the TED video chip (320x200 pixels with 121 colors). The ROM contains BASIC 3.5 as well as a machine monitor. Sound capabilities are quite limited: 2 "Voices", one of them can only produce square waves, but 3-bit digital sound was possible.
But let's face it, one of the most remarkable features of the C16 is the dark gray case witht the lighter gray keys! I mean, this is what the C64 should've looked like!!
@Wintermute_BBS I always wondered why Commodore chose this colour combination for this machine and not for the C64.
What would have been if this beast would have had 64K or even more from the start and excellent compatibility with the C64 (or even more machines)?
I personally had embraced a compatible machine with more than 16 colours (like the C64), capable to use a fast floppy like the 1551, having a sophisticated BASIC and nice cursor keys (like the Plus/4)
@stirz well, AFAIK the original C64 color was chosen by randomly grabbing a can of color and spraying a VIC-20 case to distinguish the few prototype C64 machines from a VIC-20.
Why no one in marketing changed that before mass production began is only known to the universe ...
... but since we're talking about Commodore here, I am not surprised at all! 🤣
@Wintermute_BBS Commodore was all about moving fast and keeping cost low so that low prices could still bring them nice margins.
But still. I always considered the brown color a kind of "Henry Ford black model T"-move
@stirz I really think no one has given it a second thought and everyone either focused on the technical features and product deadlines or staff was fired by Tramiel before they could intervene by suggesting a different case color.
@stirz @Wintermute_BBS Explained in Commodore: A Company On The Edge. I've found the relevant section and quoted it here: https://wyrms.de/user/chris/quotation/12997#anchor-12997
There's also a huge section about why the disk drive is so slow!
@Wintermute_BBS I mean: meeting Dave Haynie in person. And a lot more folks from inside that company. Wow. I wish I did.
It only sinked in months afterward how lucky I was to meet him in person and be able to ask hin all those questions that I had after reading Brians book.
We interviewed him (and Mr. Pleasance) for roughly two and a half hours and he is an impressive personality, much fun to talk with and one of the kindest people I've ever met.
The guy who actually shot the footage also owns the IP on it and hasn't yet released it. But he's currently working on it to have something ready for Amiga 37.
@stirz as for the 64K - some users had their Commodore 16 machines upgraded to 64K - either by themselves or through someone who was able to to the upgrade.
If you knew assembler and also bought the 1551 floppy disk drive, which was way cheaper than the 1541, you then had a very decent system for the price. I admit that there were only "a handful" of those wizards. But there were / are.
As for C64 compatibility - the fact that Bil Herd decided to eventually put two different machines into one case, I'm talking about the C128, shows how difficult this topic has been. Bil and his team did some extremly awesome work given the circumstances (keyword: VDC).
The only machine that I can think of that managed to combine compatibility and a fresh and new native design was the 1989 MGT Sam Coupé which was not only a 48K ZX Spectrum compatible but a 256K machine on its own, with much more advanced sound and video capabilities plus the ability to run CP/M (with an amazing TPA of 63 (!) KB)
Here in germany, those machines (Plus/4, C16 and C116) were often sold at a lower price than the 48K ZX Spectrum. This may have been a german phenomenon as the brand name "Commodore" had a very positive image here in germany back then. So people may have put their trust in the "Commodore" brand.
So at least on the german market I suppose the "264ers" did indeed defeat the Spectrum. And they did it quite well, given the number of former C16 and Plus/4 users I've met in the past three decades.
@Wintermute_BBS i think so... but i didn't have any documentation that'd let me write much by way of machine code, although i did prod at TEDMON a bit
certainly nothing survives now
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