back to article Commodore 64 reincarnated as quad-core Ubuntu box

The Commodore 64 has been reincarnated as a 3GHz quad-core PC with 3D graphics, Gigabit Ethernet, a DVD-RW drive, and a 500GB hard disk. All that's left is the built-in keyboard. And the name. In this case, that 64 can only mean a 64-bit processor - not 64 kilobytes of memory. Memory's up to a decidedly un-1980s eight …

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  1. Mark McC
    FAIL

    Needs more chicken head

    Poor effort on the keyboard design - they didn't even replace the Windows keys with the C= chicken heads. And what on earth is a touchpad doing on a desktop-based machine? If they insist on such a thing, couldn't they at least drop the keypad and put the touchpad in its place? The C64 had mouse support you know!

    1. Frank Bough
      FAIL

      Just what I thought

      Another happy C= 64 mouser here.

  2. John F***ing Stepp

    Wizard of wor how I miss you.

    And hey! Dig Dug; it's all good eh?

  3. Flybert
    Thumb Up

    i want one !

    still have a working C64 brown case from 1982 , 1541 (floppy) drive .. 256kb memory expansion cartridge .. a pair of working later C64 white case ( though one of those has a dead joystick port )

    I doubt the hundreds of floppies I have work .. but I might be surprised .. GEOS "OS" from about 1986 actually had and mentioned "windows" as I recall .. and Lords of Conquest was a great game, as was a rather advanced physics model in Arctic Fox by Dynamix

    "We were told, basically, that Commodore decided to build a simpler, lower-cost, black-and-white machine without a lot of the pizazz of the Apple II."

    Woz must be thinking Vic 20 or .. C64 was 16 color from the start and games that had action and joysicks, rather than the (mostly) text based games I remember from Apple II around the same time.

    now .. where do I find a paper and a ribbon for my Okidata 80 column dot matrix printer ?

    1. JBH

      Actually...

      ...he was referring to the Comodore PET:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_pet

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

      Hmmm

      > now .. where do I find a paper and a ribbon for my Okidata 80 column dot matrix printer ?

      At the local suplier of such things. I have 2 fresh ribbons for it and quite some paper. I hardly use printers but I must say dot matrix beats most anything these days.

      cat plaintextfile > /dev/lp0 -> get printed text :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Dot matrix

        Yes, dot matrix is still alive and well. I work at a very dusty ceramics factory and the dot matrix printers, which are totally exposed to all the dust, just require a squirt of oil once in a while to keep them running.

        Not much cop for printing your holiday snaps on, of course.

      2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        cat...

        Not on a C64, unless someone snuck in a 8-bit 6510 (6502 with the 'missing' instructions re-instated) UNIX port that I missed!!

        1. JBH

          You mean Lunix?

          http://hld.c64.org/poldi/lunix/lunix.html

          :D

  4. John Savard Silver badge

    Looks Familiar

    This PC in a keyboard looks just like an all-in-one zero-footprint PC from Cybernet.

  5. NemoWho
    Thumb Up

    Dear CommodoreUSA Webmasters:

    We, the viewers, feel that your OS Page needs larger OS clipart! Especially the Chrome one. Might not be completely visible from space.

    (But your technical snippets on Chrome and Comodo would be pretty hard to enhance any further, I'll grant you that.) And bonus for referring to yourself in the first person on the OSX section. Class.

    Is this site truly run by Croatia?

  6. Johnny Canuck

    Its actually this

    http://www.cybernetman.com/en/products/zero-footprint-pc/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Errrr.....

      ....yes. It is isn't it?

      So, what exactly IS the point of this "new" C64? It's just a rebadge of an existing product.

      1. The BigYin

        Better marketing, that's all.

        As the first post points out, even the "Super" key has that weird, squiggly squares symbol on it.

        It's probably just some money men (who know diddly about computers) bought the rights to the name, bought a license to distribute and now have this "new" Commodore.

        Maybe it will be a success, maybe it won't.

      2. The BigYin

        Having just gone to both sites...

        ...it seems they even use the same pages.

        Something smells off about this.

  7. PunkTiger
    Heart

    Waxing Nostalgic

    Awesome! I still have my Datasette, 1541-II, and Action Replay and SID Symphony cartridges. Look me up on Q-Link!

    *sniff* God, how I miss those days.

    1. fluffy

      Well, Q-Link is still around, sort of

      Q-Link eventually became AOL.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Slipped disk

    Will you still need me,

    will you still feed me,

    when I'm sixty-four?

    Apparently so but you'll need to work a few more years for your pension....if your lucky.

  9. NemoWho
    WTF?

    Mystery Solved...

    Area code is Broward County, Florida. (For those overseas, you may soak up the culture by watching old reruns of COPS.) Please send us your credit card information straight away...

  10. Timo

    brings back memories

    Back when you'd get a computer magazine and it would have the source code printed there for you to input into your own machine. Spend hours putting it in and then debugging it.

    So Commodore had a good idea in cost reducing a PC, but then they went and put as much horsepower into the floppy drive! That sort of screwed up the cost advantage.

    Apples were marginally more useful. An Apple II was still too expensive to buy for an incoming college student. I ended up with a C64 instead. The C64 almost did things. Almost.

    1. ravenviz
      Heart

      Re: brings back memories

      Ah, those were the days, you and your friend sitting in front of the machine reading the code out loud:

      "ten"

      "space"

      "R"

      "E"

      "M"

      "space"

      "Intergalactic space adventure"

      "new line"

      "20"

      "space"

      "D"

      "I"

      "M"

      "space"

      "SPACESHIPS"

      "open bracket"

      "5"

      "close bracket"

      ...etc. You get the picture.

  11. Steve Roper
    Go

    I want one

    Having the entire computer inside the keyboard was a brilliant design decision, and one that I've long lamented the demise of. In the old days I had my C64 on my desk with the 1541 disk drive underneath the monitor and it took up bugger-all space. The Amiga 500 / 1200 wss even better because it had the drive built-in, it was was just that, mouse, and monitor. Even the 90s desktop format PCs were good because you could put the monitor on top of them, too.

    And then along came this "tower/upright" bullshit design, where desk space normally allocated to coffee cups, Coke cans, coding notes and magazines now had to be given up for a bloody great upright box you couldn't put anything on top of, and cables snaking from hell to breakfast all over the desk to the monitor, mouse and keyboard instead of decently running under the desktop case.

    Would have been nice the see the chicken head keys back, not to mention the keyboard graphics, but I suppose we can't have everything. Definitely interested in this one!

    1. jackharrer

      Hmmmm...

      I think I know what you need. It's called LAPTOP ;)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Jobs Halo

        or...

        ...a latest gen. imac, complete with bluetooth keyboard & mouse. Purchase cost not withstanding.

        Runs Windows 7 64bit a treat too.

    2. Annihilator Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @Steve Roper

      Steve - you know the point of tower cases was to reclaim the desk space, right? Put it on the floor, under the desk - that's what it's designed for! It replaced the beige-sit-under-monitor-desktop for that very reason, people didn't want one on the desk.

  12. uninventiveheart
    Stop

    I call shenanigans.

    Sounds from the website that they have no right to the name yet...

    From their News Page:

    "We are hard at work here trying to solve the problems of world hunger & global warming; not to mention finding a way to achieve international peace and the cure for all the horrible ailments that beset mankind.

    On top of all this, we are diligently and fervently entrenched in the negotiations that will allow us to place this cute little logo nameplate on our all-in-one computer."

    Until the website changes or a press release appears, I say "Meh."

  13. Araldite
    Big Brother

    Now for the PET - Big Brother

    I want a real business machine, not the toy machines produced for the masses.

    1. Steve Roper
      Stop

      Toy machines

      Back in the day, I had an argument with my computing teacher in school regarding the merits of various machines. He argued that the school's BBC Micro B computers with 32KB of RAM, 2MHz 6502, 8 colours, no sprites and basic TI (3-channel + noise) sound was a REAL computer, and my Commodore 64, with 64 KB of RAM, 1 MHz 6510, 16 colours, 8 sprites and SID (3-channel + digi) sound was just a toy. I said that the specs of each system were comparable; where the BBC had the faster CPU the C64 had more RAM, and each was effectively capable of solving the same computational problems. Just because the C64 was a third the price of the BBC didn't make it any less powerful a machine.

      In later years, the Amiga would suffer the same stigma of being called a "games machine" despite it's vastly superior graphics, sound and computing power compared to the IBM PCs of the time. So to me this business of calling cheap mass-produced computers "toys" simply because they didn't have a 4-digit price tag smacked of techno-snobbery, a problem which ultimately brought about the failure of the Amiga and left us stuck with the cludgy and inefficient Intel x86 architecture we have to endure today, instead of Motorola's beautiful and truly multi-tasking 680x0 and PowerPC processors as the norm. How powerful would these processors have become by now, if the techno-snobs had just gotten over their elitist attitude and gone with Amiga technology, instead of just dismissing it as a toy? 3.4 GHz TRUE 64-bit Quad-core RISC anyone?

  14. M Gale

    Nice.

    Wonder if it'll have the same screeching tape-noise when you load stuff?

    Or is it going to have the more advanced microcassette drive as an option?

    1. JBH

      No tape loading noise on the C64.

      I think you must be confusing it with the ZX Spectrum!

      :D

      1. Coruscating Frenzy
        Thumb Up

        Load by ear

        Indeed. The ZX Spectrum was very good at providing aural feedback on the cassette interface. It was very easy to tell by ear whether a load was working or not. You could even tell when you needed to realign the tape heads because your source had been laid down on a dodgy recorder.

      2. Chika

        Well...

        Actually, if you wired it all up wrong, you could get that squeal from virtually any cassette loading computer. I used to do that occasionally on purpose with my BBC if there was a problem with loading so that I could hear if there was anything wrong.

  15. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Apple != Woz

    It's worth pointing out that Apple only started building anything special when the chubby one left.

    1. Jan 0 Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Apple ate Woz

      He may have left in person, but Apple still had the Integrated Woz Machine, reduced to a chip, in every computer.

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Stop

      Excuse me?!

      The Apple II was what got Apple on the road to their millions! Woz designed the thing from the ground up using pen and paper, it was running businesses for years and years after production stopped. The Apple III was complete pants compared to the Apple II.

      Get yourself a copy of the book "iWoz", Woz's autobiography and you will genuinely appreciate what a genius the guy is and how much of an influence he had on the IT biz.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    CIV 1

    But will it run Sid Meier's Civilization?

  17. Brian Miller

    Hasn't this form factor been done before?

    OK, so this one has "Commodore" on it. But hasn't this form factor been done a few times before? You know, computer-in-a-keyboard format?

    Yeah, I started on a school's PET 2001N, and then I bought my VIC-20, and then a Commodore 128 and I upgraded its video memory. Ah, those were the days. Whip open the case, unsolder the old memory, solder in the new memory. I had four drives hanging off of it.

    Too bad CBM executives were chicken heads. The Amiga was good, but it needed business-type graphics for it. There is only so far you can go targeting the video industry.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Computer in a keyboard

      Um, yeah, like how many pre-PCs were like this? Beeb, Electron, Oric, Dragon, Vic20... you name 'em.

      In more recent times, the Amigas, the Acorn A3000/A3010 too.

      I'm not sure I agree with a return to a computer-in-a-keyboard, because it is rarely the case when the thing is the size of just a keyboard. That said, I certainly agree with the poster who thinks tower cases are horrible. I don't like them either. The monitor of my older PC is sitting atop the RiscPC. The PC itself... uh... stuffed in the corner on top of the clunky old VCR. I mean, what the hell can you do to make a tower case fit into the aesthetic of your desk? It's the wrong size for everything.

      1. The BigYin

        Towers...

        ...a good for cooling. And. Err. Umm. Yeah.

        One of these "PC in keyboard" things with some kind of wireless connection to a TV/monitor would be good. You could then hide that tower in the closet and have it do all the heavy-lifting (transcoding, broadcast recording, media serving etc).

        I want more money so I can buy more toys...

        1. Tom 13

          Cooling, holding lots of drives,

          providing additional horizontal storage space, and looking really, really cool with the glow neon lights thingies shining through the cases.

          I still use the homemade computer desk I made for my c64 way back in the day. Drilled holes in it to help cool the sucker. I loved the computer part but hated the power supplies. I was always replacing them because they'd burn out. Haven't owned a desktop style case since then. Towers are great for cooling and over-sized power supplies that don't burn out. And I still have memories of using that first 150 bps modem to connect to Compuserve.

  18. kevin biswas

    Isn't this just....

    A laptop with the screen torn off ?

    1. Goat Jam
      FAIL

      Screenless laptop?

      Yes. Yes it is.

    2. Paul RND*1000

      Eric the half-a-laptop

      Half a PC, philosophically, must ipso facto half not be. But half the PC has got to be, vis-à-vis its entity - d'you see? But can a PC be said to be or not to be an entire PC when half the PC is not a PC, due to some ancient history?

      Sinclair tried this too, about 22 years ago with the ill-fated PC200. At least this new Commodore's specs aren't obsolete 5 years before it launches (assuming it's not vapor)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    "And now someone is intent on resurrecting the thing."

    Someone is resurrecting the PET?

    1. Kurgan
      Happy

      Like in "Pet Cemetary"?

      Ressurecting the PET? Easy, watch the video course named "Pet Cemetary".

      Anyway, computer-in-the-keyboard design sucks. It makes the keyboard too high to be comfortable, and too hot, too.

  20. John Carter 1
    Thumb Down

    it's the OS silly

    Hang on,

    it doesn't run the OS and doesn't even have the retro keyboard.

    So how is is this a Commodore?

    Reminds me of when Rover in the UK decided to stick an MG badge on a mini-metro with fat wheels. What a travesty.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Rover

      Or when Rover decided to stick an MG badge on an already badge engineered Honda Domani....

      Keeping the car analogy:

      This is like BMW's effort at ruining the Mini.

      An original part from the original mini wont fit on it. It doesn't run the same engines. It doesn't even have the retro rubber suspension. It is as big as a Maxi and less well packaged.

      Like this C64, the only thing they have similar are keeping the badge at a cynical attempt at appealing to trendy retro twenty-somethings.

  21. Jaap stoel

    Its not the old C64

    But still not a bad choice for a design. I can imagine these things being useful for office PC's nice and compact.

    The touchpad is indeed unnessecary in my opinion. Its gonna be a desktop machine so you're going to plug in a mouse anyway.

    Still, depending on the price I can see these machines being used at the workplace or in classrooms.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Erm, it's a computer in a keyboard...

    ... so this company is just cashing in on the name and producing something that resembles a commodore 64 in the same way that a pair of converse resembles a pair of DM's.

    Now if someone actually *modded* an old commodore 64 and managed to squeeze modern processing power inside, with the same retro outside *plus* commodore 64 emulation mode - then I'd be impressed.

  23. TeeCee Gold badge
    FAIL

    Great!

    I want one of th.........oh......hang on.....no I don't.

    Sorry, I let nostalgia get the better of common sense for a moment there. I wonder just how large a market "people who remain nostalgic long enough for the distance selling cooling off period to expire" is?

  24. Andy Jones

    We've already got one of those

    We've already got one of those machines, but not at those specs. It is a Cybernet ZPC-9000 and they are a piece of shit! If the new one performs like the old then it is a big no no.

    Of course, I haven't tried Linux on it. I am waiting for my boss to finally give up on it (he keeps saying he will) and pass it over for me to give it an attempted resurrection. At the moment it has Windows Dead Person, er I mean Windows XP on it.

  25. Paul Hates Handles
    FAIL

    Meh

    Doesn't have ANY of the charm of the C=64 :-/ And the internal drives and stuff just make it half a laptop. Fail.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Pah...

    every one knows the Xbox is shit and the PS3 roks....

    Oh sorry...

    Yeah everyone know the C64 is shit and the speccy is king...it may be more powerful, but where are the games...

    I'm off for a quick game of Attic Attack follwed by Manic Miner.

    See boys and girls...same old, same old....

  27. John 62

    Needs to run AmigaOS

    cos it's more Amiga than C64 with that built-in disk drive. And if they really want nostalgia they need the cheap plastic rather than cheap chrome. Plus the trackpad looks awful. Sorry. I'm sticking with my MacBook.

  28. Phil 40
    Alert

    Cooling?

    Surely a decent Quad core chip will never get sufficient cooling in such a small box?

    Even if it does at first, I can see heat becoming a big issue a few months down the

    line.

  29. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge
    Thumb Up

    Color or colour

    The home computers were all colour. The PET was monochrome. But then I seem to remember the Apple was monochrome right up to the 1990's whilst the 64 had sprites and dazziling graphics. Tramel then made the Atari ST which was actually pretty good and cheaper than the Amiga.

    I suspect that it was lack of compatibility which saw the end of most of the 1980's computers.

    If only the MSX, Japanese Z80 machines had come out a bit sooner, we may have seen the home computer evolve into the machines we use today.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MSX

    Z80 computer manufacturers always seemed to find a way of preventing a disk from one machine being read in another.

    However it was the success of Acorns BBC Micro with it's very simple 6502 CPU which sporned the Acron RISC Machine CPU or ARM processor. Varients of this are used in most Windows PDAs and loads of routers and other gadgets with embedded linux.

    I think the idea of a 1980's home computer is still valid since home computers were very big as games machines. Perhaps encouraging the use of a keyboard on a PS3 might be better. Perhaps encouraging people to plug their console into a proper monitor would also help.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's not a Commodore 64

    and it looks shit.

    Buying the Commodore name as a cheap marketing gimmick won't impress anyone if your product is still ugly Chinese import crap.

    Who really wants a machine that's fragile and easily breakable like a laptop, but impractical to move like a desktop?

    And to reiterate an earlier point, it's so ugly. I had hoped silver painted plastic was finally dead and buried but it seems people just won't stop making this crap. If you think it looks horrible now, picture it in 6 months when your wrists have rubbed the nasty silver paint off to reveal the even nastier grey plastic underneath. No no no!

  31. buckie

    C64? Hmmm...

    ...looks more like a Texas instruments Ti-99/4A to me.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    one word...

    BULLSH*T

    READY.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Pet Sematary

    A few comments:

    --Why does it have a touchpad? And assuming that's even slightly a good idea, why is it off to the left somewhat?

    --No possibility for expansion I guess. Should have made it a full-fledged laptop or at least pretty like a MAC.

    --We'd all likely be running Commodore machines these days if Jack Tramiel wasn't such a hothead that used everyone that came across his path and treated every employee he had like utter shit. C= was full of innovation in those days. If there's any justice, in the next life Tramiel will be reincarnated as Chuck Peddle's toilet.

  34. Valerion

    Missing one important bit

    I see a Shift key, but no Run-Stop.

  35. Ian Entwistle
    Thumb Up

    VIC-20 was colour too!

    I still have 2 that still work including the switchable 3/16K RAM pack and the "Super Expander" that gave 1024x 1024 addressable resolution ( although colour was limited to 20 x 35 (IIRC) addresses.

    Did I mention I still have my ZX81 as well..... :o) although i haven't tested that one in years

    I could never afford a C64 so I had to make teh best of my VIC so had it controling relays to open curtains, switch lights etc on/off. All the cabling and exposed connections in my bedroom was the best ever deterrent for keeping an inquisitive Mum away from those magazines you didn't want her to find!!!

  36. Pandy06269
    WTF?

    OSX

    How will OSX work - it's not Apple hardware. You cannot legally buy and run OSX on non-Apple hardware, so how are they planning to do it?

    They're even linking to information about EFI, which allows a normal PC to run OSX **ILLEGALLY** on non-Apple hardware.

    1. The Original Steve

      STFU

      "They're even linking to information about EFI, which allows a normal PC to run OSX **ILLEGALLY** on non-Apple hardware."

      The same way that a DVD RW allows me to copy films **ILLEGALLY**.

      EFI is an Intel Technology - NOTHING to do with Apple. It's used in Itanium systems I believe. So what's wrong with including EFI with a machine? Not's Apple's tech...

      See: www.intel.com/technology/efi

      "How will OSX work - it's not Apple hardware"

      OSX runs on commodity x86 hardware. Couse it will work. People have it running on standard PC's, on netbooks, servers etc. Get over yourself - OS X is nothing special or unique. (Unless you count Apple's marketing dept. which I realy admire as it's their biggest asset)

      "You cannot legally buy and run OSX on non-Apple hardware"

      I can legally buy OSX if I want. Their EULA says I shouldn't install it on non-Apple hardware, but the clue is in the title... EU stands for End-User. Unless the hardware reseller installs it for them it's not a problem...

      1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
        Jobs Horns

        Apple's interesting EULA...

        "I can legally buy OSX if I want. Their EULA says I shouldn't install it on non-Apple hardware, but the clue is in the title... EU stands for End-User. Unless the hardware reseller installs it for them it's not a problem..."

        This is probably the latest (snow leopard)

        ie http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/macosx106.pdf

        Now take leopard

        ie http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/macosx105.pdf

        Notice the slight difference in wording? Apple-labelled vs Apple-branded? So as long as I stick an Apple sticker on my generic x86 boxen I should be fine to run OS X Leopard on them (which I have done before but don't btw because I just find linux easier to cope with). Hell, you could dymo up Apple, stick it on and it'll still be legal I would argue.

        Snow Leopard might require a wee bit more of a stretch of definition, I guess you could 'brand' an Apple onto your box casing...At any rate I have not bothered with a snow leopard upgrade to my macs (because my intel one runs fine at the moment, and for my powerpc...I needn't mention Apple's neglect of ppc).

        Seriously, until they make decent affordable desktop boxen I can see well why hackintoshes exist.

        Oh, and Apple, if you're reading, I'd just like to take this opportunity to flip you the bird.

  37. Dr Andrew A. Adams
    Linux

    Get your facts right

    The VIC-20 was a colour machine, and pre-dated the C64. The Commodore PET was B&W IIRC (almost certainly because the VIC-20 was the first colour home computer around). The Apple ][ was green-screen. The Apple ][ was brought out around the time of the Commodore Pet, so why are you including the Apple ][ and the C64 in the same article? Some of us remember those days, even if we were in primary school!

    1. ravenviz
      Thumb Up

      Re: Get your facts right

      Also the VIC 20 had 4 channel sound, including a white noise channel, some of the games that you could load as a cartridge had fabulous graphics and sound for the time. And it was robust as hell (and I don't just mean the case). C64 was just a great evolution of that platform (although I could never afford one).

    2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Apple ][

      There was a color (sic) version of the Apple ][, but the original was black-and-white (actually black-and-green, as Apple only sold a green monitor). I never saw one actually with a coloUr monitor (damn the Yanks and their spelling), but I did use one with a monochrome monitor. It was a PAL model so it could have been that the colour was provided by a third party board, replacing the Apple PAL card.

      At the time that the C64 was selling, Apple had moved on to the Apple ][e and the Apple ][c, which were enhanced and compact versions.

      I preferred the Beeb myself. Just could not see the attraction of the C64's poor Basic, slower processor, minimal expansion, expensive (and slow!) floppy drives, and lack of bank-switched ROM that allowed you to switch applications on a whim. The (one) hardware sprite, and a more flexible sound hardware did make a difference, but the extensive software interrupt driven sound system on the BBC allowed similar effects to be created, albeit with a greater effort from the programmer.

      The C64 was a better system than the Spectrum, though, but that should not detract from the design genius that produced the speccy at the price it sold at.

      1. Mike Gravgaard
        Megaphone

        RE: Apple ][

        "I preferred the Beeb myself. Just could not see the attraction of the C64's poor Basic, slower processor, minimal expansion, expensive (and slow!) floppy drives, and lack of bank-switched ROM that allowed you to switch applications on a whim. The (one) hardware sprite, and a more flexible sound hardware did make a difference, but the extensive software interrupt driven sound system on the BBC allowed similar effects to be created, albeit with a greater effort from the programmer."

        The BBC Micro was 6502 based or 6512 based if you had a BBC Micro B (rarer); the Commodore 64 had a Motorola 6510 (later model that the 6502). I personally think the C64 was the better machine but to be honest the BBC Micro wasn't a bad but the C64 had things like the SID chip and Commodore at this time were possibly the best computer company at the time. Also Commodore owned MOS (the 6502 and 6510 manufacturer which gave Tramiel control over the 6502 based markets; I believe from what I've read in "On the edge" that Tramiel really like virtual integration).

        Trameil left Commodore as he had a fight with Irving Gould (the Commodore financer) as he wanted his sons to take over from him, Irving didn't agree and Tramiel went off to take over Atari at about the same time that Commodore bought the Amiga design from Hi Toro (which Atari had been previously financing) and then Atari tried to sue Commodore over it - and then we had the Amiga vs Atari wars.

        If I remember right Chuck Peddle is responsible for a lot of the extra commands in BASIC for tape control and they bought BASIC rights from Microsoft because Gates didn't believe in the 6502 processor (he like x86 based chips).

        I think Woz is silly to even compare the C64 to the Apple 2; the C64 was simply better.. Commodore made some great hardware designs but they didn't all get released due to Commodore management.

        The C64 is still the best-selling single personal computer model of all time.

        I was and still am an Amiga nut so I know quite a lot about this subject.

        1. Chika
          Coat

          Um, not quite.

          "The BBC Micro was 6502 based or 6512 based if you had a BBC Micro B (rarer); the Commodore 64 had a Motorola 6510 (later model that the 6502). I personally think the C64 was the better machine but to be honest the BBC Micro wasn't a bad but the C64 had things like the SID chip and Commodore at this time were possibly the best computer company at the time. Also Commodore owned MOS (the 6502 and 6510 manufacturer which gave Tramiel control over the 6502 based markets; I believe from what I've read in "On the edge" that Tramiel really like virtual integration)."

          There was nothing rare about the BBC Micro Model B (I still have mine though it has been many years since I booted it), and it ran a 6502A, same as the model A. What you may be thinking of is the Model B+ which Acorn released as a stopgap between the end of the Model B run (the Model A was discontinued earlier) and the original BBC Master. The Model B+ used the same case as a Model B but had a different motherboard run around a 6502B. It is, as you say, a very rare beast but given that it delivered few actual advantages over the Model B and was nowhere near as good as the Master and the Master Compact, it wasn't that big a seller.

          As for any comparison between the Apple ][ and the C64, there were a few years between them and, while the Apple did have some impressive addons that could be construed as bringing it into line with everything that the C64 was capable of, the C64 offered it all straight out of the box, and a fraction of the price. That doesn't mean that the Apple was bad; it just belonged to an earlier technology than machines such as the C64, the Beeb and others of the age.

          Coat for one...

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jack Tramiel

    I have an Atari 800 and used an Atari ST. The Atari 800 trounced the C64 (OK, perhaps the C64 had a better sound chip). I admit, I was an Atari fanboi. My Atari VCS and Atari 800 are still in my loft.

    Jack and his son Sam Tramiel killed Atari.

    That said, considering Jack Tramiel's life story, I admire him.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Not for the first time either

    I seem to recall an earlier attempt at doing this.

    Called the "Commodore 64 web.it".

    Google it, occasionally they appear on ebay too.

    It too was a headless laptop. The specs were somewhat less though:

    A 486 processor

    OS choice of Windows 3.1 or an early version of CE

    Think it had Smartsuite installed too.

    I seem to recall that the OS was installed on some sort of ROM chip?

    The tenuous link it had to the original (other than the licenced name), was a built in C64 emulator, so you could download your favourite C64 tapes (of course, so long as you held the rights to owning the original tape...)

  40. Michael 28
    Happy

    Could be a tough audience

    ......wonder what the purists will think????

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welle_Erdball

  41. Ivor Biggen
    Terminator

    the good old days

    I had a C64 for my sixth birthday. It was a terminator 2 special edition, came with the game. Best game for me on it was Flimbos Quest and a Circus game, cant remember what the name was. Could spend hours on them games, was better than Mario!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Circus game

      Fiendish Freddy's Big Top O' Fun

      Cracking game!

      You had to compete in events to gain enough cash to keep the circus from being closed by a businessman whom you owe money to.

      An apt theme, given the current recession. Only this time the clowns are in the banks...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiendish_Freddy%27s_Big_Top_O%27Fun

      1. Ivor Biggen
        Terminator

        haha!

        yep, thats the game, it had a few other games on the cartridge aswell

  42. Andus McCoatover

    Arfur Lappie?

    Well, maybe. But my problem is, I need 6' arms to operate the keyboard and see the screen simultaneously without glasses (I use my Asus 701 with glasses, but it's only occasional use).

    Now, to prevent the railway-like grooves getting deeper from constantly having to roll my castor-equipped chair back and forth, this computer means I can position the display away from the keyboard so I'm happy with both. Plus, use the LCD telly as a display when I'm watching pr0 - er, interesting news items.

    Oh, sod it. I'll just buy a desktop...

    (Shouldn't they be called "Deskunders"*, 'cos that's where everyone sticks 'em nowadays? Maybe not. Bad marketing. A bit too close to "Guzunder" - nick for a chamber pot, so-called 'cos it 'guzunder' the bed)

    *Unless they hang from one of those nifty frames one can fit to hang the machine from the bottom of the desk surface, in which case I propose the name "deskudder"

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Stop

      Deskunders

      ' Shouldn't they be called "Deskunders"*, '

      Zomg. You're right. Bleeding obvious,innit? But I never thought to think of it that way. Well done.

  43. Jamie Kitson

    erm

    64th Comment?!

  44. Tim Jenkins
    FAIL

    Not his product, not his badge...

    The device is a Cybernet Zero-Footprint-PC.

    http://www.cybernetman.com/

    Cybernet apear to be a real, typical Taiwan (HQ)-China (Manufacturing)-California (Registered Office) outfit (gotta just love globalisation)

    The only thing this guy seems to be doing is suggesting a link with the Commodore branding (which he does not appear to own rights to), and the use of EFI (on a "small, internally mounted module, supplied by others").

    Does the name Psystar mean anything to anyone?

    1. Andus McCoatover

      Bloody hell! Well discovered, Sir.

      Godalmighty, even the configuration page is the same.

      Let's see. I've requested a quote for the same standard configuration as on the commodoreusa webpage.

      This'll be interesting...

  45. Graham Bartlett

    Ah, the memories

    Every time I see another Commodore article, I remember how things were, and how they could have been. It takes some real skill at knuckleheadedness to piss a company up the wall the way Commodore did. You start off with the biggest-selling and best-quality 8-bit micro (C64). You move on to the biggest-selling and best-quality 32-bit micro (Amiga), which is a full decade ahead of anything that IBM PCs and Apple Macs can give you in terms of performance, the business software is state-of-the-art too, and it's the best games machine in the world. There's a half-dozen magazines devoted solely to your products. How bad does your business sense have to be, if you can't capitalise on that kind of advantage?

    1. Chika
      FAIL

      They weren't alone in that

      There have been a number of references in this whole thing to Acorn. I'd take issue with this idea about the "best" but one thing certainly links Commodore with Acorn... they both crapped up their marketing. Both companies produced some fine tech, a lot of which still has a bearing on today's machines, but both managed, one way or another, to kill themselves through poor marketing, either by concentrating too heavily on markets that were, at best, transitory, or just by being completely anonymous.

      That's one reason why we have been left with the VHS of computers, the "PC", with little left otherwise to choose from (not sure how to fit Apple into all this, especially given their shift closer to generic "PC" boxen in recent times).

  46. tardigrade

    Laptop with no screen.

    ", according to the company's website."

    That is one of the worst websites, I have ever seen.

  47. Gary F
    FAIL

    What you don't see is the external power brick!

    The "classic" wedge shape in 2010 is ugly. And the back of the computer will be a complete mess with all those cables coming onto your desk to attach. It looks like a Checkmate A1500 at the rear if anyone remembers that.

    And where's the HDMI output to attach to your TV?

    No thanks Commodore USA. I would rather have a more compact laptop or a mini tower under my desk. Thanks for the nostalgia but your efforts will sadly be consigned to the dustbin. There are no benefits to this design. We can already buy a cheaper, smaller laptop and use its VGA (or HDMI!) output to a nice big monitor if that's the idea.

  48. Chika
    Grenade

    Is this another boxshifter scam?

    In 1997, Acorn Computer was finally asset stripped and closed for good, bringing to an end a long line of innovative boxes. Some years later, a company bought the name Acorn from some obscure source and used it to sell PCs. Some claims were made about Acorn being "back" or some such rot, but the people making the claim were made to quickly backpedal as it became clear that all the company was doing was selling PCs, which is hardly the innovation that Acorn Computer was known for.

    Now we see a company has bought another name from the past. Commodore was known as a company that produced some innovative machines in the 8-bit and 16-bit era. Lest we forget, the C64 was not alone; you can go right back to the Pet if you like, a machine that was pretty popular in its day, or forward to the various Amiga machines. So what is this company selling?

    Sounds like another gimmick to me.

  49. Andy
    FAIL

    wtf..

    why on earth would you still be putting ps2 mouse and keyboard connectors on a pc?? and why no hdmi output option if you want it as a nice all in one.. fails on all levels

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Alert

      ps2 connected mouse& Keyboard

      Can you actually use USB versions to do the initial OS install? you know, before usb drivers have been installed? (maybe you can, I cannot recall if I have even tried..)

      1. Orclev
        Linux

        Depends on how bad your OS is

        If you've got a decent OS (any linux in the last few years, OS X, and any version of windows since, I think XP SP1, possibly even pre-SP1) it's not a problem, most of them have rudimentary drivers for USB devices in the install media. For that matter, most of the current motherboard BIOS will support USB keyboards and mice as well. These days you really have to go out of your way to find a new system that won't work with a USB keyboard.

  50. ForthIsNotDead
    Thumb Down

    It's not a C64...

    It's a PC.

    Don't fall for the hype/bullshit/gimmick. It's a PC.

    That is all.

  51. Chris Beattie
    Headmaster

    KERNAL

    "If you'd prefer an 8-bit processor and the old Commodore kernel, you're out of luck."

    If you're talking about old Commodores, it's kernal, not kernel.

    1. John 62

      kernal?

      Colonel, surel!

      1. M man

        Colonel

        Nope, thats the KFC64

  52. Mahou Saru

    If only...

    they crammed the guts of a modern PC into the original C64 housing I would be all over it. Or a nettop into a ZX81, but they would have to included the dodgy RAM pack too :D

  53. druck Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Nuts to that

    Give me a genuine Acorn Electron any day of the week.

    1. Chika

      Another nutter!

      Actually, I'd rather nut... er... not. I was never impressed with the Electron's processor arrangement.

  54. Andus McCoatover

    Early Sinclair business model?

    When - in the 70's I wanted to learn about these new-fangled 'microprocessors', a director-friend of mine at Courtaulds in Coventry (defunct) told me they were developing around a 4-bit processor, the Intel 4040.

    He repaid my enthusiasm by giving me the Intel 4040 user manual. I still have it, somewhere.

    Unfortunately for me it was the equivalent of being given a pillow-full of feathers, a bottle of glue, a stepladder, a book by a bloke called "Icarus" and told "Now you can learn to fly". I didn't have a clue what the state diagrams, etc. meant.

    Couple of years later, I got a Sinclair MK14. Eventually. By 'eventually', I mean that I paid for it, and after several (mostly unanswered) phone calls, it arrived, after about 6 weeks. Cost me a lot of money - can't remember how many shillings, but a lot for me at the time.

    Point is, www.commodoreusa.com can't give prices. Neither can www.cybernetman.com/ - they'll send a quote - or call me - I suspect they seem to be just trying to judge the level of interest before they make any. As, I suspect Sinclair did (It was quite successful - 50,000 sold - and to me, it was a godsend)

    Caveat emptor.

    1. Richard Scratcher
      Happy

      Ahh the MK14!

      Now there was a real PC - The Science of Cambridge MK14. It was way ahead of its time* and had a truly amazing spec for 40 quid:-

      256 bytes or RAM (could be expanded to a whopping 1/2KB)

      A 20-key hexadecimal keyboard.

      A gorgeous red on black 7-segment LED display - a full 9 digits wide.

      The entire machine was housed in...well, whatever housing you wanted to make.

  55. Matt 58
    Stop

    Ah no.

    No - not for me. I have a A1200 and a C64 with disk drive at home. Does not look anything like them.

    Really though has anyone plugged one in recently? things have moved on people. I do run old games in emulators which show the game play aspect of the old school game designs but I've only ever turned the A1200 on once in recent years. I cant really recomend it.

    I don't want it to look like a C64 unless its an exact copy. anything else is a pointless effort.

    also it probably does not run "Amiga" since it was never a OS, It might run workbench 3.1 through an emulator, Just like my PC does.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can I???

    Can I plug it into my telly?

  57. some dude
    Linux

    Hrm

    Get back to me when they release a quad-core spectrum

  58. Aron
    FAIL

    nope

    Needed the classic Commodore case and keyboard to sell it to me and a decent graphics card.

  59. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Custom chips?

    If this thing doesn't have custom chips then what is the point?

    Commodore was all about custom silicon that blew away the competition, from the C64 SID chip that was a 3 note poly hybrid synthesizer (digital oscillators, analog filter) to the ground breaking chips in the Amiga.

    This is just another PC in a odd looking box.

  60. necwarrior

    Ha Ha @ this BS

    what nonsense. I have had an identical PC from Cybernet for almost 4 years now. Here is the

    link to the website. ofcourse mine had a celeron D processor and windows xp. but they offer C2d in their recent configs. The ZPC (Zero-Footprint-PC) is the name of the model. Here is the link to the website.

    http://www.cybernetman.com/

    So basically someone is just renaming a product that is already been in the market for over 5 years and selling it as a new line. They sure as hell aren't cheap. When my power cord went out I had to shell out almost $80 for a proprietary one from the company. So if you dont want to wait for "The June Launch of the Commodore Store" you can just buy one from Cybernet.

    LoL...

    Amar

    1. M Gale
      Badgers

      Plus One to you

      also:

      "The cacophonous pinging of slot machines as hopeful players try another spin, the shouts of exuberant – and exasperated – gamblers as they court Lady Luck, mixed with the myriad conversations, laughter and the calls of dealers and pit bosses all may create the impression that a busy casino is truly a place of chaos. But the Silver Slipper Casino in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, demonstrates how managers in the multi-billion-dollar gaming industry impose order on the apparent madness through meticulous financial controls and state-of-the-art technology to monitor every game, every transaction and every player, win or lose. "

      Did AManFromMars write this site?

  61. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @If only

    Take a look at http://www.mini-itx.com/ modern hardware stuffed into just about anything.

    There are even a couple of C64s in there.

  62. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    FAIL

    Wow

    Something potentially lamer than an iMac... interesting.

    (It is not wise, in my opinion, to shoehorn everything, I mean everything into one box, unless you're talking laptops for the advantage of mobility. Otherwsie, you have all the disadvantages of a laptop and desktop bound pc with none of the advantages of either).

  63. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    how is it possible...

    ...That so many people here think the apple II shipped without color?! One of woz's big coups was the clever way he did color with very little memory usage. They may not have sold *rgb monitors* but the apple II was color w/ composite output from day one!

  64. Dave Bell

    Not convinced, but...

    A lot of LCD TVs are usable as computer monitors. It does depend on whether you have a compatible output from the computer.

    It's a niche market, reliability is an issue, and if you want a games machine, get a games machine. But, with USB drives as well, this is a workable idea. One thing's for sure, you only covered this because of the Commodore name, so somebdy maybe had the right idea to buy the rights.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Oh really?

    Debuting on July 1st or April 1st?

  66. Joe Cassara

    Some Corrections

    This article (surprisingly for The Register) gets things wrong. The machine Commodore built instead of buying the Apple design (and hiring those two bozos) was the PET, not the C64.

    As for Woz... That fat bearded revisionist is so full of crap (and himself). Jack Tramiel and the Commodore board wasn't interested in sustaining a business? Of course they were. Steve, what Apple was interested in was gouging consumers with giant profit margins for an inferior line of machines.

    You used to matter, Woz. But since you started drinking the Apple Kool-Aid, you've become just a laughable has-been. Get on your Wheel of Zeus and peddle yourself out of here.

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