Thursday, April 7, 2011

Commodore Returns ?

The company known as Commodore stopped producing computers sometime around 1994. Several attempts were made to revive the Amiga line of computers since then, but nothing has been successful yet. Although I was an Amiga user, and greatly appreciated the platform back in the eighties, the fondest memories of Commodore are of the Commodore 64. The 64 was the first computer for so many people. We had a 64 when I was a kid. Paul and I learned the thing inside-out, backwards and forwards. Paul had become quite a C64 hacker. When he and I were sharing an apartment in High Falls, we ran a BBS system for the Hudson Valley Commodore Club. We had three 1541 floppy drives, serving software to the club members, and a blazing-fast 1200 baud modem! Wow.

The return of everyone's favorite computer is coming in a familiar form, and offers something for the modern users as well. Commodore USA, launched pre-ordering for the new Commodore 64 yesterday. The new C64 is built around an ITX PC motherboard featuring a Dual Core 525 Atom processor and the latest Nvidia Ion2 graphics chipset. Commodore has packaged this into a case resembling the original C64. In addition to functioning as a PC, the new C64 will include an emulation layer for running old C64 software (although from the notes on the website, it appears they are still engineering this). Ubuntu will be shipped with early units until the new OS gets ironed out.

It looks like the new C64 has a DVD drive, VGA, HDMI, and DVI output, and multi-card reader. This makes it an interesting option as a media-box running Boxee, XBMC, etc. It will be interesting to see if they can pull this off. Until someone actually gets one though, only the brave optimists among us will pony up $595 for the pre-order. The first systems are scheduled to ship early June.

Commodore USA is also offering two other pc-in-a-keyboard systems with a more modern look, the VIC slim (pictured), and pro models. Good luck guys. I'm cautiously optimistic.

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