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Monday, April 11, 2011

Commodore goes retro

I'm going off the Apple train of thought for this post.

The Commodore 64 is back and apparently it has a future.

I'm not talking about men going back to the things of their youth and hitting up eBay for an 8-bit C-64 in the original box, plus the 5 1/4 disk drive and heck, the cassette tape drive, too.

No, I'm talking about the reorganized Commodore USA.

Commodore Computing has new ownership and they want to capitalize on ‘80s nostalgia.

Their Website has a retro look to it and takes orders for the C-64 in several configurations. For $250, you get the classic case, chassis and keyboard; plus a multi-format card reader with 1 USB 2.0 port. For $595, you get the Intel Atom (the same CPU as many netbooks) CPU and motherboard, NVIDA Ion2 graphics, 2GB of DDR2 memory and a 160 GB SATA hard drive. You get a DVD tray drive , a 250 Gb hard drive and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth at $695. You get a DVD slot drive and a 500 Gb hard drive at $795 and for $895, a 1 Terabyte drive and a BluRay Drive!

I should mention that the built-in graphic options include VGA, DVI, and HDMI. So for $895 you should be able to play a BluRay movie. I say should because...

The software development lags behind the hard ware. Right now, you get a CD/DVD with Ubuntu 10.04, which is a good operating system that doesn't include a way to view a BluRay movie immediately. In turn, Commodore will mail customers the Commodore 1.0 operating system which includes emulation software for the classic C-64 8-bit system and a collection of games.

Could you run Windows 7 on this thing? I don’t see why not. You’d want the 32-bit version, though.

Could you run OS X 10.5 or 10.6 on this thing? I confess to curiosity, because a popular hardware hack has netbooks with the Intel Atom CPU running 10.5 and 10.6. I understand that Apple put the kibosh on this type of hack after 10.6.2.

Before any of you plunk down anything on the plastic, read Lance Ulanoff’s reminisce about his C-64 that he wrote his college papers on. Lance sees no reason to go back to the past.

But the bands Flock of Seagulls and Bowwowwow played Los Angeles recently. There’s always a market for nostalgia and the things of our childhoods. I guess if you got the cash...

Me, I’m going for a Mac mini and OS X 10.7. And an iPad when I can afford it.

Listening to an old cassette tape in my boombox,

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Voice

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