Commodore Recreates the C64 For A New Generation
The Commodore 64 was more than a computer. It was the symbol of an entire generation, and still tops the charts as the best selling PC of all time. Many who lived and gamed in the 80s will have fond memories of the device, and it ran thousands of games- a lot of those games are still being played today.
Enthusiasts will be happy to know that Commodore plans to bring the old machine back.
For those of you who don't know about the Commodore 64 (For Shame!) it was an 8 bit computer that released in January 1982. It was one of the first personal computers that was available at retail outlets,and not simply for sale at electronics stores. It boasted a 1.023 or 0.985 MHz processor, 64 kb of RAM, and 20 kb of storage. The specifications seem laughable by today's standards, but back then it was actually pretty high end. (Wikipedia)
With that out of the way, let's take a look at the reborn C64.
Same Cover, New Book
Okay, they're not actually one hundred percent reviving the old system. In a world where we talk memory in terms of gigabytes and terabytes, the old 8-bit system, with its sixty four kilobytes of RAM simply wouldn't have a place. What they're planning to do, then, is to keep the recognizable look of the old system, and pack in oodles of new hardware.
The only change they've actually made to the old system is the keys. From Commodore USA's Website: "The new Commodore 64 features genuine Cherry brand key switches, which provide a feel much better than the original, with a lovely IBM classic mechanism and click sound. The keys are the exact same shape as the original and are color matched. No expense has been spared. This is the ultimate hackers keyboard on which to wield your key-fu."(Commodore USA).
So, aside from an improvement on the original design's keys, a few new ports and the replacement of the floppy drive for a CD-DVD drive, this is the same C64 you all know and love.
It's an interesting choice, but one has to wonder how well it will sell for them. I mean, sure, the C64 has a unique look, and a special place in the hearts of a lot of people, but...the world's moved on. It's a cultural icon, but the look might not really fit with the modern world.
Then again, we love to miniaturize our technology, to make it compact. A desktop-quality computer that fits in a keyboard might appeal to more people- it'd definitely save the space taken up by a full computer tower- that is, assuming the specifications stack up.
The new C64 is...actually not bad in terms of power. Featuring two gigabytes of RAM (Upgradeable to four), a dual core 1.8 gigahertz processor, 512 MB of onboard graphics memory, and an Nvidia Ion processor; it's not going to break any benchmark records, but neither is it a weakling. Ultimately, it's somewhere around what one would expect to be the average for a reasonably high-class system.
This news is going to warm the hearts of a lot of fans of the old system, to be sure. And while the thought of being able to pull out a positively ancient looking computer and have it keep up with systems on the modern market, I'm not really sure how well it will do. I mean, we're living in the era of the Ipad- we like things sleek and sexy, not big and boxy.
For my part, I like the design. It'd be cool to have, and I think it shows some degree of appreciation for long time customers that Commodore is doing something like this. To be completely, honest, though...A lot of folks might be more interested VIC SLIM and VIC PRO. Then again, everyone's got different tastes. . For all we know, it could be the next big thing in the PC market.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see. If nothing else, this design will remind people of how, not very long ago, we considered 1 Mhz processors to be the top of the line. And it never hurts to remember our history.
The new C64, VIC-SLIM and VIC-PRO can all be found on Commodore's website. They start at $595.00, $895.00, and $395.00 respectively.