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Best 80's computer


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#26 accousticguitar OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 12:38 AM

There's always Best Electronics (with the worst website).

http://best-electron...a.com/800xl.htm

#27 The Usotsuki OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 2:14 AM

This is why I wish I were any good at coding...I'd try to be the PacManPlus of the Apple ][ world =P

ETA:

I get the feeling most of the people on CSA2 are old-timers for whom the Apple ][ was the successor to older hobbyist machines like the Altair. But to others among us it was more like the C64 - we were gamers and software pirates, and we just happened to use the Apple ][ instead of the C64.

CSA2 really isn't the kind of Apple ][ community (apart from the crax0rz who frequent there, like Hot Rod) that interests me so much - because they don't have the same kind of mindset like I do about the machine.

Edited by The Usotsuki, Mon Apr 8, 2013 2:22 AM.


#28 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 3:30 AM

Apple ][ is excellent, it introduced the computer to the masses in USA, and started the home computer revolution (and business, killer-app VisiCalc...etc)
Had the biggest software range of all 8-bitters.
Love to show this page from Electronic Games May 1985 (C64 was still an infant):
Posted Image
And Apple ][ didn't even bother with tapes, it's all disks

Edited by high voltage, Mon Apr 8, 2013 3:30 AM.


#29 The Usotsuki OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 3:51 AM

You'd be surprised. =P

There WAS plenty of tape software for the ][, and the ][, ][+ and //e all have hardware and firmware support for tape storage. I utilize it for sideloading stuff through my cell phone.

#30 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 4:35 AM

Well I never, I've been buying Apple ][ games since late 80s, never came across a tape, that's amazing.

#31 AtariLeaf ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 6:05 AM

I'm a coco guy too but for someone looking for a good 80's computer with a good lineup of carts that are fairly easy and cheap to find I'd definitely go with an Atari like the 800XL or a C64

#32 The Usotsuki OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 6:13 AM

http://www.brutaldel...ttes/index.html

#33 barnieg OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 8:24 AM

My last 8-bit machine was the Atari 800XL at the time and I continued to add to for a while including getting a 1050 but for best of the 80s I've got to go with the Amiga, when in School the Atari ST's had been launched and it looked great,but when I got to College Commodore had the Amiga 500 out so I went with that. At the time I couldn't justify the expense of Going with an Inferior more expensive PC! :)

Edited by barnieg, Mon Apr 8, 2013 8:27 AM.


#34 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 8:52 AM

I think the best machine of the 80ties was the Acorn Archimedes. This (ARM based!) RISC machine was much more powerful for the price than anything (incl. the Amiga) around.

Unfortunately it only became really popular in the UK.

#35 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 11:13 AM

What kind of games do you think would be fun or worth exploring?

The various machines all have games unique to them as well as their own flavor for games they have in common.

Atari, for example has many excellent arcade ports, but is kind of weak on character/ plat former type games, but has a lot of good home brew type projects going on.

C64 has more newer games because it saw commercial support, has shooters and more plat formers, and plenty of home brew.

Apple has a lot of odd games, many not found elsewhere, is a killer machine for Ultimate, text adventures, etc... not as much new going on though.

Opinions will vary on all of that, and I'm not happy with those summaries myself, but I'm posting on a phone, so it will be brief.

In terms of other software, Apples have tons of things for business, graphics, programming, etc...

Atari has less of this and lacks a good 80 column display. C64 has more IMHO, but it too lacks that display.

If you like hardware stuff, Apple rules.

All of the machines have disk emulation so you can run lots of stuff.

What do you want to do?

#36 Manoau2002 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 11:25 AM

What kind of games do you think would be fun or worth exploring?

The various machines all have games unique to them as well as their own flavor for games they have in common.

Atari, for example has many excellent arcade ports, but is kind of weak on character/ plat former type games, but has a lot of good home brew type projects going on.

C64 has more newer games because it saw commercial support, has shooters and more plat formers, and plenty of home brew.

Apple has a lot of odd games, many not found elsewhere, is a killer machine for Ultimate, text adventures, etc... not as much new going on though.

Opinions will vary on all of that, and I'm not happy with those summaries myself, but I'm posting on a phone, so it will be brief.

In terms of other software, Apples have tons of things for business, graphics, programming, etc...

Atari has less of this and lacks a good 80 column display. C64 has more IMHO, but it too lacks that display.

If you like hardware stuff, Apple rules.

All of the machines have disk emulation so you can run lots of stuff.

What do you want to do?


When i am ready to buy i think all go with a c64. I think the late 80's software interests me as i already have a decent reflection of the early 80's in other collections. I saw on a review a device that hooks up a c64 to a modern computer so you can play games from the harddisk. Is that what you mean by disk emualtion? How would you go about buying one of these?

#37 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 11:54 AM

Yeah, that seems a good call. I've not followed the C64 disk emulator devices, mostly because I don't currently own a C64. Emulation works for me, and I mostly follow demo productions for that one anyway.

A real quick search brought this: http://www.1541ultim...ntent/index.php

There is only one version of the 1541 Ultimate currently (pre-)orderable:
The 1541U-II, for € 129.95 (incl. 21% sales-tax), thus € 107.40 excluding VAT. This new design comes with a plastic case and is a full redesign of the 1541U-I. It includes USB and real time clock, and the SD-card has been replaced with MicroSD. It does not have Ethernet initially. Ethernet is targeted to become available after a software update only. Keep an eye on the main page to learn about the project and production status.
If you like to order, please register with the site, and find the menu item "Order Now!" at the left of your screen. Fill out your info and you will be automatically added to the (pre-)order list.
Difference between pre-order and confirmed orders
Pre-ordering does not obligate you to actually BUY the unit; it is a measure for me to see how many units I need to produce. When you confirm your order, I do expect you to actually make a payment as well.


IMHO, that's typical for these kinds of things. When I got the CFFA card for my Apple, I had to wait on a list until the next production batch got done. With an Apple or Atari machine, you can just use a cable and a PC to get things loaded. I am not sure whether or not the C64 has that kind of solution or not, but it's worth a look.

#38 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 11:57 AM

Now this looks interesting!

http://stevehanov.ca...ndex.php?id=133

Scroll down for the C64 SD card reader... Short story on this stuff is to start asking around and searching to find out who is active, what they are building, how it works, etc... Then you pick something and start jamming on the machine.

Bear in mind the C64 disk drive is actually a little computer and it was capable of running code a C64 user sends to it. This means emulations vary from just file compatability, which the SD card device appears to do, up through drive emulation compatability. Lots of things will just work with a file, but there are plenty of demos and advanced programs / games that need to see the real disk drive, or a capable emulation. That's the first thing I linked you to.

#39 Hatta OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 12:05 PM

The 1541U-II is the cadillac of drive emulators for the C64. If you're not sure you want to drop $200 on one, you can get a UIEC for $60ish IIRC. With the UIEC, if you're playing a fast loader game, you'll have to dump it to disk. But that's not a huge burden if you have a working disk drive.

But if you're sure you want it, I have nothing but praise for the 1541U-II.

#40 Manoau2002 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 12:20 PM

Thanks for all the information about the drive emulators and the sd card reader. I will have to do some research before making my purchase.

#41 cimerians OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 1:15 PM

I run a real C64 with the 1541 Ultimate drive as mentioned by Hatta it is very expensive but worth it.

:thumbsup:

#42 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 8:29 PM

Yep, a third on the 1541-Ultimate-II. It's close to the most expensive retrocomputing item I've ever bought, but by a long shot the best. Truly amazing device, and it does so much more than just emulate a disk drive. Honestly, until I got it, using the C64 was a burden, but with it, it's easy as heck. When I don't have much time to play a C64 game, now it doesn't matter, because anything I want is right there at my fingertips. Adds more RAM, many cartridges, freezers, utilities built-in, you name it, it pretty much does it. If my house were burning down, I'd get my wife and kid out, then I'd go back for the 1541-Ultimate-II. Maybe not, but I would think about it.

#43 abraXXious OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 8:58 PM

Depends what you mean by best 80s computer....

...if you mean best by most powerful and ahead of its time then it would be hands down an Amiga.

...if you mean best by most popular and supported then it would be hands down the C64.

...if you mean best by most fondestly remembered then it would be.... different for everyone. :) Nostalgia plays a big part in these things so if you were old enough to own/use a computer in the 80s then you will already have an idea of what the "best" 80s computer is.

I find them all fascinating in their own ways, but for myself:

Amiga - ultra powerful for its time, cutting edge custom chips and made for gaming - same father as the Atari 8 bit computer range. :)

Atari ST - very well supported, first affordable 16 bit computer with good capabilities and some ground breaking games.

C64 - first computer to inspire musicians to write gaming soundtracks instead of just noise. Hardware sprites and scrolling made it a very capable 8 bit system. Massive support and games library.

Atari 8 bit computers were very much ahead of their time with great specs etc, but very little software support and poor quality games compared to what was available on their peers, which is a shame as in many ways they were more capable machines (except the C64 which was made for gaming).

ZX Spectrum was a very low spec system which was designed around a relatively fast cpu which programmers used to replicate hardware features in software meaning that whilst it was never going to be as good as something the like the C64 for scrolling etc, it was very flexible and had some breakthrough gaming styles - such as isometric adventure games etc.

Vic 20, C-16, Plus 4 etc were very low end and did not get any more software past the mid 80s (late 80s had the best gaming in my humble opinion) so they missed out big time, similar to the 8 bit Ataris which got VERY little love, arcade ports or even new software releases in the late 80s.

Take from it what you will and best of luck.

#44 Manoau2002 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 9:11 PM

Depends what you mean by best 80s computer....

...if you mean best by most powerful and ahead of its time then it would be hands down an Amiga.

...if you mean best by most popular and supported then it would be hands down the C64.

...if you mean best by most fondestly remembered then it would be.... different for everyone. :) Nostalgia plays a big part in these things so if you were old enough to own/use a computer in the 80s then you will already have an idea of what the "best" 80s computer is.

I find them all fascinating in their own ways, but for myself:

Amiga - ultra powerful for its time, cutting edge custom chips and made for gaming - same father as the Atari 8 bit computer range. :)

Atari ST - very well supported, first affordable 16 bit computer with good capabilities and some ground breaking games.

C64 - first computer to inspire musicians to write gaming soundtracks instead of just noise. Hardware sprites and scrolling made it a very capable 8 bit system. Massive support and games library.

Atari 8 bit computers were very much ahead of their time with great specs etc, but very little software support and poor quality games compared to what was available on their peers, which is a shame as in many ways they were more capable machines (except the C64 which was made for gaming).

ZX Spectrum was a very low spec system which was designed around a relatively fast cpu which programmers used to replicate hardware features in software meaning that whilst it was never going to be as good as something the like the C64 for scrolling etc, it was very flexible and had some breakthrough gaming styles - such as isometric adventure games etc.

Vic 20, C-16, Plus 4 etc were very low end and did not get any more software past the mid 80s (late 80s had the best gaming in my humble opinion) so they missed out big time, similar to the 8 bit Ataris which got VERY little love, arcade ports or even new software releases in the late 80s.

Take from it what you will and best of luck.


Best from the criteria listed in the initial post.

#45 wood_jl OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 9:39 PM

Best from the criteria listed in the initial post.


There's no "best" of the entire 1980s. You'll have to go with "recommended" computer, which there's already been a bunch named. Many folks here have several from the 80s, and the "best" one is the one that he/she grew up with. That doesn't do a whole lot in attempting to narrow it down.

Home/personal computers were changing SO fast in the 1980s, that I should think in order to at least *try* and come up with some bests, you'd have to - at least - break it down into EARLY 1980s computers and LATE 1980s computers. In 1980-1984 there were no Amigas, Atari STs, etc. You had Atari 800, Commodore 64. So what's "better" - a Commodore 64 or an Amiga? Well, if you're trying to represent the state of home computing in 1983, then Amiga is of no use. The 2 machines are from the same decade, but an entire generation apart, different, and difficult to compare.

Back to your original list - it's going to be easier (in USA) to hook a C64 or Atari 800 to a common television than the Amiga or Atari ST (late 80s) which used analog RGB monitors. If that's important to you (you don't want to buy a dedicated monitor) then that nicely narrows down your choice to the earlier-80s machines which easily use TV for composite display. You can (in many cases) use a composite hookup with the later (Amiga/ST generation) but it SUCKS compared to using a dedicated RGB monitor. The earlier machines are done better justice with a standard TV. If you're in Europe, TVs commonly have SCART connections so getting a superb picture out of the later-80s machines on a TV is definitely an option. Lucky Europeans got nice connections we didn't, here.

edit: If you pick a later decade - like 1990s or 2000s computer - they didn't change so markedly. Everything that came later was just a faster/more RAM version of the previous release. I think this is what gives 1980s computers their interest - individuality!!!

Edited by wood_jl, Mon Apr 8, 2013 9:41 PM.


#46 abraXXious OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 9:47 PM

The initial post does not narrow the choice down much. :)

All the systems I mentioned have disk drive options and more modern SD storage options, all of them have a somewhat healthy homebrew and all of them can be connected to a modern TV. :)

With regards TV hook up, even the more modern systems have many options for this. Nearly all Amigas have a composite out, or you can get a decent tv with scart (scart rulez) and use the far better RGB. If you are in a country where scart is not readily available (my condolences) then you can use S-vide which is still quite good for gaming (Amigamaniac sells new RGB to scart adapters for $30.00).

I think you need to set more descriminating parameters to narrow down the field of choices. :)

#47 wood_jl OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 10:08 PM

With regards TV hook up, even the more modern systems have many options for this. Nearly all Amigas have a composite out, or you can get a decent tv with scart (scart rulez) and use the far better RGB. If you are in a country where scart is not readily available (my condolences) then you can use S-vide which is still quite good for gaming (Amigamaniac sells new RGB to scart adapters for $30.00).


The Amiga 500 (most popular and my favorite Amiga) doesn't without the A520 adapter (or at least it doesn't have color). The picture is so-so. Same thing with my Atari STs and composite connections. Very so-so. In either case, none of the machines have S-video output. There are mods, in either case. There was a guy in Australia selling S-video mods for PAL A520s, and he didn't know if it worked on NTSC machines, and nobody knew. I couldn't get any interest anywhere I asked, so I just went with a monitor. Googling turns up some Atari ST S-video mods, but there's practically no Atari ST modders in the U.S., so that does no good. With the unknown hassle and unknown expense of mods and the mediocrity of standard composite out, I settled on picking up RGB monitors from Ebay as the easiest and most practical solution for Yankees. The Amiga and ST on RGB monitor is so perfect compared to composite, that it hardly does those machines justice not to use them. (opinion, of course, and in Yankeeland)

#48 akator OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 10:09 PM

The "easy" choices from the early 80s are an Apple IIe or IIc, Atari 800XL, and C64. Their popularity both then and now means there is plenty of online software, info, and support.

But that doesn't mean the other machines aren't tons of fun. Even a Timex Sinclair 1000 (Sinclair ZX-81) or a TRS-80 Model 1 can be a blast when discovering the amazing things people have done with such limited hardware.

For example, one of my favorites is the VIC-20. I didn't have one back in the day and I especially enjoy learning the nuances and quirks of an unfamiliar machine. It wasn't as successful or long lived as the C64 and the hardware was much more limited, but there are still hundreds of games and applications available. Just as with more popular systems, there are modern SD drive and memory solutions that make using the original hardware easier than ever. Homebrew programmers come up with amazing things that were never imagined in the 80s.

Every system has a particular "flavor." The best thing to do is read up on a system to learn what it's *not* capable of. For example, don't expect Atari or Commodore graphics on an Apple II. Keep the expectations reasonable and almost any classic computer can be an awesome experience.

#49 Manoau2002 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 10:12 PM

The criteria listed in the first post are the musts.It narrows it down a little and gives me a place to start researching. I added later on that game wise I own an extensive early 80's game collection already. So I am looking for a computer after 1985. ( or that continued making games after that point)

#50 wood_jl OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 10:25 PM

Amiga 500, RAM upgrade to 1MB, RGB Monitor, and HxC Floppy emulator. This is the Amiga setup that I use.




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