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Pick my next computer! TI-99/4A or Tandy CoCo 3


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Poll: Tandy CoCo 3 v. Ti-99/4A (47 member(s) have cast votes)

Which computer should I get next?

  1. Tandy CoCo 3 (19 votes [40.43%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 40.43%

  2. Ti-99/4A (28 votes [59.57%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 59.57%

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#1 Grimakis OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 11:30 AM

So.... I'll let AtariAge decide.

 

Which computer should I get next? Ti-99/4A or Tandy CoCo 3?

 

Please give your precise reasons why, keeping in consideration.

 

  • Cost
  • Availability of accessories/peripherals
  • Modern enhancements
  • Game Library
  • Community Support
  • other stuff

 

Thank you!



#2 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 12:09 PM

Availability of accessories/peripherals: This one's probably a wash, effectively. They both had plenty of add-ons and accessories, most of which aren't especially useful to all but the most hardcore users. Disk systems, multi-cart expanders, printers, and essentials...they both have 'em, but none will be cheap anyway.
Modern enhancements - TI99/4a. They both have stuff like SD and/or flash storage solutions, but the TI people are always monkeying with new hardware; the F18 is practically ubiquitous now. It's a bit slower on the CoCo side.
Game Library - gonna go with the CoCo 3 on this one, but mainly for the CoCo 1/2 library, to be honest. Many CoCo 3 games are pretty good but forgettable, with only a few true standouts IMO. Ditto for the TI99/4a library--several excellent games, just not enough of them (again, IMO). The CoCo 1/2 library is very expansive and contains many hidden gems.
Community Support - TI99/4a. Hands down.
Other stuff - Well, the TI has better standard joysticks and is Atari/Commodore compatible with an adapter, but the CoCo 3 has a better keyboard and Deluxe joysticks for both free-floating analog and pseudo-digital control, but few--if any--third-party alternatives (Wico made an Atari adapter, and possibly a trakball, but they're pretty tough to find). The CoCo 3 has a much better BASIC, standard composite out, and RGB support. The TI has some of the sharpest RF I've ever seen (along with the Intellivision), if that's important. TI games generally look (and definitely sound) appreciably better than CoCo 1/2 games, but are usually outclassed by CoCo 3 titles in most areas.

So...I dunno, man. Flip a coin? You won't go wrong either way. :)



#3 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 3:23 PM

SD/CF interfaces are pretty equal on the machines, but I think availability has been more consistent on the CoCo.  The TI units seem to come out sporadically. 
FWIW, there's a CoCo 3 on a chip that has been in development for some time.  There's a facebook group dedicated to it.
If you want a CoCo 3 that can run existing games and has some new capabilities like a blitter, more graphics modes, a high speed mode, etc... and don't mind not having the original hardware, it's a decent way to go.  I would say it's not 100% ready yet though.  I'd say it's more for CoCo fanatics that want a new machine.

A drop in replacement for the GIME (the CoCo 3 video chip) is also in the works.  It will add additional capabilities to an existing CoCo 3 and revive a few dead machines out there.

The CoCo 3 has had more than 64K of RAM from the day it was released, so more software supports it.

The CoCo community offers plenty of support, but most CoCo people hang out on the CoCo mailing list.

I think TI's are cheaper than a CoCo 3, but original accessories are getting expensive on both.  Newer add on hardware is pretty even price wise.
The TI is a more closed design than the CoCo.  To even use bitmapped graphics from BASIC on the TI requires a 3rd party utility.
But that really doesn't matter if all you do is play games.  But it should give you an idea what limitations BASIC games have.
I think the CoCo game library is larger, but that's CoCo 1/2 & CoCo 3 games.  If you just count CoCo 3 games, the TI might have more.
 



#4 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 3:34 PM

BTW, a lot of TI people hang out here but not many CoCo nuts.  I'd say it's a given the vote will be in favor of the TI.



#5 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 3:49 PM

So.... I'll let AtariAge decide.

 

Which computer should I get next? Ti-99/4A or Tandy CoCo 3?

 

Please give your precise reasons why, keeping in consideration.

  • Cost
  • Availability of accessories/peripherals
  • Modern enhancements
  • Game Library
  • Community Support
  • other stuff

 

Thank you!

 

Cost -

TI - A LOT of NEW hardware has come out over the last couple of years that can easily upgrade your system for a minimal cost.

 

Modern Enhancements -

32K for about $35.00 and a multi-cart for around $60.00 both together give you access to 90% of everything.

 

Game Library -

Are you kidding?  GOBS of stuff for FREE for the above mention multi-cart... << JUST CLICK HERE >>

 

Community Support -

Again, are you kidding?  The TI has so much if it, it's unbelievable.  << CLICK HERE FOR PROOF >>

 

Other Stuff -  Coco's... different versions, with different memory capability levels and they were pretty cheap looking at that.

The silver Coco's usually have tired and worn paint jobs (especially near the keyboard), the later ones look crappy when yellowed.

 

The original black & aluminum TI's look great decades later.  



#6 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 4:40 PM

 

A drop in replacement for the GIME (the CoCo 3 video chip) is also in the works.  It will add additional capabilities to an existing CoCo 3 and revive a few dead machines out there.
 

 

 

To me, this is the biggest announcement to come out of the coco community ever. There's a lot of cool hardware being made but THIS is important.



#7 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 5:43 PM

...

Modern Enhancements -

32K for about $35.00 and a multi-cart for around $60.00 both together give you access to 90% of everything.

...

But, the CoCo 3 came with 128K and was expandable to 512K or more.  :D

This is one of the things that annoys me the most about the TI.
The standard TI has 16K of video RAM that isn't directly accessible to the CPU, and only 256 bytes of 16 bit CPU RAM (scratchpad RAM).
External RAM is 8 bit and expanding internal 16 bit CPU RAM requires some surgery.  8 bit RAM is slower than 16 bit RAM.
You also cannot disable the internal ROM (GROMs) so you cannot have a full 64K (aka 32K 16 bit) RAM available all at once.
This really isn't an issue for existing games, but it potentially limits what can be done with future games.


You can check out stuff for the CoCo here:
http://www.colorcomputerarchive.com/
 



#8 Turbo-Torch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 9:05 PM

Seems like apples and oranges.  The CoCo 3 has a 6 year advantage I believe?

I was never into the TI or Coco series, but it always seemed the CoCo 3 offered a lot for only $220.  Pick up a floppy drive during a sale and you had a system approaching PC or Amiga territory for well under $500.

 

On the other hand, the TI is plentiful and dirt cheap these days.  A CoCo 3 with disk drive and 512K expansion will probably set you back $300 to $400.



#9 Mr SQL OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 10:34 PM

I voted for the TI; they're both geat machines but the TI has a nicer aesthetic design and feels more like a computer, particularly the keyboard feel. 16K is a cool initial configuration and alot of memory and the 256 bytes of onboard RAM for the CPU is awesome, CoCo's is on an 8-bit bus.

 

 



#10 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 5, 2017 11:42 PM

I voted for the TI; they're both geat machines but the TI has a nicer aesthetic design and feels more like a computer, particularly the keyboard feel. 16K is a cool initial configuration and alot of memory and the 256 bytes of onboard RAM for the CPU is awesome, CoCo's is on an 8-bit bus.

 

 

But the 6809 has 8 bit instructions internal registers, and quicker clock cycle times, so it's not really an issue.
The 9900 is clocked higher though.

I have a TI-99/4A.  They have a nice game library.
 



#11 Mr SQL OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 6:53 AM

But the 6809 has 8 bit instructions internal registers, and quicker clock cycle times, so it's not really an issue.
The 9900 is clocked higher though.

I have a TI-99/4A.  They have a nice game library.
 

 

That's interesting James since you had a CoCo bit like I did, did you also like the TI then?

 

I had a good friend with a TI growing up and had a chance to explore it, he switched to a C64 eventually but the TI was alot of fun.

 

The other two TI models look good too but imo don't match the 4A's aesthetics, the 9900 reminds me a bit of the Jupiter Ace. 



#12 Grimakis OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 9:02 AM

Hm. Looks like the Ti is taking a slight lead.

 

How easy is it to get the Ti to output Composite or Y/C. I don't plan on using RF.



#13 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 11:20 AM

Hm. Looks like the Ti is taking a slight lead.

 

How easy is it to get the Ti to output Composite or Y/C. I don't plan on using RF.

It's pretty much a forgone conclusion that the TI will lead given the size of that community on AA compared to the number of active CoCo fans, who tend to hang out elsewhere.

The TI has composite right out of the box but uses a DIN type connector like the Atari and Commodore. RF and composite use the same port. The RF box is essentially a composite-RF converter (it may even contain the modulator itself--which would explain why it's so damn big--but I'm not a TI expert). If you're familiar with the VIC-20, it's the same deal. You just need the DIN cable.



#14 Grimakis OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 12:27 PM

It's pretty much a forgone conclusion that the TI will lead given the size of that community on AA compared to the number of active CoCo fans, who tend to hang out elsewhere.

The TI has composite right out of the box but uses a DIN type connector like the Atari and Commodore. RF and composite use the same port. The RF box is essentially a composite-RF converter (it may even contain the modulator itself--which would explain why it's so damn big--but I'm not a TI expert). If you're familiar with the VIC-20, it's the same deal. You just need the DIN cable.

Yes, I am familiar. I have a similar cable for my Commodore 64(although it supports Y/C out of that jack as well). Sounds like either computer will easily connect to my 1084-S monitor.

 

I'm so indecisive. So far I like the aesthetics of the Ti-99/4a better, but most of the ones I see on eBay are scratched, dented and dinged. 

 

I do like computers that take cartridges, so the Ti thats another plus.

 

However the Tandy does seem a bit more advanced.

 

If I wanted RS-232 on either of these to connect to an external modem, what is required? How about terminal software? 



#15 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 12:36 PM

You can do serial on the TI99 in a number of ways. Peripheral Expansion box and rs232 card (couple hundred bucks and heavy heavy)

A NanoPEB (using the new software put out by InsaneMultitasker) -- $60 plus some trial and error.


Folks on the forum would be happy to get you started with a list of what you need. :)

#16 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 1:09 PM

Depends on what you want to do with it.  Is it just for gaming?  If so, what kinds of games do you enjoy?  The TI-99 has a pretty decent game library, but the CoCo has some more advanced games due to the bigger memory (heck, you can even play Sierra adventure games on it).  I think TI-99 games *look* better than their CoCo 1&2 counterparts mainly due to having more (or at least better) colors.   



#17 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 1:16 PM

The TI has a good game library... and the homebrew market is still insanely active.

I don't know about CoCo homebrews, but guys are pushing the envelope on the TI all the time.

#18 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 3:21 PM

 

That's interesting James since you had a CoCo bit like I did, did you also like the TI then?

 

I had a good friend with a TI growing up and had a chance to explore it, he switched to a C64 eventually but the TI was alot of fun.

 

The other two TI models look good too but imo don't match the 4A's aesthetics, the 9900 reminds me a bit of the Jupiter Ace. 

I didn't have a TI back in the day but I bought one to play with the 9900 CPU and for a few games.
The 9900 CPU is based on processors from TI's mini-computers and keep hoping someone will fully unlock it's real potential.
The CPU isn't super fast due to the memory register file, but it supports compilers surprisingly well for when it was designed.
As far as looks go, it has to be one of the best looking machines with the brushed aluminum.



#19 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 3:22 PM

Yes, I am familiar. I have a similar cable for my Commodore 64(although it supports Y/C out of that jack as well). Sounds like either computer will easily connect to my 1084-S monitor.

 

I'm so indecisive. So far I like the aesthetics of the Ti-99/4a better, but most of the ones I see on eBay are scratched, dented and dinged. 

 

I do like computers that take cartridges, so the Ti thats another plus.

 

However the Tandy does seem a bit more advanced.

 

If I wanted RS-232 on either of these to connect to an external modem, what is required? How about terminal software? 

The CoCo does take cartridges, but that's actually a small part of it's game library.
 



#20 Chuck D. Head OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 3:27 PM

They are both great, but Coco 3 (and carts) prices just seem to keep rising, so that might be a factor in going that way first. Conversely, you can get a lot for your money with TI stuff. As stated above the standard TI just looks better than the Coco 3.



#21 RangerG OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 7:54 PM

I think it really depends what other systems you have and what you want. I honestly think the TI has better games, and I am a big CoCo fan. But, the TI to me plays and looks like a Colecovision. The CoCo is different: no Atari titles, lots of arcade clones, and just a different "feel" than other 8-bits. If you want different, go CoCo.

#22 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

--- Ω ---

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Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 8:45 PM

The recent game ports to the TI are simply amazing.  For some screen examples << CLICK HERE >> and scroll on down.  As mentioned before these are all FREE and are readily available for the FlashROM 99 multi-cart.

 

I also need to mention that you do not need to be limited to composite video.  There is a device called the F18A which gives you VGA output.  And for $20.00 you can even get an adapter off of Ebay to convert that to HDMI for modern big screen TV's.

 

It's never been a better time to come back to the TI, and you can check my blog entry on that << HERE >>.



#23 Muzz73 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 6, 2017 9:16 PM

I have a CoCo2 (and a TANO Dragon) and several TI-99/4a machines and love them all. I voted for the TI in the poll just on general principle, but you won't be disappointed either way.

#24 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 7, 2017 10:39 AM

I like the look of the CoCo1 the best. The CoCo2 seems to be the best bang for the buck with the software library. The 3 is cool, but a bit pricey it seems.

I remember just a year or two ago when CoCo3 lots were going for less than $100. Things change, don't they?

Edited by Opry99er, Fri Apr 7, 2017 10:41 AM.


#25 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 7, 2017 11:20 AM

I remember just a year or two ago when CoCo3 lots were going for less than $100. Things change, don't they?

I got one almost four years ago CIB for $50, which was a good deal for a CIB system even then. I would have passed at more than $75 though. Now, $75 for a loose CoCo 3 is probably a good deal. What happened?

Meanwhile, CoCo 2s go for peanuts all day, especially if they have <64K or don't have Extended BASIC. I just grabbed one for $30 a couple months back (64K, Extended). People seem to charge more for CoCo 1s for some reason, though.






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