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Yet another "which model should I get" thread.


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#1 Major_Tom_coming_home OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 10:31 AM

Hey folks. Assuming Irma doesn't carry me off to the land of Oz `and I still have a house come Monday, which model of Apple 2 would be a good starter gaming system once I have electricity again? I really like the look of the IIc and IIC+, but there is also the IIe and GS. I'd like to get the model with best quality of life (reliable, parts are obtainable, works with standard television, good software compatibility, etc.). I know the GS is the most powerful and modern, but from what I understand it may be difficult to get video without it's proprietary monitor. (Yeah, I know my timing is odd, but I'm hunkerd down at home with all preparations complete and desperately needing a distraction).



#2 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 10:39 AM

//c and an enhanced //e are pretty much the same computer, if you just want something to toss on the table and start running the //c has all the needed items onboard (serial, disk drive etc) the //c+ has an accelerator in it, but only has a 3.5 inch drive ... which there was some stuff released on 3.5 inch disks, but the majority of software is on 5.25 so you would have to get another drive 

 

the first release of the //c (also known as a rom 255) is missing a memory expansion slot, where as later models and the //c+ can be expanded, though with 128k of ram in the original for games that should be more than enough

 

but the biggest problem with a //c is there are no bus expansion slots, so if you want a compact flash card, network card, or sound card you are pretty much SOL, and more or less stuck using a serial cable to transfer disk images to floppy drives 

 

all the apple // family support composite output



#3 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 2:04 PM

Platinum //e is the most reliable model. The most common fail is weak solder joints on a few select keys which can be touched up for another 40 years of life.



#4 Iamgroot OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 2:10 PM

There should be some things of note that I believe keep getting side stepped with this question.  The IIGS is the only apple computer with a built in clock so has automatic time stamping when saving files.  It is the only one that will run IIGS software and is compatible with 99% of older software, so has the largest database of games and programs to choose from.  Has the most comfortable feel with adb keyboards and mice.   Is compatible with all slot (not auxiliary) IIe expansion cards.  Has cheaper accelerator cards.  Has built in serial ports so transfers with other computers does not require extra hardware other than a serial cable.  A IIGS is usually cheaper on ebay than a II+, IIe or IIc.

 

In my view it would be worth getting a IIGS monitor as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#5 Major_Tom_coming_home OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 2:32 PM

Thanks for the info. I did not know about the limited expansion capabilities of the IIc, which is exactly why I came here to ask. I love the look of the IIc and it's built in floppy drive, but It seems like the IIe would be a better choice since it is has more potential. Attaching compact flash cards is something I'd like to do. Of course since these machines no longer cost $1200 1979 dollars I could always get both :-) 

 

 

//c and an enhanced //e are pretty much the same computer, if you just want something to toss on the table and start running the //c has all the needed items onboard (serial, disk drive etc) the //c+ has an accelerator in it, but only has a 3.5 inch drive ... which there was some stuff released on 3.5 inch disks, but the majority of software is on 5.25 so you would have to get another drive 

 

the first release of the //c (also known as a rom 255) is missing a memory expansion slot, where as later models and the //c+ can be expanded, though with 128k of ram in the original for games that should be more than enough

 

but the biggest problem with a //c is there are no bus expansion slots, so if you want a compact flash card, network card, or sound card you are pretty much SOL, and more or less stuck using a serial cable to transfer disk images to floppy drives 

 

all the apple // family support composite output



#6 Major_Tom_coming_home OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 2:34 PM

Thanks, reliability is high on my list of priorities.

Platinum //e is the most reliable model. The most common fail is weak solder joints on a few select keys which can be touched up for another 40 years of life.



#7 Major_Tom_coming_home OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 2:45 PM

Thanks for the info, I'll certainly take a second look at the GS. I may be wrong but my biggest concern is that the GS apparently won't work on most non-apple monitors so getting one would be mandatory. I don't suppose it would work with my Amiga 1200 monitor, would it??? Fortunately, these machines no longer cost 2638 so getting all three isn't out of the question. 

There should be some things of note that I believe keep getting side stepped with this question.  The IIGS is the only apple computer with a built in clock so has automatic time stamping when saving files.  It is the only one that will run IIGS software and is compatible with 99% of older software, so has the largest database of games and programs to choose from.  Has the most comfortable feel with adb keyboards and mice.   Is compatible with all slot (not auxiliary) IIe expansion cards.  Has cheaper accelerator cards.  Has built in serial ports so transfers with other computers does not require extra hardware other than a serial cable.  A IIGS is usually cheaper on ebay than a II+, IIe or IIc.

 

In my view it would be worth getting a IIGS monitor as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#8 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 2:57 PM

II gs spits out analog RGB at 15.whatever khz so with an adapter it should work with a ntsc compatible monitor with RGB inputs
 
note should and does is two different things, I never had a IIGS, and of course mac and VGA monitors run at 30khz, and old pc monitors up till vga use ttl RGB which is digital 

Also the gs has composite output and with a modern hdtv may be acceptable, my iic did great with my tv in hirez and 80 column text ... But the gs has higher resolutions...

Edited by Osgeld, Sat Sep 9, 2017 3:03 PM.


#9 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 3:05 PM

IIGS can be wired to an old Amiga RGB monitor (15Khz).   Personally I use the IIGS RGB output into SCART/xrbg mini for some nice LCD monitor action.

 

I've also got IIc(s), a IIe and a IIe Platinum but the IIGS is my go to system.



#10 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 3:33 PM

Maybe the answer is several models. The II series lineup spans from like 1977 through 1993. That's a lot of time, a lot of subtle changes, a lot of accumulated features.



#11 BydoEmpire ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 5:27 PM

I have a //c, which I've had since the 80s.  I love it for nostalgic reasons, but I really want to take advantage of the CFFA 3000 or other sd/cf solutions.  If you're coming in from scratch I'd go with a ][gs if you can swing it, or a ][e.



#12 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 5:38 PM

Maybe the answer is several models. 

 

I had a //e growing up, in my early 30's I got a //c cause the price was right but eventually my answer was a mac LC2 (much rather had the LC3 but I found the gimped lc2 for a buck) and apple IIe card, now I have the exact same compatibility as the IIgs for the 8 bit machines, and a 32 bit 68020 mac with hard drives, modern disk drives and hooks up to a VGA monitor lol

 

course I sold that and the //c setup cause after another decade of apple // I remembered why I wanted to jump ship so bad, but that's a different topic


Edited by Osgeld, Sat Sep 9, 2017 5:39 PM.


#13 c0op3r OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 6:41 PM

Maybe the answer is several models. The II series lineup spans from like 1977 through 1993. That's a lot of time, a lot of subtle changes, a lot of accumulated features.

 

Thats basically what I did, I like to call mine the Platinum Collection: Apple IIe Platinum, Apple IIc Plus, Apple IIgs Rom3 (and an Apple IIe to IIgs upgrade that I put the IIe Platinum top on aka IIx).

 

My logic is with the IIe Platinum I got the best of the II series, most modern and can still use all old and new cards,  The IIc Plus is really just cause its neat and convenient, the IIgs Rom3 was basically the most powerful II ever.  



#14 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 6:42 PM

 If you're coming in from scratch I'd go with a ][gs if you can swing it, or a ][e.

 

I tend not to recommend the IIgs, it strays from the essence of "II computing" I think. It's also a 16 bit computer without any real custom graphics chip like the Amiga. So If one wanted both an 8 and 16 bit computer I'd say get a //e and Amiga.

 

I also don't feel there is any compelling IIgs software, no killer apps either. At least none I recognize as such. And I'm not sure the added complexity of the IIgs is a plus here either.



#15 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 7:00 PM

 

I tend not to recommend the IIgs, it strays from the essence of "II computing" I think. It's also a 16 bit computer without any real custom graphics chip like the Amiga. So If one wanted both an 8 and 16 bit computer I'd say get a //e and Amiga.

 

I also don't feel there is any compelling IIgs software, no killer apps either. At least none I recognize as such. And I'm not sure the added complexity of the IIgs is a plus here either.

 

that's why I went with the mac + iie card solution, even the supremely gimped LC2 I used was a 68020 16mhz 32 bit monster compared to the IIGS and played lemmings and wolf3d just as well ... the //e card while expensive is the identical solution used in the IIGS 



#16 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 9:30 PM

If space is a concern, then the IIc might be your best choice.
Just remember that you may never have a Mockingboard, speech board, accelerator board, etc... 
It's definitely a good machine but there's just some things it's never going to do.
The IIc Plus is a IIc with a fast mode that needs an external 5.25" drive for better compatibility.  And it has all the IIc's limitations

The IIgs is a nice machine with unique features, but you have to decide what you want to do to know it it's for you or not.

Some form of IIe will do everything but iigs specific stuff and it's more expandable than the  IIc.
 

I have a Laser 128EX I'm going to use for most of my stuff until I can rebuild my IIgs.  It's okay but I need to drop in a ROM cloned from the Apple for better compatibility with some copy protections.
 



#17 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 10:01 PM

In that case, I still recommend a //e enhanced or platinum. They're still relatively cheap at under $200. And the OP can branch out. "Invested" Apple enthusiasts almost always get more than one machine.



#18 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:28 AM

For me //e Platinum is my favorite. It's the very best old school experience. And, it has the classic Apple form factor.

I use mine regularly to play games, and for writing. Doing that feels awesome. The feel, limited software just takes me back and the words flow.

I have a GS but it sees less use. I would get one in a pinch though. It can deliver the better experiences just fine.

#19 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:50 AM

For a monitor, you should keep an eye out for one of the pro grade monitors. 

 

http://www.tested.co...rt-retro-games/

 

I'll have to take some photos of what Apple video looks like one of these days.  Unlike most, if not all, other computers of this era, the Apple 8 bit computers used artifact color.  On consumer grade gear, this ends up looking very distinctive, but it can be difficult to read text and or enjoy color graphics on the same screen.  Many people got two screens, one monochrome, one color or a TV to get it all done in a useful way.  These PVM devices can do both!

 

On a side note, the article I linked shows the good and bad of such a great display.  Most things will be pixel perfect, even on a composite signal output.  I like the look, because I like to see the pixels, but for some the lack of smudge sort of degrades the experience.  But, the Apple 2 color also has a texture to it, because of the artifacting, that really adds to the overall experience.  This texture is best seen on a display with high bandwidth. 

 

These monitors have great circuits that can pick out the image from the messy composite signal.  They also have computer grade CRT masks.  The color dots are much smaller, which prevents fringing and blurry text.  80 column text is easy to read, and the monitor can be adjusted for bright color without too much fringing on text, best of both worlds when playing RPG games, for example.

 

Many models feature RGB inputs, which can work with a GS directly.  Mine is flat out awesome.  The GS on composite is dubious on most displays. These PVM displays actually make composite on a GS   usable.  But, the RGB is pixel perfect, not much different, if not better than the original monitor.   In short, any 80 column capable computer from this time period will rock hard on one of these displays, and you get the niceness of a CRT, probably the best CRTs available, for a song these days.

 

I've used mine with a few different systems, Apple, Atari CoCo 3, and it's nice. 

 

If you watch, these can be scored for a couple hundred bucks.  Worth it.



#20 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:16 AM

yea the texture (which is formed by bit patterns to generate the artifact color) is the whole reason color games work as grayscale games on a mono monitor, we had a green screen monitor II growing up and when I had my //c I had a wire running out of it to a switch to manually engage the color killer transistor cause some high rez high detail games just didnt look as good in color to me (ie the hobbit) 

 

with mono and high rez you get effectively 560x192 cause you can see each individual bit, where as on a color screen it takes 2 pixels to form one pixel of color giving you 280x192



#21 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:18 AM

The C= 1084S monitor works perfectly, with a button to swap between text and artifact/graphics mode, so to speak.



#22 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:55 AM

Sure, it's a great monitor.  The ones I talked about here are just better.  Mine requires NO button.  Can just render the text, artifact colors, etc... totally reasonably, and off the composite.

 

:D



#23 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:27 PM

For me //e Platinum is my favorite. It's the very best old school experience. And, it has the classic Apple form factor.

I use mine regularly to play games, and for writing. Doing that feels awesome. The feel, limited software just takes me back and the words flow.

I have a GS but it sees less use. I would get one in a pinch though. It can deliver the better experiences just fine.

 

I often go back and forth, round and round between the II+, the Enhanced //e, and Platinum //e as being my favs. The II+ and E//e are in there because I had them as I was growing up. Great memories of BBS programming and beginning my electronic journal (which I continue to this day). I learned so much about computer concepts, disks, and digital electronics on the II+. And I learned so much about added and refined features on the //e, as well as using a GUI. I had loads of fun exploring the depths and fine points of 80 columns and an additional 64k of bankswitched memory. Currently the 64K/80column card ranks in my top-ten of best computer upgrades ever. MouseText and lowercase + extra symbols was a real hoot.

 

Today I enjoy most all of that through nostalgia and fading memories and the P//e. I also appreciate its lower power consumption and even-smaller-chipcount over the E//e. I also like the crisp hollow feel of the keyboard and the final upgraded firmware.

 

I also enjoyed instant access to all kinds of languages, Fortran, Pascal, Integer Basic, Applesoft Basic, Machine Language and Assembly, mini-Assembler, Pilot, Logo, and a million versions of DOS and spinoffs. The II series accepted all of that as if it were all built-in. Not that I fully new what to do with everything!

 

Playing with those DOSes was like magic because of the unique extra commands some had. They made you feel as if you were really expanding you system, for real. Giving it new capabilities.

 

So yeh, lots of nostalgia and good times.



#24 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:39 PM

You know, I learned a ton the same way. An Apple was, and I would argue, still is a great introduction to what computing is.

The CFFA makes it for me. I can actually write, create graphics, and get both into modern environments super easy.

Edited by potatohead, Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:39 PM.


#25 Major_Tom_coming_home OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:42 PM

I think you hit the nail right on the head. If I only have one Apple II model I should get one with a lot of expansion possibilities. That said, I'd probably get a second and it would definitely be the IIc. The beauty is that Apple II computers don't cost over $1000 like they did when new. Even on Ebay I could get all three models and still pay much less than I would have in 1983

 

I have a //c, which I've had since the 80s.  I love it for nostalgic reasons, but I really want to take advantage of the CFFA 3000 or other sd/cf solutions.  If you're coming in from scratch I'd go with a ][gs if you can swing it, or a ][e.





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