Jump to content
PDog

Commodore 64 vs Apple II

Recommended Posts

Since this is an atari site, I thought you guys can be more objective than if posting this on a c64 or apple II site. Which computer is better overall and which one is better in the following categories?

 

Graphics

Sound

Price

Durability

Expandability

Performance

BASIC Programming

Gaming Library

Business Library

Keyboard

Open-Archetecture

Design / Appearance

 

Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apple ][ has the better and bigger gaming and business library (VisiCalc...nuff said).

Apple ][ has the better Open-Architecture and better keyboard, and Expandability (Thanks to the foresight of Steve Wozniak).

Price is irrelevant, one computer is from 1977, the other from late 82, hardware prices dropped lots between those dates..

Design / Appearance? You can put your monitor onto the Apple, or the fdds, a clear winner.

Graphics: depends, blocky (C64) vs hi-res (A][), which do you prefer?

Sound, 1 up for C64

 

Here's my favourite article (part) from EG magazine May 1985:

SWScan00023.jpg

So yes, the Apple ][ has without a doubt, the largest software range (beaten only by IBM)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since this is an atari site, I thought you guys can be more objective than if posting this on a c64 or apple II site. Which computer is better overall and which one is better in the following categories?

Which Apple II? The early Apple II, later Apple II, Apple II+, Apple IIe, enhanced Apple IIe, Apple IIgs, Apple clone, Apple IIe on a card...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well since the Apple ][ line goes from plain ][ to ][GS and the C64 comes in breadbin and cost reduced, the question is not quite as simple as it sounds.

 

Apple ][s except for the c were quite expandable compared to the C64. Sound was quite a bit more advanced on C64 compared to most of the Apple ][ versions, I'm not sure about GS or C. C64, I believe had the price advantage but PROBABLY not durability.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Graphics - C - The Apple 2 does not have a graphics chip.

Sound - C - The SID is awesome for 8-bit sound

Price - C - At 1/3rd the price, there is no comparison

Durability - A - Commodore is a plastic toy

Expandability - A - 8 expansion slots? There is no contest

Performance - A - All sorts of speed up cards were available, disk was fast, the C1541 was dog slow

BASIC Programming - A - Good old Microsoft Basic, very straightforward

Gaming Library - A/C - Both machines excelled here, with vast libraries covering all genres

Business Library - A - The Apple 2 had business engineering and 80 columns + software to use it

Keyboard - A - Again, the c64 was a toy and felt like one

Open-Archetecture - A - The apple 2 had tons of expansion cards. And was 100% open & documented

Design / Appearance - A - the c64 was a lumpy keyboard, and expansion happened outside the box

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which Apple II? The early Apple II, later Apple II, Apple II+, Apple IIe, enhanced Apple IIe, Apple IIgs, Apple clone, Apple IIe on a card...

 

I think the OP (and most of us) had the II+ and //e in mind, probably the //e.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Graphics

 

The Commodore. The Apple can do some decent graphics in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing, but really the Commodore is just better built for video.

 

Sound

 

The Commodore. No contest.

 

Price

 

It's been a while since I bought either, but there's still plenty of both out there so neither one should set you back too much.

 

Durability

 

I'll say the Apple II, if only because I've come across dead Commodores more often than I've come across dead Apple II's. But in both cases, plenty of systems have survived and are still alive and well 25+ years later.

 

Expandability

 

The Apple II. Actually both systems have enough hooks that you can create and add just about any kind of peripheral you would want, but the Apple II revolutionized the idea of internal expansion slots, allowing you to add all kinds of hardware without increasing your computer's footprint. Plus, with the Apple II's success in business and in schools, a lot of interesting and unique expansion hardware was released for the Apple.

 

Performance

 

Both use the same CPU running at more-or-less the same speed, so as far as raw number-crunching goes, it's a wash.

 

BASIC Programming

 

The Apple II wins, at least out of the box. The Commodore may have better graphical and sound capabilities, but trying to tap into those capabilities in BASIC is easier said than done. Actually, AppleSoft BASIC doesn't make sound programming all that easy either, but there are a lot of nice commands for creating both lo-res and hi-res graphics.

 

Be aware that both systems have third-party versions of BASIC that strive to make programming each machine even easier.

 

Gaming Library

 

Depends. For arcade goodness with lots of eye and ear candy, get a Commodore. For a rich library of RPG's, and for what is probably still the biggest library of educational software ever released for any computer, get an Apple II.

 

Of course the Commodore also has RPG's and the Apple also has arcade games, with darn good examples of both. Even so, the Commodore tends to be where the action is, and the Apple tends to be where the imagination is.

 

Business Library

 

IBM PC.

 

Keyboard

 

It's a wash for me. The Apple II keyboard behaves more like modern PC keyboards, but I don't really have a preference.

 

Open-Archetecture

 

Both computers have been ripped apart and put back together seven ways to Sunday. It's a wash.

 

Design / Appearance

 

Another wash. The way an Apple IIe, DuoDisk drive and color monitor can all stack together may please some people looking for aesthetics, but your typical 8-bit fan doesn't worry too much about apperances.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Graphics

The C64 has sprites, better hi-res graphics than a standard Apple, better colors than a standard Apple, and more flexible character graphics.

The Apple II has a convoluted screen layout but higher resolution.

With the IIe or later you get even higher res graphics and improved colors.

The IIgs stomps on the C64 for everything but sprites. Then it's a matter of how fast of a CPU you have to drive the sprites.

Some of the IIgs games are pretty impressive.

The C128 improves graphics a little over the C64... if you can find any titles to support it.

 

Sound

IIgs sound stomps on the SID or any 8 bit machine of the day.

The Mockingboard upgrade gave Apple IIs very good sound. Too bad it wasn't supported by more titles.

Stock Apple II sound sucks.

The C64 beats the stock Apple II and more titles support the SID than Mockingboard and IIgs sound combined.

 

Price

The C64 was much cheaper through the life of both product lines.

 

Durability

Apple IIs that look like they have been through a war still work. C64s... not so. Guess you get what you pay for. :D

 

Expandability

Who's got slots?

I have a 4MB RAM IIgs with a CF/USB interface. And I just plugged in cards to do it.

You also had Appletalk networking, 3.5" floppies, hard drive interfaces... sure the C64 had the last two but they were rare and their speed sucks by comparison.

Did the C64 ever ship with a mouse?

 

Performance

The Apple II. The C64 has the same clock speed but up to 8% of clock cycles are lost to added wait states for the hardware.

The 65C02 was also standard equipment from the enhanced IIe, IIc, IIc+ and is a little faster if you take advantage of the new features.

The IIc+ and IIgs stomp on the C64 or pretty much any 6502 machine for that matter.

Apple II drives are faster.

Accellerator chips/boards were also available.

The C128 was faster than the Apple II, II+, IIe, IIc

 

BASIC Programming

Apple II. Applesoft had more features, was faster, and there is even a IIgs enabled BASIC supporting most Applesoft features.

A lot of people moved to Pascal on the Apple II due to it being an Apple product and it being an excellent implementation.

There were also a lot of people that used Hypercard on the IIgs rather than programming in BASIC or Pascal.

I don't know about the C128.

 

Gaming Library

The C64 probably has the edge but both have a huge gaming library

 

 

Business Library

Apple II, the C64 is not even close

The C128 added CP/M titles... and still gets blown away.

 

Keyboard

Best to worst... Apple IIgs first, Apple Platinum IIe, Apple IIe, Apple II+, C128, then C64

 

Open-Archetecture

Apple II

 

Design / Appearance

Apple IIgs, C128D, Platinum IIe

Edited by JamesD
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the OP (and most of us) had the II+ and //e in mind, probably the //e.

 

Maybe he did but, to be fair, the Apple ][ is not one computer but a range of compatible computers produced over a long span of time so there is a BIG difference between early and late models. Comparing a C64 to a late model Apple ][ and asking which is better is very different from asking to compare the 1977 Apple ][ to the C64. There is software the 1977 Apple cannot run whereas the C64 can run all its software no matter when it was produced because there were no substantial changes made to the computer over time.

 

For gaming, my own personal experience is that C64 and Atari 8 bits are very comparable followed by the TI-99/4A whereas the Apple ][e and my CoCo2 are more similar to each other with fair graphics and limited sound. My VIC-20 runs mediocre in both categories but beats out my Plus 4 despite the increased pallette.

Edited by yell0w_lantern

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I considerApple ii to be an apple lie or just apple ii maybe a iic,iigs is not really an apple ii so will leave that out.

 

Graphics. Not even close c64,apple has some crappy graphics

 

Sound even farther apart c64 apple sound was horrid

 

Games Library c64' apple had a very limited library compared to c64,poor arcade games which were the dominant type of the day.

 

Business. Apple. Though geoworks was fantastic for c64

 

Expandability . Apple had slots

 

Durability apple for sure,c64 bulk of which being the brown bread box type were very poor, 64c fixed that.

 

Keyboard. Apple,

 

Keyboard. Apple, nearly atari 800 quality

 

Open architecture. Apple

 

Design appearance. Apple but not by much

Edited by atarian63

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always like to remind people that the Apple 2 series didn't have a graphics or sound chip. The graphics were done by running a counter that dumped memory locations to the screen. And the sound was basically a transistor pushing or pulling the speaker in one direction. At the fundamental hardware level, the Apple could only click the speaker. Nothing more.

Edited by Keatah
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm an Apple ][ fan, but here goes.

 

Since this is an atari site, I thought you guys can be more objective than if posting this on a c64 or apple II site. Which computer is better overall and which one is better in the following categories?

 

Graphics

The C64 crushes the Apple ][ here. The Apple //e comes a lot closer to matching it though.

Sound

You're not gonna match a 64 with an Apple until you shove a Mockingboard in there. Arguably not even then.

Price

Apple products have always been more expensive. Tramiel was a cutthroat.

Expandability

Apple ][, hands down.

Performance

CPU-wise they're equal. In most other cases the C64 has the advantage.

BASIC Programming

The BASIC interpreter is derived from the same codebase, but the Apple version has graphics functionality built-in, which the C64 doesn't. But the C64 version has bitwise logic, which was removed from the Apple version.

Gaming Library

C64 wins hands down here.

Business Library

Apple ][, especially //e, wins hands down here.

Keyboard

Apple //e keyboard is almost identical to the modern layout and much easier for me to touch-type on without screwing up than the C64 keyboard, because the keys are where I expect then to be.

Open-Archetecture

Apple ][, hands down.

Design / Appearance

C64.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Considering each in the context of its time, the Apple II wins every category except price. C64 was cheaper.

 

Apple II was designed by one guy after work hours. Its innovations launched the whole personal computer industry. Its graphics, performed with a minimum of off-the-shelf chips, were revolutionary at the time. It will forever be remembered in the history of technology.

 

C64 was designed by a big company with a chip fab in the back. It was built down to a price, with only incremental improvements over its predecessors. It succeeded only through brutal price wars. It will be forgotten (and none too soon).

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll take a C64 over even the IIGS, any day. Though the straight Apple II was it's contemporary.

 

C64 has superior Graphics and Sound - - that meant as much *then* as it does *now* - - think about it. Unless we're talking embedded or enterprise or laboratory use, that's really all that matters. Sure the Apple II had more business software, but the C64 wasn't starving. The C64 is just as capable as the Apple II here, but timing/luck/marketing etc etc saw the Apple II beat the C64 in business acceptance. Where the C64 shines (graphics/sound) the Apple II isn't capable. Upgrades notwithstanding, as a universally supported Apple video/sound card never surfaced, which is why it's games sucked arse until IIGS specific ones rolled around.

 

The IIGS would be contemporary with the 128D. Both companies somewhat crippling them on purpose, Apple not wanting hurt the Mac and Commodore not wanting to hurt the Amiga. Both companies addressing the "weak spots"; the IIGS was beefing the line for Graphics & Sound, while the 128D came out the gates with CP/M compatibility to attract business with the vast CP/M library. So I think they knew where the other was better.

 

Not a huge fan of either, FWIW. Though, I do enjoy CP/M.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Apple II came out 5 years before the c64 so it's hard to compare them. I think comparing it to a Commodore Pet would be more fair, but a stock Apple II versus a stock c64 would bow down to the c64 in the sound and game department. However, the Apple II was a much more professional looking machine, a tool really with 8 expansion slots, whereas the c64 was seen more as a toy. I think it was even sold at toys r us so it was actually marketed as a toy. Both computers hold a special place in history. I mean the c64 was the best selling computer of the 80s. However, because I've never really used an actual c64 I can't objectively call one the winner. The Apple II is an extension of who I am so I'll just leave it at that.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used both a lot, and did so for both game / educational and business purposes. Add Atari 8 bit for those too. CoCo was just programming and fun for me.

 

IMHO, design counts for a lot. The C64 really was designed to be a capable home computer. So was the Atari 8 bit series and other machines. Many of those design decisions came down to a consumer view vs a user point of view, and they had a profound impact on how the machines played out.

 

The C64 had great bang for the buck! And it got used for lots of stuff, despite it's business display limitations. No real 80 column support impacted things. That was a big deal at that point in time. A nicely configured C64 ended up being used for real estate contract stuff and it worked out really well, for the cost. A similar task performed on the Apple ][ literally was no contest! Data access was faster, display capabilities better, software library more feature and title rich, etc... The end product on each varied significantly, with the Apple able to do seriously good quality output, if somebody wanted to pay for that.

 

In terms of scientific uses, test measurement, industrial automation, data logging, sensors, interfacing to control systems, I/O, higher end graphics output, plotting, CAD design, etc... an Apple 2 could be fitted with great devices, in the box, and supported as in the box things, due to how the system ROM was written. A C64 just didn't have any of that design vision incorporated into it, and as a result just didn't see those kinds of things being possible. Apple 2 computers were used as development computers regularly too, this due to effective storage capability, robust programming tools and the ability to interface to development type hardware as needed on cards.

 

It was common to actually just buy cards that had some basic addressing setup, perhaps a PIA chip, and then just assemble to suit. Happened all the time. Doing this on an Atari or C64 machine was possible to a degree, but limited by the complex system design and lack of standardized, easy to implement interfaces beyond the game ports, and or Parallel / Serial port options the machines had.

 

That is typical of the differences between the business / industry use cases. Apples were not cheap, but they did stuff, if you were willing to pay for it. I would summarize that very simply as workstation vs home computer. An Apple was designed to be a very useful computer, and it could be well fitted to workstation status, due to the systems engineering and expansion planning done much differently than it is typically done for consumer oriented devices.

 

Gaming on an Apple is really interesting! It doesn't have fancy graphics chips, nor sound. Lacking a sound chip really impacted the machine, but not having a graphics chip just didn't to the same degree. No wait state video access and the basic ability to page flip was just enough to keep the machine relevant for most titles, resulting in often surprisingly acceptable games, despite very low expectations overall.

 

I got my Atari to game on, as did a ton of people, and I programmed it a lot too, as did a lot of people. I got the Apple to get shit done, as did a lot of people. A well equipped Apple produced writing and graphics for me well into the 90's, and by then it was cheap ass to get done and surprisingly effective. The next machine I got that worked out that way happened to be a PC, which mirrored many of the great Apple design decisions. And the PC didn't prioritize it's gaming display capabilities then either, but it was the machine to get shit done.

 

(which could be said of the 16 bit computers as well, though I personally did not entertain that path, moving to UNIX / SGI instead)

 

As we can all see now, the Apple ][ line played out very nicely with the //e selling way longer than it should have otherwise, and the base specs proved to be just enough to get shit done, with add on cards too. Where more complexity brought more capability on other 8 bit computers, the basics actually helped the Apple ][ continue to be useful and relevant, despite limitations.

 

There really isn't any direct comparison. It's much better to focus on what the machines did well and come to understand what makes sense now and then.

 

Many of us back then didn't get to have lots of machines. Today we can! I must say, I use the Apple way more than I do my other computers right now, and it's nicely equipped with add-ons that are relevant to what I want to do with it, and the graphics capability is just fine, particularly for programming / data / electronics use, where the 40 column, lower resolution machines aren't as good in many cases. Games are still better though!

 

And on that last note, the Apple got a lot of really interesting games! They weren't always graphically superior, but sometimes they actually were! Apple graphics are just enough to get nearly anything done, at least in the US. Artifact color didn't play out well in PAL land, but on NTSC, the ability to do color in that way actually delivered quite well for the screen resolution and RAM allocation. Go and look at the PoP art, for example. The Apple could do high resolution color dots and patterns that graphic chip capable 4 color modes simply cannot reproduce. Sprites, high color depths and such all are fantastic by comparison, but not always the stuff needed to render great games. Play "Choplifter" on an Apple and appreciate the great analog control and nice, reasonable animations. Great game with a great feel, just ignore the sound...

 

So there you go. It's better to just appreciate the machines today. Lots of good fun in all of them.

 

I didn't emphasize the C64 too much as so many things have been written --good things. Thought I would compare and contrast a few things that make an Apple shine, or that don't get talked about too much, and honestly this is about what you are grooving on, more than anything else.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And where I wrote "people didn't see those things as being possible", it's not that one couldn't get it done, it's just that most people simply didn't because the design focus didn't suggest they could. Not a failure, or some lame aspect of a particular machine. Not that at all, because we've got people doing spiffy things on all these old 8 bitters today. It's not that.

 

It is all about what the Apple ][ suggested COULD be done, and I guess that's the biggest overall difference.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't believe there was any special vision incorporated into the Apple II design. These following features came together synergistically to add up to more than the sum of their parts.

 

1- Completely open architecture built around cheap TTL components. No custom chips.

2- Fully, and most excellently, documented ROM listings.

3- 8 expansion slots. And built-in A/D converter.

4- A beyond ultra-reliable & elegant disk storage system. Fast, lightweight firmware, parallel operation.

5- Lightning fast text response and immediate reset when demanded.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_1541

http://apple2history.org/history/ah05/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disk_II

 

If you study in-depth the design philosophies of the two storage subsystems you will note the Disk II was built from passion and love of efficient engineering.

 

Did you know that when you do disk access on an Apple II, the 6502 must stop what it was doing and take command of the disk? The 6502 controls the stepper motor, the spindle motor, and the data flow to the sequencer. The 6502 sets the tone of the entire operation.

 

Everything in the Apple II was as close to the bare metal of the TTL logic as possible and yet at the same time remain suitable for consumer use. Little or no firmware to get in the way or slow things down.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apple needed the expansion slots because in order to compete you had to expand the machine with a sound card and/or CPU accelerator at the least.

 

In a modern day context, I honestly don't see why anyone would own an Apple 2 other than playing about with homebrew hardware addons.

 

The games for the most part are shockingly bad, in practically all cases the Atari and C-64 versions are better by miles.

 

The best thing going for it was much quicker disk speed than Atari or Commodore - but it's like going to a quality restaurant vs McDonalds. McD's will serve you a meal in under 2 minutes, but it won't be an experience worth remembering.

Edited by Rybags
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Apple II is a great platform if you like classic RPGs. Ultima, Wizardry, Might and Magic, Wasteland, The Bard's Tale, all originally released on the Apple II. They may not be the prettiest versions, but they're very playable. You have to remember that the Apple II was really from an earlier generation than the C64.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[The C-64] succeeded only through brutal price wars. It will be forgotten (and none too soon).

 

Umm...

 

It's been over 25 years. The Commodore cult is as big as ever. Chiptune artists love the SID. The Commodore homebrew hardware scene is very much alive and well. Every year sees a new batch of Commodore demos and a new contest to judge them. And you think all that will be forgotten before the Apple II?

 

Okay...

 

 

 

Edit: Also, let me be clear in my opinion: both machines are amazing pieces of work, both machines have an indisputably permanent place in computer history, and I cherish my collection of both Apple II and Commodore hardware. At the same time, it is not fair to the Commodore 64 to give the Apple II a pass by saying, "Oh, it was designed years before, so really it's better." Regardless of when they were designed, they were contemporaries, and they were designed to compete with each other.

 

By the time the Commodore 64 and the Apple IIe were released, both companies had plenty of time to decide how they wanted to market their next home computer. Commodore decided to create a whole new machine rather than release a souped-up VIC-20. Apple decided to build an extension of the Apple II+ rather than design a whole new machine. Apple could have thrown more hardware at their new model, just like Commodore could have decided a VIC-20+ or VIC-20e with more memory and maybe another chip or two would suffice. Who was right? Looks to me like they both were. They both found their niches, and both sold millions of machines to happy customers. But that doesn't make one better than the other simply because one was based on an earlier design than the other. If we're going to go that route, then the Atari 800 easily trumps them both.

Edited by FujiSkunk
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh I don't think so either. The chiptune / demoscene will be remembered very well. All those awesome tricks on the old graphics hardware are awesome! Who would want to marginalize that? That's a generational thing an Apple isn't a part of. Now, add on hardware scenes? That's an Apple thing, and it's damn spiffy to add on ethernet, thumbdrive capability, graphics, sound, etc... Just a different thing.

 

And I find that very interesting. I don't feel it's OK to add on to an Atari or C64 in ways that really change the machine definition. Much better to see creative efforts focused on what's mostly in the box, or what was there in the day. Love that, and I follow a lot of projects and like to do them too. With an Apple, it is OK to add on in very significant ways. Putting an mp3 player in there is just fine! That's what the machine is for, and that is how people used it in the day, and I kind of want one of those.

 

I don't think there was special vision attached to the Apple either. It comes down to design. Personally, I think one of the reasons Apple machines had slots is nobody had a firm grip on what people would do. On the other hand, cartridge ports were designed because they knew what people would do. That is what I was trying to get at.

 

As for owning an Apple, this comes down to one's roots and interests. There are just as many reasons to own an Apple today as there are any of the older machines, and ideally one owns a few of them.

 

Gaming on an Apple kicks ass! Gaming on an Atari, C64, Speccy kicks ass! Great titles on all those machines.

 

I'm doing a history of CAD design exhibit for something work related. My //e will be there running mechanical CAD, and I hope to get a plotter and tablet, though that is looking grim right at the moment. Those kinds of things didn't generally happen on the more home oriented computers. And that exhibit will have an Apple //e, early MSDOS maybe 386, SGI UNIX, Modern day laptop, MAC. I should get an older Mac for that, but that CAD history branch isn't really mechanical and I know little about it.

 

***On a side note, wonder whether or not an Apple could do Bruce Lee in double high res... That is something the Apple scene is missing, IMHO.

 

Since we are doing VS type stuff, let's add that. Ports of things and good enhancements are lacking on the Apple by comparison to the other machines user scenes today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apple needed the expansion slots because in order to compete you had to expand the machine with a sound card and/or CPU accelerator at the least.

 

In a modern day context, I honestly don't see why anyone would own an Apple 2 other than playing about with homebrew hardware addons.

 

The games for the most part are shockingly bad, in practically all cases the Atari and C-64 versions are better by miles.

 

The best thing going for it was much quicker disk speed than Atari or Commodore - but it's like going to a quality restaurant vs McDonalds. McD's will serve you a meal in under 2 minutes, but it won't be an experience worth remembering.

 

I disagree on all points. The Apple II had these expansion slots before it had to compete with other 8-bit machines.

 

There is limited use in today's computing ecosphere for any 8 bit machine. The same applies to C64 and A800, even Intellivision and VCS, TRS-80. Why would you want those machines when superior gaming and applications are available on Xbox or the PC?

 

The games are shockingly good, actually, excellent playability and analog controls. Many new genres were pioneered on the Apple II first, and then ported.

 

It is this quick and reliable disk access that propelled the Apple II into the world of business and science. It does no good for gamer or professional alike if you cannot store and retrieve your information. To do it quickly is like bonus points.

 

I remember having all three platforms, A2 - C64 - A800.. Now as a kid barely out of diapers I thought the 810 didn't have enough capacity. I thought the 1541 was really unreliable, lost so many games and had to keep recopying them. Had those drives repaired and replaced more than I care to remember. But with the Disk II drives, they had a balance going, right between C64/A800 in terms of capacity. They are elegant, and I could actually lift them up without calling for daddy. These Disk II drives were fast and just plain worked.

 

My original Disk II drives, I still have them, They haven't needed any maintenance or repairs other than a speed adjustment so we could crack games. I might have changed the pressure pad in one or two of them for good measure, but it wasn't required. In fact 2 of them have seen extraordinary abuse from getting bounced around in the warez-wagon.

 

 

 

The Apple II is a great platform if you like classic RPGs. Ultima, Wizardry, Might and Magic, Wasteland, The Bard's Tale, all originally released on the Apple II. They may not be the prettiest versions, but they're very playable. You have to remember that the Apple II was really from an earlier generation than the C64.

 

That the Apple II's design could complete against a later generation was testament to its design. Consider that the Apple II has much much more in common with the dedicated pong-style units and very early arcade motherboards, single-board hobbyist computers like the KIM-1, or the IMSAI and Altair S-100 bus systems; than it does with a C64 and A800.. Individual TTL logic, being the key point here. No custom chips.

 

Once you get into custom chips, the hardware starts closing up and complexity slows things down. Look what happened to the Amiga! This is a system that collapsed under its own weight seemingly. The machine had great specs on paper, and by all rights and means it should have been able to do arcade-perfect ports of many earlier games. But the damned thing was buried under bloated & buggy firmware trying to manage those custom chips.

 

We didn't see this problem on the C64 or A800 because the custom chips weren't complex enough. Not yet. They were still simple and "bare metal enough" to be an aid as opposed to a hindrance. The 6502 still had a good level of authority at the clock-cycle level. Now look at the Amiga camp - you had all sorts of shit going on on the bus. Too much police in the street not communicating with each other. The city traffic slows down while each cop radios to base for instructions. Too much "unrelated-to-what-you're-working-on" code has to be executed.

 

While the likes of this complexity had never been seen in a toy computer before it was still badly implemented, it was only good for advertising fodder and niche applications. These custom chips needed a lot of CPU overhead to keep them sync'd. Now imagine throwing a memory management chip in there (onboard later 68xxx processors), how the fuck can anything get done? The system had barely enough power to boot itself! Oftentimes my shitbox Apple II would outperform the Amiga in untold number of instances.

 

In contrast, look at the 1st MAC systems. The same philosophy of the II applied. Do everything with basic hardware. Allow efficient bus usage and let the application data flow unhindered. In that environment software can work magic.

 

Thank god the C64 & A800 didn't bloat up like these early 16-bit machines. Same thing with the VCS, it has a custom chip, the TIA, but it is a low-count simplistic beast not weighing anything down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...