The C16 - a Ferrari with no tires ?

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eslapion
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The C16 - a Ferrari with no tires ?

Post by eslapion » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:12 am

For the first time in my life, I am the proud owner of a fully functional Commodore 16. On top of that, I developed a 64k RAM expansion for it before I even got to turn it on for the first time.

Then, looking at the specs and how it works, I made 2 shocking discoveries. One great, one that really sucks.

1. It runs faster than both the VIC-20 and the C64 and it can display 121 colors at the same resolution as the C64 along with the equivalent of a Programmer's Aid built-in as well as a Super Expander for graphics built-in. This makes it almost the greatest 8 bit computer I have ever used next to the C128.

2. With 16k RAM built-in, this machine seems to have more bang than a VIC-20 but it takes 3.5k just for the system to run because some memory is required for the screen characters and colors and then it loses another 8k if you use the graphics mode leaving you with a pitiful 4.5k for programs which is only 1k more than a standard VIC-20. To make matters even worst, on the VIC-20 back in the 80s adding RAM was just a matter of going to the nearest electronics shop and buying a 3k, 8k or 16k cart, not so with the C16. Not only do VIC-20 RAM carts not work on the C16, Commodore didn't sell any and actually adding any RAM to this machine was really restricted to the most technical savvy of computer users back when it was on store shelves. That's because the built-in 16k RAM is mirrored all over the full 64k of adressable space.

No wonder this machine met with miserable sales.

Now, I just tested the prototype of SaRuMan-TED in this machine and it works great providing 60671 bytes for BASIC which is even more than you get on the C64 but I guess it comes 35 years too late.

Is there such a thing as a library of software for this old guy ?


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TMR
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Re: The C16 - a Ferrari with no tires ?

Post by TMR » Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:58 pm

eslapion wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:12 am
No wonder this machine met with miserable sales.
Most of the problem with the C16 was that, despite Commodore insisting this wasn't the case, it had to compete with the C64; it was around half the price if memory serves but offering a quarter of the RAM, no hardware sprites or SID sound.

Personally, I like the 264 series but it is harder to code for than theBreadbin.
eslapion wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:12 am
Is there such a thing as a library of software for this old guy ?
Yup, Plus/4 World is the place to look; that link is for games but they carry pretty much everything that's around to be archived.
Disclaimer: a message board post from this person shouldn't be seen as any kind of indication that a project has been started or is ongoing because as a programmer he has the attention span of... oh look, a squirrel!

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Re: The C16 - a Ferrari with no tires ?

Post by eslapion » Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:50 pm

TMR wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:58 pm
Most of the problem with the C16 was that, despite Commodore insisting this wasn't the case, it had to compete with the C64; it was around half the price if memory serves but offering a quarter of the RAM, no hardware sprites or SID sound.
Hey thanks for the information!

IMHO, back in late 1984, when I saw this machine on store shelves, I didn't know what to make of the C16 because it was halfway between the VIC-20 and the C64 both in terms of functionality and price but it was software compatible with neither and the connectors for the datasette and joystick were intentionally (needlessly) different.

Question: If you upgrade the RAM to 64k, is there any reason why you'd want to disable it ?
Wealth, like happiness, is never attained directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service. -Harland D. Sanders

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Re: The C16 - a Ferrari with no tires ?

Post by eslapion » Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:59 am

I am presently developing a 64k RAM expansion for the C16 which installs under the TED but the socket for the TED installed in all C16 I have seen is truly miserable.

Special thinner pins are required but a solution has been found.
Wealth, like happiness, is never attained directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service. -Harland D. Sanders

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