Thats right, the machine that made home computer history in 1982 is coming back. Commodore had quite a history starting back in 1954, but never really hit it big until the early 80s when they managed to bring affordable personal computers into peoples living rooms. Personally my very first computer was a Commodore Vic 20, released in 1980. It had a full 5kb of Ram (The machine I’m writing this on now has 5242880kb of Ram. This was my first computer sending me into the world I live in today.
A few years later in 1982 Commodore released the Commodore 64 featuring a full 64k of ram for under $600. The price alone led it to be one of the top selling personal computers of the decade.
Commodore remained top of their game for for a good 5 or 6 years until IBM Clones and Apple machines took over the consumer space. Finally in 1994, Commodore was forced to declare bankruptcy.
The Commodore brand changed hands a multitude of times after their liquidation and various reboots of the brand as well as the Amiga where attempted with varying levels of success. In April, 2010, Barry Altman founded Comodore USA, LLC. Oddly, Barry’s background isn’t in Tech, but in furniture. Which has to make me wonder if this reboot is going to be like many of the other Commodore reboots and fizzle before it gains any momentum.
The company’s about us page says “We are Commodore and AMIGA fanatics, just like many of you. We ask ourselves what could have been, and we are appalled by Apple revisionism. Commodore is back, and we’re determined to bring the much loved brand back to the mainstream and restore its prominence in the tech industry to that which it richly deserves. It ain’t over ’till we say so.” which sounds promising, but only time will tell.
The new Commodore 64 is a modern day PC in a modified C64 Shell, with a handful of modifications. While it can run windows, the machine comes with the Commodore OS which is a custom blend of Ubuntu Linux. Apparently you are offered a boot menu that allows you to boot into the original C64 Basic 2.0 operating system. The machine comes with a lot of your standard PC components tucked away where you might have originally found the machine’s I/O ports. The Commodore website claims the machine has 4gb RAM a far cry from the 64kb of the original as well as an Intel® Atom D525 1.80GHz processor. The full specs from the site read:
BACK PANEL CONNECTORS: 1 12V DC Jack 1 PS2 KB/Mouse connectors 1 HDMI 1 DVI-D 1 VGA 4 USB 2.0 1 RJ45 LAN (10/100/1000) 3 3.5mm Audio with S/PDIF out MODEL: Commodore 64x PROCESSOR: Intel® Atom D525 1.80GHz (Formerly Pineview-D) CHIPSET: Intel NM10 (Formerly Tiger Point) Next-Generation NVIDIA ION Graphics (ION2) MEMORY: 2 x DDR2 667/800 Single Channel DIMM slots (up to 4 GB) GRAPHICS: Next-Generation NVIDIA ION Graphics Processor AUDIO: Realtek ALC662 6-CH HD Audio Nvidia L-PCM digital audio (HDMI 1.3) can support 7.1 output with external decoder LAN: Realtek RTL8111DL PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet STORAGE: Intel NM10 2 SATA2 3Gb/s ports JMicron® JMB362 SATA controller 2 Internal SATA2 3.0Gb/s port with RAID 0, 1, JBOD. FEATURES: - ACPI S3 Compliant - ECO-design for EuP Standard - 12 VDC jack on back panel for external power supply - Dedicated DDR3 512MB Graphics Memory Onboard - Premium DirectX 10 graphics with advanced digital display connectivity - PureVideo™ Full 1080p HD video and Blu-ray playback - NVIDIA® CUDA™ technology to accelerate the most demanding applications - Premium Windows experience with Windows Vista and Windows 7 ONBOARD I/O CONNECTORS: 1 mini PCI Express x1 Slot 1 Serial header (RS232) 4 SATA2 3Gb/s Connectors with RAID 0, 1, JBOD functions (SATA#3,#4) 2 USB Pin Headers for up to 3 additional USB 2.0 Ports 1 8 bit GPIO header 1 CIR header 1 9-pin Audio Connector 1 Front Panel Connector 3 Fan Headers 1 4-pin Power Connector
See more pictures and read more about the new C64 at the Commodore website @ http://www.commodoreusa.net/CUSA_C64.aspx.
If your suddenly feeling nostalgic and would to go back down memory lane — you may want to have a look at Vice, an emulator for most all commodore models.