Sunday, November 6th 2011

Commodore 64 Replica: The Ultimate PC Enthusiast Retro PC Gets An Upgrade

The original 8-bit Commodore 64 computer was very popular in the early 1980s, but the original company eventually closed down in the 1990s, having launched their 16-bit Amiga range in the meantime as the C64s successor. For a while now, replica C64 models, packed with the latest PC technology, have been made by Commodore USA, a different company that has purchased the original Commodore brand.

Since last summer, they have been selling a replica for $999 powered by an Intel CPU. This PC, called the C64x Ultimate (model number: C64x-UL) included a dual core Atom D525, NVIDIA Ion 2 graphics, 4 GB RAM and a 1 TB hard drive. A barebones version is available for $349 without a motherboard, just the keyboard and case, allowing the customer to add their own hardware into the retro box. However, Commodore USA has now upgraded their offering with a considerably more powerful CPU. This version is the C64x Extreme (model number: C64x-EX) which includes a 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7-2720QM CPU, mini-ITX motherboard and PSU, 8 GB DDR3 RAM, DVD writer (slot loading) 2 TB 7200 RPM HDD, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The back panel has the following ports: legacy PS/2, USB 2.0 x5 (one eSATA combo) USB 3.0 x2, Ethernet and three audio jacks. Video connectivity is looked after by HDMI, DVI-D and VGA outputs.

This new version costs a not inconsiderable $1499, but the company justifies this by comparing it to the Mac Mini, which doesn't seem a completely convincing argument, since these are aimed at different markets. More than likely the price is this high, because of low volume production and the nostalgia factor.

It's important to note that this price doesn't include Windows 7 – that has to be sourced separately by the customer. Instead, it comes with Linux Mint 11 preinstalled. The company is also working on a custom operating system, called OS Vision, explaining simply:
Commodore OS Vision (due for release shortly) allows you to play all your favorite 8-bit era games with a single click.

It even has the option to boot right into the original C64's full screen READY prompt (left), where you can also launch classic games.
Click here to see the C64x Extreme product page.

Given the processor this houses, it will be interesting to see how far it can be overclocked (assuming the motherboard allows this) especially given the heat dissipation limitations of the retro case. Note the rightmost picture of the three is the original 1982 Commodore 64. In these photos, the most obvious visual difference compared to the replica, is the cursor key layout at the bottom right of the main keyboard.

There's detailed info on the original 8-bit Commodore 64 on Wikipedia here and the 16-bit Amiga here.Source: TechSpot
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26 Comments on Commodore 64 Replica: The Ultimate PC Enthusiast Retro PC Gets An Upgrade

#1
mjkmike
I had a TRS-80 when I was young and this came out and made me cry.:cry:
Posted on Reply
#2
erocker
$349 for the case is ridiculous considering you can get them much cheaper on ebay. $1500 bucks for an Atom system... also a ripoff. I'd go with the ebay case and a mini-ITX socket FM1 system that would be much less expensive and much more powerful.
Posted on Reply
#3
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
by: erocker
$349 for the case is ridiculous considering you can get them much cheaper on ebay. $1500 bucks for an Atom system... also a ripoff. I'd go with the ebay case and a mini-ITX socket FM1 system that would be much less expensive and much more powerful.
Yes, it's mental isn't it? :shadedshu Thing is though, to fit a PC into a genuine C64 case, you'd have to be pretty handy with DIY, have all the right tools and even then the result would be likely to look like a kludge. Personally, I think the whole idea is a nice novelty for five minutes and not much more.

Talking about heat, I can remember the 6502 in my Acorn computers when it was running flat out. It was housed in something like a 40-pin DIP plastic package soldered straight onto the motherboard, no heatsink. You could put your finger on it and it felt just a little warm. Oh, those were the days, lol.
Posted on Reply
#4
PVTCaboose1337
Graphical Hacker
by: mjkmike
I had a TRS-80 when I was young and this came out and made me cry.:cry:
The cool thing about the TRS-80 is you could actually afford them too.
Posted on Reply
#5
Maelstrom
by: erocker
$349 for the case is ridiculous considering you can get them much cheaper on ebay. $1500 bucks for an Atom system... also a ripoff. I'd go with the ebay case and a mini-ITX socket FM1 system that would be much less expensive and much more powerful.
$1500 is for the i7-2720qm. The atom based one is $1000 (still way too expensive).
Posted on Reply
#6
erocker
by: qubit
you'd have to be pretty handy with DIY
True. I know I have an old (no longer working) VIC 20 up in the attic somewhere. I really need to venture up there sometime.. I guess I will once I have a mini-itx system in hand. :)
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#7
Fx
hmm, it is no where near April... wow, just wow
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#8
Jstn7477
I could buy an i7 + mobile NV GT 555 laptop for like $900. I doubt you can even use the PCIe slot on the board in this one.
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#9
BrooksyX
come on everyone knows your paying for the nostalgia :p
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#10
Neuromancer
Ugh, I feel like a negative nelly. But their prices drive me too it.

Anyone that buys this is a nostalgic fool.
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#11
Cuzza
Wankers. It's no fun doing retro mods when you can just go and buy this sh*t commercially.
Posted on Reply
#12
n0tiert
reminds me on oldskewl days .....

commando...... hehe
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#13
Syborfical
Way to expensive.

At least the new Amiga has niche hardware
Posted on Reply
#14
Neuromancer
by: Cuzza
Wankers. It's no fun doing retro mods when you can just go and buy this sh*t commercially.
Wow, way to put in words what I could not. Thank you man.
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#15
Animalpak
My brother had one, i remember when i was a child.
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#16
erixx
this is like hairy pussies! out-dated!
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#17
micropage7
like back to the past.
thats why we have to thanks for what weve been thru. without it we gonna have different future
Posted on Reply
#18
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
Hey, I posted this back in May. :(

The Vic Slim is better priced. And I think that OS they're working on could be interesting.
Posted on Reply
#19
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
by: Frick
Hey, I posted this back in May. :(

The Vic Slim is better priced. And I think that OS they're working on could be interesting.
Was the upgraded version available back in May though?
Posted on Reply
#21
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
by: qubit
Was the upgraded version available back in May though?
It was. I', not sure if that was the exact cpu but it was something similiar in power.
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#22
Thrackan
Overpriced but way cool:rockout::rockout::rockout:
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#23
Completely Bonkers
I'll give credit for the retro case with a MODERN keyboard layout. It is amazing how retarded those cursor keys were back in the 80's. $300 is steep for a case... but try keyboard mapping an old rolloverless original keyboard... it is a major project in itself. An a standard port backplane space is pre-cut. Another PITA to do via retro modding.
Posted on Reply
#24
faramir
by: Frick
The Vic Slim is better priced. And I think that OS they're working on could be interesting.
Mostlikely a tailor-made Linux distribution that boots directly into some kind of C64 emulator or application launcher (which loads emulator upon selecting application image you wish to load).

I seriously doubt they're writing an OS, much less an OS that functions on x86 with full support for built-in hardware, that can run 65xx era code, especially considering the amount of open-source code that is already out there doing that exact same thing.
Posted on Reply
#25
[H]@RD5TUFF
1 grand is kinda steep for some gimmicky nestalgia.
Posted on Reply
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