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
Cuzza
Neuromancer said:
Wow, way to put in words what I could not. Thank you man.
Anytime!

Completely Bonkers said:
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.
Agreed, keyboards are a massive bastard when doing retro mods, but I have seen for sale usb adaptors specially made for C64 and amiga keyboards.

Seeing these for sale has killed all my enthusiasm for modding my C64. I may just keep it in its box forever now.
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