Good Morning, Everyone!

Today it is my pleasure to present to you another notable #commodore #8bit machine - the #commodore16 !!

And once more it's a low-entry system: the third model of the "264" product line (along with the C116 and the Plus/4).

It features a 7501 or 8501 CPU (depends on model), a 6510 compatible chip, 16KB of DRAM (faster than the C64 DRAM), the TED video chip (320x200 pixels with 121 colors). The ROM contains BASIC 3.5 as well as a machine monitor. Sound capabilities are quite limited: 2 "Voices", one of them can only produce square waves, but 3-bit digital sound was possible.

But let's face it, one of the most remarkable features of the C16 is the dark gray case witht the lighter gray keys! I mean, this is what the C64 should've looked like!!


@Wintermute_BBS I always wondered why Commodore chose this colour combination for this machine and not for the C64.

What would have been if this beast would have had 64K or even more from the start and excellent compatibility with the C64 (or even more machines)?

@stirz @Wintermute_BBS I believe that black color is coming from the ZX Spectrum because commodore TED machines (plus/4, 16) was intended to compete with ZX Spectrum machine :)

@josipretrobits @Wintermute_BBS Valid point. Commodore management was not aware of the inportance of compatibility, as Brian Bagnall has pointed out. That let the 264 series fail.

I personally had embraced a compatible machine with more than 16 colours (like the C64), capable to use a fast floppy like the 1551, having a sophisticated BASIC and nice cursor keys (like the Plus/4)

@stirz @Wintermute_BBS Yes, more powerful BASIC and they do have a dedicated rs232 chip and that means higher speeds but they have locked GPIO pins on the user port for a specific application; if not for that, these would be a great retro embedded platform from the '80s :)

@stirz well, AFAIK the original C64 color was chosen by randomly grabbing a can of color and spraying a VIC-20 case to distinguish the few prototype C64 machines from a VIC-20.

Why no one in marketing changed that before mass production began is only known to the universe ...

... but since we're talking about Commodore here, I am not surprised at all! 🤣​

@Wintermute_BBS Commodore was all about moving fast and keeping cost low so that low prices could still bring them nice margins.

But still. I always considered the brown color a kind of "Henry Ford black model T"-move

@stirz I really think no one has given it a second thought and everyone either focused on the technical features and product deadlines or staff was fired by Tramiel before they could intervene by suggesting a different case color.

@Wintermute_BBS @stirz and the blue on blue default colours were to hide dodgy video output! The black on white on the C16 was much easier to read.

@confusedbunny @Wintermute_BBS Christ! I knew that there were makeshifts, but this is new to me 😳

@stirz @Wintermute_BBS Explained in Commodore: A Company On The Edge. I've found the relevant section and quoted it here:

There's also a huge section about why the disk drive is so slow!

@confusedbunny @Wintermute_BBS Thanks. I recall reading that. You know, I am among the backers of all of Brian's C= books 😎

@stirz money well spent and let me thank you for backing him!!

I read his book three times and had it signed by Dave Haynie, David Pleasance and other Commodore 8bit and 16bit legends at #Amiga34 (2019) in Neuss.

And I am planning to read it again when soldering the uAX 64 Mini Long kit.

@Wintermute_BBS I mean: meeting Dave Haynie in person. And a lot more folks from inside that company. Wow. I wish I did.


It only sinked in months afterward how lucky I was to meet him in person and be able to ask hin all those questions that I had after reading Brians book.

We interviewed him (and Mr. Pleasance) for roughly two and a half hours and he is an impressive personality, much fun to talk with and one of the kindest people I've ever met.

The guy who actually shot the footage also owns the IP on it and hasn't yet released it. But he's currently working on it to have something ready for Amiga 37.

@Wintermute_BBS @stirz Mine's signed, I won it at a UK Amiga show - must have been 30th anniversary?

@stirz as for the 64K - some users had their Commodore 16 machines upgraded to 64K - either by themselves or through someone who was able to to the upgrade.
If you knew assembler and also bought the 1551 floppy disk drive, which was way cheaper than the 1541, you then had a very decent system for the price. I admit that there were only "a handful" of those wizards. But there were / are.

As for C64 compatibility - the fact that Bil Herd decided to eventually put two different machines into one case, I'm talking about the C128, shows how difficult this topic has been. Bil and his team did some extremly awesome work given the circumstances (keyword: VDC).

The only machine that I can think of that managed to combine compatibility and a fresh and new native design was the 1989 MGT Sam Coupé which was not only a 48K ZX Spectrum compatible but a 256K machine on its own, with much more advanced sound and video capabilities plus the ability to run CP/M (with an amazing TPA of 63 (!) KB)

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