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Author Topic: Commodore 64  (Read 3566 times)

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Offline Paddy

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Re: Commodore 64
« Reply #75 on: May 21, 2020, 11:24:31 AM »

if you can get them open,( V difficult on modern laptops , and if you do, build quality is poor). the cases need a set of phone repair tools ( or a plectrum) to prise the shells apart.)  the HD is nearly always pluggable SATA and an SSD will drop in, 4GB runs Win10 well, and its my standard for refurbished machines.

2/3GB will work as well ( usually XP PCs) but most XPs get skipped ( and win10 is picky about older pentiums) ! getting runnable s/w is the problem - browsers, skype etc.

Very true on low-cost, budget kit.  Fortunately, I have always had/bought quality kit such as the ThinkPad which have always been easy to work on.  HP corporate laptops are similar.  You just need to avoid the budget end of the PC market (if you can afford to do so).

Kind regards

Paddy
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Offline Dorsetmike

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Re: Commodore 64
« Reply #76 on: May 21, 2020, 11:26:57 AM »
Quote
and win10 is picky about older pentiums)

Conversely I bought a new machine about 18 months ago which would not run anything earlier than Win 8 so I had to swop it for an "end of line" which happily runs Win 7 pro 64 bit, even so I have to run an XP emulator for some older software.

My laptop is a Panasonic toughbook, with extra ram and an SSD large enough to hold the software and a bit spare,  all data (images, text, music & videos) being on external hard disc or CD/DVD.

One thing I recall from the '80s we had some Texas teleprinters which used twin cassettes instead of punched tape for data storage and transmission which meant we could type our basic or machine code save it on cassette and then play back on to our home machines

Quote
You just need to avoid the budget end of the PC market
Don't know if Zoostorm with AMD processors count as budget machines, but I've had my two  for some years, yet to spend more than £350 - £400 on one; the Panasonic laptop (also AMD processor) is a refurb.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 11:34:18 AM by Dorsetmike »
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Offline Paddy

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Re: Commodore 64
« Reply #77 on: May 21, 2020, 11:33:58 AM »
Except most of the cheap ones got thrown away before anyone ever considered using those hatches and *most* laptop users aren't technically minded enough to install even a simple RAM upgrade.

Not sure if you actually mean this statement @zwilnik or are just trying to provoke.  I will assume the latter and ignore what is obviously a ridiculous statement.

Like I said, most Apple laptops carry on in use for years and are typically extremely cost effective over their lifecycle as well as recyclable at the end. I still use my 2011 MacBook Air for game dev for instance. It's pretty much done a lap or two of the world by now and it's still got enough oomph for professional game dev (just). When I retire it, my Mum will probably end up using it for a few more years at least.

As I said above, the true is the same for good quality PCs - at the end of the day they are basically the same machine since Apple switched to the Intel platform.  Now, I accept that if/when Apple move from Intel to their in-house ARM based architecture for the Macs that this could change radically.

OS wise, it's only just hit the point where it's not supported by the absolute latest version of macOS, but the version it does run is still fully supported and optimised so it's not a slow device. The only area where it's right on the limit now is when I'm working on huge Unity projects, so it's relegated to only working on prototypes.

I have to admit that Microsoft shot themselves in the foot with the release of Windows 8.  Like Apple, various releases of Windows prior to this worked better than others.  Windows 7 was a very stable and usable OS.  Windows 8 was a disaster from the user community perspective and Windows 10 is an improvement but still has a long way to go.  My understanding is that Microsoft merged a number of the OS related teams and sadly let go many of the experienced developers/testers.  There is no doubt that they have paid for this in terms of stability e.g. the quality of updates to Windows 10.

Kind regards

Paddy


« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 11:36:56 AM by Paddy »
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Re: Commodore 64
« Reply #78 on: May 21, 2020, 11:45:16 AM »
Hi @Dorsetmike

No problem at all with AMD, especially these days as they are seriously targeting the low, mid and top tier of the PC market.  Would I personally buy an AMD based machine?  No, I would not and that is purely down to being a biased, ex-Intel employee.  ;)

Sadly, for AMD they do tend to be seen as the "budget" end of the market.  This is a shame as the new Ryzen processors are very capable and in a lot of real-world cases will outperform Intel at a lower cost.  It is interesting to note that to date, Apple have not released AMD based Macs.  I am sure the Sales folks at AMD have been banging on Apple's door.

You can get some fantastic deals on refurbished kit - Apple included.  We have in the past purchased two "refurbed" ThinkPads and in both cases they arrived as brand new, sealed units.  They were the previous generation models but were 40% cheaper.

To give you some idea, a new, good spec ThinkPad will cost you around £850+ so not a budget device.  Decent PC kit will end up costing not much less than an Apple Mac which is not surprising given they are basically the same.

I have to take my hat off to Apple with their screen technology though - simply gorgeous.

P.S. Sorry Mike, should have said that if you want to run older (or other) OSs on a new PC then my advice would be to go down the virtualisation route.  The base machine will run Windows 10 and you can then have any number of virtual Windows 7, Linux etc. machines running on top (hardware permitting).

Kind regards

Paddy
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 11:51:13 AM by Paddy »
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Offline zwilnik

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Re: Commodore 64
« Reply #79 on: May 21, 2020, 11:54:23 AM »
Except most of the cheap ones got thrown away before anyone ever considered using those hatches and *most* laptop users aren't technically minded enough to install even a simple RAM upgrade.

Not sure if you actually mean this statement @zwilnik or are just trying to provoke.  I will assume the latter and ignore what is obviously a ridiculous statement.

Paddy

Not being provocative. Now there's more and more people using laptops and only a small percentage of them would ever consider themselves brave enough to open them up and install RAM upgrades, most of them never get upgraded. Likewise as the majority of laptops sold are underpowered, cheap devices, they tend to just end up being scrapped within a relatively short lifetime and due to being mostly plastic, not particularly recyclable.

There *are* high end users who'll max out the lifetime and upgrades of their Windows laptops, but they're nowhere near being the majority and while the general concept of Macs is similar to an Intel Windows laptop, the component requirements are a lot higher than the baseline and the OS is designed to them, not to a wide generic spec.

Likewise if/when Apple switches to their own chips, users won't notice the difference in the OS (other than new features,speed, battery life etc.) and it'll be the same OS the Intel based Mac users will be using for a few years at least.

On the Apple/AMD front. That would require Apple to switch all their Macs to AMD as there'd be no point in doing different Intel and AMD Macs. There's some screamingly fast AMD chips out there, but they were late to the game when Apple and Intel were doing their plans. If/when Apple switches to their own chips it would become academic.

One other point with the soldered in RAM/SSD btw. On MacBooks this means the whole memory system is protected by the T2 security chip, making it much harder for nefarious types to gain access to your data.

Offline Paddy

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Re: Commodore 64
« Reply #80 on: May 21, 2020, 12:17:15 PM »
Not being provocative. Now there's more and more people using laptops and only a small percentage of them would ever consider themselves brave enough to open them up and install RAM upgrades, most of them never get upgraded. Likewise as the majority of laptops sold are underpowered, cheap devices, they tend to just end up being scrapped within a relatively short lifetime and due to being mostly plastic, not particularly recyclable.

Hi @zwilnik

Good chat.  ;)

The trouble with making a statement like this is that you are treating the WinTel laptop market as one big lump.  Now, if you said the low to mid-market PC laptop market then I would probably agree with you.  Most of these machines are complete junk and do sell in their millions.  However, this completely ignores the huge corporate market where even more millions of high end laptops reside.

Most of the corporate laptops are on a fixed replacement cycle of typically 3-5 years these days.  However, being able to expand them is still seen as very important i.e. RAM and internal storage.  High end PC kit is relatively easy to work on which is no surprise given many of the machines are covered by 3rd party maintenance contracts.

There *are* high end users who'll max out the lifetime and upgrades of their Windows laptops, but they're nowhere near being the majority and while the general concept of Macs is similar to an Intel Windows laptop, the component requirements are a lot higher than the baseline and the OS is designed to them, not to a wide generic spec.

Again, what does "high end user" mean?  If you are talking about some techie at home then may be but this is not what the PC world is about.  Those types of Home users are dwarfed by the corporate market where component quality is just as high as Apple.  That is why a corporate PC is so much more expensive than Currys!  Of course Apple define the spec of the components they use but so will Lenovo, Dell, HP at the high end.  There will always be OEMs/ISVs who go for the lowest cost but that is only part of the market.

Likewise if/when Apple switches to their own chips, users won't notice the difference in the OS (other than new features,speed, battery life etc.) and it'll be the same OS the Intel based Mac users will be using for a few years at least.

Er, too early to tell on that one.  Anyway, it won't be the OS where the issues arise if/when Apple switches the Mac line to ARM.  As Microsoft has found with its ARM based versions of Windows, the real challenge is emulating X64 environment that is acceptable to high-end users (sorry could not resist!).

Personally, I think it is a great idea for Apple to move to ARM if they can pull it off.  The good news is that they have the resources to invest and do this properly.

On the Apple/AMD front. That would require Apple to switch all their Macs to AMD as there'd be no point in doing different Intel and AMD Macs. There's some screamingly fast AMD chips out there, but they were late to the game when Apple and Intel were doing their plans. If/when Apple switches to their own chips it would become academic.

This may shock you... I agree.  ;)

The most obvious reason for Apple to release AMD based Macs would be to put one over Intel in some way.  However, I am sure Apple already has sufficient leverage with Intel to get what they need in terms of pricing/spec.  Also, Apple simply do not ship enough Macs to make it worth the effort in tooling up a whole new line.

One other point with the soldered in RAM/SSD btw. On MacBooks this means the whole memory system is protected by the T2 security chip, making it much harder for nefarious types to gain access to your data.

The T2 chip is a clever idea but I would rather have the ability to upgrade RAM/Storage.  The idea of all my internal storage being tied to a key linked to that T2 chip is not something I would feel comfortable with.  You definitely want to have a regular and comprehensive backup strategy in place.

Kind regards

Paddy
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 12:23:02 PM by Paddy »
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Offline joe cassidy

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Re: Commodore 64
« Reply #81 on: May 21, 2020, 12:22:17 PM »
What did people use these 1st generation home computers for, apart from playing games ?

Offline zwilnik

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Re: Commodore 64
« Reply #82 on: May 21, 2020, 12:34:28 PM »

Good chat.  ;)


The T2 chip is a clever idea but I would rather have the ability to upgrade RAM/Storage.  The idea of all my internal storage being tied to a key linked to that T2 chip is not something I would feel comfortable with.  You definitely want to have a regular and comprehensive backup strategy in place.

Kind regards

Paddy


(trimmed the quoted stuff back a bit to avoid it being overlong ;) )

Very good chat :) I agree with you about the whole lump thing, although that also tends to be applied to Apple users too. There are distinct differences between Apple's market for its general users with the MacBook, MacBook Air and lower end MacBook Pros and their pro users with the high end MacBook Pros. Desktop-wise, they're all upgradable other than the latest Mac Mini and all Macs are designed to last.

While the big corporate PC manufacturers define the spec of their components, they don't write the OS. So they're still limited by an OS that has to cover all the bases. Other than Dell cooling fans (they used to just ship us boxes of them for when they failed at one old job :) ) I wouldn't be surprised if component issues are dwarfed by OS problems for their IT departments.

On the T2 chip point, part of the Apple ecosystem is that normally you'd also have your iCloud account and be running TimeMachine at least, so you're doing secure backups and a lot of your data is actually in the cloud. (thus allowing for practical use of smaller SSDs on your actual laptop). I think with any computer you'd want a regular and comprehensive backup strategy. We all seem to learn that after our first big data loss ;)

Offline zwilnik

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Re: Commodore 64
« Reply #83 on: May 21, 2020, 12:34:44 PM »
What did people use these 1st generation home computers for, apart from playing games ?

Learning how to write games ;)

Offline Paddy

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Re: Commodore 64
« Reply #84 on: May 21, 2020, 12:37:33 PM »
What did people use these 1st generation home computers for, apart from playing games ?

Hi @joe cassidy

Depends on what you mean by "1st generation of home computers".  ;)

The ZX80, ZX81, MK14 etc. of this world no doubt sold to mainly hobbyists who were interested in soldering irons etc.

However, I suspect what you are really talking about are the ZX Spectrum, Commodore VIC-20, Commodore 64 etc.  What I can say based on my experience from selling these machines back then is very little.  Parents tended to come in to the shop and spout all manner of nonsense about home finance, education, word processing etc. whilst little Jimmy/Jane stood looking at Jet Set Willy.  :D

So you had to be a wee bit clever and show the parents something like Mini Office even though you knew it would only partially do what they wanted.  Jimmy/Jane were happy because Dad had bought the "ZX VIC-20 64" and it came with a games pack!  A few Jimmy/Janes progressed beyond playing games and became coders which later on gave the UK its world-renowned software development expertise.

The first notable change I saw was when the Amstrad PCW came out.  Although this machine was an 8 bit computer and was definitely not a games machine it could do serious work.  You had CP/M+ which gave you access to professional business applications such as Sage Accounts, dBASE IV, VisiCalc and of course you had the Locoscript word-processor which was very good.  The machine also came with proper disk storage (ignoring the debate about the 3" drives) which made loading programs/storing data fast and reliable.  You also got a good quality "screen", keyboard and printer.  The PCWs sold in their thousands to SMEs across the UK.

Personally, I can put my hand up and say that I have never been in to playing computer games.  For me, from my first ZX81 it was always about the coding.  I have never owned a PlayStation, XBOX or any other console (this does not include my daughters BTW).  ;)

I have nothing against video games and I certainly marvel at the rich worlds that can now be created but each to their own.  Certainly graphics have come along way since 3D Monster Maze on the ZX81!

Kind regards

Paddy
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 12:42:25 PM by Paddy »
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Re: Commodore 64
« Reply #85 on: May 21, 2020, 12:50:59 PM »
It also varied country to country. In the US where the Apple ][ was the first computer being sold en-mass as a home computer, games were still a big deal but there was a lot more in the way of office software for SME and home use as well as a lot of industry specific applications as custom expansion boards and interfaces were relatively easy to make and install on them.

They were pricier than the ones that spawned the UK boom, but that also spawned cheaper clones (and those knock-off cloners went on to drive the PC clone business well before Dell did it ''legitimately" ).


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Re: Commodore 64
« Reply #86 on: May 21, 2020, 01:02:28 PM »
Hi @zwilnik

I think we are actually in broad agreement which can be summarised as "you get what you pay for".  You simply prefer Macs and I, WinTel.

As I said in one of my previous posts, I think Windows has become an issue for companies as it is such an open system by default.  Obviously, you can implement Active Directory and lock almost everything down via profiles.  Fortunately for me, I have always worked in places where the machines were left open for technical folks.  :)

Having spent 20+ years in technical support, my advice to any user is:

1. Buy the best kit you can afford from established manufacturers - this tends to provide much better driver updates etc.

2. Do NOT install loads of 3rd party utilities that reconfigure the base OS too much.  Years in software development have taught me that the primary code path is the one that gets the most testing - you deviate from this at your peril.

3. Don't be overly clever - KISS rules.

It has been a while since I looked at the MacBook line-up so I thought in the interests of transparency I would publish the spec/prices of Apple's base units in each category.  I have added the Mac mini as you mentioned it above.

MacBook Air
   1.1GHz Dual-Core i3 10th Generation
   Integrated Graphics
   256GB SSD
   8GB RAM
   £999

MacBook Pro 13"
   1.4GHz Quad-Core i5 8th Generation
   Integrated Graphics
   256GB SSD
   8GB RAM
   £1,299

MacBook Pro 16"
   2.6GHz Six-Core i7 9th Generation
   AMD Radeon Graphics
   512GB SSD
   16GB RAM
   £2,399

Max mini
   3.6GHz Quad-Core i3 8th Generation
   Integrated Graphics
   256GB SSD
   8GB RAM
   £799
 
As you can see, these prices are very much in the high-end Win-Tel laptop/PC territory.  If you spent this on PC hardware you would have extremely high quality components as well.  Sadly, for the WinTel world, many "customers" think £500 is an expensive laptop (which it may be depending on one's personal circumstances).

EDIT: Should have added that I am typing this on my good old ThinkPad E460 which has a spec of:

ThinkPad E460
   2.5GHz Dual-Core i7 6th Generation
   AMD Radeon Graphics (2GB)
   512GB SSD
   16GB RAM

And this cost me just over £800 new a couple of years ago.

Kind regards

Paddy
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Re: Commodore 64
« Reply #87 on: May 21, 2020, 01:13:38 PM »
Yup, Apple simply don't bother with the low end market. (and there are, as with some PC manufacturers, discounts for education and refurb options).

There's a lot of subtle differences in the 'cost' of the Apple platform vs WinTel. For instance, I didn't realise until this year that when you buy a Windows machine or a copy of Windows to install, it's locked to a single language by default and you have to pay for more (Not sure if the much more expensive Windows Pro pack includes them all?)

On MacOs (and iOS), all languages are included by default and the OS is included as part of the price of the machine and free to upgrade (even if you bought a second hand one).

Like I think we've both been saying. Whatever platform you use, you get what you pay for.

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Re: Commodore 64
« Reply #88 on: May 21, 2020, 01:32:36 PM »
Hi @zwilnik

Yeah you need Windows Pro or above for that - extra £100ish.   For most non-corporate users, Windows Home is OK.  You also get less of the annoying adware/telemetry in Pro and above although you can turn most of this off now in Windows Home too.

Certainly, if you were spending the Mac prices on WinTel then specifying Windows Pro would not be a problem.

It is all about compromise and where one wants to sit.  The reality is that for the price of a Mac you could get a better specified WinTel machine.  However, this statement does not take in to account build quality.  The gap narrows much more if you want to match the Macís quality.  I did not put reliability as all manufacturers have their issues even Apple.

There was rumours that Microsoft wanted to limit the supported hardware for Windows 10 at one point.  I have not heard anything further on this for a while so donít know if this has been quietly dropped?  Dropping support for Win32 is also mentioned until some corporate has a hissy fit about an internally developed application that dates back to the year dot.

I am sure that if Microsoft could drop a lot of the historic baggage they could make Windows leaner.  Alternatively, switch to Linux and add a WINE type layer...

Bet you never thought I would say that.  :no:

EDIT: should have added that I am now writing this on my iPad.  ;)

Kind regards

Paddy
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 01:35:39 PM by Paddy »
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Offline zwilnik

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Re: Commodore 64
« Reply #89 on: May 21, 2020, 01:37:28 PM »
Hi @zwilnik

Yeah you need Windows Pro or above for that - extra £100ish.   For most non-corporate users, Windows Home is OK.  You also get less of the annoying adware/telemetry in Pro and above although you can turn most of this off now in Windows Home too.

Certainly, if you were spending the Mac prices on WinTel then specifying Windows Pro would not be a problem.

It is all about compromise and where one wants to sit.  The reality is that for the price of a Mac you could get a better specified WinTel machine.  However, this statement does not take in to account build quality.  The gap narrows much more if you want to match the Macís quality.  I did not put reliability as all manufacturers have their issues even Apple.

There was rumours that Microsoft wanted to limit the supported hardware for Windows 10 at one point.  I have not heard anything further on this for a while so donít know if this has been quietly dropped?  Dropping support for Win32 is also mentioned until some corporate has a hissy fit about an internally developed application that dates back to the year dot.

I am sure that if Microsoft could drop a lot of the historic baggage they could make Windows leaner.  Alternatively, switch to Linux and add a WINE type layer...

Bet you never thought I would say that.  :no:

Kind regards

Paddy


At one point Microsoft were trying to push the idea of a specific Microsoft Windows PC, but other than the logo being on a few generic MacBook looking ones for product placement on NCIS etc. nothing really came of it.

There's a bit of a cultural difference you get when you're buying a Mac. For instance the idea of telemetry not being an absolutely opt-in feature with completely de-personalised data or adware being included at all, is completely alien to Apple.

 

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