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General Category => General Discussion - Introductions => Topic started by: litwr on 16:33, 09 January 17

Title: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: litwr on 16:33, 09 January 17
I have made a list of 8 bit home computers which are the best (IMHO) with some feature.

Amstrad CPC - the best pixel based graphics
Amstrad PCW - the best CP/M computer
Amstrad PCW - the best text processor
BBC Micro and Commodore 128 VDC - the best speed of calculation with screen on
Commodore 64 - the best sound and graphics combined quality
Commodore +4/PAL - the best speed of calculation with screen off
Commodore +4 - the best quality of static graphics

Any additions? Atari 800 has 256 colors but I don't know good Atari pictures. Are there any Atari 800 good pictures somewhere?
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: PulkoMandy on 17:01, 09 January 17
Thomson TO8 - Has all the Amstrad CPC video modes, plus a 320x200 16 colors mode (with 8x1 block constraints), and a 4096 color palette. Beats the CPC easily on best pixel based graphics, except there is no "fullscreen" trick.


Then it depends on what your definition of "home computer" is. The v6z80P would be bast calculation speed (25MHz z80 CPU I think?), and also best static graphics and best combined sound/graphics (it looks more like an Amiga), but it is not a computer from the "golden days".


I don't see why the PCW would be the best CP/M computer. In the days of CP/M you could build anything around the S-100 bus standard, and include megabytes of RAM, hard disks, and a lot more.


Atari graphics: https://demozoo.org/graphics/?platform=16&production_type=
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: robcfg on 17:07, 09 January 17
Then a Tandy CoCo3 is even better for his 320x200 16 color mode without restrictions. Palette is much smaller, to be honest.


Regarding atari pictures, take a look here (http://gury.atari8.info/pictures.php).
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: litwr on 19:38, 09 January 17
Thomson TO8 - Has all the Amstrad CPC video modes, plus a 320x200 16 colors mode (with 8x1 block constraints), and a 4096 color palette. Beats the CPC easily on best pixel based graphics, except there is no "fullscreen" trick.

I don't see why the PCW would be the best CP/M computer. In the days of CP/M you could build anything around the S-100 bus standard, and include megabytes of RAM, hard disks, and a lot more.
I didn't list rare and expanded computers.  All listed computers were produced in a large number, at least one million.  The problem with the rare models is in absence of programs demonstrating their features...  Could you name any model of CP/M computer which ran CP/M+, had more than 256 KB of RAM, had 720x200 graphics, and was mass produced and affordable for home use?


Then a Tandy CoCo3 is even better for his 320x200 16 color mode without restrictions. Palette is much smaller, to be honest.
Wikipedia says that Tandy CoCo3 has 64 colors in palette.  This is more than 27 of CPC.  However we don't even know how many Tandy Color were made. :( Is there any demo which can be compared with Batman Forever?
Thanks to all for the links to Atari pictures.  They look good but the quality of graphics is not too impressive.  IMHO C+4 shows much better results - http://plus4world.powweb.com/software/VDC_Challenge (http://plus4world.powweb.com/software/VDC_Challenge)
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: andycadley on 20:49, 09 January 17

Any additions? Atari 800 has 256 colors but I don't know good Atari pictures. Are there any Atari 800 good pictures somewhere?
16 shades of 16 colours, with all sorts of insane restrictions upon how you can actually use them. With the possible exception of "most colours on screen in a gradient grid pattern", it probably loses out to everything. Even the Speccy.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: robcfg on 20:55, 09 January 17
I think that trying to get actual photographs on screen loses artistic value. That's what I like of the linked Atari pictures.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: reidrac on 21:14, 09 January 17
The CoCo was somewhat popular, spawning 3 generations; some sources mention 1.3 million units sold. Others say 1.5+ million for all TSR-80 models, so I don't know if that 1.3 is too much.

The CoCo 3 was a very capable machine (up to 512K!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXzyxSX1jLU
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: robcfg on 21:33, 09 January 17
I think that by playing with composite output you can get 256 colors on a CoCo3.

Then there are the MSX2+ and TurboR machines, which are able to display an insane amount of colors.


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Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: reidrac on 21:56, 09 January 17
That's right, MSX2+ are still Z80 based and 8-bit. The MSX2 had a 256 colour mode already.

I always think of the MSX1 and I never remember the later standards!
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: Bryce on 22:36, 09 January 17
It's very difficult to make a list like that without having tried all 8-bit computers, so I'll assume that the list is "best 8 bit computers that I've used". You've completely left out the Atari's for example. Is this because they weren't best at anything or because you've never had one?

Bryce.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: VincentGR on 02:34, 10 January 17

How about sam coupe?


hhmmm a list? OK

ZX is cute,
atari has pokey!!!
commodore for the arcade feeling...
and amstrad number one cause that's way I like it. Aha aha.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: CPCOxygen on 03:11, 10 January 17
Asking what is the best 8-bit computer is like asking what's the best car. There are so many variables. I can say that no 8-bit computer wins outright. There are many 8-bit losers (specification wise) but no outright winner.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: keith56 on 05:19, 10 January 17
They all had their benefits,

Spectrum was cheap, so available to everyone!
Commodore had good music, hardware sprites, and some great games.
Amstrad CPC had the great 16 color mode 0, 4 color mode 1 (without the "color block" limitation of other systems)... it also had the dreaded 'speccy ports!' which meant many of its games were utterly awful!

I only had the CPC in the day, but I knew people with all 3, back then I think you were lucky if you had any home computer!
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: FloppySoftware on 09:29, 10 January 17
I don't see why the PCW would be the best CP/M computer. In the days of CP/M you could build anything around the S-100 bus standard, and include megabytes of RAM, hard disks, and a lot more.


Like the PCW!


 :) :)


Now, seriously: the best 8 bit home computer is mine (it's an expanded PCW8256, by the way).

Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: roudoudou on 09:48, 10 January 17
i remember i like my CPC since the begining mostly because there is a HUGE amount of softwares  8)


i liked my TO7-70 because the user manual was VERY didactic (better than CPC manuel which is nevertheless very good). I learned a lot about Basic with it
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: Bryce on 10:13, 10 January 17
I liked the Oric 1 because.... Oh wait, it did nothing even half decently, but it looked cool. :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: sigh on 12:24, 10 January 17
I still want an MSX2+.

I believe that with the added scroll registers, the amount of colours, midi inputs/outputs along with those 6 music channels - games made to it's potential would be mind blowing.

Saying that though - there's still so much progress being made on the CPC that probably weren't thought possible.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ivarf on 13:04, 10 January 17
Have anyone seen sales numbers for the Sam Coupe, MSX2 and Amstrad plus/GX4000. I assume the first and only batch of Amstrad pluses/GX with were several hundredthousands machines.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: reidrac on 13:11, 10 January 17
Retro Gamer issue 52 said 15,000 units of GX4000 were sold. Not sure how accurate is that.

I also find the MSX quite interesting. Shame most non-Japanese games weren't great, another machine that suffered from crap speccy ports.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ASiC on 13:15, 10 January 17
I still want an MSX2+.

midi inputs/outputs along with those 6 music channels - games made to it's potential would be mind blowing.


I have the Panasonic FS-A1WX and it doesn't have any midi ports.
You can easily add them with a music module though.


I'd also would love to see what could happen on an MSX2+ if properly used.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ivarf on 13:19, 10 January 17
Retro Gamer issue 52 said 15,000 units of GX4000 were sold. Not sure how accurate is that.

I also found the MSX quite interesting. Shame most non-Japanese games weren't great, another machine that suffered from crap speccy ports.

Although I know nothing about this, I would guess that this number is very low. I wonder what their sources are.
Amstrad had a very high marketing budget for the GX4000. Was it 15 million pounds? For me it sounds strange not to have produced more machines having spent so much on marketing. In the period leading up to Christmas 1984 they sold 200 000 Amstrad CPC 464s



I have made a list of 8 bit home computers which are the best (IMHO) with some feature.

Amstrad CPC - the best pixel based graphics
Commodore 64 - the best sound and graphics combined quality
Commodore +4 - the best quality of static graphics

Considering recent output from Targhan and Rhino with improved graphicmodes with more colour at higher resolution, I think the Amstrad CPC should be considered for all these 3 categories
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: litwr on 16:25, 10 January 17

I agree that Tandy Color 3 is capable.  But it is rare.  How many programs are in software list especially for CoCo 3?  King Quest II for Tandy shows good but almost static pictures.  I didn't note any sound. :( It looks like C64 graphics with only one or two sprites and a bit more colorful.  However I could name CoCo 3 as the best 8-bit computer for King's Quest II.
MSX2+ and turboR are Japanese rarities.  They have too little software which uses their advanced features. The same is true for Amstrad CPC6128+, Sam Coupe, and other 8-bit computers after 1987.
Theoretically MSX2 can be better than C64, C+4 or Amstrad CPC.  But practically I don't know MSX2 games which are superior to C64 games.  C64 sound is better than even MSX2+ sound.  I also don't know photo graphics shown by MSX2 system which are better than C+4 pictures.  Is MSX2 capable to run a game like CPC6128 Pinball?
I agree that ZX Spektrum deserved to be the best by the best price.
It is also worth to mention that BBC Micro has built-in network support and it makes it the best for this feature.
It's very difficult to make a list like that without having tried all 8-bit computers, so I'll assume that the list is "best 8 bit computers that I've used". You've completely left out the Atari's for example. Is this because they weren't best at anything or because you've never had one?
I met Atari at the 80s.  It didn't impressed me much.  Just yet another 8-bit computer, a bit better than ZX Spektrum.  Do you name any Atari 800 feature that makes it the best?
Considering recent output from Targhan and Rhino with improved graphicmodes with more colour at higher resolution, I think the Amstrad CPC should be considered for all these 3 categories
I hope to see CPC6128 showing pictures better than Commodore +4, with sound better than C64 and with the fast hardware sprites.  :D
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: Bryce on 16:41, 10 January 17
The Pokey was a pretty good sound chip. Also I liked the Atari XL for how easy it was to interface to.

The CPC also should be nominated for the fastest disk drive of the time.

I'd also like to nominate the Spectrum ZX81 as the best kit computer and best black and white computer :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: VincentGR on 17:14, 10 January 17
CPC was the most "professional" 8bit computer along side with the PCW series, although CPC was the fav.
Here it was used to many video clubs, lotto - gambling stores, schools and even in small companies.
The keyboard is almost perfect and probably not like acorn quality but the layout was the best I think.
Imagine keeping your files with a ZX...


The last CPC I saw was 4-5 years ago still kicking in Athens.


I agree with Bryce about the ZX81.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: Audronic on 01:39, 11 January 17
As I have come from a TRS-80 Model 1-3-4-4P world across to the Amstrad World.
I have great fondness for the TRS-80 series.


Ray


 
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: sigh on 02:55, 11 January 17

I have the Panasonic FS-A1WX and it doesn't have any midi ports.
You can easily add them with a music module though.


I'd also would love to see what could happen on an MSX2+ if properly used.

Ahh yes - it was the MSX R turbo that had the midi in/out on some models.

The MSX2+ machine was never used to it's full potential, much like the 6128 PLUS back then.
Wasn't the Sam Coupe ham strung by some odd design choices limiting it's power?
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: PulkoMandy on 10:20, 11 January 17
I assume the first and only batch of Amstrad pluses/GX with were several hundredthousands machines.


I think there are 6 or so revisions of the motherboard for the Amstrad Plus. The batches were smaller than you expect.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ASiC on 10:49, 11 January 17
Ahh yes - it was the MSX R turbo that had the midi in/out on some models.

The MSX2+ machine was never used to it's full potential, much like the 6128 PLUS back then.
Wasn't the Sam Coupe ham strung by some odd design choices limiting it's power?


I think the main issue with the Sam Coupe is the shared memory pool.
Same as the CPC but it was more severe on the Sam resulting in an effective CPU speed of only 14% faster than the speccy.
Also considering that the Sam had to push more pixels than the speccy, that percentage went down even further.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ivarf on 12:35, 11 January 17

I think the main issue with the Sam Coupe is the shared memory pool.
Same as the CPC but it was more severe on the Sam resulting in an effective CPU speed of only 14% faster than the speccy.
Also considering that the Sam had to push more pixels than the speccy, that percentage went down even further.

6 MHz Z80 isn't it?
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ASiC on 13:34, 11 January 17
6 MHz Z80 isn't it?


Yes but the effective speed is much slower because of the wait states being enforced by the ASIC chip.
Same as the CPC: 4MHz CPU speed, effective speed ~3.54 MHz
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: litwr on 16:24, 11 January 17
CPC/PCW effective speed is about 3.2 MHz.  So old Speccy which uses upper memory only is 10% faster.  ZX Spectrum effective speed is about 2.9 MHz with lower memory in use.  CPC/PCW is slightly faster on the average.  :) 
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: andycadley on 20:21, 11 January 17

Also considering that the Sam had to push more pixels than the speccy, that percentage went down even further.
Worse still, it was designed so that as you switch into screen modes that use less memory, contention goes up and slows the CPU down (the aim being to increase compatibility with Spectrum games) so you can't even use one of the less memory intensive screen modes to make things better.


Rumour has it that hardware scrolling was considered for the design but dropped because it would've added about £2 a unit to the cost price. Bad, bad decision if true...
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: Sykobee (Briggsy) on 22:32, 11 January 17
Why the Amstrad CPC was best in the 'general 80s 8-bit computing' category, in my opinion:


* It came with a monitor - no need to hog the family TV
* Graphics were decent, especially static images, some categories of games were excellent, but high memory requirement and lack of smooth scrolling held back many cross-platform titles
* Good range of business software because of CP/M and 80 column mode
* Also productivity software - you could reasonably do your homework on the machine with Amsword/Tasword II/Mini Office 2
* Excellent value for a CP/M machine
* Decent amount of RAM, expansion options
* Late 80s it came with a TV Tuner box, solving the teenager's bedroom needs


Runner Up: Commodore 128


Best Gaming 8-bitter: Commodore 64 - SID, Hardware scrolling and sprites, massive market meant lots of titles, and it came out 2 years before the CPC. Terrible disk interface.
Oddly enough it had some decent business/productivity software due to the market size, but the lack of 80 columns and low contrast interfaces was a negative.
Also Best Audio because of SID, apart from some boutique systems (Apple IIGS for example).


Best Value 8-bitter: Sinclair/Amstrad Spectrum Range
But graphics could be terrible unless skilfully designed, where detail, designing for the hardware, and good use of splash colour could be a nice benefit. Palette very garish - C64 hi-res attribute mode could look a lot nicer.


Best Business 8-bitter: Amstrad PCW by a mile - it redefined the marketplace. Apple II does need to be mentioned here, because it was a lot earlier, and Visicalc created the spreadsheet. The Apple II would win if I was thinking from a US perspective.


The Atari 8-bitters were strong machines, although the games tended to rarely utilise the hardware to the full, meaning they looked bland. Often 4-colour in MODE 0 aspect ratio with some sprites. They were also costly. Atari 130XE was the pinnacle.


MSX1 was a worldwide system, but had many of the Spectrum's issues but with a TI graphics chip that at least had sprites. Coarser scrolling than the CPC! Many solid games due to Japanese involvement, but not a massive hit in the UK. Some systems were quite unique though - some with synths, some with laser discs... maybe I can award it Best International System or something, although C64 is a strong competitor.


Best Educational System: BBC Micro by far, but the RM Link 380/480 systems were strong early on too. Costly though.


What else sold in the millions?


Much as I love the CPC+, it's too niche, and too late, to be a fair addition, and lack of software rules it out.
Ditto for the Sam Coupe, Z88, etc.
Enterprise 64 had strong hardware, but the sales failed (launched too late). Unique design though, but cursors would have been better in the end. Maybe if they'd used a 6MHz Z80...


Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: Gryzor on 13:56, 12 January 17
If we're talking Sam Coupe, why not mention the Elan Flan Enterprise?


I also agree that 15k units for the GX sounds very low. Maybe it was 15k before Amstrad abandoned it, but I guess all the units they produced didn't end up in a landfill but were instead sold out at rock-bottom prices!
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: litwr on 14:37, 12 January 17
Also Best Audio because of SID, apart from some boutique systems (Apple IIGS for example).

Best Business 8-bitter: Amstrad PCW by a mile - it redefined the marketplace. Apple II does need to be mentioned here, because it was a lot earlier, and Visicalc created the spreadsheet. The Apple II would win if I was thinking from a US perspective.

Best Educational System: BBC Micro by far, but the RM Link 380/480 systems were strong early on too. Costly though.
IIGS is 16-bit, the other league. ;) Unexpanded Apple ][ couldn't match even CPC6128 for business.  May TRS-80 be compared with PCW?  I know little about TRS-80. :(
Apple ][ has a lot of software for education.  It was also the main computer in SU schools (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agat_(computer) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agat_(computer))).  So Apple ][ has a kind of a position close the the best but I can't clear define it.  Apple ][ is also the most expandable among the other 8-bitters.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: PulkoMandy on 18:16, 12 January 17
I would like to propose the Matra Alice 90 for most beautiful case design


(http://www.old-computers.com/museum/photos/matra_alice90_1_hr_s.jpg)


Can anything else matter when you have such a nice case?  :laugh:
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: pacomix on 21:34, 12 January 17
And where do you leave the Memotech computers????


Enviado desde mi iPhone utilizando Tapatalk
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ivarf on 22:27, 12 January 17
I hope to see CPC6128 showing pictures better than Commodore +4, with sound better than C64 and with the fast hardware sprites.  :D

See Rhinos earlier post about the "new" graphics capabilities of the Amstrad CPC series. I never meant that the chip sound is better on the Amstrad than the C64, just that the combined sound/graphics are better now.

Hi,

I'm proud to present Perfect Pix, a set of graphic tools with 3 extended video modes to get images of an unusual quality on a 8-bit machine:

* Mode R -> Up to 384x272 pixels and 16 freely selectable colors from a palette of 27.

* Mode B0 -> Up to 192x272 pixels and 136 colors from a palette of 378.

* Mode B1 -> Up to 384x272 pixels and 307 colors, divided into color 0 + up to 34 palettes of 9 colors per line.

You must run the tool on real hardware to see the true visual result.


(http://www.joycogames.com/download/ppix/c_forums.jpg)


Perfect Pix by Batman Group :: pouët.net


Updates:

* v1.00

    - First release.

* v1.01

    - Added message if upper memory is full by too many ROMs.

* v1.02

    - Bug fixed in the converter exporting overscan screens.
    - More upper memory free for greater ROMs compatibility.

* v1.03

    - Improved controls in Paint tool by adding CONTROL + keys to move the pointer to scroll the zoom window (similar to OCP Art Studio).
    - Added warning message in the converter when source image exceeds the image size limits managed with the Paint tool.
    - Additional upper memory free for greater ROMs compatibility.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: PulkoMandy on 09:55, 13 January 17
Have you seen the FLI, IFLI, ... modes that the C64 had for years? Because, they are quite similar.


http://www.studiostyle.sk/dmagic/gallery/gfxmodes.htm
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: litwr on 10:39, 13 January 17
Thanks for the link to Perfect Pix.  It looks magnificent!  However after checking the manual I got some doubts.  Mode B0 uses an easy trick available with any computer.  So Plus4 with 121 colors may easily get several thousands colors this way.  Mode R uses interlace which is unstable with CPC.  Mode B1 is based on 4 colors mode 1 which doesn't allow to be too colorful. So it will be uneasy to win Plus4...
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ivarf on 10:55, 13 January 17
Have you seen the FLI, IFLI, ... modes that the C64 had for years? Because, they are quite similar.


http://www.studiostyle.sk/dmagic/gallery/gfxmodes.htm (http://www.studiostyle.sk/dmagic/gallery/gfxmodes.htm)

Yes it looks nice, but you do get the full effect due to the limited C64 palette
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: litwr on 17:38, 13 January 17
Yes it looks nice, but you do get the full effect due to the limited C64 palette
C+4 has 121 colors and more advanced FLI modes than C64.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ivarf on 19:25, 13 January 17
C+4 has 121 colors and more advanced FLI modes than C64.

Do anyone know how the CPC 464 got it's number?  What is its connection with the plus/4?
 
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: andycadley on 20:00, 13 January 17

C+4 has 121 colors and more advanced FLI modes than C64.
121 colors is a bit of a lie though, it's actually 8 luminance values for 15 different colour (plus black). Like the 8-bit Atari's, the value of this is somewhat questionable and you get a much worse range of colour choice than, for example, the 128 colours on the Sam Coupe.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ivarf on 20:06, 13 January 17
121 colors is a bit of a lie though, it's actually 16 luminance values for 15 different colour (plus black). Like the 8-bit Atari's, the value of this is somewhat questionable and you get a much worse range of colour choice than, for example, the 128 colours on the Sam Coupe.

If the 16 colours is based on the C64s palette, it should be excellent for skin colours and stones
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: litwr on 21:23, 13 January 17
If the 16 colours is based on the C64s palette, it should be excellent for skin colours and stones
Did you miss the link above?
http://plus4world.powweb.com/software/VDC_Challenge (http://plus4world.powweb.com/software/VDC_Challenge)
I can also point to my old demo -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4sWBcjr--k (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4sWBcjr--k).
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ivarf on 21:37, 13 January 17
Reminds me of MCGA. Thumbs up! :)
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: litwr on 09:14, 14 January 17
Thanks. :) I may also point to another demo, it should impress everybody. It uses a simple mod.  However the sound is not fair, it is external. :( IMHO it maybe 4-bit digital sound which is easy to use with plus4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cSbjXAFvDg (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cSbjXAFvDg)
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ivarf on 08:59, 15 January 17
Do anyone know how the CPC 464 got it's number?  What is its connection with the plus/4?

The plus/4 was codenamed 264 under production, Commodore had another machine under development as well, the 364. Amstrad wanted to be better and the name 464 was born.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: Gryzor on 11:31, 15 January 17
The plus/4 was codenamed 264 under production, Commodore had another machine under development as well, the 364. Amstrad wanted to be better and the name 464 was born.


Is that actually true?
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ivarf on 13:55, 15 January 17
I read it somewhere, maybe Amstrad User or Amstrad Action
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: PulkoMandy on 11:39, 16 January 17
Mode R uses interlace which is unstable with CPC.


This is not true anymore.


Grimmy studied in details the video circuits and found a way to generate a proper interlace signal. The trick involves generating a 32us line from the CRTC with an HSync at the end of it, at the start of odd fields, and at the end of even ones. With this the interlace works perfectly. There are at least two demo pictures from Grim using this, and some from Dadman which I think were never released.


Picture using interlace: https://demozoo.org/graphics/98498/
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: Skunkfish on 13:29, 19 January 17
Did you miss the link above?
http://plus4world.powweb.com/software/VDC_Challenge (http://plus4world.powweb.com/software/VDC_Challenge)
I can also point to my old demo -

Impressive stuff. I don't know much about the Plus 4, other than I remember briefly playing on one around a friends house back in around 1990 (I think the game was Back to the future III). Just looking at the palette on Wikipedia, it looks like it's missing a true red? Is that right?
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: Bryce on 13:45, 19 January 17
I've a Plus/4. Great little computer and the best looking Commodore in my opinion.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ivarf on 14:12, 19 January 17

Is that actually true?

Below is some information from the Plus/4 Wikipedia. It doesn't confirm the story, but it confirms Commodores planned naming of the 264 and 364 and the release date of the 264 which by then had its name changed to plus/4. It was released at the same time as the Amstrad CPC 464. See below:


"Rumors spread in late 1983 of a new computer in 1984 called the "Commodore 444" or "Ted", with built-in word processing and spreadsheet software, and that it would be one of four new computers that would replace the VIC-20 and 64, which the company would discontinue.[4][5] The company's third salvo – which, as it turned out, was fired just as most of Commodore's competition was leaving the home computer market – was the C116, C16, and 264, which became the Plus/4. There were also prototypes of a 232, basically a 32 KB version of the Plus/4 without the software ROMs, and a V364 which had a numeric keypad and built-in voice synthesis. The latter two models never made it to production."

"The Plus/4 was introduced in June 1984 and priced at US$299 (equivalent to $689.27 in 2016). It was discontinued in 1985. "
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ivarf on 14:22, 19 January 17
I have made a list of 8 bit home computers which are the best (IMHO) with some feature.

BBC Micro and Commodore 128 VDC - the best speed of calculation with screen on
Commodore +4/PAL - the best speed of calculation with screen off
I assume you mean in machine code and not Basic. The BBC surely is faster than the Commodore machines when calculating in Basic.

What makes you say that plus/4 is faster than the Commodore 128 and BBC with the screen off? I know that the processor is seriously slowed down with the screen on for the plus/4, almost to the level of the C64! But with the screen off you it's faster, I can only assume that the 1.76MHz 8501 is more effective than the 2 MHz 6502s used in the other two machines? Or is there other architectural problems that hold them back?
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: litwr on 17:58, 29 January 17
What makes you say that plus/4 is faster than the Commodore 128 and BBC with the screen off? I know that the processor is seriously slowed down with the screen on for the plus/4, almost to the level of the C64! But with the screen off you it's faster, I can only assume that the 1.76MHz 8501 is more effective than the 2 MHz 6502s used in the other two machines? Or is there other architectural problems that hold them back?
Commodore+4 has a bit to toggle between PAL and NTSC modes.  So C+4/PAL with this bit switched to NTSC has 25% speed boost.  Its 6502 works at 2.21 MHz at this mode.  See http://litwr2.atspace.eu/pi/pi-spigot-benchmark.html (http://litwr2.atspace.eu/pi/pi-spigot-benchmark.html) for a proof.  I may also give a link to another demo - http://plus4world.powweb.com/software/HNY2013 (http://plus4world.powweb.com/software/HNY2013) - a moving picture is drawn by CPU only.
Commodore Basic for +4/128 is slow but it gives more memory and functions than Amstrad CPC Basic.  BBC Micro has an excellent Basic but the fastest is Mallard Basic for Amstrad PCW.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ivarf on 22:46, 29 January 17
Commodore Basic for +4/128 is slow but it gives more memory and functions than Amstrad CPC Basic.  BBC Micro has an excellent Basic but the fastest is Mallard Basic for Amstrad PCW.
I think both of these Amstrad Basics have its origins on the BBC...
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ZbyniuR on 19:07, 06 November 17
Recently a read this topic, and I think some of you know quite a little about some platforms, especial XL/XE.
So I gave you some links. :)

http://g2f.atari8.info/gallery_hires/index.html  - Atari's like MODE 1 - withaut tricks just 2 shade of the same color.
 http://g2f.atari8.info/gallery/index.html         - Atari's like MODE 0 - with tricks could be 5 or 6-bits per pixel, and overscan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40CPFljl3fk   - Diamond GUI for Atari 8b from 1989, cartridge version only.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIDD306aYhQ  - 60 old Atari's games in 5 minutes. Most best newest missed.

http://www.colodore.com  - How is change palette in C64 (Vic-II) and C+4 (TED) when you tuning saturate.

jesusarnold (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4CuqbDUPaa7WcM4jGoeafQ) - it's channel with few 100 games in 10 min. films. I like Sega Master and NES. ;)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2EqX3rpJ6M&list=UU4CuqbDUPaa7WcM4jGoeafQ&index=24
 - CPC for example above, and  SMS here ->  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmMCmZkXrMQ

MSX2 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usMQho6FrcA - 40 min. Sorry, I can't find something shorter.

If you want more similar link, let me know. :)
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ThomH on 23:34, 17 November 17
Have anyone seen sales numbers for the Sam Coupe, MSX2 and Amstrad plus/GX4000. I assume the first and only batch of Amstrad pluses/GX with were several hundredthousands machines.
As the thread has been revived anyway: I was a Sam owner back in the day and the number I have seen most often for it is just 13,000 machines produced, quite possibly all by MGT. Different people have different opinions as to whether SamCo manufactured only, but West Coast Computers' were definitely just cheaply-modified unsold stock.

I think the main issue with the Sam Coupe is the shared memory pool.
Same as the CPC but it was more severe on the Sam resulting in an effective CPU speed of only 14% faster than the speccy.
Also considering that the Sam had to push more pixels than the speccy, that percentage went down even further.
Same number of pixels as a Spectrum (except in its Mode 3), but at four bits per pixel rather than 1.125. Absolutely crippled by memory contention though, as you say: that's 128 bytes for the pixel area in the main two modes, with the active area being about 2/3rds of the display. So the display requires exactly 50% more memory bandwidth than does the CPC's.

The same rule as the CPC applies anywhere that pixels are not on display: the CPU may make one memory access every four cycles. Where pixels are on display, it may make an access only once every eight cycles.

Mode 1 is the Spectrum-compatible mode, and slows things down even further by applying the once-in-eight penalty approximately half the time even while pixels aren't being fetched. Mode 2 is a Spectrum-esque mode but pixels are linear and attributes apply to 8x1 regions. There is no additional slowdown.

Ordinarily the pixel portion of the display is 192 lines high out of 311, so pixels in general are being output close to 41% of the time.

Assuming everything's being run in RAM, that the display is normal, and that memory accesses are the limiting factor then, given the nominal CPU clock speed of 6Mhz, for almost 59% of the display the processor is running about 150% as fast as a CPC. For the other 41% it's running about 75% as fast.

So I make that about 20% faster than a CPC. But with a fixed 24kb frame buffer, and no hope of getting hardware help at all. Picking which 32kb page it falls in is the limit of your ability to pick video modes and it is not believed that there is any way to trick the ASIC into deferring its work.

In net: think of the best software scroll you've seen on a CPC and imagine it being about 25% slower.

There are per-line interrupts and you can disable the display entirely and get that processing time back so it's possible to create a shorter display but it's not common because the display is already quite wide compared to its height: pixels are about 125% as wide as tall, so the aspect ratio with all pixels allowed is approximately 5:3.
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: ivarf on 00:18, 18 November 17
As the thread has been revived anyway: I was a Sam owner back in the day and the number I have seen most often for it is just 13,000 machines produced, quite possibly all by MGT. Different people have different opinions as to whether SamCo manufactured only, but West Coast Computers' were definitely just cheaply-modified unsold stock.


In net: think of the best software scroll you've seen on a CPC and imagine it being about 25% slower.


Interesting post. I have found the number for the GX4000, its about the same as the Sam, 15 000.


Which CPC game has the best softwarescroll, biggest, smoothest? Anyone?
Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: tjohnson on 09:45, 18 November 17

Interesting post. I have found the number for the GX4000, its about the same as the Sam, 15 000.


Which CPC game has the best softwarescroll, biggest, smoothest? Anyone?
Think that's been asked a number of times and the are some threads about it.  Tornado low level ttl has good scrolling.

Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
Post by: GUNHED on 17:39, 19 November 17
I have made a list of 8 bit home computers which are the best (IMHO) with some feature.


Maybe it would be a great idea to add a poll here.  :)