Author Topic: The best 8 bit home computer?  (Read 5598 times)

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Offline sigh

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #25 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?

Offline PulkoMandy

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #26 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.

Offline ASiC

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #27 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.

Offline ivarf

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #28 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?

Offline ASiC

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #29 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

Offline litwr

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #30 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.  :) 
« Last Edit: 20:22, 17 January 17 by litwr »

Offline andycadley

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #31 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...

Offline Sykobee (Briggsy)

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #32 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...


« Last Edit: 22:35, 11 January 17 by Sykobee (Briggsy) »

Offline Gryzor

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #33 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!

Offline litwr

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #34 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)).  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.
« Last Edit: 14:39, 12 January 17 by litwr »

Offline PulkoMandy

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #35 on: 18:16, 12 January 17 »
I would like to propose the Matra Alice 90 for most beautiful case design





Can anything else matter when you have such a nice case?  :laugh:

Offline pacomix

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #36 on: 21:34, 12 January 17 »
And where do you leave the Memotech computers????


Enviado desde mi iPhone utilizando Tapatalk

Offline ivarf

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #37 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.





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.
« Last Edit: 22:30, 12 January 17 by ivarf »

Offline PulkoMandy

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #38 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

Offline litwr

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #39 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...

Offline ivarf

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #40 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

Yes it looks nice, but you do get the full effect due to the limited C64 palette

Offline litwr

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #41 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.

Offline ivarf

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #42 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?
 
« Last Edit: 19:38, 13 January 17 by ivarf »

Offline andycadley

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #43 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.
« Last Edit: 20:07, 13 January 17 by andycadley »

Offline ivarf

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #44 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

Offline litwr

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #45 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
I can also point to my old demo -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4sWBcjr--k.

Offline ivarf

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #46 on: 21:37, 13 January 17 »
Reminds me of MCGA. Thumbs up! :)

Offline litwr

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #47 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

Offline ivarf

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #48 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.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: The best 8 bit home computer?
« Reply #49 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?