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Thread: Model Recommendations for Each Platform

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    Cherry (Level 1)
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    Default Model Recommendations for Each Platform

    I am interested in getting more knowledge about retro computers. I was hoping we could get some model recommendations for each type of computer, and I can update this first post with all the findings.

    Maybe something like: Minimum Recommended, Overall Recommendation, and Rare/Overkill Recommendation

    Anyway I will list some platforms and add the information in here...



    Amiga

    Apple II

    Atari 8-BIT

    Atari ST

    Commodore 64

    FM Towns

    Macintosh Classic

    MSX

    PC8801

    X68000
    Last edited by Family Computer; 11-04-2009 at 08:02 PM.

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    Amiga:

    Ideally you want an a1200 with a decent hard drive and some FastRAM which allows you to use the wonders of "WHDLoad" - a way to play disk images right off the hard drive. No swapping 13 disks for Scumm games!

    Barring that, if one is like me and can only find an a500, 2MB FastRAM, 1MB chip and an external hard drive should do most of the heavy lifting. If you can find an accelerator too you're golden.



    Atari 8-bit

    This one kind of comes down to preference. However you get there though you want a SIO port and at least 64K of ram.

    The sleek and slim 600XL can be modded up to 64K with three solder wires and a couple 4464 ram chips - easily found for around $2-3 bucks a chip.

    800XL is a wider model compared to the 600XL, has a few extra ports and 64K standard. This model is considered to have the best keyboard compared to the XE series. Very easy to mod up to 1MB RAM, RGB video, etc...

    65XE - a 64K machine in a smaller form factor, and looks much like an Atari ST. Pretty easy to mod but might want to consider replacing the keyboard.

    130XE - 128K in the XE series and can be modded to the moon. Still - might want to replace that keyboard...


    I personally like an 600 or 800 XL series, but you definitely want a SIO2PC solution so you can use software to load disk images right to the computer. Very cool.
    -AB+

    Holy crap. It's been a while.

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    Pear (Level 6) Soviet Conscript's Avatar
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    Amiga - like AB said your best bet is probibly the 1200 solely because with WHDload you can pretty much play any Amiga game includeing the AGA stuff it also has a pcmcia slot for wireless internet.

    you will get by just fine though with a A500 and 1meg ram. most games were made for this setup

    C64 - well, there basicly all the same. there were only a few games that were made for the C128 and nothing that was stellar.

    i prefer the C64c, its the c64 i grew up with. most people dislike its look since it lost that iconic breadbox form factor. i beleive they are identical though as far as specs and compatibility

    Apple II - my vote goes to the Apple IIgs. vitually 100% compatible with all the older apple II software and it plays its own apple IIgs games. very solid and easy to upgrade computer.

    macintosh - mac SE/30 it has a b/w monitor but very fast and expandible
    Last edited by Soviet Conscript; 11-04-2009 at 10:57 PM.

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    ServBot (Level 11) kedawa's Avatar
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    I'm not sure, but I think the C64c may be slightly inferior to the C64 because it uses a cheaper version of the audio chip, or it isn't socketed, or something like that. It uses different versions of the SID, VIC, and I/O chips, at any rate.

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    Amiga: An A4000 fully tricked out since it will do anything you want ever. If you are poor (*cough* smart *cough*), an A1200 properly equipped with harddisk, OS3.9, and ram expansion is equally capable. WHDLoad = <3 from there on out. The A4000 suurreeeee is sexy though.

    Apple II: The IIGS, like Soviet said. There is no need for anything else!

    Atari 8-BIT: 800XL is pretty much the good one IMHO. Its sturdy, has a nice feel, and is expandable.

    Atari ST: ew!

    Commodore 64: A C128 w/ two 1571 drives will give you full range over everything Commodore related. This includes the extra RAM to have SID music in the Ultima games. Plus, the design of it is better than the breadbin, and the 1571s look and work better than a 1541.

    FM Towns: Isn't there just the one model?

    Macintosh Classic: Frig. I can't even remember. How classic do you mean by classic? The all in one clunkerboxes?

    MSX: If you can't find an Panasonic MSX Turbo R FS-A1GT cheap, you want either a Philips NMS8250 (European) or a Sony HB-F1XD/XDJ/XDJ II/XV (Japanese)/Sanyo Wavy PHC70FD. These will play the widest range of games. The Euro models require an MSX-MUSIC or MSX-AUDIO cartridge to have FM sound.

    PC8801: Get a PC9800 instead!

    X68000: The X68030 model. Its got the fastest CPU and RAM, and looks cool as hell.

    Quote Originally Posted by kedawa View Post
    I'm not sure, but I think the C64c may be slightly inferior to the C64 because it uses a cheaper version of the audio chip, or it isn't socketed, or something like that. It uses different versions of the SID, VIC, and I/O chips, at any rate.
    It has an 8580 SID instead of a 6581 SID, which has some changes (fixes) that make digitized sfx from the 6581 era sound quiet.

    Its actually better than the regular breadbin in general though.

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    Didn't the IIGS have a non-standard serial port? Rather challenging to get anything done with an Apple II without a serial port, no?
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    Kirby (Level 13) j_factor's Avatar
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    For the Atari ST, there's really no reason to bother with the later (and mostly less common / more expensive) models. Very few games actually utilized the better hardware, and they tend to have issues running some older games. A 1040ST is all you need.

    For Amiga, the 4000T is the "ultimate" model and a source of pride to anyone who owns one, but really, you don't need it. An A1200 will do almost anything you need. Even the CPU upgrades aren't exactly necessary. Another option that's great in theory is a CD32 console with appropriate additions. Be ready to spend a lot of money.

    For Macintosh Classic, I hope you're not referring to the models that were actually named "Macintosh Classic". They sucked. IMO the original monochrome Macs are simply not worth it. The Macintosh II line was better, although it doesn't have a lot of noteworthy games. The LC line is similar, but has Apple II compatibility, which may interest you (although I'd just as soon get a IIgs). The best of the 68x era is the IIfx. Don't bother with the Quadras, they had issues. The Power Macs had a backwards-compatibility mode to run the 68k-based software, so you may not want to bother at all. The early Power Macs were great for the time, but I don't know that there's any reason to get one over a later Power Mac. I know that the final Power Macs in 2006 with OSX still had Classic to run older applications, but I'm not sure how high compatibility is, and that's not really a classic computer anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    Don't bother with the Quadras, they had issues.
    This is the first I've heard of such things.
    The early Power Macs were great for the time, but I don't know that there's any reason to get one over a later Power Mac.
    You could do all kinds of things with the PCI Power Macs that you couldn't do with the early ones.

    This is a useful guide to undesirable Macintosh models:
    http://lowendmac.com/roadapples/index.shtml
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    Kirby (Level 13) j_factor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    This is the first I've heard of such things.
    Not so much the fault of the Quadra itself, but the 68040 processors they used. I recall that they had some sort of issue with memory, and Apple's fix for it slowed them down.

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    Cherry (Level 1) JustRob's Avatar
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    For the Macintosh info, spend all the time you can link clicking at Low End Mac. I lived on that site for so long I became one of its writers.

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    Pear (Level 6) Soviet Conscript's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    Didn't the IIGS have a non-standard serial port? Rather challenging to get anything done with an Apple II without a serial port, no?
    why?.

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    Without a serial port, you are pretty much limited to whatever disks you can find "in the wild". A serial port can be used to transfer data from a PC.
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    Cherry (Level 1)
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    For macs -

    OS6 - Mac IIfx
    OS7 - Early powermacs or a quadra
    OS9 - The G3 iMacs are really good machines and dirt cheap. Otherwise the G3 towers.

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    The iMacs have also got USB, so you can use modern printers and memory sticks.

    Getting data on-off a mac without a cdrom is a turbo pain in the butt. Do you really want to mess with floppies? Those buggers failed constantly.

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    Pear (Level 6) Soviet Conscript's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    Without a serial port, you are pretty much limited to whatever disks you can find "in the wild". A serial port can be used to transfer data from a PC.
    ah, yes, good point

    but can't you just write the games to floppies on a pc and transfer that way?

    maybe i'm just used to the hard way. i never got my serial cable transfer methed working on my amiga so when i have to do things between the 2 i have to burn everything to a CD and transfer that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    For Amiga, the 4000T is the "ultimate" model and a source of pride to anyone who owns one, but really, you don't need it. An A1200 will do almost anything you need. Even the CPU upgrades aren't exactly necessary. Another option that's great in theory is a CD32 console with appropriate additions. Be ready to spend a lot of money.
    The interesting thing I find about the various Amiga models is that almost all of them are useful in their own way. The 500/600 is a good entry level system for people who just want to buy disk games and play them... the 2000/3000 are interesting for their expansion options, and work nicely with WHDLoad... the 1200 is probably the best choice, mostly due to it's price, availability of expansions, and AGA chipset... and the 4000 combines all the best features of the 1200 (except the price part!) with the expansion capabilities of the 2000/3000 line. Even the CDTV and CD32 are interesting and useful in their own ways.

    For someone just starting out though, I always recommend the 1200. The only major downside I find with the 1200 is lack of RAM. The built-in RAM isn't enough to run WHDLoad well (some games work, but many need more RAM, and having even more would allow you to pre-load stuff), and you can't expand the RAM without some sort of expansion card.

    The Power Macs had a backwards-compatibility mode to run the 68k-based software, so you may not want to bother at all.
    How reliable is this? I currently have a Mac Centris 610 that I've upgraded quite a bit (Full 68040, ethernet card, CD-ROM, video ram, etc)... I had always planned to "round out" my old Mac setup with a PowerPC machine (probably an iMac). But is there even any point in this, or would it just be easier all around to get an iMac and dump my Centris?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    Without a serial port, you are pretty much limited to whatever disks you can find "in the wild". A serial port can be used to transfer data from a PC.
    Well, there are always other ways. Personally, I use my above-mentioned Mac to write Apple II disks.

    As for the original topic... I highly recommend the C-128 over any other model of C-64. They're a good bit harder to find, but they have a huge amount of built in features that can't really be done so well on the C-64 (at least, not without tons of add-ons)... CP/M mode, 80 column mode, built-in machine language monitor, improved drive access when combined with a 1571. The only downside I've ever really heard against the 128 is that people claim the SID chip in it is inferior to the regular 64... but honestly, I can't tell the difference, and unless you're a serious audiophile, I don't think you will either.

    As for the Atari 8-bit line, I've always been partial to the XEGS myself. It's basically a 65XE in a different case, but it makes all the difference as far as I'm concerned. I've always liked the styling of the case, and the detachable keyboard means that you can essentially use the machine as a console if you prefer (I always present this option to console people who otherwise ignore the A8's as "computers"). As far as I know, the XEGS still has all the expansion ports you'd expect from an A8 computer. Ultimately, the 130XE is probably the better machine, but I think you'd be hard pressed to actually put it's advantages to good use.

    --Zero

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    Cherry (Level 1) JustRob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_ro View Post

    How reliable is this? I currently have a Mac Centris 610 that I've upgraded quite a bit (Full 68040, ethernet card, CD-ROM, video ram, etc)... I had always planned to "round out" my old Mac setup with a PowerPC machine (probably an iMac). But is there even any point in this, or would it just be easier all around to get an iMac and dump my Centris?


    Well, there are always other ways. Personally, I use my above-mentioned Mac to write Apple II disks.

    --Zero
    ANY Power PC running ANY version of the classic Mac OS can run ANY program designed for ANY classic mac. How's *that* for backwards compatability? The only trick is being able to get the software onto the mac. I have an inherited tangerine iMac I use for running older mac stuff. I can transfer to it via CD/DVD or USB stick, or direct from the network/internet via ethernet or Airport wireless. For floppies...well, unless I find a USB floppy drive, I'm stuck finding disk images.

    For both OS 7ish era useage and Apple II backwards compatibility, any of the 24-bit "dirty" LC series (including Performas, Quadras and regular old LCs) can use the Apple II card that was designed just for these machines. It's basically an Apple IIe on a card. Just make sure you find the Y-cable for disk/joystick usage, otherwise you won't be able to connect a Disk II drive to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JustRob View Post
    For both OS 7ish era useage and Apple II backwards compatibility, any of the 24-bit "dirty" LC series (including Performas, Quadras and regular old LCs) can use the Apple II card that was designed just for these machines. It's basically an Apple IIe on a card. Just make sure you find the Y-cable for disk/joystick usage, otherwise you won't be able to connect a Disk II drive to it.
    O rly?

    How pricey is it to accomplish this as I have an LC 520
    -AB+

    Holy crap. It's been a while.

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    Pear (Level 6) Soviet Conscript's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_ro View Post
    The interesting thing I find about the various Amiga models is that almost all of them are useful in their own way. The 500/600 is a good entry level system for people who just want to buy disk games and play them... the 2000/3000 are interesting for their expansion options, and work nicely with WHDLoad... the 1200 is probably the best choice, mostly due to it's price, availability of expansions, and AGA chipset... and the 4000 combines all the best features of the 1200 (except the price part!) with the expansion capabilities of the 2000/3000 line. Even the CDTV and CD32 are interesting and useful in their own ways.

    For someone just starting out though, I always recommend the 1200. The only major downside I find with the 1200 is lack of RAM. The built-in RAM isn't enough to run WHDLoad well (some games work, but many need more RAM, and having even more would allow you to pre-load stuff), and you can't expand the RAM without some sort of expansion card.
    you do like me and buy or make a towerized A1200. you can probibly put one together for cheaper then buying a stock 4000T and more powerful in some respects

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    Cherry (Level 1) JustRob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AB Positive View Post
    O rly?

    How pricey is it to accomplish this as I have an LC 520
    Not too bad price-wise, it's more of a waiting game really.

    There are always a couple of the cards on ebay at any given moment, though they rarely have the cable. Then you just have to get yourself a Disk ][ drive, some floppies, and off you go!

    Or, you could just do what the rest of us do and disk image it, though getting the images to the machine to actually play is harder with the II card vs a real Apple II.

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