34

In 1982 the original 400 and 800 were on the market. These were expensive machines to implement. Even the low-cost 400 was significantly more complex and expensive than something like a VIC-20. Say what you will about the VIC-20, it was cheap. And it proved that the #1 selling point for a computer was its price. And then came the 64. So as Commodore started ...


16

I can only add to the other answers with observations and memories, some of which come from owning an Atari 800 in the time period you're asking about. First, notice the names flying around in the space of only a few answers: IBM, Apple, VIC-20, Commodore 64, TI. Add to that list TRS-80, Timex Sinclair, and the Coleco Adam (released in 1983), and more. In ...


11

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (called Super Famicom in Asia) is mostly TMS9918-like. However, the CPU's integrated memory controller has its own counterpart to Amiga COPPER, called HDMA (horizontal blanking direct memory access). HDMA can reprogram PPU registers during hblank based on up to eight lists stored in work RAM. Each HDMA channel has ...


8

I'm going to make a guess. For starters, Maury makes a good point about the manufacturing cost of the 400/800 series. I certainly think that is a key point, but not the whole story. Based on data found here which is a spreadsheet of sales numbers from the era, you can see that between 1979 and 1982 things are picking up for the home computer market in ...


7

The question seams to be based on the assumption that the Atari 800 slots are somehow not 'real' slots. Similar it implies that the mentioned "70's FCC regulations" were some kind of incredible strict. But the Atari slots do carry everything needed for expansion. And making a system to fit FCC Part 15 regulation wasn't some dark art, but could be rather ...


7

I don't think the list is very long. The history starts with the Atari 2600, which was firmly derived from older discrete logic but added a microprocessor primarily for raster racing: doing so is the only means to draw a 2d frame — it's not a clever way to get more from the system, it's the intended use of the system. That was consolidated as a dedicated ...


7

I would simply consider the complexity of the ANTIC, POKEY, and GTIA chips -- how many transistors etc., and use that as a transistor budget for your gate arrays. Simply assume that the designers made the chips "as complex as they could given technology and economics", and use them as a benchmark. Also, you need to keep the clock rates down like they were ...


6

I have a strange desire to make an imaginary competitor to the Atari 800 So there are a couple of places one could build a better 800 and still be entirely within the 1979 (well actually, 1978) tech tree. There's also some things that might not have been possible. So here goes... The Atari was odd (unique?) in that it did not interleave memory access ...


6

From what I can make out, that emulator has its endless loop performing a simple: read keyboard; emulate whole frame; display frame; repeat. The project actually has multiple main functions, but they're all similar. Latency for keys once they've entered the application should therefore be between one and two frames — 'emulate whole frame' blocks until the ...


5

Historical perspective: IBM announced their PC in late 1981, Commodore announced the C-64 in late 1982, just before Atari destroyed their retail channel relationships by grossly overfilling the channel with bad product (E.T., et.al.) So the low-end retail channel was taken over by Commodore, and the higher-end retail channels were in the process of ...


5

The Imlac PDS-1 is exactly what you're looking for: A general purpose computer with two instruction sets - one instruction set was a "stretched" PDP-8 (16 bits instead of 12 bits, 2 registers instead of 1) and the other complete instruction set - with subroutine calls! - was for executing display lists on the built-in vector graphics console. The ...


4

The variant, which is vaguely similar to the display list, was used in a small-series Soviet personal computer of the PDP-11 line - Soyuz-Neon PK-11/16. Up to 576 32-bit line pointers - continuous areas in an arbitrary place of RAM with a length of 16 to 256 bytes, encoding a sequence of pixels in one of 16 possible interpretations.


4

Having lived through this time period, my first computer in 1983 was the vic-20 because the price was affordable for a young sailor in the Navy. By 1984, my mom had bought a Commodore 64 because of the price. One part that seems to have been absent from the discussion is the rise of the clones. From roughly 1985 onward there is little chance for any home ...


1

I recall the ads for this game being among the most enticing I had ever seen in the era, and one of my earlier examples of must-have-itis. I recently tried playing the game with the aid of an emulator. I was rather disappointed to learn that it consists of a series of mini-games, including ones that had been released separately as stand-alone games, notably ...


1

Hard to give a definite answer without real measurements. For Windows there may be a few optimization about how a keyboard is handled: Disable "Filter Keys" option "Filter Keys" is part of the accessibility system for handicapped users. When enabled Windows ignores quickly typed keystrokes. To disable open the Windows Control Panel's &...


1

I have a very similar desire as you. However, mine goes much deeper. I have a desire to create a competitor for the following: KIM-1, Atari 800, NES, Apple II, etc. In 2018, I created, designed and produced my first SBC that could have been built in 1979 and would have competed with the Apple II. So I have a little bit of experience but I'm no expert. ...


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