Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ok, another new computer...

So I got another new computer, a Tandy Color Computer 3, the third and final in the Color Computer line.  I hadn't actually planned on getting one, mostly because they tend to be a bit expensive, but I found one reasonably cheap on eBay.  They're actually kind of difficult to find.  They don't show up on eBay that often.  (Note the photo is just one I snagged off the Internet; I haven't actually gotten my computer yet.)

This one was good because, as I said, it was relatively cheap (about $100), and the seller (who did have a high feedback score) said it had been tested and worked.  So I figured I had to scarf it up since such an opportunity wasn't necessarily going to come by again.

So how is the CoCo 3 better than 1 or 2?  Well, to be honest, I'm not 100% sure.  The CoCo3 does come with 128k ram, but as I discussed in a prior post, I'm unsure how to use that from BASIC.  It also comes with a better video device, so higher resolutions are available.  And, thankfully, it has a composite video output, so I can ditch the RF modulator.  With the CoCo 1/2, I was actually connecting via an RF modulator, which amusingly gave me the unexpected nostalgic experience of banging on the table or tv to improve the picture.  That's something I haven't had to do for decades, but I guess that's part of the point of these older machine, to re-experience the old.  But no matter how hard I hit the tv, the picture only got so good.  So I'm looking forward to using composite again.  It may not be as good as vga or hdmi, but it's worlds better than the antenna input.

So in anticipation of receiving a functioning CoCo 3 system, I also purchased a 512k ram upgrade and a 63x09E replacement cpu from Cloud 9.  The 512k ram's benefit is fairly obvious, since what is true today was also true back in the day - more ram is better.  But 512k ram seems to be kind of the standard now, or perhaps more precisely the minimum for most CoCo3 users.  There are several pieces of software that I'm aware of that require 512k (including a nice port of Donkey Kong).

The benefit of the 63x09E, however, may be less obvious.  It's a replacement cpu that can fit in the socket of the 6809 that's in the CoCo 3.  It apparently has two modes of operation.  The first is strict 6809 emulation, so it acts just like a 6809 for software that is looking for this - which I assume is most CoCo 3 software.  But in 6309 mode, it's apparently an enhanced 6809, with more instructions, registers, etc.  Apparently some CoCo 3 software will take advantage of this if available and will therefore run faster, but will still run fine on a 6809 system.  Since it was only $16, I decided to go ahead and grab it, especially since I was already getting the 512k ram module anyway.

So really looking forward to getting my new toys and seeing what I can do with it.  The peripherals I've already purchased for my CoCo's (the Edtasm++ cartridge, cassette player, DriveWire cable, and the SDC) should all work just fine in my CoCo 3, so I should be off and running when it gets here.

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