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Old 09 November 2021, 04:56   #1
Pee wee
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Question Best 8-bit computer ?

Hi guys,

I hope you are all well. Those who were born in the mid to late seventies were lucky enough to enjoy the first 8-bit computers. This isn't my case. What do you think was the best 8-bit home computer? What was the better 8-bit CPU, better graphics & better sound?

List: MSX - MSX2+ vs. Amstrad vs. Commodore 64 vs. Spectrum or others.

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Old 09 November 2021, 05:00   #2
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Well no doubt the best looking one is the ZX Spectrum 128k+1 Toastrack model, just a beauty and the most costly to buy as It's such a collectors piece and the Rolls Royce model out of the entire official Spectrum range,...I have 3 of them
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Old 09 November 2021, 07:25   #3
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The best 8-bit computer is without any doubt the the SAM Coupé.


First released in late 1989, the computer shares many similarities with the 16-bits, even surpassing some of them by capabilities, while having Six channels of 8-octave stereo sound, provided by a Philips SAA1099 sound generator chip. (almost Sound Blaster) and four display modes:

Mode 4 — 256×192, linear framebuffer, 4 bits per pixel (16 colours) = 24 KB
Mode 3 — 512×192, linear framebuffer, 2 bits per pixel (4 colours) = 24 KB
Mode 2 — 256×192, linear framebuffer, 1 bit per pixel with separate colour attributes for each 8-wide block of pixels = 12 KB
Mode 1 — 256×192, non-linear framebuffer, 1 bit per pixel with separate colour attributes for each 8×8 block of pixels = 6.75 KB (arranged to match the display of the ZX Spectrum for backwards compatibility)

The CPU is Zilog Z80B running at 6 MHz.
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Old 09 November 2021, 08:30   #4
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I have a

Amstard CPC 64 & 128
Commodore 16, Plus4, Vic20, 128 and 64
Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48
Memotech MTX
Atari 800XL

They are all good for that time, except Sinclair.
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Old 09 November 2021, 09:18   #5

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Yep, they were all great.

If you were into games, the C64 had obviously an advantage over the others.
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Old 09 November 2021, 09:37   #6
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Game wise, C64 & MSX for me.
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Old 09 November 2021, 11:11   #7
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Massive flamewar in 3...2...1..

If I had to take just one to a deserted island, it'd be C64 (with an FDD). But, like all the micros, it's not without flaws either - eg, the terrible colour palette and often blocky gfx.

Sinclair had the weakest specs but also extremely talented and innovative devs, and so has heaps of amazing games. My first ever computer, it'd be my 2nd choice.

Amstrad CPC was the one I always wanted as a kid...6128 looked so cool! It's also a strong contender with moments of brilliance.

I was in the ZX gang back in the day, so we of course did poke fun at Atari 8 bit. But these days I quite like it, and in the early years (79-83) it was the best machine thanks to its advanced specs and huge game library.

I've never paid much attention to MSX line, but caught that bug recently and am now completely enamoured. It's probably my favourite micro atm (just bought MSX2). There's something super cool about these machines, and their early games (thanks to Japanese devs) are on another level when it comes to fun factor.
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Old 09 November 2021, 11:12   #8
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Every machine has own features, there isn't a winner.

But if we talk about success intended as diffusion obviously the winner is the Commodore 64.
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Old 09 November 2021, 11:25   #9
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I think the best 8bit computer is the one, that each one of us started on
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Old 09 November 2021, 11:29   #10
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The SAM Coupé is a clear leader in many aspects, being introduced much later than most other 8-bits will give it some obvious advantages. The CPC6128+ is worth a mention too, with a colour palette equivalent to an ECS Amiga, again benefitting from being released later than the main 8-bits.

Ultimately, all the 8-bits have their distinct features, with many of them excelling over others in some areas but not others. So picking a single, standout "best" machine isn't going to happen. The later machines like mentioned above had superior hardware in many ways, but lacked the software libraries of the earlier machines. Personally, I like the Atari 800XL, more or less released around the same time as the C64. In a bit of a parallel with the Amiga, it had some very nice hardware and software features that put it above the C64, but lacked the games support, and many of the games it had in common were inferior ports.
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Old 09 November 2021, 11:56   #11
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I would have liked it to be the c128, but sadly it didn't turn out that way.
I'm currently playing a lot of new cpc titles, but it is also true that at the time we didn't have bilinear filtering to mask the extreme blocky graphics

so, c64 +1 vote
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Old 09 November 2021, 12:57   #12
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Any love for the Beeb?

Predates most of the machines on this list by at least a year so it's got an underwhelming spec. but it's just built for projects and tinkering. Expandability everywhere, reasonable game support, better apps than most on this list.

Last edited by zardoz; 09 November 2021 at 13:39.
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Old 09 November 2021, 13:19   #13
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Originally Posted by Predseda View Post
I think the best 8bit computer is the one, that each one of us started on
Certainly not. I only got a C=16 because I couldn't afford a C=64. The C=16 was a big let-down. If I ever meet the person responsible for the C=16 port of Yie-Ar Kung Fu, I'll punch him in the face. I think I saved my pocket money for five months to buy the game. And it probably took as long to believe what a rip-off it was.
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Old 09 November 2021, 13:22   #14
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For me, the best 8-bit system will always be the one I had myself (i.e. the C64). I guess this is actually true for most people though, nostalgia plays a major role in these kind of questions

As for a more objective viewpoint: I think all the systems have their own pro's and con's. Sure, I could point out why my pick of choice fits the bill the best, but my guess is that everyone can find reasons why their favourite system (usually the one they owned back in the day) ought to win.

That said, you'll pry my C64 from my cold, dead hands... So I vote for the C64
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Old 09 November 2021, 13:34   #15
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MSX2 Is better than the Sam Coupe, and I say that as a Sam Coupe owner. Graphically and audibly, Sam games look and sound similar to Atari ST (e.g. Defenders of the Earth, Prince of Persia, Lemmings) at least until they have to move. Unfortunately the ASIC isn't that quick at shifting graphics around in modes 3 and 4. The MSX2 doesn't have this problem, so I'd say it wins out over the Sam in this respect.
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Old 09 November 2021, 13:56   #16
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Originally Posted by zardoz View Post
Any love for the Beeb?
A lot of love for the Beeb here. The hardware may have been a bit underwhelming, but what it did it was very good at, and the expandability was insane for the time. You could plug a fairly generic floppy drive in (as in, not an entire computer dedicated to running a floppy drive like the C64), standard Centronics printers, it had good userport support from a programming perspective, an RTC, and you could even plug in other computer modules with different CPUs and run them on the bus. The BASIC and DOS it had built in were very good and it was pretty quick graphically, in some ways putting many of the other 8-bits to shame.
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Old 09 November 2021, 14:09   #17
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Originally Posted by Predseda View Post
I think the best 8bit computer is the one, that each one of us started on
And mine was the UK101

Which I would still like to find one today
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Old 09 November 2021, 14:19   #18
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I had C64, and enjoyed it very much during my youth, but I never liked it's color palette.
In recent years, I saw the palette of the Amstard CPC, and I thought it was the nicest palette that I saw for 8-bit machines.. so nice, that some of the games looked like they were from 16-bit computers.

Not sure what games Amstard CPC had back in the day (or if they were on pair with playability of some awesome games on C64), but I also saw that in recent years, some positively) crazy people are doing some insane quality games for it.
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Old 09 November 2021, 14:34   #19
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Atari 800 XL
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Old 09 November 2021, 14:35   #20
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For me, as most will be my first 8-bit and what I grew up with. The Amstrad CPC 464 and then 6128.

Had Rom boxes, multiface , mouse etc.

Did a whole school project on the Desktop publishing software I had for it.

We just suffered on the game front, although even back then when people actually did a good job and a specific version there were some crackers like operation wolf etc. But mainly lazy spectrum ports.
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