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Thread: How do i identify C64 models?

  1. #1

    Default How do i identify C64 models?

    Hi! Just got into the buying and eBaying of the old computers (thanks Clint and Dave).

    My sister's fiancé's step-brother just gave me a full case of old C64 disks (as if my bedroom wasn't cluttered enough), and now I need to get a C64 to use them (as if i didn't just waste enough money on a PCjr).

    Anyway, I was looking at some of the different revisions, and I was wondering: a) which one is the best? and b) how can i tell which is which?
    Some of the things I am loking for is:
    Breadbin case
    Rainbow badge
    8-pin video w/ chrominance and luma

    What else do I need too look out for? Which is gonning to be best? And what all came in the box? I wouldn't mind finding a complete one with all of the included documents and accessories.
    I will also need a 1541 disk drive, rainbow badged, is there anything to look for in that?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Bristol, UK
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    123

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Forrest View Post
    Hi! Just got into the buying and eBaying of the old computers (thanks Clint and Dave).

    My sister's fiancé's step-brother just gave me a full case of old C64 disks (as if my bedroom wasn't cluttered enough), and now I need to get a C64 to use them (as if i didn't just waste enough money on a PCjr).

    Anyway, I was looking at some of the different revisions, and I was wondering: a) which one is the best? and b) how can i tell which is which?
    Some of the things I am loking for is:
    Breadbin case
    Rainbow badge
    8-pin video w/ chrominance and luma

    What else do I need too look out for? Which is gonning to be best? And what all came in the box? I wouldn't mind finding a complete one with all of the included documents and accessories.
    I will also need a 1541 disk drive, rainbow badged, is there anything to look for in that?
    All but the earliest breadbins have an 8 pin chroma/luma connector so nothing to worry about there. If you find one with just a 5 pin connector it's probably worth nabbing anyway as it's rarity will make it more valuable.

    Breadbins and early 64Cs have a different SID chip to later models. There is much debate over which sounds better. Personally I don't think there's much difference between them (there are plenty of Youtube videos around showing side by side comparisons). This is the only functional difference between various models although the motherboard went through several revisions and ended up with a lower chip count than earlier machines. None are really any better or worse than any others, and there are many examples of almost every revision still around, so reliability seems to be much of a muchness too.

    Be wary of using the original PSU (although most still are). They suffer from a nasty fault where the 5V can suddenly jump up and fry the board. There are replacements available or if you want to run the original there are adaptors you can get which sit between the computer and PSU to save the C64 if the fault occurs.

    The basic box just includes the computer, PSU, RF cable and manual. Although depending on region there were many special edition packages which also bundled more, eg plenty in Europe came bundled with a datassette, joystick, and had the box branded up to promote a bundled game whilst many 64C's in the US bundled GEOS.

    Older 1541's with push down drive doors seem to have lasted better, later ones with flip levers can suffer from a fault where the head goes open circuit (although this is much more of a problem on the later 1571 drive).

    I would highly recommend holding out for one which is shown working (or at least is sold as working and can be returned if it doesn't). I'm always very dubious of 'no way to test' / 'worked when it was put away' type listings where any complete system is sold given that the seller has everything they need to run it. More often than not they translate to 'I did test it and it doesn't work'.

    Good luck and welcome to vintage computing. It will quickly become an expensive hobby!

  3. #3

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    The C64c "short board" may be the most reliable since it uses newer chips that generate less heat. You can tell the difference with a bottom picture as the short board will not be visible when looking through the vents near the front while the older "long board" will. You can check Google images to see the difference.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=c64c...w=1530&bih=833

  4. #4

    Default

    Personally I don't think there's much difference between them
    The first time I tried to show off the Transformers full speech intro to a friend on his 128, we noticed a big difference (as in it was much quieter and harder to hear). Anything that exploits the volume voltage leak for PCM would be affected. There are ways to work around this but specific programming for the 8580 is required.

    For the actual waveform synthesizers, though, I agree the differences are less notable in practice for most applications.
    I use my C128 because I am an ornery, stubborn, retro grouch. -- Bob Masse
    Machine room: http://www.floodgap.com/etc/machines.html

  5. #5

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    https://ilesj.wordpress.com/2010/07/...and-sid-model/

    This blog post tells you everything you need for identification

  6. #6

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    Even within the "breadbin" C64s, they are differences in the case design:


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