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Undercolor/840101/Box 6809

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UnderColor, Volume 1, Number 1, December 10, 1984

  • Title: Box 6809
  • Author: empty
  • Synopsis: Comments from our readers.
  • Page Scans: Link



*I own one of the last "battleship gray" CoCo’s— one of the group with the "A" on the end of the serial number. It started life as a 16K Standard Color Basic machine, but is now adjusting to its new career with Extended Basic. I eventually hope to have 64K, at least one disk drive, and perhaps a switchable color monitor driver. I say switchable because I would like to keep the TV interface around—it’s convenient to have. I also need a printer.

You've probably got the idea I'm a fan of the CoCo, and so I am. However, I do have a few gripes with the machine. The new keyboard took care of one problem, but that display .... If only Tandy hadn’t slavishly devoted themselves to Motorola ICs. The chips are fine for hi-res, and I don’t even mind the "checkerboard" lowercase, but 32 columns is just a bit limiting. Oh, well, I "grew up" using an Apple II + with only 40 columns and not even an attempt at lowercase, so I can adjust. Besides, trying to fit useful information into a 32 x 16 screen nicely is a challenge, and I enjoy a good challenge.

Speaking of Apple, I don’t know whether you're familiar with those machines, but a CoCo with 64K, disk, and EDTASM + ROMpak is comparable to or maybe even a bit more powerful than an Apple II+ was. Even the assembly languages are similar. The major differences are as follows:

Color Computer

• 32 column display

• up to 4 DD disk drives

• ROM monitor/assembler available

• TV video output

• 256 x 192 hi-res graphics, 9 distinct colors

• 64x32 lo-res graphics, 9 distinct colors, free mixing ol text

• built-in RS-232 port, expansion (ROM) slot

• limited but expanding software base

Apple II+

• 40 column display

• up to 4 SD disk drives

• ROM monitor built in, assembler available

• monitor video output

• 280x 192 hi-res graphics, 6 distinct colors

• 40x48 lo-res graphics, 15 distinct colors, limited text

• 8 expansion slots

• very broad software base

The Apple has a slight edge in the video department, but each machine has its own advantages in this area. Overall, the two computers are roughly identical in power. And, of course, the price difference is rather profound.

Certain people have tried to compare the CoCo to the new IBM PC, but I think that IBM is just a little out of the CoCo’s league in terms of software availability and ease of expandability—David M. Botkin