General public machines (Was: Altair 8800 name Was: Re: Altair 680 Expansion Boards?

Liam Proven lproven at
Sat Dec 24 07:57:18 CST 2016

On 24 December 2016 at 05:02, geneb <geneb at> wrote:
>> Commodore's Z80 in the 128 was due to unnecessary fear that they might
>> lose market share to CP/M, when IBM should have been their big worry.
>> I don't know all of the details of the ST/Amiga technology swap, but BOTH
>> were too late, if the primary goal was competing with IBM.
> That might be Commodore marketing - Bil Herd said that he threw the Z-80
> into the design essentially because he could. :)  He's done a few talks on
> how the C-128 came about.  It's pretty interesting.

Seconded. I don't think CBM was scared of CP/M at all. I think it
maybe thought it was a handy extra.

Some of the story is here:

I am somewhat irritated by Bil Herd's claim that it was the last 8-bit computer.

The MSX TurboR was arguably the greatest Z80 home computer:

It came out in 1990:

But its R800 CPU is arguably 16-bit although MSX-DOS doesn't use that.

It is in part based on the Z800:

The SAM Coupé was pure Z80 machine, a lovely British design, a
much-enhanced ZX Spectrum 48, and it came out in 1989 and went on sale
in 1990:

The Acorn BBC Master wasn't all-new but neither was the C128. The
Master was an elegant upgrade to the BBC Micro, and was released in

I'm sure there are many more.

So no, Herd is definitely wrong. The C128 was _not_ the last new 8-bit
computer. It wasn't even the last new Commodore 8-bit computer -- the
C65 was arguably that (and a more logical successor to the C64, IMHO).

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