Spearheaded by Sean Donohue, the C64x was designed to look a lot like an original breadbin C64, but with tootie fruity color options. More importantly, inside the shell lived a modern Windows PC computer.
The biggest surprise was Donohue's proud use of the official Commodore logo and branding. It was featured in a pre-launch video from 5 months ago all the way up to the Kickstarter this week.
This was all based off of a pre-existing computer shell sold out of the UK for the past 2 years, called the My Retro Computer: MyC64.
That large hole in the back of the case is where all of the ports would be plated.
For $157 US dollars, plus shipping, here is what is included in the package:
- Retro Computer Case.
- Unique low noise USB Mechanical Cherry Switch keyboard.
- Multi-format SD card reader.
- DVD/hard drive cradle.
- Chassis 40mm cooling fan.
In case the name Barry Altman is ringing a tiny bell but you can't quite put your finger on it, he was the founder and CEO of Commodore USA from 2010 until his death in late 2012. He had founded Commodore USA after successfully acquiring the exclusive trademark rights to the Commodore name.I wasn’t alone in my wish to reproduce a modern C-64. Enter Barry Altman, to start with I was annoyed that someone else had already realized the idea but whatever people say about this man, I never met him or conversed with him, he got things done and done well. In my dealings to buy the website, stock etc. I managed to gather more information about him and was amazed at what he managed to do with so little money.
After his death and the fall of CommodoreUSA I made some enquiries and managed to acquire [his] website, molds and some stock. Then I’m afraid to say money and other commitments got in the way and not much has happened…until now!
So My Retro Computer Ltd are going to start selling these systems again – well, sort of. We will start off by selling the barebones cases and at a later date add other components, the first of these will be the Raspberry Pi adaptor kit.
And that was when the short-lived original C64x had been born. Remember those?
They were replica PCs that looked like the original Commodore 64 on the outside, but were powered by x86 Intel processors ranging from the Intel Atom to the Intel Core i7.
So for the past 2 years, Donohue's firm has been selling the C64x "barebones" shells for less than $160: just the case and a very nice mechanical keyboard with additional mounts and brackets for parts you'd source on your own.
The idea behind the crowd-funding operation was to pull some of the manufacturing of key components out of the US and send everything to China, which would greatly reduce the price of creating complete systems.
It would also provide the potential to create VIC-20 and C16 styled cases, which is a pretty cool idea. The updated specs were to include an AMD Rizen chip. The rest of the stats, unfortunately, are unavailable due to the Kickstarter having been brought down in such short order.
This was all predicated on the fact that Donohue had been granted the rights to using the Commodore brand by the rightful owners of the Commodore Corporation.
On June 14, 2022, the Kickstarter went live. It was fully funded in the first hour!
However, within a day, the campaign was shut down.
In a new video, Donohue obviously exasperated and annoyed, an even occurred which forced Kickstarter to put the matter under review and take the campaign down - at least temporarily.
Unfortunately, another company in Italy has objected to the crowd funding campaign because we're using the name "Commodore." And, Kickstarter has pulled it. They've only paused it - they haven't taken it down completely pending an internal investigation.
Donahue clarified on YouTube in a comment:
Who the heck is "Commodore Engineering?"I Just want to clarify something, This it Not Cloanto that is doing this. they are a reputable company and have been very good to us - this is Commodore Engineering.
The great Commodore is reborn with a group of Italian entrepreneurs, Luigi Simonetti As General Manager, Stefano Cianfanelli As Development Manager And Giovanni Celauro As Sales Manager.
What an absolutely bizarre story, and one we'll try to keep track of if and when things move forward in the future.