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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Thu Jun 16, 2022 9:27 am

Some of you might have seen the exceedingly brief Kickstarter that went live earlier this week involving a brand new "C64x" PC computer.

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.
c64xSkittles.png
Taste the Rainbow

C64x-rendering1.png
Rendering of a C64x, in case you want one you can retr0bright on Day 1. However, there are several color options available. That blob below the function keys is a chameleon character. Image by myretrocomputer.com.


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.
myC64-side2.png
Side 1 view, with DVD bay. Image by myretrocomputer.com.

myC64-side.png
Side 2 view, with several storage media card slots. Image by myretrocomputer.com.

myC64-back.png
Back view, with large hole or "vent". Image by myretrocomputer.com.

That large hole in the back of the case is where all of the ports would be plated.
commodore-c64x-extreme-2.png
Rendering of an original C64x circa 2011-2012.


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.
How did Mr. Donohue produce such a nice looking reproduction machine? It turns out, his background is quite fascinating.

Donohue:
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.
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.

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.
my64x.png
Note the Commodore 64 badge, and C= keycap, in the 3D rendering.

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.
Screen Shot 2022-06-16 at 8.57.06 AM.png

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.

Donohue:
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:
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.
Who the heck 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.

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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

Posted Thu Jun 16, 2022 11:10 am

How strange. Who are these people and who really owns the Commodore name, trademarks and logos? So there is 2 companies in Italy that claim ownership? The company behind the PET phone and slapping Commodore branding on gadgets is also from Italy?

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URS_Retro
Wisconsin
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Posted Thu Jun 16, 2022 11:39 am

I hope I am wrong, but I have a feeling this may take longer to unravel than what Donohue hopes.

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URS_Retro
Wisconsin
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Posted Thu Jun 16, 2022 11:46 am

I may have spoken to soon before... just came across this comment from Donohue over on his Facebook that was posted about an hour ago:

"So I can confirm that Commodore Engineering have apologised and i have accepted their apology. They have asked Kickstarter to release the hold on our project but! Kickstarter being completely useless haven't done anything yet 🙂"

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Fri Jun 17, 2022 9:03 am

The campaign is back up and live again today. The :commodore: x lives, again.


Here are the different tiers offered (quoted from Kickstarter). These all have an estimated delivery of April 2023.



VIP Commodore 64x Barebones

Pledge £98

A retro pc case made of heavy duty UV resistant plastic with an integrated usb mechanical keyboard. Designed to be pulled apart and put back together again (no plastic clips to snap) The mechanical Keyboard uses Cherry MX key-switches and double shot keycaps. The keyboard sits on a heavy duty metal backing plate.

 Ideal for the enthusiast to build their own pc - it is built to accommodate off the shelf mini-itx motherboards. The case was originally designed around the mini-itx motherboard but it will also support the Raspberry Computer Module 4 I/O board. You will be able to choose your Commodore color after the campaign in a post campaign survey.

Retail $169 USD / £134


VIP Commodore 64x Extreme


Pledge £330

The Commodore 64 Extreme is an entry level pc in a Commodore 64 styled case. You don’t need to build a thing – it’s all done for you. It will come pre-loaded with Commodore OS Vision.

You can run pretty much any modern pc application, Surf the web, Watch 4k films, TV and even install Windows 11! Play retro games and it's powerful enough to emulate systems right up to 2000. Commodore OS Vision will give the user the opportunity to run original Commodore 64 games and applications.

It's extremely silent - passively cooled Intel Celeron J6412 (4 cores, 4 threads, Burst Frequency 2.6 GHz base Frequency 2.00 GHz, 1.5MB Cache), 4GB DDR4 Ram (expandable up to 8GB - Dual Channel), Intel 10th Gen UHD Graphics (Burst frequency 800 MHz, Base frequency 400 MHz), 250 GB NVMe Hard Drive. It also has an integrated external 2.5" Sata hard drive docking station!

You will be able to choose your Commodore color after the campaign in a post campaign survey.

Retail $569 USD / £450



VIP Commodore 64x Ultimate


Pledge £827 (about $1,017 US)

The Commodore 64 Ultimate can do everything that the C64 Extreme can do but faster including emulating systems up to 2010. It also has a GTX1650 graphics chip embedded on the motherboard which means fantastic AAA gaming, 3d rendering and pretty much any other graphical intense application you can think of.

The Commodore 64 was once the gaming king of the world and it has a chance to shine again! Commodore OS Vision will give the user the opportunity to run original Commodore 64 games and applications.

Intel Core I5, NVIDIA GTX 1650 graphics - 4GB DDR4, NVMe 500 GB hard drive, 8GB DDR4 Ram (Expandable up to 64GB Dual Channel), WIFI, integrated 2.5” hard drive docking station (you can install a 2.5” Sata based hard drive without having to open up the case!

You will be able to choose your Commodore color after the campaign in a post campaign survey.

Retail $1,425 USD / £1,127



+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_


There are also "Early Bird" brackets for each pledge, which I don't honestly understand. They seem to have identical descriptions, yet each cost slightly more than their non-early bird twins. :ghost:

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URS_Retro
Wisconsin
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Posted Fri Jun 17, 2022 9:06 am

Hmmm.... uggg... I want to buy in... but I don't need to. UGGGG....

Bare bones might be interesting...

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Fri Jun 17, 2022 9:13 am

Bare bones might be interesting...
Right? Like, wouldn't it be kind of amazing if one could shoe-horn a Mister in there, instead of a pi? That would be the "ultimate" retro emulation console right there.

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Fri Jun 17, 2022 9:18 am

Actually, URS_Retro, since you're a rPi guy, sounds like you could potentially fit it inside the barebones by design.

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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

Posted Fri Jun 17, 2022 5:50 pm

intric8 wrote:
Fri Jun 17, 2022 9:03 am
There are also "Early Bird" brackets for each pledge, which I don't honestly understand. They seem to have identical descriptions, yet each cost slightly more than their non-early bird twins. :ghost:
I think the wording is a little off. The VIP options are cheaper for the same product as the early bird. Maybe early bird is in regards to the future retail units? If you look at the cheaper VIP levels they only have 48 hours to go and then they disappear. I was going to go for it but I really don't have a need for this. I am waiting for Jim Drew's new mechanical keyboard that is coming out after his keycaps ship.

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3D-vice
Germany

Posted Sat Jun 18, 2022 4:47 am

This is a weird story indeed. It's nice to see that the campaign has been continued. Lucky me, I've purchased one of those barebones back then from Commodore-USA... :commodore:





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