Since you published the article on the new Commodore computers (COMPUTE!, April 1984), I have been giving serious thought to purchasing one. I will be enrolling in college, and feel that the new Commodore 264 would be a good choice for my major: electronics. However, I have a number of questions about the 264.
- I know that the 1541 disk drive works with the Commodore 64 and the VIC-20, but will it also be compatible with the 264?
- How far can I expand the RAM or ROM memory in the 264?
- Can I buy an Eprom burner for the 264?
- Is there any software available for the new 264?
- Is it possible to increase the baud rate of the 1541 disk drive?
The new Commodore Plus/4 (renamed from the 264) has not been released for sale as of this writing. It is, however, expected to hit the retail shelves some-time this fall.
About the same time, Commodore is planning to market a new disk drive, the SFS-481. SF stands for super fast because it has an advertised baud rate of 1675. However, a 1541 disk drive will be compatible with the new Plus/4 as well.
Although the Plus/4 will support (memory) bank switching, Commodore has not announced any memory expansion for the Plus/4. However, third-party companies might eventually offer something.
Regarding EPROM burners, again Commodore has no current market plans, but undoubtedly third-party manufacturers will offer this peripheral. Also, there will be software available for the Plus/4. There already exists a considerable amount of both application and entertainment software.
As to the baud rate change on the 1541 disk drive, a Commodore representative said that the baud rate (the speed that information is transmitted to or from the disk drive) on the 1541 cannot be changed on the drive as is. The current baud rate is dictated by the serial port interface on the computer. In other words, no matter how you modify the disk drive, the computer will only be able to receive data at its preprogrammed rate.
The 1541's rate can be increased by converting it to a parallel interface. But this is a major engineering project, and might prove to be both impractical and costly.