Transcribed by hand by Ian Matthews June 9 2003 from the TPUG Transactor 1984 with written permission from Bruce Beach
Note that the formatting and font has been maintained as the original source scan.

The New
Commodore Computer
Colic Thompson
Santa Monaco, CA


Originally called the “TED’, Commodores’ new 264 and 364 are their latest entries.

Commodore has finally given us computer. The long awaited event looks place at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in early January. The C264 is not an enhance CM, but a completely new machine geared Inc the home market. The new 8-Bit machine, announced amidst much hoopla and fanfare will feature “built-in” software on ROM.

Commodore has gone to outside sources for much of the software on the 264.  When the new computer is released this spring you will be able to buy several versions of the 264 depend which software package you want on ROM”. The final selection of which programs go on ROM has not yet been made, but likely candidates include:

Word Manager/Plan Manager by Data 20
Magic Desk by Commodore 3-IN-1 by Tri-Micro
SuperScript 64 by Commodore
Logo by ??

The idea behind the 264 is simple. If you are going to be using the computer for word-processing, then buy a 264 with a built in wordprocesor. At CES, Commodore brandished the word “Productivity’ like a club. New 264 owners should be able to plug in the computer and immediately begin writing letters to the editor.

on the built-in wordprocessor. But you say, “What if don’t like their W/P?” You will be able to purchase a stripped down 264 with no added ROMs.  What you will get is a 40 column colour computer with 60K of available RAM, BASIC 3.5 with over 70 commands, hi-res graphics in 128 colours and a 32K operating system.  But wait, there is more. Did I mention speed? It faster than the VIC, which is faster than the C64 The 264’s new parallel disk drive, is about 3-4 times faster than the old 1541. The new computer not have a SlD chip or sprites.BASIC 3.5 contains several new commands in all areas including editing, program structure, graphics, disk operation, I/0, and machine language. Here’s a summary:

The 264 has new cursor controls that are arrow shaped keys and separate from the main keyboard unlike former models FIND/CHANGE -search or search & replace BASIC text
AUTO -auto line numbering RENUMBER
DELETE-10 -delete BASIC lines up to Iine 10
parameters work like LIST
HELP -hi-Iites error In RVS field

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IF THEN ELSE -all must be on the same line
TRAP1000 – equivalent of ON ERROR GO 1000
DO LOOP – Can be followed by WHILE or UNTIL
EXIT – Terminates Loop
GET KEY -instead of of 10 GET A$:IF A$”” THEN 10


The 264 contains most if not all of the VSP commands you can buy on cartridge from Commodore for the VIC and the C64, plus some extras
FLASH – flashes strings
COLOUR – sets background, multicolours. etc. AND luminance
GRAPHIC – sets hi-res multicolour or text screen including combinations, can set hi-res/multi-colour at top plus 5 lines of text at the bottom
SCNCLR -same as print chr$(147)
CHAR -CHAR X, Y, “STRING” will print “STRING’ at an X,Y position on the hi-res screen. very handy.
LOCATE -will plot a pixel at X,Y
DRAW -for line drawings, just like VSP
SSHAPE -Save Shape will store a limited area of the screen into a string variable
GSHAPE – will get a shape from a a specified variable and print it on the hi-res screen at X,Y
SOUND – single voice, followed by a parameter for a note, tone etc
JOY(N) – needs joystick 1 or 2 and returns a number from 1-8Machine Language:The Machine Language Monitor has additions as well some new BASIC commands to do conversions
DEC – DEC “‘FFFF” converts the string to  FFFF decimal, variable can also be used
HEX$ – HEX$(1124)  converts a the number 1024 to a string representing the hexadecimal equivalent.  the two complement much like ASC and CHR$
MLM .F- FiII memory from ADDRESS1 to ADDRESS2 with specified HEX value
.H – Hunt Memory
.A – Assemble works like supermon assembler
.D – Disassemble
.M – Memory dump displays memos contents in hex and screen POKE
characters much like Interrogate in Extramon
.G .X .S. L .R  are still the same from other MLM’sDisk Operating:
The 264 has most common disk commands from BASIC 4 0. For some reason though  the DOPEN command  is missing(The operating system supports more commands than listed here.)
We’ll bring you more information as release version manuals become available (Ed)

Several new peripherals will accompany the 264 including a letter quality and dot matrix printer, A new colour monitor, the 1703 is merely the 1702 in a new black case, but a new faster disk drive, the SFS 481 another 264 peripheral.  The 1531 Datasette is the same unit with a new plug, useable only on the 264.  The 264 Modem is supposed to be auto answer/auto dial.  Rounding out the hardware end of the computer is a new plotter.

Software compatibility will be a sore spot with new owners of the 264.  VIC and 64 cartridges won’t work. Most existing programs won’t work either unless they are pure BASIC.  The problem lies in the systems electronic architecture.  If you know the difference between an operating system and an operating table, you may be wondering how an 8-bit microprocessor can address 64K of RAM.  32K of O/S ROM and an additional 32K of program ROM.  The feat is accomplished with a sleight of hand called “bank selected memory”.  The 7501 Microprocessor can only “see” 64K of anything at once, but with careful memory management, it can switch in (or out) different blocks of memory so the total of 64K is never exceeded.

The bank selection process is done automatically so you don’t have to worry about it.  Long-winded programmers will now be able to write programs (in BASIC M.I. or both) of up to 64K in length.


The 264 is the first of four New Generation computers due for release this year.  The next one, the 364, was shown at CES but it looks like it will be summertime before it makes a market appearance.  The 364 is architecturally the same as the 264 but has an extra 19 key numeric pad, a few more empty sockets inside for software ROMs and built-in speech with 250 word vocabulary.

Prices and release date are not yet firm, but the 264 should be in the $400-$600 US range.

Editor’s Note
The new C264 and 364 are an interesting progression in the Commodore evolution.  No sprites, no 3 voice sound, yet very powerful.  Perhaps they’re leaving that combo for the next step.  Whatever the case, the 264 will fill another gap.  The added memory, commands and display features will give a new look so Commodore business software, especially the luminance control.  It’s compact, inexpensive, and ROM software will make it convenient.  The Commodore 64 will remain the superior games machine but the SSHAPE, CSHAPE and the other VSP commands will produce some handsome graphic control.  It almost seems like Commodore has omitted the advanced graphic and sound capabilities to avoid instilled anxiety to potential business software writers.  I suppose only time will tell how well they’ll get along together as a family.

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