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Author Topic: The CBM engineers talk about the C65  (Read 10683 times)
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« on: November 25, 2016, 06:14:21 AM »

     (Recently on Facebook, when Commodore Business Machines engineer Bil Herd talked about his going to the 2016 World of Commodore show, he and fellow engineers Fred Bowen and Dave Haynie started talking about the Commodore 65, CBM's attempt to make a successor to the C64 and even the C128.  Here is the engineers' very revealing conversation, edited to leave out the side comments by other Facebook friends.)


November 16 at 9:33am

Bil Herd: I will be a guest speaker at the World of Commodore in Toronto December 3rd. The show runs December 3rd and 4th (I am going for both days) and is put on by the Toronto PET Users Group (TPUG). Hope to see you there! (Just don't ask me about the C65 unless you want an earful.)

Fred Bowen: Earful of what? I spent many birthdays at past Toronto WoC shows. Have fun  ;-)

Bil Herd: Recently I have started quoting you about the C65 being just makeshift work while they were trying to sell CBM. Is that accurate enough of a statement?

Didn't know you caught any shows. I thought you tended towards the recluse side of publicness. Then there's Terrence Ryan (1) who says he can't remember working at CBM outright, just some fuzzy images and the word Shiraz. (2)

Fred Bowen: No, the C65 wasn't "makeshift" work until after CBM was on the block. I continued working on it between dog-and-pony shows in the MOS building (that is, when I wasn't helping Greg Berlin (3) build a deck behind his house.)

Bil Herd: Where did the concept come from? Did someone look at the market and think an 8-bit could be sold during the time of the Amiga and PC? Was the thought about trying to do something cheap during a time of confused Amiga strategy?

Dave Haynie: The way I heard it, Bill Gardei (4) was pushing for this, and since no one else in the chip group wanted to work with him, they just let it happen  :-)

Bil Herd: Heh, same could be said about us. I 'spect no one really wanted to tell one of the animals "no". (5) And then the thought of bonuses for the managers took hold.....

Fred Bowen: Roughly, the origins of the C65 began with a desire for an improved, cost-reduced C64 system incorporating a C64 and floppy drive. I began work on the C64D system design and software in the fall of 1987, initially with Bill Gardei working on combining chips in silicon and T. Tokuda (6) doing board layout at CJL (Commodore Japan). Total cost under $100, December 1988 availability.  Marketing desires grew over that year, and the system was enhanced to first the C64DX, and then the next year, and finally ta-da! the C65. The last tally put the cost around $129 at the time, I think. Maybe $139. Anyhow, it evolved because each year someone said, "We've got only one shot to revise the C64 and this is it." Until it wasn't.

 1) CBM engineer Terry Ryan
 2) CBM engineer Shiraz Shivji
 3) CBM engineer Greg Berlin
 4) CBM engineer Bill Gardei
 5) Bil Herd's engineering group was nicknamed the "C128 animals".
 6) CBM Japan engineer Teraj Tokuda
« Last Edit: December 06, 2016, 09:05:25 AM by RobertB » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2016, 09:37:08 PM »

very interesting!
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