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Your "Retro Gaming" Hardware or Emulators?


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33 minutes ago, Strider said:

It's been forever since I really played WarCraft! I loved the original and Tides of Darkness, but I kinda dropped out of it after that. I have never never tried the Battle.net Edition, never knew it existed! Will have to check it out.

My go to RTS was Command & Conquer, I have played every title in the series, many many times over. They remastered the original C&C and Red Alert, and I play that via Steam, now I am hoping for a Red Alert 2 remaster, that was my favorite in the series. 🙂

Actually, in most places online my name has a TR in it, so StriderTR or TRStrider, the TR originated from my C&C days playing it via Westwood Online and with my two boys once they were old enough. We had one of the top rated clans at the time, Tiberian Republic (TR), and I just kept using it becasue the letters also happens to match other aspects of my life.

I was never a big user of the actual BNE portions, I just preferred the Windows ported WarCraft II to the DOS version. And I had fun playing it with my kids too.

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1 hour ago, SlithyMatt said:

Here's my handy chart:

image.png.cd036cfdf2b1d78e79cc66b606bb7f44.png

Further explanation in one of my videos:

You got to love a good chart! 😄

Also, I seen that video when you dropped it. I thought it was really well done. I often go take a peek at them when you post. 👍

In all reality, that sums up my likes when it comes to consoles. I started to step back from that scene once we hit the 32-bit era, while I did enjoy them, and messed around with the first 64-bit consoles, PC dominated a vast majority of my time. However, it was always the 8 & 16-bit consoles that I always go back to.

When it comes to computers however, my chart would be straight across the board from 1981 and my first TI-99/4A, to the 3x modern Ryzen machines sitting running at home right now. It really didn't start getting old to me until recently, through the 80's and 90's I pretty much lived and breathed the stuff.

On a side note, I credit the TI-99/4A for sparking my interest in building and expanding my own systems as well. While that system obviously could not hold a candle to the Commodore 64 once it was released, it's expandability always still impressed me. I thought the add-in cards for the PEB were amazing at the time, and I even really liked daisy chaining peripherals across my desk. It was that TI that drove me to build my first PC, an 80386 powered machine, much like most people do today. I was lucky enough to live in an area with plenty of computer shops around, and a local shop where I was able to score a lot of hardware. I was in heaven.

Edited by Strider
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8 hours ago, Scott Robison said:

16 bit is modern, 8 bit is retro.

Not often I hear such distinction. It usually depends on speaker's age and more importantly which era he lived and when he was first intoroduced to computers and consoles. Is it correct with your case? )

I personally treat both 8 bit and 16 bit as retro. Modern era started for me with 32 bits and continues by this day. Though in 32 bits I distinguish good old ganes and more modern boring ones.

But once I watched a YouTube video titled "Collection of retro games" or something like that, and it featured 10 games released about year 2000! I was like "WAT!" Then I realised this video was made by a young guy. And 2000 is pretty retro for him. My first reaction was "Wasted!", but then "Never mind him".

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14 hours ago, Cyber said:

Not often I hear such distinction. It usually depends on speaker's age and more importantly which era he lived and when he was first intoroduced to computers and consoles. Is it correct with your case? )

I personally treat both 8 bit and 16 bit as retro. Modern era started for me with 32 bits and continues by this day. Though in 32 bits I distinguish good old ganes and more modern boring ones.

But once I watched a YouTube video titled "Collection of retro games" or something like that, and it featured 10 games released about year 2000! I was like "WAT!" Then I realised this video was made by a young guy. And 2000 is pretty retro for him. My first reaction was "Wasted!", but then "Never mind him".

I was not serious about my distinction, though it is still hard for me to accept that things I remember so well happened so many years ago.

Edit: I am 53, but really, an IBM PC 5150 is just as retro as a Commodore 64. Perhaps even more retro, even though DOS survived much longer. That might be why DOS doesn't seem at first glance as quite so retro, as it continued to be used well into the Pentium and later CPUs, and you can still install some relatives like Free DOS today on actual hardware.

Edited by Scott Robison
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12 hours ago, Scott Robison said:

I was not serious about my distinction, though it is still hard for me to accept that things I remember so well happened so many years ago.

Edit: I am 53, but really, an IBM PC 5150 is just as retro as a Commodore 64. Perhaps even more retro, even though DOS survived much longer. That might be why DOS doesn't seem at first glance as quite so retro, as it continued to be used well into the Pentium and later CPUs, and you can still install some relatively like Free DOS today on actual hardware.

Sorry for treating you serious, but I actually used to such distinctions, even though they are rare. For example I remeber somebody treating Atari 2600 retro and everything that came after a modern stuff. Apparently he was an old guy.

Speaking about myself, I'm not that old. I'm 38, but I live in twisted country. We often fall behind with the rest of the world, then later catching up in an odd way. My early childhood was filled with NES games and MS-DOS CGA games and software. Both machines were clones. Some time later we, still kids, were introduced to Atari 2600 clone, and we called it 4 bit, because it was inferior to NES on our eyes. ) So warm memories...

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I tend to think of "retro" as a fluid term, often a matter of ones perspective.

For me, retro is my childhood through my early 20's, in terms of tech. I was born in the early 70's, so I really grew up in the 80's, and was a young adult through the 90's. I look upon those 20 years as the most memorable of my life, and consider most of that as "retro" when looking back. Though I understand many people generally look at retro as the 1980's for the most part, I just tend to expand it to include the 1990's as well.

My kids for example, oldest being 30, look upon the late 90's and early 2000's the same way I look upon the 80's. Though they still refer to the 80's as retro because I had most of my old systems as they were growing up, well into their teens, and they played on them of course.

Either way, I think as long as what you do gives you that warm fuzzy nostalgia feeling, you can call it whatever you like. 😁

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9 minutes ago, Cyber said:

Sorry for treating you serious, but I actually used to such distinctions, even though they are rare. For example I remeber somebody treating Atari 2600 retro and everything that came after a modern stuff. Apparently he was an old guy.

No apologies necessary, but appreciated. I also grew up country depending on how you define "grew up". I was born in Dallas and lived there until just before my 12th birthday, at which point my parents moved us about 100 miles NE to a 40 acre spread near Roxton TX with a population around 735 in the town but we were a couple miles out beyond that!

For just over 6 years I was there and pretty isolated in many ways. I was bought an Atari VCS (no 2600 yet! I just went upstairs to look in the box as I tried to remember which I had) in late 1981, I think. Maybe even 1980. We had PETs at my school though no teacher for a class until my senior year of 1985 - 1986, so I kind of adopted them as my own. Later my father bought me a Timex Sinclair 1000 which  was nice of him, but not a good computer. I later bought a C=64 based on my experience with Commodore and the fact that it was the best balance between affordable and functional that I could manage. No regrets buying that! I really didn't see or use anything else until I went to college, though I did read about them in Compute magazine. I have a few other throwback type devices (one Atari volume and some of the classic arcade joystick based things with Ms Pacman, Galaga, and their ilk).

So for me personally, those things I spent time playing games on in my youth are definitely retro. I didn't do much gaming on other hardware, so it's hard for me to think of them as retro gaming platforms even though I agree they are.

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^ This. 

Retro = "What I used as a kid."  😃 

At least for those of us who have firmly entered middle age. For those people not yet old enough to drink, the definition is "stuff made before I was born."

Note for the pedantic: actually, "vintage" is stuff made more than 20 years ago. "Retro" better defines stuff that mimics or is modeled after 20+ year old products. So a legit Apple II is "vintage", but a Raspberry Pi based emulator in a 3D printed case is "retro". 

 

Edited by TomXP411
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/19/2021 at 8:59 PM, Strider said:

I got an SN30 Pro USB (SN Edition), loved it, and got another one. Wired, because I just prefer it over wireless, and I am never so far my display I need wireless.

Okay, now I used my wireless NES clone (RMC EXTREME MINI GAME BOX EMX-041 HDMI) for a while, and I have some feedback. Since it's a chinese clone, quality is not that great, but it's definetely worth its money and it's playable enough. It's not a real NES hardware (unlike other modern chinese clones, which are real NES hardware), it's emulation, so some games glitch sometimes (in Battle Toads for example, your toad may disappear or game may hang). Most games don't glitch, and work fine.

But the good thing being emulation, they implemented load&save feature! You access it by pressing select+start. Load&save helps you beat hard games, save your progress in long games, and... even helps to overcome glitchy games by saving before the glitch! )

Also I noticed turbo buttons don't work turbo enough. And even if I press regular A or B very quickly, it does not respond quickly enough in the game. So, for example, beating "hit fist only guy" in Robocop is extremely hard. Not sure whether it's because of emulation ot wireless feature. But there are still many games that can be played well without noticable problems.

And I haven't mentioned yet another reason why I decided to get wireless console. I have 3 year old daughter, and when I play, she pulls my cables, which physically interrupts my gameplay! %) So now I have projector, console and screen all attached to ceiling, and they all are pretty out of reach for her. And I have a wireless d-pad in my hands, so now it is much harder for her to spoil my fun. )

Edited by Cyber
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@Cyber Sounds like it's a pretty decent device. One of the reasons I moved away from wireless controllers was issues with missed or delayed button presses. Not a big deal in some games, but a killer in others. Though to be fair that was several years ago, and many of today's wireless controllers are much better. Still, my youngest kid is 20 so I really have no need for it anymore. lol

@BruceMcF That's awesome! I can remember my boys playing my old 8 and 16-bit consoles and computers back in 99/2000 and saying something very similar to their younger sister.

None of them really do much "retro" anymore. It sucks, but I have enough retro nostalgia for everyone. 😆

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Posted (edited)

So you all know I like projects, soldering, and most things retro. Also, that for various reasons I mainly stick to emulation, Pi, and Arduino. 

Still, I have had my eyes on many of the modern "kit" computers on the market, such as the Mini PET, VIC-2020, and I was even looking at a Color Maximite 2 to name a few. I am even looking at picking up Ben Eater's kits and just building it onto a PCB, just for fun. The problem is, kits like the Mini PET are very expensive, and some are not available due to the chip shortage.

That being said, one kit I keep coming back to is the ZX Spectrum clone "The Harlequin rev 2D" kit. It's not too expensive (about $130US plus shipping), it's a full DIY, and I have never really had a chance to play around with much in the Spectrum universe. I have watched his build video, and it looks like a project I would love doing. So my question is, has anyone here messed with this kit? What are your thoughts?

https://www.bytedelight.com/?product=harlequin-128k-rev-2d-black-large-diy-kit

This is assuming I can get one shipped to the US. 😜

 

Edited by Strider
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  • 1 month later...
On 3/7/2021 at 11:49 PM, Strider said:

I am curious what everyone uses for their "Retro Gaming". What hardware do you use? Modern, classic, emulation, controllers, other things, etc.

Basically, how do you do most of your retro and classic gaming?

For me, it's 99% modern hardware and emulation. Like I have said in other threads, I don't have the room or time to have a house full of classic hardware that I know I would if left to my own devices. So, I condensed and moved it almost all to emulation.

On my Windows/Ryzen based PC, I use WinUAE 64 (Amiga), PCem (PC/DOS), MAME, and DOSBox for most of my classic hardware emulation. With a spattering of other software for my console or machine specific needs. I also buy up a lot of old/retro and indie/remake games on Steam to play directly.

Here is what I use for a vast majority of my gaming, outside of my "modern" PC...

 

retrogaming.jpg.4e6e66943bd188dc443a1ee1d3856b6d.jpg

 

I am a huge fan of the Raspberry Pi (as you may have gathered form other threads), I am currently running 3 of them, either with RetroPie or the latest Raspberry Pi OS. You can see the Pi 4 8G model sitting there with an Ice Tower cooler since I have it overclocked. I mainly use that for N64 and other emulation the Pi 3 can't handle all that well. Speaking of the Pi 3, that's sitting in the Sega Genesis style MegaPi case, and it's where I do most all of my 8-bit, 16-bit, and Arcade emulation. I have it setup using RetroPie of course, and it took me weeks to get it setup and looking/running just the way I wanted it. Lastly, there is an original Pi 1 B+ sitting in that NES style case next to the MegaPi, and it mainly gets used for 8-bit and earlier games, though since I got the Pi 3 setup, it has not seen much use and I am thinking of re-tasking it.

You can also see the C64 Mini in there, for what it is, it's an awesome little device, as many of you probably already know.

Right below that is a Sega Genesis portable from AtGames that I have had for years. It has seen a lot of use and is still working wonderfully!

 

Finally, the controllers! For me, this is where I have the most fun!

Yeah, I like to be as close to the original "feel" as possible when I play, especially when it comes to console emulation. So I managed to put together a nice collection of  my favorite controller styles, all with modern USB hardware. I am lacking an N64 and Sega Genesis style controller because the SNES ones work just as well for my needs. Though I still want one of each, just becasue. haha

The SNES controllers from 8BitDo (SN30pro) are awesome! Very comfortable, responsive, and all the buttons needed to handle just about all your input needs across most platforms. The NES ones are a set I got off Amazon for about $12 I think it was, and shockingly, they work and feel great. The stand alone SNES controller is what I was using before getting the 8BitDo controllers.

The Atari style joystick is from Hyperkin, and is an excellent quality option, with 6 buttons, for your Atari and joystick emulation needs. My wife picked it up for me and and I love it!

The Nintendo Switch controller was one I picked up for playing games on the switch with my daughter. I was using it on my PC and RetroPie for a long time. Great controller, just not "retro" enough for me. haha

At last, we have the Mayflash Arcade stick taking up all my space! I love all the other controllers, but for that true classic arcade feel, you need micro-switches! So I picked it up on Amazon as well. It's a fantastic controller that's easily maintainable and up-gradable for a good price.

Also, wired is a feature, not a hindrance in my humble opinion. I really dislike wireless controllers. 😛

 

So there you have it, that's how I handle my "retro gaming", how about you? 🙂 

You ever heard of Lutris tho?

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On 11/3/2021 at 3:00 PM, xanthrou said:

You ever heard of Lutris tho?

Yep, but I have yet to use it. I tend to do things old school, without the use of launchers or front-ends. It wasn't until very recently actually that I started using things like RetroArch and LaunchBox. The same goes for Linux based options, I still did it all "manually".

I will get around to it one of these days. 😁

To be fair though, I only run Linux on my Pi's, I have no real interest in running any form of it on a "PC". I left that behind many years ago for one simple reason, compatibility. The sad and simple truth is a vast majority of software and games are designed to run native on Windows, that's also why I don't use Apple products. No matter how we feel about it personally, Windows rules the PC world, while Linux is king of the servers. I know I say this a lot, becasue it's a fact of my life, but my free time is limited. So I have to pick and chose what I geek out on.

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On 11/4/2021 at 8:35 PM, Strider said:

Yep, but I have yet to use it. I tend to do things old school, without the use of launchers or front-ends. It wasn't until very recently actually that I started using things like RetroArch and LaunchBox. The same goes for Linux based options, I still did it all "manually".

I will get around to it one of these days. 😁

To be fair though, I only run Linux on my Pi's, I have no real interest in running any form of it on a "PC". I left that behind many years ago for one simple reason, compatibility. The sad and simple truth is a vast majority of software and games are designed to run native on Windows, that's also why I don't use Apple products. No matter how we feel about it personally, Windows rules the PC world, while Linux is king of the servers. I know I say this a lot, becasue it's a fact of my life, but my free time is limited. So I have to pick and chose what I geek out on.

Well, Proton and Wine are constantly improving and with Proton, you can run (at least in theory) thousands of Windows games (at least in Steam). Give it a shot. 

It would be a tad more difficult to set everything up correctly, sure, but Proton and Wine are getting better and better.

Steam Deck will be available soon and it's running on Arch Linux with Proton and some extras.

-----

Btw you made a typo in 'because'.

Edited by xanthrou
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On 11/5/2021 at 1:04 AM, xanthrou said:

Well, Proton and Wine are constantly improving and with Proton, you can run (at least in theory) thousands of Windows games (at least in Steam). Give it a shot. 

It would be a tad more difficult to set everything up correctly, sure, but Proton and Wine are getting better and better.

Steam Deck will be available soon and it's running on Arch Linux with Proton and some extras.

-----

Btw you made a typo in 'because'.

Yeah, they have both come a LONG way over the years, but to be honest, I just have zero desire to emulate anything modern in Linux I can do natively on my Windows machine. In the end, it's just too much work for no good reason. I want to play the game, not spend varying amounts of time tying to get them running as they should.

I already use Steam Link on my Pi4, and it runs wonderfully. I owned the original Link hardware, but sold it because I never used it beyond testing it out for a review. Once I had it up and running on the Pi4, there was just no reason to keep it.

As far as the Steam Deck goes, I will likely never mess with it unless one falls in my lap. Like I said, I have my Windows machine, I really have no desire to stream anything modern to a handheld, I much prefer sitting at my PC and enjoying whatever game I am playing. Though, I think the idea of the Deck is awesome, and I think it will do well. We will see. Valve makes good hardware, but they are horrible at marketing and selling it, often pricing it well out of range for most gamers.

Oh, and typos are my friend, I seem to do them a lot, especailly late at night. 😁

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On 3/7/2021 at 7:29 PM, TomXP411 said:

It's easily the best integrated solution I've found.  None of the individual cores are as good as the best software emulators in terms of features, but MiSTer makes up for it in actually running the cores and the quality of the actual emulation. Using the computer cores on MiSTer is a lot more like using the actual computer, since you don't have all the Windows or Linux chrome getting in the way.

It is a bit costly, compared to a Pi based solution, but I think the final result is just much smoother and easier to use than trying to maintain a RetroPi solution.

I wanted a De10-Nano for more than doing only gaming but I read a review somewhere that the pro version of the programming software was about $3000 and you needed it to pretty much do anything other than playing cores someone else wrote and then I saw this: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/programmable/buy/design-software.html 😐

If I'm getting into FPGAs I want to do things like maybe make a small APU, GPU, or math co-processor, so I'm looking for recommendations on one that isn't so expensive to really get started. Would be really nice if whatever it is has a Visual 2019 Community extension.

As far as retro things I've got some Raspberry Pis and Arduinos here and a C64 Mini but the RPi4B only goes up through about PSP before it starts seeing frame degradation. I've got the X16 emulator running on Ubuntu on a NUC i5 right now and also an i5 Windows desktop PC which it runs a bit better on because I've got an Nvidia card in it. I've been coding a NES emulator in C++/SDL2 from my laptop though.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As much as I love emulation, it has it's own world of issues that creep up from time to time, just like anything else.

I have been struggling with 2 issues, one I think is a software issue that I have little control over, though I can't seem to find any documentation on my specific issue anywhere. I'm running the latest RetroPie, and every so often, a portion of the screen will go black, normally when first loading a ROM, or when coming out of the RetroArch menus. You have to exit and reload it to get it to go away. It seems random, and it happens on all of my Pi3's and the Pi4, hence why I think it's an issue with RetroPie itself. I posted a GIF of it earlier in this thread.

More recently, I have been trying to fix an issue with my GPi Case where no controller is detected. I have torn the case down and inspected everything, tested what I could, and can find no faults with the internals. The controller runs via a USB ribbon cable between the Pi and case, and the cable appears fine, and tests fine using continuity, yet it takes several reboots sometimes to get it to detect the cases controller, if it does at all. I tried a different Pi, same issue. Thankfully, GeeekPi, the company I bought it from, said they will send me a new case, we'll see. I still wish I could fix this one. 

The joys of tech, both retro and modern! 🤪

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Recently my sister unearthed a small savings bond that our mother purchased for me literally 20 years ago, so I decided it was time to put my old 20" Samsung LCD to rest. I had already taken pity upon my children and given them my own 24" Benq GW2470 1080p monitor a couple of months ago. It was just so sad to see my youngest hunched over, leaning in to see while playing My Time in Portia. So, I had myself, like any good dad would, gone back to hunching over and leaning in to see anything on that old work horse of a  monitor. Heck being from 2008, that o'l Samsung is probably retro now too! Fun, but my old eyes...

So I purchased a 24" Asus ProArt PA248QV monitor that was on sale, because I wanted an IPS screen with decent colour accuracy and I thought the 1920x1200 resolution would be nifty for desktop and art stuff. The colour accuracy is actually kind of important. If you look at the sprite sheet I made for RocketTux, much of it over-saturated, likely due to me over compensating for the dull colours on the o'l Samsung TN panel (don't get me wrong, it still is a nice display). The BenQ has a VA panel and good colour accuracy, though it's bright as bloody hell when set to full sRGB mode (unlike the Asus, which is closer to the rooms ambient lighting when in sRGB mode).

Well guess what, fellow retro computing folks, it turns out that this new monitor is actually perfect for using QBasic in DOSBox (in Windows 10)!

When running QBasic in full screen on my 1080p monitor there were black bars on the left and right of the screen and the fake scan lines didn't look right. Not so on my new monitor, as it fills the whole screen and the scan lines work perfectly. So now when I do my retro programming, it's like I have some crazy large wide screen flat CRT and a "futuristic" red back-lit keyboard/mouse combo that givesoff Terminator vibes. For a "modern" desktop (my CPU is from 2012...), it sure can feel quite nostalgic. Should plug my WinXP box into it too... hmmm....

 

Anyway, a 16:10 ratio screen is great for programming with DOSBox! The rambling story was a bonus. 🙂

 

Ps. Canada Savings Bonds don't make a lot of sense to me. It took 10 years for that $100 bond to earn a whole $20. One could earn that much in a little over a year just by bumming a nickel once a day. Work two extra hours a year? BAM 10x more earnings! Maybe they make sense if you're buying thousands of them, I don't know!

 

Edited by Tatwi
numbers are hard
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On 11/18/2021 at 9:31 PM, Tatwi said:

Canada Savings Bonds don't make a lot of sense to me. It took 10 years for that $100 bond to earn a whole $20.

That's a bit under 2% interest, compounded. Better than a savings account, but an index fund would beat it over pretty much any 10 year span. But, markets do collapse more often than national treasuries, so public bonds are usually pretty safe.

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On a side note, has anyone else noticed that Raspberry Pi's are now made of pure gold? I mean, for the asking prices now, they may as well be. Stupid supply chain issues...

Just about all the licensed sellers are sold out, so the second hand sellers on Amazon and eBay have skyrocketed their prices, they have always costed a little more, but nothing like right now. It's crazy. Makes me glad I have several to play with until all this passes. It just sucks for anyone looking to get one for the holidays this year.

On a bit of good news, GeeekPi is not only trying to send me a new GPi Case, but becasue they are having shipping issues, are also refunding me the $70 cost of the case so I can order one directly from RetroFlag. So, if it all pans out, I'll end up with 3 of them. Now to do that before they go out of stock too. 😂

Now that's customer service!

Edited by Strider
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On 11/21/2021 at 2:52 PM, Strider said:

On a side note, has anyone else noticed that Raspberry Pi's are now made of pure gold? I mean, for the asking prices now, they may as well be.

Just about all the licensed sellers are sold out ...

Canadian prices for full sized Pi models have always been higher, but now they don't even make much sense, especially in terms of what's available, which is...

  • Pico - $5.25
  • 3B+ - $48.95
  • 4B 4GB - $68.75
  • 400 4GB - $94.75

That's looking at pishop.ca (formerly buyapi.ca), one of the top online retailers for this stuff in Canada.

Would feel like a real kick in the balls to pay $69 for the 4B 4GB, when your project could have done just fine with the 2GB model, but the 3B+ would have been too slow. The crazy part though is that (if they were in stock), they want $60.75 for the 2GB 4B; At that point, you may as well spend the extra $8 to double the RAM whether you need it or not.

Even weirder? The stop-gap 1GB 4B isn't in stock either (for it's $47.45 price point, which once was occupied the 2GB model). You'd think that this model would at least be in stock everywhere, given that was its entire purpose for existing.

I think the best deal going is the new Pi Zero 2 W. Certainly lots one can do with 4 cores and 512MB RAM for $18.95 CAD (a whole $4 more than the original Pi0W). Too bad there aren't any to buy! 🙂 The 3A+ is available for $32.95, but you're paying $13 more for the same specs (and, I suppose, the convenience of a full sized HDMI and USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack). Either would work well with BMC64 and RISCOS / BBC BASIC.

What's kind of neat with the Pi is that one can use a USB stick for common storage and simply swap out SD cards to easily and quickly boot different operating systems. Could do stuff on "your PET" with BMC64 and then pop in Raspbian to share the work online all in the time it takes to shutdown and reboot. Best of both worlds there.

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