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CNET Top 5: 1980s computers
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CNET Top 5: 1980s computers

3:21 /

The decade known for big hair and leg warmers was also the golden age of the personal computer.

Welcome to CNET Top 5, where each time we meet, we count down another hot CNET list. I'm Tom Merritt. If the 1940s was the golden age of comics, the 1980s must be the golden age of computers. While personal computers went mass market in the late 1970s, they came into there own during the Regan era. But of all the 1980s computers we so knew and loved, which one reigned supreme? Let's count down the Top 5 1980s computers. At No. 5, the Amiga. I used an Amiga 2000 to generate onscreen graphics when I did news for Cable Channel 2 in Champaign-Urbana, Ill. It was technically a 32-bit system that could do up to 16-million colors. In 1985! Coming in at No. 4, the TI-99/4A. This was my first computer, and I still have it. Right here. Through it's serial expansion port you could do speech synthesis, add a modem, and directly print, among other things. It also could play Parsec. And it was the first domestic 16- bit computer. Up to No. 3, the Apple II. This was the first computer I learned to program on. The first Apple II was birthed in 1977, but the II-plus, the IIC, the IIe and others reigned mightily throughout the decade of decadence. The IIe was the last line terminated in March of 1993. Sliding in at No. 2, the Trash-80. In my first programming class, us Apple II users hated the evil TRS-80 hacks. But its solid BASIC and it's affordable price made it a common choice for schools, homes, and small businesses. And to be honest, I salivated over them every time I went into a Radio Shack in those days. Before we get to No. 1, it's time for another lame prize. And what an appropriate prize it is. This book of BASIC computer games AND MORE BASIC computer games could be yours. Just answer the trivia question at the blog post for this Top 5 at blog.cnettv.com. Be one of the first 10 people to get it right and you could win the books. Here's the question. What was the best-selling single personal computer model of all time. All right. Let's get to our No. 1. The top computer of the 1980s. A computer still loved and emulated across the world At No. 1, it's... The Commodore 64. I remember the day I decided to sell my TI-99 in exchange for the promise of getting a Commodore 64. Sure, it was only 8-bit, but it had 64K of memory. 64K! That ought to be enough for anybody! I wrote programs. I played games. Shoot, I ran a whole computer baseball league on it. The C64 was a dream machine. And I still love mine. Well, that's it for this edition of CNET Top 5. Obviously you will have some quibbles with this, you IBM PC, Macintosh, Epson QX-16 proponents among others. So make your opinion known on our blog, blog.cnettv.com, and while there answer the trivia question and you could win the BASIC computer game books! I'm Tom Merritt. See you next time.

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