We here at Cemetech have known about Texas Instruments' new calculator, the TI-84+CSE, for over two months now. On November 8, 2012, Cemetech member orac343 told us about a new calculator his school was testing, a color-screen TI-84 Plus Silver Edition. We soon learned it had a 320x240-pixel 16-bit color screen, the standard TI-84 Plus form factor and case, 3.5MB of user-accessible ROM, and 21KB of user-accessible RAM. We also discovered it has a rechargeable battery with recharging contacts on the sides, and TI told us more about the operating system. We worked hard documenting everything available about the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition in a new calculator information section on Cemetech. Just over a month ago, Texas Instruments gave us more official pictures and information on the TI-84+CSE, with a promise of a press release in mid-January.

We now have that press release in hand. It confirms a 2.8" 320x240 color LCD, the rechargeable battery, the OS, and the 3.5MB of Archive. It confirms that TI-BASIC and ASM will still be supported (though it does not yet mention the processor type). The availability is still listed as Spring 2013, although my sources have narrowed that down to late March/early April. I can also share that the device will be presented at TI's T3 2013 education conference in Philadelphia this March. Among other pedagogical details, the press release mentions that the new calculator is nearly keystroke-compatible with the TI-84+ and TI-84+SE, other than the new color features and larger homescreen, and that it will be accepted on the SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests.

Be sure to check out our documentation on the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, Texas Instruments' information page, and the official press release below. As you know, as soon as we get more publicly-available information on the TI-BASIC and ASM programming capabilities on the new calculator, we will be sharing it with you.

More Information
Read the official press release

Eagerly waiting for this little gem to get out so I can get on top of certain program releases as soon as I can. Will be the first calculator I buy at brand new cost since.. I think when I bought my 84+ a few weeks after it came out.
I got a TI-84 Plus Silver Edition very soon after it was available for sticker price and carefully-saved pennies; to my great sadness, I dropped it and cracked the screen about a week later. Luckily, I just was able to get a new screen from a broken TI-84+SE on eBay and fix it up, so it's working again for the first time in close to ten years.

On a TI-84+CSE-related note: Merthsoft pointed out (correctly) that this is the first press release to call the calculator's programming language TI-BASIC. In the past, TI has avoided calling it anything, and TI-BASIC has been the community's own name for it.
Strictly speaking, they say "TI Basic", I think to not confuse it with TI BASIC (or any BASIC language, for that matter). But it is nice to see them give it a name Smile
Just asking, but has anyone tried directly asking TI what sort of processor the CSE will have? I guess we'll find out soon enough Smile
chickendude wrote:
Just asking, but has anyone tried directly asking TI what sort of processor the CSE will have? I guess we'll find out soon enough Smile
I have several emails out to find out what I can say on that. Smile
21KB of RAM but with a higher resolution 16-bit color screen? Ugh, that sounds bad.

Especially since the framebuffer will need to be, what, 150kb? Display alone needs 300kb, yet there's only 21KB of RAM left over? This thing sounds terrible...
Kllrnohj wrote:
21KB of RAM but with a higher resolution 16-bit color screen? Ugh, that sounds bad.

Especially since the framebuffer will need to be, what, 150kb? Display alone needs 300kb, yet there's only 21KB of RAM left over? This thing sounds terrible...
Don't forget that the 16-bit z80 has a 64KB address space. Bank 0 has to keep being system routines, at least another swappable page in Bank 1, leaving 32KB in $8000-$FFFF. Then space for the VAT, the stack, system variables, the FPS, the OPS, and buffers, and you only end up with 21KB. We don't have public details of where the extra 3KB went, or what the 768 bytes that the graph buffer occupied turned into. Or even how exactly you display 300KB of data from a z80 at a reasonable framerate.
I could see either direct lcd drawing being done, or a sort of graphics chip handling drawing (just text rendering, colored line drawing, sprite blitting, etc.)
AHelper wrote:
I could see either direct lcd drawing being done, or a sort of graphics chip handling drawing (just text rendering, colored line drawing, sprite blitting, etc.)

I really hope it's the graphics chip - sequentially drawing a bajillion pixels for a complex image is going to be really user unfriendly.
Kllrnohj wrote:
21KB of RAM but with a higher resolution 16-bit color screen? Ugh, that sounds bad.

Especially since the framebuffer will need to be, what, 150kb? Display alone needs 300kb, yet there's only 21KB of RAM left over? This thing sounds terrible...
I'M not sure if I understood, but according to an Omnimaga post, possibly by DrDnar or vjfhoek (sp?), or a post in its channel, the display buffer couldn't fit all at once in the calc RAM and as a result, the display was not updated in a single shot. If that's actually the case, then couldn't this be problematic for ASM games that requires smooth scrolling or multiple sprites moving around (Galaxian, CaDan, Invalid Tangram DE, etc)?

Let me try to find the post...

EDIT:


Initial tests done by a person whose school happened to be selected for beta testing indicate that it is most likely a native Z80 platform. He reported that the UI was a bit slow and that the screen flickered during screen changes. These suggest that the hardware has not been substantially upgraded, specifically that there is not enough RAM for a full frame buffer and that the Z80 has trouble computing pixels to be pushed to the graphics chip's internal RAM in real time.


EDIT: So I found 8xp files for the Coin Toss activity on the Web site, which I promptly downloaded. Source Coder easily parsed the files, so it looks like BASIC programs can be ported pretty easily.


According to another post made later on IRC, it might have been while typing stuff on the home screen in MathPrint mode, though. If that's the case, then disregard this post and what I said, because the same thing happens on my 84+ too (in MP mode).
KermMartian wrote:
Kllrnohj wrote:
21KB of RAM but with a higher resolution 16-bit color screen? Ugh, that sounds bad.

Especially since the framebuffer will need to be, what, 150kb? Display alone needs 300kb, yet there's only 21KB of RAM left over? This thing sounds terrible...
Don't forget that the 16-bit z80 has a 64KB address space. Bank 0 has to keep being system routines, at least another swappable page in Bank 1, leaving 32KB in $8000-$FFFF. Then space for the VAT, the stack, system variables, the FPS, the OPS, and buffers, and you only end up with 21KB. We don't have public details of where the extra 3KB went, or what the 768 bytes that the graph buffer occupied turned into. Or even how exactly you display 300KB of data from a z80 at a reasonable framerate.
There's also the 768 byte APD buffer, but yeah, i think we're all really curious as to how TI actually went about implementing this new screen.
DJ_O, the whole screen buffer absolutely doesn't fit into the address space, though it might fit into RAM, since we don't know anything public about the RAM chip in this device. The bigger problem is that we almost definitely can't address the whole thing at once, unless the z80 magically got a log2(320*240*2)=log2(153.6KB)=18-bit address space.
KermMartian wrote:
DJ_O, the whole screen buffer absolutely doesn't fit into the address space, though it might fit into RAM, since we don't know anything public about the RAM chip in this device. The bigger problem is that we almost definitely can't address the whole thing at once, unless the z80 magically got a log2(320*240*2)=log2(153.6KB)=18-bit address space.


Well it wouldn't have to be "magically" - TI does have a processor division, after all, and they could have modified the Z80 to have a wider address pins. Intel did that twice, after all - 16-bit CPU with a 20-bit and 24-bit RAM address pins.

But cynically I expect TI went with the easiest, cheapest solution and just half-assed this purely to be able to say they have a high resolution color screen since their competition has that.
TI released the full specs to the calculator!!
http://education.ti.com/en/us/products/calculators/graphing-calculators/ti-84-plus-c-silver-edition

Got it in my email this morning Very Happy
Roguebantha wrote:
TI released the full specs to the calculator!!
http://education.ti.com/en/us/products/calculators/graphing-calculators/ti-84-plus-c-silver-edition

Got it in my email this morning Very Happy
I got the same email. No new information in it whatsoever, sadly, including no new information about the processor type and speed.
True, true...well actually, we know that it is a Z80 processor, because they said at the bottom that it was compatible with current ASM code.

Looks like TI is releasing a test guard program to stop people from using certain programs and/or data during tests. Challenge accepted. Very Happy
The test guard is nothing new; the TI-84+/SE calculators have that as well. Yes, it seems that they're implying it will run z80 ASM, but is it a true z80? An ez80? An ARM emulating a z80? We don't know yet.
Ah yes, I see, that's true...I'm hoping they use a better processor, that would be very nice. I am bummed that they didn't put in more RAM though...

I really, really, want to put TestGuard on my calculator, just so I can hack it, I admit XD
Does it still have a normal link cable port? The specs on the website mention only USB for unit-to-unit transfers.
  
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