The new TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition isn’t the aboriginal color-screen graphing calculator. It isn’t alike TI’s aboriginal blush graphing calculator, a acumen claimed by the TI-Nspire CX and its affinity the TI-Nspire CX CAS. However, the TI-84 CSE, as we’re abbreviating it, is a aloft anniversary in the 17-year-old TI-83 and TI-84 Plus ancestors of calculators. Although it retains the attending and feel of the TI-84 Plus operating system, and keeps the acclimatized case appearance and key layout, the outstanding affection of the TI-84 CSE is a bright, bright blush LCD screen. No best will algebraic and programs allegation to clasp into 96 by 64 connected pixels; the new awning is 320×240 and can affectation 65,000 altered colors.
Starting in November 2012, Cemetech aboriginal apparent and acclimatized official and actionable updates about the new calculator. We’ve apparent a academy showcasing the algebraic appearance and gotten the official PR information. Now, we’re appreciative to advertise the aboriginal full, academic hands-on ysis of the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition.
Following is the best all-embracing attending at a graphing calculator we’ve anytime seen, adulation of Christopher Mitchell at Cemetech. Read it, apprentice something, and be amazed.
Our TI contacts beatific castigation truly, Cemetech ambassador Christopher Mitchell, a examination calculator, the actual accessory pictured above. I accept spent hours absorbed in aggravating out its abounding new algebraic and programming features, and my aboriginal impressions as a fourteen-year user of TI’s graphing calculators is overwhelmingly positive. In this complete review, I’ll appearance you the new algebraic features, as able-bodied as the absolute appearance that accept been aggrandized with the blush and college resolution the new LCD affords. Aback my absolute affection for TI calculators lies in programming, I’ll additionally appearance you the new appearance for TI-BASIC programmers, and altercate some of the new discoveries that accumulation programmers allegation to know. Finally, I’ll do a quick teardown of the device, so that you can see what makes it tick. In a phrase, the new TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition is sleek, colorful, and takes acceptable advantage of its new hardware, bedridden alone by slight (easily-fixed) sluggishness.
The TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition has the above case and keyboard as its predecessor, the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition. It has a consecutive I/O anchorage and a miniUSB jack at the top of the case, the LCD demography the high one-third of the front, and the keyboard application the remainder. Like the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, it has changeable faceplates, although I doubtable abounding acceptance will accept to accumulate the bright atramentous faceplate included with the calculator. The bigger changes are the new blush LCD and a rechargeable Li-Ion array replacing the old AAA array compartment. It has a few abate changes: a charging LED on the top of the appropriate accessory of the device, acclimated to announce whether the accessory is charging or charged, and two contacts on the lower abandon of the accessories for charging in a cradle. The calculator ships with the miniUSB cable and calculator-to-calculator USB cable that all TI-84 Plus calculators accept included, but my ysis calculator additionally included a wall-to-USB adeptness adapter for computer-free charging. TI claims that the array is acceptable for about a anniversary of in-class use or 2 weeks of homework, and my assemblage seemed to aftermost about 8-10 hours of use on a allegation (in a actual estimated test).
Turn the calculator on, and you’re confronted with a new but familiar-looking view. While you still accept a homescreen for accomplishing algebraic and calculations, a new bar is present at the top of the LCD announcement the calculator’s accepted modes as able-bodied as a array meter. No amount area you go in the OS, that cachet bar follows you around. A quick cruise about the airheaded would anon appearance you that about aggregate is area you’d apprehend from application a TI-84 Plus Silver Edition. You can still do math, statistics, graphing, and programming. You can still assignment with lists and matrices and tables of blueprint coordinates, admitting on a beyond screen. While the earlier calculator models could all appearance 8 rows and 16 columns of normal-sized argument at once, the TI-84 CSE fits 10 rows and 26 columns of text. Let’s go added into what you can do with all this amplitude with a attending at the algebraic features.
The TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, for all its fanciness, charge at affection be an able apparatus for math. To appraise whether it succeeds, we charge attending at a few factors. First, will the legions of acceptance and agents acclimatized to acquirements with the TI-83 Plus and TI-84 Plus be able to acclimate to this device? Second, will users who aces up the calculator for the aboriginal time acquisition it accessible to use? Finally, does it accumulate all of the appearance that fabricated the TI-83 Plus and TI-84 Plus cutting successes while finer base its blush awning to accomplish algebraic alike added understandable? In this reviewer’s opinion, the acknowledgment to all three is a aural yes. That activity would be hardly able if you attending at the calculator as added than a authentic algebraic tool, but we’ll get to that later.
Arithmetic and Algebra: For the aboriginal question, the interface will assuredly be adequate for acceptance and agents adequate with TI’s added TI-83 Plus and TI-84 Plus calculators. Although airheaded authority added argument and the graphing appearance accept been overhauled, for the best allotment aggregate works the same. The calculator has a MathPrint operating system, which agency that as on the contempo TI-84 Plus and TI-84 Plus Silver Edition calculators, radicals, exponents, functions, and fractions attending a lot like what you’d apprehend to see in a algebraic book. The larboard accessory of Amount 1 shows some calculations on the homescreen with the new higher-resolution MathPrint. Unfortunately, TI doesn’t booty advantage of the blush awning to highlight ogous parentheses (a affection begin on the Casio Prizm), but that’s a atomic complaint. The new calculator will be no added or beneath easy-to-use to new users than the absolute models, which is to say almost simple (for the simpler features). Some features, abnormally statistics, accept been fabricated alike easier, as you’ll see. How about able use of the blush LCD? Let’s attending at graphing to acknowledgment that.
Figure 1: Homescreen MathPrint algebraic equations (left) and the new graphscreen (right)
Graphing: As you can see from the appropriate accessory of Amount 1, graphing has gotten a lot fancier. Due to abstruse limitations (CPU acceleration and RAM), the graphscreen is 265 pixels advanced and 165 pixels tall, with a blubbery bound about the edges. Equations and statistics plots can now be graphed in any of 15 altered colors, assorted band styles, and with alike added concealment options than the earlier calculators. Because we’re no best bound to black-and-white, it’s now abundant added advantageous to put a filigree of curve or credibility abaft graphs so that you can calmly amount out coordinates of credibility on a graph. Therefore, the three new filigree options are GridOff, GridLine, and GridDot. You can set the filigree color, the axes color, and the blush of the border. Perhaps the best atypical affection is the adeptness to put a photograph (“Image”) abaft the graph, although aback we do not yet apperceive the Image architecture we were clumsy to ysis this feature. There’s a affection to ascertain asymptotes, which will accomplish abandonment graphs (for one) abundant added understandable. Overall, the graphing feels abundant added able than on antecedent models, and isn’t appreciably slower (nor faster).
Amount 2: Shaded graphs (left) and some arctic spirographs (right)
Statistics: All of the new Stats Wizards from the MathPrint operating systems are present on the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, in added or beneath the above anatomy as on the antecedent black-and-white TI-84 Plus calculators. There is, however, a new approach alleged QuickPlot&Fit-EQ. If you accept this advantage from the Calc tab of the Stat menu, you’ll be taken to the graphscreen, area you can move the cursor about and actualize a alternation of credibility to represent a besprinkle plot. As with added cartoon modes, there’s a Appearance card accessed via [F5] ([Graph]) to ascendancy the blush of the credibility you drop. Aback you abode at atomic two points, the Appearance card changes to a FitEQ menu: baddest it, and you’ll get a account of the types of equations you can fit to the credibility you placed. The calculator will acquisition the band of best fit, draw it, and appearance the blueprint for the consistent graph. This new approach will abundantly abridge the assignment of applicable curve to sets of points, which ahead took three annoying steps.
Drawing: The Draw card ([2nd][PRGM]) has a new Background tab, but the absolute aberration comes aback you go to draw on the graphscreen. Invoking any of the cartoon functions like Line, Pt-On, Circle, or Argument will booty you to the graphscreen, affectation a cursor, and abode the above Appearance card in the lower-righthand corner. From the menu, you can change band blush and thickness, argument color, and point blush and style. While the new Image affection is acclimated for full-color photographs, you can use the old StorePic and RecallPic to save and anamnesis 15-color snapshots of the graphscreen. Because anniversary of the Pic variables is now 22KB, they can alone be stored in archive, and are (understandably) slower to save and open.
Like the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition and friends, the new TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition can run TI-BASIC and z80 accumulation programs.
I bet the programmers amid us were as afraid as myself to apperceive whether the absolute TI-BASIC programming appearance were retained, and the acknowledgment is a aural yes. In addition, TI-BASIC programs can admission all of the new cartoon action in their 15-color glory, from curve and argument to credibility and pictures. Check out Amount 3 for an activated screenshot of altered band thicknesses, argument sizes and colors, and point styles. The appropriate accessory of the above amount demonstrates that the Output( command can abode every row and cavalcade of the new 10×26-character homescreen. We accept already begin a bug in the Menu( command, and abnormal behavior with non-black Pt-On( commands, but we ahead actuality able to assignment with TI to dness these and any added issues we find.
z80 Assembly: For accumulation programmers, all absolute programs and Apps will accept to be ported to the new calculator. Programs are placed at a new address, the AsmPrgm badge has been replaced by an Asm84CPrgm token, and best bcall and safeRAM addresses accept changed. The bigger aberration is that because it is absurd to abundance a 150KB LC absorber in RAM, coders will accept to re-think how they use the screen. We accept been abundantly discussing best practices for 84 CSE ASM programmers and porting absolute apps like Doors CS actuality at Cemetech, and we achievement the programmers amid us will accompany the discussion.
No Cemetech ysis of a new calculator could be complete after a attending into the hardware. If you attending at the photograph below, you can see, from larboard to right, the accelerate case, the rechargeable array with the case screws and the array cover, the aback cover, the antistatic absorber accoutrement the mainboard, the mainboard itself, the key film and keys, the atramentous faceplate, and the advanced cover. Unfortunately, because the LCD is alert assimilate the added accessory of the mainboard, I was clumsy to abstract it for abhorrence of arise the glass. The aloft appearance on the mainboard are a 4MB (32Mb) Macronix Flash chip, a custom TI z80 CPU/ASIC that absolutely matches the one in the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, the USB and I/O ports, and accessory abutment components. The LCD driver, the ILI9325, is apparently a chip-on-glass accessory on the base of the LCD. Hardware-wise, this is a actual basal abandonment from the TI-84 Plus, the alone absolute differences actuality the battery, 4MB Flash chip, and blush LCD. It turns out that all of the CPU/ASIC-specific appearance to abutment the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition were absolutely already present in the TI-84 Plus years ago, which explains several mysterious, unexplained, and bare appearance that were apparent aback then. Although we will abide to ysis the ASIC and the LCD, we don’t ahead any big surprises.
As I prefaced this review, the best important catechism I accept to ask is whether the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition is an able algebraic tool. In a apple area acceptance are added absent by complex, blatant smartphones that are duplicate from tiny computers, and area TI’s black-and-white calculators accept been added acclaimed as antiquated, this is a huge footfall forward. From the angle of a algebraic apprentice or teacher, this is a calculator that combines an easier-to-read, added alive affectation that can appearance graphs and equations added calmly with a acclimatized interface. All of the absolute books and tutorials on the TI-83 Plus and TI-84 Plus administer to this new calculator, although it behooves new references (like my own TI-83 /TI-84 algebraic book advancing soon) to explain and yze the new appearance like blush graphing and Quickplot&FitEQ. The interface feels hardly sluggish, with some airheaded demography aing to a abounding additional to absolutely render, which hopefully won’t abash abrupt acceptance from application the device. From a programmer and enthusiast point of view, my acknowledgment is added mixed. There’s a accustomed assessment that article like a 25MHz ez80 CPU, a faster, added capable, and fully-compatible adaptation of the processor in the new (and old) calculators, would accept been a bigger choice. A CPU clocked at aing to alert the acceleration would accept helped abate the lag in apprehension circuitous airheaded and ample images, and would accept accustomed programmers added options for creating quick, acknowledging programs. Nevertheless, I apperceive that abounding account are already actuality tossed about to assignment with the capabilities that the new calculator does have, and I’m abiding abounding amid us will acceleration to the challenge.
At a accounted $129, the new calculator is about the above price-point as the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, and about $10 added big-ticket than its color-screen competitor, the Casio Prizm. I anticipate it’s a acceptable advance for any apprentice attractive to get a new graphing calculator, and not a bad best for programmers to yze as well. The OS feels abiding and charcoal full-featured, the slight LCD dawdling can be absolved for math, and we attending advanced to years of connected advance in the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus family! For added specs, references, history, and advice on the TI-84 CSE, amuse accredit to our TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition advertence page. Thanks to DrDnar, BrandonW, calc84maniac, critor, Tari, and all the added bodies who accept contributed their accuracy to the abstruse ysis of critor’s calculator.
This column originally appeared on Cemetech. Cemetech is a software and accouterments association teaching programming and showcasing projects from students, enthusiasts, and professionals. It focuses on graphing calculator programming, but covers computer, web, and adaptable programming, as able-bodied as DIY hardware. Besides its alive altercation forum, Cemetech offers accoutrement like an online graphing calculator adversary and programming IDE, and an annal of freely-available software.
Christopher Mitchell is a teacher, student, and accustomed baton in the TI-83 /TI-84 enthusiast community. He is currently advancing a PhD in broadcast systems, and has spent 14 years administration his activity for programming and answering programming questions on his website, Cemetech.
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