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COMMODORE 64    -   januari 1982


Commodore 64
Introduced: January 1982
Released: September 1982
How many: ~17 million
Price: US $595.
CPU: MOS 6510, 1MHz
Sound: SID 6581, 3 channels of sound
RAM: 64K
Display: 25 X 40 text
  320 X 200, 16 colors max
Ports: TV, RGB & composite video
  2 joysticks, cartridge port
  serial peripheral port
Peripherals: cassette recorder
  printer, modem
  external 170K floppy drive
Although it looks like an unimpessive keyboard-like box, the C-64 was wildly popular. More C-64's have been sold than any other single computer system, even to this day. That's about 17 million systems, according to the Commodore 1993 Annual Report. In a 1989 interview, Sam Tramiel, then-president of Commodore, said that "When I was at Commodore we were building 400,000 C64s a month for a couple of years."
The C-64 looks nearly identical to the Commodore VIC-20, released in 1981. They are similar, but the C-64 is more powerful with more features.
The 64's microprocessors support two high-resolution graphic modes, smooth scrolling, "sprites", bit mapping, character collision resolution and character mapped graphics, not to mention three channels of complex sound. All this make it an excellent game machine, which is what it excelled at the most, with thousands of software titles release and numerous peripherals to extend its capabilities.
Commodore continued to improve reliablilty, as well as reduce manufacturing costs. Eventually, it cost only about $25.00 to manufacture, and the consumer price of the C-64 dropped to around $200.00.
In 1984, Commodore released the SX64, the portable C64 with built-in monitor, floppy drive and power supply!


COMMODORE 128D   -   1987









Commodore 128D 
Released: January 1987
Price: US $499.95.
CPU: MOS 8502 @ 2 MHz
  Zilog Z-80A @ 4 MHz
Sound: 3 channels of sound
RAM: 128K, 512K max.
Display: 16 colors, 640 X 200 max.
  40/80 X 25 column text
Ports: Serial, video (composite), RF video (TV)
  RGBI (hi-res), expansion (game cart)
  Control 1,2 (joysticks), user port, cassette
Strorage: internal 340K 5-1/4" floppy drive

he Commodore 128 and 128D came out in 1985, the same year as the amazing Commodore Amiga. The 128D even looks like the Amiga!

 There were three major versions of the C128:

  • the one-piece Model 128 ($299.95) seen here to the right
  • the two-piece plastic case 128D
  • the two-piece metal case 128D ($499.95), as seen above.

  • The 128 is a one-piece model, with a built-in keyboard and optional external floppy drive.
    Both 128D models have an internal 5-1/4" floppy drive, and a separate keyboard - a more professional design.

    There was originally only one version of the 128D, with a plasic case and a carrying handle, but it failed the FCC regulations for RF emissions, so it was only sold outside of the U.S. This was in 1985.

    Two years later, Commodore finally had a version for sale in the U.S. This model is known as the 128DCR, for Cost Reduced. It has a metal case, and a new, cheaper motherboard and floppy drive.

    The Commodore 128 family of computers are very unique - having more than one main CPU gives them the ability to run three different operating system:
    • C64 Mode - 1Mhz, 8502 CPU with 6510 emulation, 99.8% compatible with Commodore 64 BASIC 2.0 hardware and software, accessed by holding down the [Commodore] key while booting, or by typing "GO 64" from the C128 Mode.
    • C128 Mode - 2Mhz 8502 CPU, 128K Memory, 80 x 25 RGB display, advanced BASIC 7.0 with many new commands including powerful high resolution displays and graphics manipulation.
    • CP/M Mode - 4Mhz Zilog Z-80 CPU, 100% compatible with CP/M 3.0 applications such as Turbo Pascal and WordStar. Accessed by booting with a CP/M disk in the drive, or by typing "BOOT" from the C128 Mode.
    Why these three operating systems? Good question. While the Commodore 128 has a nice, high resolution 80 column display, the most powerful BASIC programming language ever released by Commodore, and a built-in C64 mode for convenience, it wasn't enough to compete with the new crop of computers.

    By 1985, IBM PCs and MS-DOS were taking over the world, and few new and successful computers were entering the market. CP/M, the world's most common operating system before MS-DOS arrived, was fast becoming irrelevant.