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011 012 013 014
015 016 017 018
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027 029    
(click on picture)


Above is a view of the Commodore 64 main screen


Introduced January 1982
Discontinued March 1994
Release Price $595.95


      The Commodore 64 was an amazing machine when it was introduced in January of 1982. It had a whopping 64 kilobytes of user RAM, 16 colors at a resolution of 320 x 200 pixels, 8 color sprites, and sound that could rival a dedicated sound synthesizer of its day. The most amazing thing of all was that you could get all this for under $600. The cheapest 64k computers of the day were selling at around $1000 and they couldn't match the graphics and sound capabilities of the C-64.

      I bought my first Commodore 64 on August 14,1983 for $199.95. This was after another of a bunch of price drops that year. 1983 was a turbulent year for the computer industry. It was the year of the great shakeout. A number of computer manufacturers bowed out of the home computer market while others saw their market share shrink considerably. Commodore who at this time was the largest selling computer manufacturer to the home market was not immune to the crunch. It was forced to cut prices to keep its market share, but this was eating away at profits.

      Their flagship computer was selling well but the market was shrinking due to a greater number of different computer brands on the market and the market becoming saturated. So the price cuts continued and Commodore showed its first quarterly loss by the end of 1983. After the turbulent '83 year Commodore rebounded and with fewer competitors and its new lower price the C-64 really took off. Millions of them were sold, one estimate puts it at 17 to 21 million units worldwide, WOW! No other single model of computer can claim that kind of success.

      The C-64 line ran for a total of 12+ years, and probably would have run longer if Commodore didn't fold in 1994 due to poor management. The C-64 is still a popular computer to this day; you can find users groups and web sites dedicated to it on the Internet. I still have my original C-64 (pictured above) and it still works, although I boxed it up when I switched to the more modern looking C-64C.



System Architecture



Microprocessor 6510   Standard on system board 64k
Clock speed 1 MHz   Maximum on system board 64k
Bus type CBM proprietary   Maximum total memory 512k cartridge
Data bus width 8-bit   Memory type and speed 200ns dynamic RAM
Address bus width 16-bit   System board memory socket type 16 pin DIP
Interrupt levels N/A   Number of memory module sockets 8 soldered
DMA channels N/A   Memory used on system board 4164-2/MK4564N-20

Standard Features


Disk Storage

ROM size 20k   Internal disk and tape drive bays none
Optional math coprocessor none   Standard floppy drives optional
Parallel port type serial   Optional floppy drives: up to 8
RS232C serial ports yes   * 5 1/4 inch 160k optional
Mouse ports yes - joystick   * 5 1/4 inch 1.2MB No
UART chip used N/A   * 3 1/2 inch 720k No
Maximum speed N/A   * 3 1/2 inch 1.44MB No
CMOS real time clock no   * 3 1/2 inch 2.88MB No
CMOS RAM none   Hard disk controller included No

Video & Graphics



Graphics Processor VIC II 6567 / 40 pin DIP   Sound Interface device SID 6581 / 28 pin DIP
Screen size - Col x Rows 40 x 25   Sound generation 3 voices
Resolution - Colors/High 16 - 320 x 200 pixels   ADSR capable yes
Resolution - Colors/Low 16 - 40 x 25   Programming language  
Max colors 16   Built in language PET BASIC ver 2.0
Sprites or Missiles 8 - 21 x 24 pixels   Built in M L monitor no

Expansion Slots


Keyboard Specs.

Total adapter slots 1-8 bit   Number of keys 66
Number of 8/16/32 bit slots 1/0/0   Upper/lower case yes/yes
      Keyboard cable length N/A

Physical Specs.


Environmental Specs

* Height 3 inches   Operating voltage @ 60 Hz 117 VAC
* Width 16 inches   Maximum power supplied 40 watts
* Depth 8 inches   Power supply output - volts 9 vdc / 5 vdc
* Weight 4 1/2 pounds   Power supply output - amps