Welcome to Todd's Commodore 64/128 Page!This is the main page for Commodore 64 and 128 computers. There is a passing remark about the C65, a prototype beyond its time. If you've accidentally linked here and are out of your wit's end, feel free to link back to my homepage, or link back to the ever-educational WWW.UBALT.EDU homepage. Copyright by Todd Elliott, 1995. Page last updated 11/3/96.
Introduction to C64 & C128 Computers
- This is a brief intro- I can never do these computers justice without the benefit of a comprehensive introduction, but this will suffice. Link here for an enlightened intro to these venerable computers.
- Focus of this C64/C128 Homepage
- In the grand scheme of the Web, there are literally quite hundreds of pages devoted to the C64 and the C128, so what are we doing here? Before we delve into the ever-vexing question, perhaps a focus is in order. This page would attempt to introduce to the reader/lackisackial browser, information which could not be obtained elsewhere on the Web. Whew! Such a broad focus, which I could introduce virtually anything to my hearts' content. Maybe we should ponder the earlier question presented earlier- Whadda we doing here? ;)
Ok, ok! I'll narrow the focus further: The goal of this page is to introduce hardware concepts and hacks that C64/C128 users can utilize to 'upgrade' their computers. Plus, I'll concentrate on hardcore machine language information and practical coding. In other words, hardware or ML 'wimps' need not go any further. ;) Seriously, all can benefit some from the techinical information, even if it goes over your head (and mine, too!) every once in a while. ;)
- Hardware Hacks - Inactive link
- This link jumps to a document explaining various hacks that C64/C128 users can attempt. Mostly includes rudimentary hacks involving parts which are easily obtainable at your friendly and stupid neighborhood Rat Shack store. (Radio Shack personnel answering my question- "What is a C64? Uh... Hey, take a look at that Pentium 1 GigaHertz computer!" ;) (Of course, God forbid, if an actual Radio Shack employee is reading this, be kind with the lawyers, eh?)
- Top Ten Stupid PET Tricks!
- This link goes to a document showing ten ML programming tips in which you can read and understand ML a little bit better, and maybe even improve your own coding style. Take a peek, and see what the ML would poke for you! ;)
- The only link you'll ever need for Commodore 64/128 Information-
- This link goes directly to the WWW.MSEN.COM/~BRAIN homepage where it contains a chock full of information regarding the C64/128 computers. Chances are, you may have linked here from Brain's page. Whatever method you may have used to get here, if you haven't seen Brain's Commodore page, you owe it to yourself, as a diehard C= user, to pay a visit. Warning: That page will make diehards out of casual C= users, but what the hell, dive into the abyss and never return! ;)
In 1958, Commodore Business Machines (CBM) was established in Toronto, Canada, as a typewriter repair shop. They mostly manufactured office supplies. Their first foray into electronicia was that of the calculator market. CBM was eyeing the personal computer market, and purchased MOS Technologies, albeit in less ethical means. MOS Technologies, prior to the acquisition by CBM, marketed the KIM computer kits. They were sold to do-it-yourselfers and electronic hobbyists. After a modest success of the KIM kits, CBM launched the PET computer series geared at the business market. The acquisition of MOS Technologies during this time enabled CBM to experience astounding manufacturing success and vertical integration of their computer business.
In early 1980 or so, CBM began one of its string of engineering successes by designing chips with for the home-video gaming market, which was in full boom with the Atari VCS craze. The VIC-20 came to life, with colors, video-gaming capability and 3K of RAM. This was their first major success, with approximately over 2 million units sold. Then came the Commodore 64. It was that computer which thrust CBM to its pinnacle of its business. The Commodore 64, remains to its day, the best-selling computer of all time. (Think of brands- Sure, MS-DOS may have a bigger installed base of computers, but they are made in differing degrees of CPU power (486, Pentium, etc.) and brands.)
Commodore rode the crest of success generated by Commodore 64 sales, but met with several setbacks, as they introduced the ill-fated Plus/4 and the C16 computer series. (This was a dubious decision made by CBM at that time, as the Tramiels were defecting to Atari, and may have been intentionally introduced by the Tramiels to sabotage CBM and strengthen Atari. Of course, I have no proof to back these allegations.) They did regain their momentum with the introduction of the Commodore 128, with approximately 4 to 5 million units sold. It was during the mid-80's that the GEOS operating system (GUI) was introduced, enhanced and distributed with the C64 and C128 computers. CBM introduced other significant peripherals such as the 1351 proportional mouse, 1581 disk drive which allows 3.5" formatted diskettes and the 1750 RAM expander, which allows 512K of RAM. This brings the computing muscle of the C64 and the C128 up several notches to remain competitive with the 80286's that were becoming popular at that time.
The last gasp of the 8-bit revolution generated by CBM was the aborted introduction of the C65 computer. The C65 had the next generation chipsets and increased speed and processing power, but economics at that time dictated that CBM commit its resources to the development of their Amiga computers. So, the C65 was aborted, but several units got out during the liquidation proceedings when CBM went bankrupt in 1994. Of which I'm a proud owner of a C65, serial no. #000008! ;)
The C64 and the C128 computers are the ones most commonly used, has a larger installed base (totalling around 20-25 million or so.) and has the most support. The difference between the C64 and the C128 is:
The C64 has 64k of RAM, 40 column composite output, typewriter keyboard, a sound synthesizer chip and expansion port to allow hardware expansion.
The C128 has 128k of RAM, both 40 column composite output and 80-column RGBI output, typewriter keyboard with a numeric keypad, a sound synthesizer chip and expansion possibilities similar to that of the C64. The C128 came with enhancements such as allowing 9600 baud routines as opposed to that of the C64's 2400 baud, burst disk serial routines as opposed to that of the C64's slow serial routines, etc.
For further information, please read the relevant portion of the CBM FAQ.