Commodore 64

Description

Commodore 64

The Commodore 64, also known as the C64, C-64, C= 64,[n 1] or occasionally CBM 64 or VIC-64,[5] is an 8-bit home computer introduced in January 1982 by Commodore International. It is listed in the Guinness World Records as the highest-selling single computer model of all time, with independent estimates placing the number sold between 10 and 17 million units.

Volume production started in early 1982, with machines being released on to the market in August at a price of US$595 (roughly equivalent to $1,500 in 2016). Preceded by the Commodore VIC-20 and Commodore PET, the C64 takes its name from its 64 kilobytes (65,536 bytes) of RAM, and has technologically superior sound and graphical specifications when compared to some earlier systems such as the Apple II and Atari 800, with multi-color sprites and a more advanced sound processor.

The C64 dominated the low-end computer market for most of the 1980s. For a substantial period (1983–1986), the C64 had between 30% and 40% share of the US market and two million units sold per year, outselling the IBM PC compatibles, Apple Inc. computers, and the Atari 8-bit family of computers. Sam Tramiel, a later Atari president and the son of Commodore's founder, said in a 1989 interview, "When I was at Commodore we were building 400,000 C64s a month for a couple of years." In the UK market, the 64 faced competition from the BBC Micro and the ZX Spectrum[13] but the 64 was still one of the two most-popular computers in the UK.

Part of the Commodore 64's success is because it was sold in retail stores instead of just electronics and/or computer stores. Commodore produced many of its parts in-house to control costs, including custom IC chips from MOS Technology. It has been compared to the Ford Model T automobile for its role in bringing a new technology to middle-class households via creative mass-production.

Approximately 10,000 commercial software titles have been made for the Commodore 64 including development tools, office productivity applications, and games. C64 emulators allow anyone with a modern computer, or a compatible video game console, to run these programs today. The C64 is also credited with popularizing the computer demoscene and is still used today by some computer hobbyists. In 2008, 17 years after it was taken off the market, research showed that brand recognition for the model was still at 87%.

Commodore 64C

The Commodore 64C was simply the original C-64 repackaged in in a beige C-128 style case. Internally, Commodore integrated most of the hardware onto a single VLSI chip.

The new model did not differ much from its predecessor, the only innovation was the flatter case, which made the keyboard (which had off-white keys) more ergonomic (it looked like the C128 case), not as high as than the old one. But the new case did not only have advantages: due to its low profile and additional metal screening, some of the numerous hardware expansions did not fit anymore. This was changed with the C64G.

The official name for this model was "C=64 C", but nevertheless the German 64'er magazine decided to call it "C64-II" (because the first units didn't have the new name on the label at the bottom), the badges on most of the 64 C's just says "Commodore 64". They pointed out that this name was only valid for the 64'er magazine, but since the 64'er was the magazine for the C64 for a long time, the name was widely accepted and so this model is mostly known as "C64-II" in Germany.

Commodore took advantage of the launch of the 64C to improve its range of peripherals. The machine could be delivered with:
  • the 1541C disk drive, internally the same as the previous 1541, but with a beige case,
  • the 1541-II disk drive, a smaller 1541 with external power supply and a beige case
  • The 1351 two-button mouse which could operate in either proportional or joystick mode,
  • The 1802 color monitor which accepted both composite and RGB video signals,
  • The 1764 RAM expander which plugged into the expansion port and boosted the system RAM to 256 KB.
First 64C were bundled with GEOS, developed by Berkeley Software, a good window and icon opating system, considering that it ran on a 8-bit processors and 64 KB of RAM.

Sadly, the 64C was launched at the wrong time, at a wrong price (about $80 more than the C64). At that time the competition was hard with the new Atari and Amiga 32-bit computers. The 64C thus didn't meet a large success, except in some European countries.

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