The 6502-family CPUs in Commodore 8-bit computers famously used 64K of RAM at a time. But in 1985, Commodore introduced a cartridge that added up to 512K of RAM to the 128. Commodore followed up soon after with a 256K cartridge for the 64. How did Commodore RAM expansion units work?
One of the most popular add-ons for an Apple II added CP/M compatibility. So I guess it should be no surprise that Commodore tried the same thing. But the Commodore 64 CP/M operating system and the associate Commodore 64 Z80 cartridge was a flop. Why?
What is retro gaming? The specifics depend on your age, but it generally means playing vintage (retro) video or computer games today. The part people argue about is what constitutes retro.
There isn’t a lot of agreement or consensus about that, and I have some ideas why.
Collecting vintage computers can be fun. I also personally think it’s great that people are interested in preserving that history. Where to buy vintage computers hasn’t changed much over the years. It just may take a bit more work than it used to.
Some people think old computers are priceless. Others think they’re worthless. I don’t recommend wasting your time with people who think a Dell Pentium III laptop is worth $300. Think of the times you found a jewel for five bucks and keep moving.
Over the course of its 12 years on the market, Commodore released a number of Commodore 64 models. The computer’s capability changed very little over time, but the technology did. The world changed a lot between 1982 and 1994, and that gave Commodore some opportunities to lower costs, chase other market segments, or both.
Here’s an overview of the various Commodore 64 models that hit the market over the machine’s long life.
The Epyx Fast Load cartridge, released in 1984, was the first commercially successful Commodore 64 fast load product. Commodore’s 1541 disk drive was much slower than competing disk drives, so fast load cartridges became popular. While the Epyx product was first, and sold very well, it didn’t have the market to itself for long. Its developer, Scott Nelson, went on to produce other fast loader products as well.
Epyx Fast Load was a plug-in cartridge that replaced the Commodore 64’s stock ROM disk loading routine with a more efficient routine that was about five times as fast. The result was that software that normally took three minutes to load often took closer to 30 seconds with the cartridge.
I hear a lot of questions about the Commodore 64 over and over again. Many of them don’t warrant a single blog post. So here’s a list of Commodore 64 common questions and their answers.
If you want to know when the Commodore 64 came out, how many Commodore 64s sold, who made the Commodore 64, where the Commodore 64 was made, is the Commodore 64 worth anything, are Commodore 64 games worth anything, or if you can still buy a Commodore 64, read on.
The dark beige/tan Commodore 1541 disk drive is rather well known. The lighter beige, almost white 1541c is more of a curiosity. The drives are closely related, but the difference is more than just the color. Let’s take a look at the 1541 vs 1541c.
The battle of the Commodore 1541 vs clones existed because Commodore’s early track record was rather imperfect.
Commodore’s 1541 floppy disk drive was the first consumer disk drive that cost less than $300, so it has an important place in computing history.
What some people forget is that while it broke new ground, its early owners loved to hate it. It was slow, it was loud, and ran hot. Early units were unreliable too. And to add insult to injury, in 1982 and 1983, Commodore couldn’t build them fast enough to keep up with demand. Even though it had problems, people were eager to buy it. (Disk drives for other computers tended to be problematic too, in this young industry.)
The 1541’s problems led to a number of clones that tried to be a little bit better.
Commodore’s 1541-II disk drive has a pair of DIP switches on the back to let you change its device number. DOS and Windows computers use drive letters to address its disk drives (usually A: and B:). Commodore used the numbers 8-11 to address them. Here’s how to set the 1541-II DIP switches so you can run more than one drive.