Hardware Review: 2

Hardware Review: 2

Hardware Review: 2 Commodore 64

Commodore 64

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Also known as the C64, C-64, C= 64, is an 8-bit home computer introduced in January 1982 . The C64 took its name from its 64 kilobytes of RAM.

The number of Commodore 64 sold range between 10 to 17 million units.

10,000 commercial software titles have been made for the Commodore 64 .

Originally data was stored on a Commodore Datasette recorder and the transferrer rate was at 300 baud. A floppy drive for the C64 was released called the 1541. Commodore offered a number of inexpensive modems for the C64. This allowed quick and easy access to the thousands of dial-up public bulletin board systems (BBS).


There is a wide range of devices for the C64:

Input: mouse, joystick, lightpen or paddles

Drives: Commodore-cassette-driver

Peripherals: modem, printer, cartridges


Microprocessor CPU:

  • MOS Technology 6510/8500
  • Clock speed: 0.985 MHz (PAL) or 1.023 MHz (NTSC)

Video: MOS Technology VIC-II 6567/8562 (NTSC), 6569/8565 (PAL)

  • 16 colors
  • Text mode: 40×25 characters; 256 user-defined chars
  • Bitmap modes: 320×200
  • 8 hardware sprites of 24×21 pixels (12×21 in multicolor mode)
  • Smooth scrolling, raster interrupts

Sound: MOS Technology 6581/8580 SID

  • 3-channel synthesizer
  • 8 octaves
  • 4 waveforms per audio channel
  • Oscillator synchronization, ring modulation
  • Programmable filter

Input/Output: Two 6526 Complex Interface Adapters

  • 16 bit parallel I/O
  • 8 bit serial I/O
  • 24-hours (AM/PM)
  • Time of Day clock (TOD)
  • 16 bit interval timers


  • 64 KB, of which 38 KB
  • 512 bytes colour RAM


  • 20 KB

Chips: 6510

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In 1980 MOS completed  development of the  6510 Central Processor and chip set.  A standard  .9875 MHz  6502 (used in the KIM-1 and PET) with a additional input/output port and  the ability to see allot  more RAM.   As part of the “next great video game” concept,  Albert Charpentier  recruited MOS Engineer Robert Yannes in 1981 to assist him in figuring  out how far other companies could push their current technology.  By their  own admission, they pulled  apart and ‘stole’ ideas from Texas Instruments TI 99’s, Atari 800’s, Apples and  others.  Note that most computers of the day used MOS’ powerful 6502 processor.

According to Charles Winterable, Commodore’s  Worldwide Engineering Director, “We defined in advance the die size that would  give a yield we were willing to live with.  …Then we prioritized a wish  list of what needs to be in there to what ought to be in there to what we  would like to be in there.  …When he ran out of registers, he  stopped.”  With two draftsman and CAD technician, the two man team  developed “first silicon” in just 9 months and it worked on the first try.

The VIC-II 6567 video chip in the 64 can produce  about 128 colours. Officially it only supports 16  colours.  It displayed a large 320 x 200 character count.

Chips: SID 6581

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It could play three different “voices” in  sophisticated patterns and with some tinkering could be made to create one or  two more.  It was likely the first  computer in the world capable of reproducing a recognizable human voice without  the addition of peripheral hardware.

The most common C64 chip question is why does the  screen say 38,911 bytes free when it supposedly has 64,000 bytes of memory.   This is because nearly half of its memory is used for internal functions like  Microsoft’s Operating System, Commodore Basic 2.0 .


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Startscreen C64

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Commodore 1530

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The identification VIC-1530, Commodore 1530 or C2N (in Germany: VC-1530) is a name of the Commdore datassette for the homecomputers VC20, C64, C128/D/DCR and PET.

Following model designs are exist:

  • C2N (angularly model) in black
  • C2N (angularly model) in gray-yellow (beige)
  • 1530 with a small Commodore logo right-sided in gray-yellow (150 * 195 * 50 mm, 700 g)
  • 1530 with a great Commodore logo left-sided in gray-yellow (150 * 195 * 50 mm, 700 g)

All models, also the C2N, the 1530 and the 1531 are constructed in the same way. The only different between the 1530 and the 1531 are the connector. By opening the equipment, you can see a model number. Often it is the imprint ‘1531’ on the plate.


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