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Commodore 64

The Commodore 64 was a popular home computer of the 1980s. It used an 8 bit 6510 microprocessor (a close derivative of the 6502 which had the ability to bank-switch the machine's ROM in and out of the processor's address space) and had 64 kilobytes of RAM. In the UK, it rivalled the ZX Spectrum in popularity, and benefitted from a full-sized keyboard and more advanced graphics and sound chips.

The graphics chip, VIC-II[?], featured 16 colors, eight sprites, scrolling[?] capabilities etc. Although not commonly supplied with the machine, floppy disk drives of the 3.5 inch (the Commodore 1581) and 5.25 inch (the Commodore 1541 and Commodore 1571) variety were available. The C64 was often used with tape drives in Europe, although in the United States the C64 popularized the use of floppy drives, as it was the first computer that made them affordable.

The sound chip, SID, had three channels with several different waveforms, ring modulation and filter capabilities.

The onboard BASIC programming language, however, did not have any graphics or sound commands at all, so the user needed to use Peek and Poke commands to directly access the associated memory addresses to achieve the required results.

This machine (probably) started a computer subculture known as the Demo Scene. It is still being actively used in this subculture, especially for music.

The programs used at that time may be still run on an emulator.

Technical Information

  • CPU: MOS Technologies 6510
  • Speed: 0.985 MHz (PAL) / 1.023 MHz (NTSC)
  • Coprocessor: VIC II[?] (Video), SID (Sound)
  • RAM: 64k
  • ROM: 20k
  • Text Modes: 40 x 25
  • Graphic Modes: Normally 320x200
  • Colours: 16
  • Sound: 3 voices / 6 octaves
  • I/O Ports: RGB (composite, chroma/luma and sound in/out), 2 x Joystick plugs, Cardridge slot, Tape interface (300 bps), Serial, User Port, TV RF output
  • Power Supply: External PSU

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