The Commodore Years - Hardware - Commodore 64
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Commodore 64 serial UKB 2387629
Commodore 64 serial number UKB 2387629 made in England.
The Commodore 64 with its exceptional (in 1982) 64 KB memory was a great leap forward in home computers. In fact only about 38KB was available in Basic but, because the memory used by the computer itself was duplicated, it was possible to use over 80KB with machine code programming. The breadbin nickname came from its bulky shape, copied from its predecessor the Vic 20.
The earliest versions, including my first, had orange function keys like the VIC. Later models had grey function keys. Commodore had an unlimited licence for Microsoft Basic 2.0 and so this, rather than the more expensive but more useful 4.0 already used in some other Commodore machines, was installed. The PET graphics were included but sprites and exceptional sound capabilities made the 64 a great games console.
Rear view
At the rear is a cartridge slot for games and programming aids, a screw to adjust the tv signal, rf output to a tv, rgb output to tv or monitor, the serial port for disk drives and printers, the datassette connection and an RS-232 connector for other peripherals.
Start-up Screen
Startup Screen
Right hand side view
On the side are two ports for joysticks, paddles, light pens and light guns. To the right are the on/off switch and the power connection.
My 64s
 
UKB 182449 UKB 238985 UKB 381574
Serial UKB 182449 (England) Serial UKB 238985 (England) Serial UKB 381574 (England)
New luminances Orange function keys  
UKB 1684408 UKB 2387629 WGB 7518
Serial UKB 1684408 (England) Serial UKB 2387629 (England) Serial WGB 7518
New luminances New luminances Orange function keys
    My first 64
  WGB 40407 Needs a good clean and service
  Serial WGB 40407 (West Germany)
The Commodore 64 was a major advance in memory, graphics and sound. Despite its suitability for gaming, Commodore also tried to advertise the 64 as a business machine. Some good software was available, but anyone who used a computer in the office was used to an 80 column display. The 64 had only 40 columns.
Released in 1982, estimates for the total number sold vary from 15,000,000 to 30,000,000! The Commodore 64 was one of the more expensive micros on the market but was also one of the most popular. The 64 was supported by a wide range of peripherals and an enormous quantity of software.
Early 64s suffered from problems with colours. This was addressed in later models. UKB 1684408, UKB 182449 and UKB 2387629 have these 'new luminances'. Unfortunately, I had already dealt with the problem by selecting colour combinations which were easy to read on the 'faulty' machines but not so good on the corrected ones. I still use the older 64s for my own software.
Commodore 64 User Manual Commodore 64 Programmer's Reference Guide
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