The Commodore 128 was launched at the Las-Vegas Consumer Electronic Show 1985. It was presented then as a competitor for the Apple Macintosh and IBM PC (The famous advertisement said "Bad news for Apple and IBM"). In fact, the only star of this show was the Atari 130 ST !
It was the successor of the Commodore 64 and could use all the software and a lot of the hardware of the C64 (the 8502 could be slowed down 1 MHz for compatibility).
One of the main specialities of this machine was the additional Z80 CPU and Video chip, which means that you could attach two monitors. Thanks to the Z80, the Commodore 128 could run under CP/M + : lots of software were adapted for this computer and Osborne or Kaypro programs could run directly.
The 128D model:
The 128D was the direct successor of the Commodore 128 : it had exactly the same characteristics as the 128 except its external case which contained the Commodore 1571 floppy disk unit.
Actually there were two distinct Commodore 128Ds : The 128D and the 128D-CR (for Cost Reduced).
Differences between the 128D and the 128DCR were :
- The 128D was never sold in the U.S. because of all the radio frequency interference it gave off.
- the 128D-CR had a metal case rather than plastic for solving radio frequency problems. This version was sold in the U.S.
- the 128D-CR did not have a cooling fan, although there was a place to mount one.
- the 128D-CR case did not have storage clips for the keyboard.
- the 128D-CR came with 64k of video RAM (for the RGB video chip) rather than 16k for the C128.
- the 128D-CR's printed circuit board was different, and included the drive electronics. So there were 3 CPUs on the board.
- the 128D-CR came with bugfixed (1986) ROMs in two 32k x 8 chips instead of four 16k x 8 ones.
- The internal drive's ROM was different from the original 1571 ROM in two ways: it was bugfixed, and had changes for the new support chips. The bugfixes were bigger than the changes for the new hardware.
- 128D-CR CPU RAM was in four 64k x 4 chips rather than sixteen 64k x 1 ones.
- the 128D-CR did not have a carrying handle.
I remember a distinct feature of the C128 that the C64 didn''t have, out of the box...
Play "A C B C B C A"
Tuesday 15th March 2011
Ahh yes!! The C128!! I had one of those!! There is one more tidbit. When you power on the machine, there''s a hidden message which showed the designers of the C128. Type SYS 32800,123,4,5 and voila it pops up. There''s also hidden messages in the 1571 and the 1581, but I don''t remember how they were activated.
Friday 17th April 2009
A truly revolutionary machine!!! The C128 had 128,64, and CP/M straight out of the box!!!! 3 machines in one making it arguably the best 8 bit computer ever made. I just wished they had made more games to take advantage of the 128 mode, they had a GEOS version that did and it was great!! Had this machine been introduced at the time of the Apple II and even the first IBM PC, I believe it would have been a real game changer and a great option for business and education.
Saturday 3rd September 2016
C128 - C128D
END OF PRODUCTION
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
Complete full-stroke keyboard with separated numeric keypad