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C > COMMODORE  > Amiga 500     

Amiga 500

Commodore's Amiga 500 was the low-end version of the Amiga 2000 and the main competitor of Atari's 520/1040 ST range. The A500 was superior in almost every area, apart from its MIDI capabilities and the disk drive, which was not only slow but very noisy as well and a bitter feud quickly developed between owners of these rival machines.

Hardware wise, the A500 is very similar to the Amiga 1000, the main internal differences being an increase in memory fom 256 KB to 512 KB and the addition of another custom chip named "Gary" (the only Amiga chip with a male name). This is a new I/O chip that controls the disk drive and also performs address decoding. This chip is also used in the high-end A2000.

The A500 was easier to upgrade than both the ST and big box Amigas, thanks to an expansion port located in the bottom of the case. Owners could simply insert a small board which contained an extra 512 KB of Ram and a battery-backed clock. The popularity of this upgrade meant that more 1 MB software (both 1 MB versions of 512 KB software and 1 MB only software) was released for the Amiga than the ST, which had to be taken apart to expand the memory.

Over the course of the A500s lifespan several different packages were available, the most basic of which included only the computer, TV modulator and Workbench disks. A number of bundles were also sold, such as the best selling "Batman Pack" which was released in 1989 and included 3 games and Deluxe Paint 2.

The A500 was discontinued in 1991 and replaced by the short lived Amiga 500 Plus.

Pandy comments:
The Amiga 500 is a "cleaned" A1000, "cleaned" means plenty of TTL glue logic was replaced by custom IC which was named Gary. A500+ it is a new generation of custom IC's so called ECS (A500 have OCS). A500+, A3000, A600 have new graphics modes (1280 dots in line without overscan and 31Khz scanning similar to VGA - limited to 640 pixels in line with 4 colors).



I loved my Amiga 500, I used to make music on mine with a program called"Octomed". I wish I still had it, it was awesome.

Monday 16th March 2015
Jamie (Uk)

I loved the Amiga 500. Had a friend who did amazing artwork on Deluxe Paint. My fave games were Gods and Lotus Turbo Esprit (2 player) also Kick Off 2 and Player Manager. Best of all I remember Geoff Crammonds F1 GP, used to go round a mates house and get drunk turn all the AI cars white and race a few mates against them (WARNING KIDS: DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE!)

Monday 27th February 2012
Gavin (Plymouth, England)

Amiga is the best computer ever, me and my brother own 2 A-500 and 2 A-1200 all fully working these days, my favourite games on the amiga are, Sensible world of soccer, Dune 2 "the battle for arrakis", napalm, F1 GP, Gods, The Duel test drive 2, Rodland, Arkanoid, Great Courts 2, Cannon Fodder...we just love our good old AMIGA

Saturday 17th September 2011
Rui Sousa (Porto/Portugal)


NAME  Amiga 500
TYPE  Home Computer
YEAR  April 1987
KEYBOARD  Built-in keyboard, 95 keys
CPU  Motorola MC68000
SPEED  7.09379 MHz (PAL)
7.15909 MHz (NTSC)
CO-PROCESSOR  OCS based chipset: 8370/8372 Fat Agnus (memory controller and blitter), 8362R5/8362R6/8362R8 Denise (video control chip), 8364 Paula (sound & I/O), 5719R2 Gary (I/O)
RAM  512 KB Chip RAM (expandable to 9MB : 512 KB Chip RAM + 512 KB Slow RAM + 8 MB Fast RAM)
ROM  Kickstart 1.2: 256 KB (Early models)
Kickstart 1.3: 256 KB (Later models)
GRAPHIC MODES  320x256, 320x512, 640x256, 640x512
COLOrsc  Palette: 4096
On screen: 16 in 640 modes, 32 in 320 modes, 64 in EHB, 4096 in HAM
SOUND  4 channel 8 bit PCM, stereo output
SIZE / WEIGHT  Unknown
I/O PORTS  RS-232 serial port, Centronics parallel port, external disk interface, 2x RCA audio, cartridge interface, expansion interface, 2x Atari joystick/mouse ports
BUILT IN MEDIA  3.5'' floppy disk drive
OS  Workbench 1.2 (Early models)
Workbench 1.3 (Later models)
PRICE  £599 (UK, 1987), $595 (U.S.A., 1987), £369 (UK, 1990)

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