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C > COMMODORE  > C128 - C128D   

C128 - C128D

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.

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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
Gary (US)

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
Jon Fukumoto

I actually still have $ and, (very) occasionally, still USE! $ my Commodore-128!

In addition to the C128 itself, I also have:

1. An attached CMD SuperCPU$

2. A CMD RamLink (16MB)$

3. Two 1571''s (both wth JiffyDOS)$

4. A 1581 (also with JiffyDOS)$

5. A CMD FD-2000 (which came with JiffyDOS preinstalled $ it also has a realtime clock installed)$

6. A Commodore 1084 color monitor$ and

7. A Seikosha SP-1000VC dot-matrix printer.

And THEY ALL WORK!!! Yay!!!

All hail my Commodore might! $$9786$

Saturday 8th February 2020
TheGrandRascal (NJ, USA)


NAME  C128 - C128D
TYPE  Home Computer
YEAR  1985
KEYBOARD  Complete full-stroke keyboard with separated numeric keypad
CPU  8502 + Zilog Z80
SPEED  1/2 mHz (for the 8510), 1.022 MHz (for C64 mode), ~2.5 MHz (Z80)
CO-PROCESSOR  SID (sound), VDC & VIC-II (video)
RAM  128 KB
ROM  48 KB
TEXT MODES  40 or 80 chars. x 25 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  several, most used : 160x200 / 320 x 200 / 640 x 200
SOUND  3 voices / 6 octaves
I/O PORTS  RGB, Video Composite, Joystick (2), Cardridge, Tape, User Port (RS232 compatible), TV, serial
BUILT IN MEDIA  C128D : 1571 disk-drive
OS  C128 mode, C64 mode or CP/M
POWER SUPPLY  C128 : External PSU
C128D : Built-in PSU
PRICE  6495 SEK (nov. 85, Sweden)

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