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Commodore 128D

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Commodore 128-serien was (and still is) quite unique. With its two processors you have the opportunity to run three different OS.

If you at boot held down the [Commodore]-key, or wrote "GO 64", it would to almost 100% be C 64 compatible. Then it went by about 1 Mhz and Basic version 2.0. In the normal case it ran at about 2 Mhz and Basic version 7.0 and had better resolution.

If you wanted to run CP/M you could do so by writing "BOOT" (in the 128-mode), or by booting it with a CP/M-disk. Then you had an approximately 4 Mhz fast computer and the possibility of amazingly 640 x 200 resolution via RGB.

Commodore 128D came in two versions. First came C 128D with plastic casing and separate keyboard. The 1571 disk drive was built-in. The keyboard could be attached underneath while in transport, and it had a handle (see image). This model was not sold in the U.S. because it disrupted quite a lot to certain frequencies.

128DCR with metal housing came two years later. This discrete model sold in the U.S. CR stands for Cost reduced and it missed the cooling fan, the clips to attach the keyboard underneath and handle. Since it came two years later it had some minor uppgrades instead.

One reason why it didn't really become a hit (despite the fact that it was absolutely the best before the Amiga series) may paradoxically be that it was compatible with the C64, and was capable to run virtually all its programs. Why write two programs when its enough with one. CP/M was on the way out after IBM's and the DOS's entry onto the scene a few years earlier.

Is there any errors? e-mail and correct me!



Former owner: Ulrica Gimbergsson, Hammerdal

Technical data

Year 1985
Origin USA
Manufacturer CBM
Name 128D
CPU MOS 8502 and Zilog 80
Speed 1 Mhz or 2 Mhz for MOS 8502 (depending on what mode it was working in and the screen you were connected to)
4 Mhz for Z80
OS BASIC 2.0 or 7.0, CP/M
RAM 128 KB, max 512 KB
I/O ports Keyboard, joystick x 2, expansion, tape, serial, video (composite), RF (TV), RGBI (hi res), userport, power in 240V
Text modes 40 x 25 or 80 x 25
Graphic modes Several different, 160 x 200, 320 x 200 and 640 x 200
Colours 16
Sound 3 channels, 6 octaves
Built in media 1571 disk drive 5,25" 340KB
Power supply External