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Commodore 64 --  The C-64 was released in 1982, and I bought my first one in 1983; this time with significantly less help from my parents.  The C-64 was a powerful computer for its time with 64K of RAM.  It also had the best graphics and sound around, which made it a perfect gaming computer.  Its chief competition at the time was the Apple II series and the Atari 8-bit series.  The C-64 was the best of the bunch for gaming, however, especially when coupled with a Commodore monitor.  Aside from graphics and sound, it was superior for gaming simply because of its popularity and the sheer number of games produced.  Sales of the C-64 are estimated as high as 22 million units, which makes it one of history's best selling computer models.  Its biggest drawback was its 5.25 inch "1541" floppy disk drive, which was the largest and slowest on the market.  The drive is nearly as large and actually heavier than the computer itself.  Several third party utilities were developed to help compensate for the 1541.  The most popular was "Fast Load" by Epyx, a cartridge that increases loading speed, contains disk utilities and, most importantly, allows for one-step loading.  Generally to load a C-64 game, users type "Load "*",8.1" and then type "run."  Fast Load allows users to simply press the Commodore (C=) key and the "Run/Stop" key simultaneously to load and run a game in one step.  Regardless, the 1541 is a huge improvement over the cassette drives that came before it. 

The C-64 was too slow and clunky (40 column display) to be used as a serious computer for productivity (although I sure tried), which meant it was primarily used as a game machine by many people.  I sold my C-64 in 1986, when I bought an Atari ST.  The C-64 in the GOTCHA Museum is complete in the box and was bought in 1998.  Also in the museum is a Commodore 1541 5.25" floppy disk drive complete in the box, a Commodore cassette drive complete in the box, and a Commodore 1200 baud modem complete in the box.  In 1999, GOTCHA added a Commodore 1702 video monitor, which is used to display games on many systems.  Any mistakes that Commodore made on the 1541 drive, they made up for with the 1702 monitor -- a great product for its time.

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Commodore SX-64 -- GOTCHA picked up this beauty in 1998 for $150, which is the most, by far, it has spent on an antique computer.  Its in perfect working order.  The SX-64 is basically a portable C-64.  It has a built-in 5" color monitor and has many of the C-64's other features.

Commodore 64/SX-64:

Processor:  MOS 6510, 1.76 MHz
RAM: 64k
ROM: 20k
Coprocessors: VIC II (Video), SID (Sound)
Text mode: 40 x 25
Graphic mode: several, most used : 320 x 200
Colors: 16
Sound: 3 voices / 6 octaves
I/O Ports: RGB, Video Composite, Joystick (2), Cartridge, Tape, Bus, RS232
Storage: External Floppy or cassette/Internal Floppy (SX)
Introduced: 1982/1983 (SX)

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Last modified: February 10, 2001
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