The Commodore 65
Now the Commodore 65 really is an ultra-rare machine from the same company that gave us some of the most classic pieces of hardware in the 1980s.
Commodore planned to market the C65 as the successor to their ultra-popular Commodore 64, but ultimately decided to pull the plug on the machine due to the huge success of their fantastic 16-bit Amiga computer.
Consequently C65's are rarer than Jason Statham speaking in a non gruff voice, making them worth quite a lot of money.
A small fortune in fact.
If you want to know more about this rarer than rare machine that vanished into the ether before it saw the light of day, then please read on....
What does a Commodore 65 look like?
Hardware Overview - C65
C65 Technical Improvements over the C64
This computer is a machine that is now pretty much regarded as 'vaporware'.
For some reason, towards the end of 1990 Commodore decided to design and create a successor for the already hugely popular C64.
By 1990 the C64's star (like all of the other 8-bit machines) was on the wane as the more powerful 16-bit machines took hold of the home market.
Despite this (perhaps they saw what those folks over at MGT were doing with the SAM Coupe) they worked on a prototype called the 'C64 DX' before settling on the moniker 'C65'.
The C65 did have some new fantastic features such as:
- A special version of the 7510 with lot of new op-codes
- Great graphic modes which were actually superior to those sported by the likes of the Atari ST or the Commodore Amiga (500 and 600 models). This was quite something considering the fact that these machines were 16-bit
- A great new processor was fitter which was a DMA/Blitter. This chip could be programmed with a list of instructions to copy or set blocks of memory which was a fantastic feature for assembly programming.
- Dual SID chips allowing for full sterio sound
- 128KB of RAM as standard which was exandable to a mind blowing 8MB
- An internal 3.5" floppy drive
The new graphics mode allowed the machine to be capable of producing 256 colours from a palette of 4096 which was again, pretty impressive.
It also had a lot of display modes available including: 320×200×256, 640×200×256, 640×400×16, 1280×200×16, and 1280×400×4
As you can see the design folks as Commodore really put a lot of thought and effort into this machine, and made a real attempt to please their current vast base of users.
All of this hardware coupled full Commodore 64 compatibility meant that we would be in home computing heaven right?
Well unfortunately, this turned out not to be the case...
The 'boot up' screen of a Commodore 65
The Commodore 65 In Action
The Classic Stunt Car Racer on the C65
Commodore 65 Vapourware
So - this is a machine was designed to be fully compatible with the C64, but it never fully achieved that aim.
A key was available on the keyboard to switch between the two modes (C64 / C65) but unfortunately Commodore could never get the compatibility mode right.
With the technical hurdles looming ever larger and the costs rising faster than the interest rates on a pay-day loan, the development of this machine was stopped.
On top of the compatibilty mode problems the VIC III controller was not working correctly in the new unit, and production was ceased.
The success of the Amiga (the C65 outer casing does resemble the Amiga case) gave Commodore the comfort level they needed and effectively signalled the end of the C65.
Commodore only produced roughly two thousand C65 units, the first ones displing C64DX on boot up and the later models displaying the 'correct' C65.
Another Video Of The Commodore 65
Getting Hold Of A Commodore 65
Due to the low numbers of existing machines these computers are extremely difficult to get hold of.
When Commodore went into liquidation in 1994 these prototype units were sold on the open market at very reasonable prices.
Whoever picked one of these machines up back then really made a sound investment for the future!
I have never actually witnessed any bids at auctions or on Ebay, but I have heard that the final price for these machines can run into a few thousand pounds or dollars!
They are an extremely valuable collectors retro item, and I do not know of anyone that owns one of these.
Rarer than hen's teeth.
A screen-shot of a Commodore 65 auction on Ebay
A video of a C65 motherboard
Another view of the Commodore 65 vapourware
Emulating the C65 on a C64 computer!
Retro Gaming and Computing Links
- Acorn Archimedes
A fine 16-bit machine
- Acorn Atom
A superb 8-bit machine from 1979
- Acorn Electron
The "poor mans" BEEB
- Amiga 600
One machine from CBM that we could have done without
- Amiga 1200
The last of the entry level Amiga's
- Amiga CD 32
Not a bad console...
- Amiga Games
A fine collection of classic 16-bit games
- Atari 600 XL
A great 8-bit computer from good old Atari
- Atari 2600
A truly classic console from the golden age
- Atari 5200
The follow up to the 2600 from Atari
- Atari Falcon
The rival to the A1200
- Atari ST
The rival to the A500
- BBC Micro
A stonking all rounder from Acorn. A bit pricey though
- Commodore 16
Another nice 8-bit machine from CBM
- Commodore 64
One of the greatest 8-bit machines ever
- Commodore 128
The last 8-bit production machine from Commodore
- Commodore PET
CBM's seventies machine
- Commodore VIC 20
Is VIC there? Well, just ask Commodore and Bill Shatner
- Computer History
A super collection of vintage hardware
- Funny Games
Funny computer games on a variety of machines
- Jupiter Ace
It's ace is this oldie but goodie
- Oric 1
Tangerine gave us the 8-bit Oric 1
- Oric Atmos
The follow up to the Oric 1
- SAM Coupe
A 'super spectrum'?
- Sinclair ZX Spectrum
My favourite 8-bit machine ever
For home gaming this is a real classic
- ZX Spectrum Games
A fine collection of games on the good old Speccy
Some lucky blighter has a fantastic Commodore 65 setup!
More by this Author
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The Amiga 1200 was launched in 1992 and was the third generation Amiga for the home user