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My First Computer - Commodore 128

Updated on September 20, 2012
Commodore 128
Commodore 128

How Came to Me

My grandfather was a great mechanic. One day he did a job and the owner of the car couldn't pay him, but instead offered to my grandfather 3 boxes "full of technology" he said. My grandfather refused but the man insisted. As you can imagine inside was the Commodore 128 but not only that, was the Commodore Monitor and the Floppy Disk Driver, plus lots of 5 1/4 diskettes, cables, books and magazines. My grandfather left the boxes untouched for almost 3 months until he decided to give it a try; he did not realized the was opening the window of what become his hobby...and mine.

First Touch

He (my grandfather) had a little room outside the house, in the back, full of everything and was there where he put the Commodore together. I remember the first time I saw it, feels like yesterday, I was only 8 years old. I wanted to touch it so much but how...? And to do what? The learning process was just watching him patiently and trying to remember what he was writing.

Was something like this:

(After inserting the diskette)

Load "$",8

Load "name of the program",8,1


(Now you wait like half a hour and then)


And the magic began!!!

I did not realize at the time, that this computer would change my life forever and lead me to what I am now and where I am working now: one of the best IT companies in the world.

Commodore 1541-II - Disk Driver
Commodore 1541-II - Disk Driver

Lets Get Technical for a Moment

Lets explore a little the technical side of this piece of history:

· CPUs:
o MOS Technology 8502 @ 2 MHz (1 MHz selectable for C64 compatibility mode)
o Zilog Z80 @ 4 MHz (running at an effective 2 MHz because of wait states in order to allow the VIC-II video chip access to the system bus)
o (C128D(CR)): MOS Technology 6502 for the integrated floppy controller
· MMU: Memory Management Unit controls 8502/Z80 processor selection; ROM/RAM banking; common RAM areas; relocation of zero page and stack
· RAM: 128 KB system RAM, 2 KB 4-bit dedicated color RAM (for the VIC-II E), 16 KB or 64 KB dedicated video RAM (for the VDC), up to 512 KB REU expansion RAM
· ROM: 72 KB
· Video:
o MOS 8564/8566 VIC-II E (NTSC/PAL) for 40-column composite video (a TV set can be used instead of a monitor if desired)
· Sound:
o MOS 6581 SID (or, in the C128DCR, the MOS 8580 SID) synthesizer chip
· I/O Ports:
o All Commodore 64 ports with 100 percent compatibility, plus the following:
o Higher "burst mode" speed possible on the serial bus
o Expansion port more flexibly programmable
o RGBI video output (DE9-connector) logically similar to the IBM PC CGA connector, but with an added monochrome composite signal. This added signal causes a minor incompatibility with certain CGA monitors that can be rectified by removing pin 7 from the plug at one end of the connecting cable.
o External keyboard input (DB25-connector) (C128D(CR) only)

Time for Some Fun!

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Commodore Video Monitor
Commodore Video Monitor

Yesterday and Today

It's funny to remember how different was the technology and comparing how is now. I remember waiting like 10 minutes or more to load a simple program and of course in the meantime using that bad vocabulary exclusive for computers... Today everything is "now" or nothing! Imagine waiting 5 minutes for Word to start, no chance. Now I have a huge PC, 3 laptops, 2 smartphones, and IT courses made in India. Incredible to look back and think that all started with the Commodore 128. THANK YOU GRANDPA!!

My Commodore 128 working like new!


Which oldie computer you remember more?

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    • Shackred profile image

      Shackred 5 years ago

      Thank you for the comments!!

    • profile image

      Ghost32 5 years ago

      I remember the Amiga best because that's the first computer I ever bought for myself (circa 1986). It was in my opinion the BEST computer I ever had, too. Used it for word processing and becoming enraged every time the Chessmaster 2000 program beat me at a game of chess.

      My stepdaughter had a Commodore 64 and lusted after my Amiga, but I kept her away from it with a big stick. Unfortunately, the poor thing died one day (the Amiga, not the stepdaughter) when I jammed an ill-fitting aftermarket bit of memory into it and purple-screened the innocent victim forever.

      I'm still sick over that, and that was 22 years ago.

    • Tonyx35 profile image

      J Antonio Marcelino 5 years ago from Illinois, USA

      @ Shackred: Nice hub. I personally never had access to the commodore systems. The Intel "486" and DOS was probably the earliest system I ever really had a decent amount of time on.

    • Crewman6 profile image

      Crewman6 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your memory. It brought back memories of my own C128- I actually took a day of leave when it was released. Our town only got 3 units, and I wasn't about to let someone else get there before me!!

    • Jaysmine profile image

      Jaysmine 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Wow... its amazing how much computers have changed nowadays. Wow. Great Post!