Commodore 128

The direct successor to the Commodore 64, the Commodore 128 computer was released in 1985, three years after the C64.

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About The Commodore 128

As its name suggests, the system comes with 128k of RAM. It is powered by the MOS 8502 processor which runs up to 2.04mhz. This is supplemented by a Zilog Z80, enabling the system to run the CP/M operating system.

The Commodore 128 computer is technically superior to the C64. However, this contributed to its short life. Its increased price over the established C64 did not deliver much-improved gaming experiences. Since the C64 was already Commodore’s leading gaming system, customers did not see any value in the more expensive system. Especially since the C128 provided backward compatibility, customers just ended up buying the C64C rather than the C128.

Commodore 128
The Commodore 128

One of its key features is backward compatibility with most C64 software. Not able to natively run C64 software from its own ROM, you can easily switch between modes. This is achieved by simply holding down the Commodore key when you boot the system.

Later in 1985, Commodore released the C128D, a Commodore 128 in a desktop base unit that included a disk drive.

This is the last 8-bit system Commodore developed (excluding the C64GS). The company was now moving into the 16-bit era with the Amiga.

Many peripherals designed for the Commodore 64 are compatible with the Commodore 128, thanks to its backward compatibility mode. One of the most popular was the Commodore Datasette 1530, an absolute necessity for typical C64 users to be able to load software, but can also be used with the C128 so the wide range of C64 software can be used on the Commodore 128.

About The Commodore 128D

Commodore released the redesigned version of the Commodore 128D in Europe in late 1985. Undergoing a complete overhaul, the Commodore 128D closely resembled the recently launched Amiga 1000.

Commodore C128D
The Commodore C128D

It features a 1571 disk drive built into the main chassis (which came complete with a carrying handle on the side (Nintendo GameCube eat your heart out!). The Commodore 128D clearly was positioned as a more professional-looking counterpart to its desktop home computer form factor.

North America benefitted from the Commodore 128D in 1986, but their version was named the C128DCR, meaning ‘Cost Reduced’. This can be attributed to its steel chassis (with no carrying handle!).