The Commodore 64DX/Commodore 65
In 1989, Commodore began an endeavor which was way overdue. The creation of a
near Amiga-quality computer that is 8-bit in spirit, compatible with the
popular Commodore 64 (through an emulation mode), and containing a
built in disk drive. Assuming that the price range could have been set below
$499, and assuming that this project had been done back in 1985 instead of
1989-1991, I believe this would have been an big seller for Commodore, and
would have breathed life into them which would have extended CBM beyond 1994.
As it was, the design of the Commodore 65 started in 1989, and the project was
scrapped a few years later. A few prototypes leaked out in 1994 when Commodore
liquidated, which is why they are known of at all. There are those who say that
only about 200 exist. Others say the number is closer to 1000. I happen to hold
with the former, since both of my models have serial numbers below 200, as does
every existing model I have heard of.
Commodore 65 home computer.
The Commodore 65 is truly remarkable. Taking the latest in video technology,
combining it with the best from the 8-bit years, and putting it all in an
attractive, very Commodore-like, package. If you'd
like to see what it looks like underneath the hood, click here.
From left to right, you'll see here the 1565 external drive port,
composite video DIN, future 3-4 switch, future RF port, RGBI video port, left
audio, right audio, CBM user port, CBM serial port, C65 expansion port. On the
left side of the machine are the power socket, on-switch, 2 joystick ports, and
a reset switch. Underneath the computer is an Amiga-500 like belly port for
expanded memory. Near that same belly port, an FCC sticker reports that
this computer has a serial number of 000047. Inside, the motherboard is a rev 2B, which
you can see closeup pictures of: 1,
Here is my unique offering, however. Coming straight out of the Commodore shop,
this "workbench" C65 is nothing but a block of wood upon which is mounted an early
version of the C65 motherboard. Velcroed to a pair of metal plates is a keyboard
made by Mitsumi back in 1989. Believe it
or not, besides lacking the internal drive or the chips to run one, this system
works just fine. In some ways, it works a little better than my full prototype.
Here you can see the workbench c65 with the keyboard set aside. Notice the
missing chips on the right hand side. You can get a
look of that by clicking here. Also notice the wiring work near the left-top
of the board. I have no idea what the engineer was doing when he was adding
those wires, though an unmounted chip is connected to it.
Get a closeup of the new wiring by clicking here. Some extremely huge closeups
of the motherboard are here: 1,
4. Another strange things are the video signals
out of this board. Some pictures of the *composite* signal are
here and here.
A picture of the rather scrambled RGBI signal is here.
Lastly, along with this
workbench computer, I received from the previous owner a C65 casing. The casing
proclaims this machine to be serial number #000067, as
you can see here, though I doubt the case is in any way associated with this
motherboard. You can see this casing by clicking here
The last interesting thing I received along with this computer was a disk drive!
Although it appears to be an Amiga 1010, it most certainly is not. It's actually
a 1581 inside a A1010 case. But why didn't the engineer just use a 1581? Who
knows. Either way, this is certainly not the fabled 1565, which would have
communicated with the c65 through its bus disk drive port instead of through the
serial port like this drive does. The label on the bottom proclaims this to be
DD disk drive #12, along with an FCC warning sticker. You
can see this orange sticker by clicking here
You can see here what I mean. Grossly protruding from this case are a pair
of standard CBM serial ports, the device number switch, power connector, and
switch. Now take a close look at the full motherboard by
clicking here. If you looked, you'll agree that a standard 1581 motherboard
is mounted inside. Standard, except for the power connector that is: a 4-bin
female din I've never seen before. The drive required its own power supply,
which you can see by clicking here. The mechanism
inside appeared to be for a standard Amiga 1010, which is also interesting.
Statistics, features, and C65 resources:
CPU: CSG 4510
RAM: 128 kilobytes, expandable to 8 megabytes
ROM: 128 kilobytes
Video: CSG 4569 "VIC-III"
Sound: CSG 8580 "SID" (2X)
- 6 Video modes
- Resolutions from 320x200 to 1280X400
- 80 columns text
- Pallette of 4096 colors.
Ports: CSG 4510
- 6 voice stereo synthesizer/digital sound capabilities
Keyboard: Full-sized 77 key QWERTY
- 2 Joystick/Mouse ports
- Round DIN CBM Serial port
- Male edge-connector CBM 'USER' port
- Round DIN CBM Monitor port
- Power and reset switches
- Round C65 bus drive port
- Unimplemented RF video port
- Round power DIN port
- 9-pin female RGBI video port
- 2 RCA audio ports
- Belly ram expansion port
- Female edge-connector C65 expansion port
- 12 programmable function keys
- 4 direction cursor-pad
I certainly don't provide much in the way of information here. If you want more, I suggest
you head back to my links page and peruse the commodore stuff.
- Built in 3.5" DD disk drive (1581 compatible)
- Partially implemented Commodore 64 emulation
If this machine had a larger user base, I would seriously consider
programming for it. It is THAT cool. The engineers model I got first
back in 1997 from a lady in Florida. She also sent the spare case and
drive with it. While my first production prototype came from a collector
in California, the one I keep these days is from the George Page collection.
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If you find anything in here you have questions or comments about, feel
free to leave me email right here.
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