Amiga custom chips
In addition to the Amiga chipsets, various specially designed chips have been used in Commodore Amiga computers that do not belong to the'Amiga chipset' in a tight sense. Gary, short for Gate Array, has been used in the Amiga 500, 2000 and CDTV. Gary provides glue logic for bus control and houses supporting functions for the floppy disk drive, it integrates many functions built discretely in the earlier Amiga 1000. Fat Gary was Gary's upgrade for the 32-bit A3000/T and A4000/T. Gayle replaced Gary in the A600 and A1200, it incorporates the control logic for the PCMCIA and internal ATA interface on these systems. Akiko is forms part of the AGA chipset used in that system. Akiko is responsible for implementing system glue logic that in previous Amiga models were found in the discrete chips Budgie and the two CIAs. In detail, it includes control logic for the CD32's CD-ROM controller, system timers, the two game ports and the serial port and the chip memory soldered onto the motherboard, it controls a one kilobyte EEPROM for saving data such as highscores etc.
Additionally, the Akiko chip is able to perform simple'chunky' to'planar' graphics conversion in hardware. The Amiga's native display is a planar display, simple and efficient to manipulate for routines like scrolling. However, chunky displays are more efficient for 3D graphics manipulation. Akiko allows this conversion to be performed in hardware instead of relying on software conversion which would cause more overhead; the conversion works by writing 32 8-bit chunky pixels to Akiko's registers and reading back eight 32-bit words of converted planar data which can be copied to the display buffer. Bridgette is an integrated bus buffer in the A4000 series, it connects the chip, I/O buses. It replaces four 74F245s chips used in the original A3000 design. Buster is the expansion BUS conTrollER and was used in the Amiga 2000, integrating discrete logic from the original A2000. Buster controls bus DMA for the Zorro II expansion subsystem; the Amiga 3000 and 4000 lines use Super Buster for bus control and arbitration of both Zorro II and Zorro III subsystems.
Super Buster's development was never finished, so there are various levels of compatibility. All revision Super Buster can be upgraded. Level I - up to rev 7, only provides support for basic Zorro III without DMA. Level II rev 9 is faster than Level I, it has a bug that might lead to a bus lockup. Rev 11 provides DMA support for a single bus master. A 16 MHz A3000 requires a 25 MHz upgrade for Buster 11 to work. All revisions support Zorro II PIO and DMA. Used in the A1200, Budgie connects the trapdoor expansion port for Zorro II-like expansions and controls additional Fast RAM; the MOS Technology 8727 DMA was used on the A2090 ST-506/SCSI Controller and provides DMA management for the Konan DJC-002 and the WD33C93 SCSI controllers with byte-to-word funnelling and a 64 byte FIFO buffer. Used in A2091/A590 SCSI adapters and the A570 CDROM expansion, the 16-bit DMAC provides DMA and bus interface for the WD33C93A SCSI controller or the A570's XC2064 FPGA chip and includes 24-bit address generation.
In the A3000 and A4000 series, Ramsey controls the on-board 32-bit Fast RAM and provides address generation for Super DMAC. The SDMAC in the A3000/T provides bus interface for the integrated WD33C93A SCSI controller. SDMAC rev 02 requires a Ramsey 04, SDMAC 04 a Ramsey 07 counterpart, but SDMAC 04 + Ramsey 04 combinations have been reported to work as well. A combination of SDMAC 02 + Ramsey 07 works, but major hard disk errors have been reported; the Kickstart ROM is not a custom chip but a mask-programmed ROM chip for most versions. It contains the largest part of the operating system. Kickstart 1.x ROMs have a capacity of 256 kiB, Kickstart 2.x and 3.x contain 512 kiB. 32-bit Amigas use a pair of 16-bit chips to provide full width access. Not mass-produced upgrade versions were realized with PROMs or EPROMs. All Amiga computers use two 8520 CIAs for the system timers; these chips were used in some other Commodore devices.'Even' CIA functions: floppy control, serial control, some parallel port status'Odd' CIA functions: parallel port, some floppy support, joystick/mouse button number one.
The'Hedley Controller' 390562-01 was used in the A2024 high resolution monitor and controlled the frame buffer in either flicker fixer mode or its own special 1024×800/1024×1024 resolution modes. Amber was used in the A3000 and on the A2320 flicker fixer expansion for the A2000. Amber buffers alternate video fields in three 256K×4 field memory chips to convert interlaced output to progressive format at 31 kHz, twice the normal scan frequency. Amber can sample Lores and Hires modes but drops every other horizontal pixel in SuperHires mode. Non 15 kHz modes are automatically bypassed to the monitor without buffering or changing frequencies. Amber was designed to work without expensive field memory as a simple scan doubler, but has not been marketed that way; the Vidiot is a hybrid integrated circuit that works as digital-to-analog converter for the OCS/ECS generation's 12-bit video to analog RGB output. It generates a monochrome composite video signal and combined sync; the A3000 uses one Vidiot each for 31 kHz output.
The A1000 uses dis
The Amiga 1200, or A1200, is Commodore International's third-generation Amiga computer, aimed at the home computer market. It was launched on October 21, 1992, at a base price of £399 in the United Kingdom and $599 in the United States; the A1200 was launched a few months after the Amiga 600 using a similar, slimline design that replaced the earlier Amiga 500 Plus and Amiga 500. Whereas the A600 used the 16-bit Motorola 68000 of earlier Amigas, the A1200 was built around a faster, more powerful variant of the Motorola 68020. Physically the A1200 is an all-in-one design incorporating the CPU, disk drives in one physical unit; the A1200 has a similar hardware architecture to Commodore's Amiga CD32 game console. Only 30,000 A1200s were available at the UK launch. During the first year of its life the system sold well, but Commodore ran into cash flow problems and filed for bankruptcy. Worldwide sales figures for the A1200 are unknown, but 95,000 systems were sold in Germany before Commodore's bankruptcy.
After Commodore's demise in 1994, the A1200 disappeared from the market but was relaunched by Escom in 1995. The new Escom A1200 was priced at £399, it came bundled with two games, seven applications and AmigaOS 3.1. It was criticized for being priced 150 pounds higher than the Commodore variant, sold for two years prior, it came with a modified PC floppy disk drive, incompatible with some Amiga software. The A1200 was discontinued in 1996 as the parent company folded; the A1200 offers a number of advantages over earlier lower-budget Amiga models. It is a 32-bit design; the AGA chipset used in the A1200 is a significant improvement. AGA increases the color palette from 4096 colors to 16.8 million colors with up to 256 on-screen colors and an improved HAM mode allowing 262,144 on-screen colors. The graphics hardware features improved sprite capacity and faster graphics performance due to faster video memory. Additionally, compared to the A600 the A1200 offers greater expansion possibilities. Although it is a significant upgrade, the A1200 did not sell as well as the 500 and proved to be Commodore's last lower-budget model before filing for bankruptcy in 1994.
This is because the 1200 failed to repeat the technological advantage over competitors like the first Amiga systems. The AGA chipset was something of a disappointment. Commodore had been working on a much-improved version of the original Amiga chipset, codenamed "AAA", but when development fell behind they rushed out the less-improved AGA, found on the A4000 and CD32 units. While AGA is not notably less capable than its competition, when compared to VGA and its emerging extensions, the Amiga no longer commanded the lead it had in earlier times. Additionally, the Amiga's custom chips cost more to produce than the ubiquitous commodity chips utilized in PCs, making the A1200 more expensive; some industry commentators felt that the 68020 microprocessor was too outdated and that the new system should have been fitted with a 68030 to be competitive. Another issue was that the A1200 never supported high-density floppy disks without a special external drive or unreliable hacks, despite the PC HD drive in Escom models.
The gaming market, a major factor in the A500's popularity, was becoming more competitive with the emergence of more advanced and less expensive fourth generation console gaming systems, multimedia-enabled IBM PC compatibles. As a result, fewer retailers carried the A1200 in North America; the A1200 received bad press for being incompatible with a number of Amiga 500 games. Further criticism was directed at the A1200's power supply, inadequate in expanded systems, limiting upgrade options, popular with earlier Amiga models. Due to fewer sales and short lifetime, not as many games were produced for the A1200 than for the previous generations of Amiga computers; the Amiga 1200 was developed and released during the waning days of the home computer market its manufacturer once dominated. While Commodore never released any official sales figures, Commodore Frankfurt gave a figure of 95,000 Amiga 1200 systems sold in Germany. Worldwide sales of the A1200 would have been less than 1 million units; the A1200 has a Motorola 68EC020 CPU.
It is noteworthy that, like the 68000, the 68EC020 has a 24-bit address space, allowing for a theoretical maximum of 16 MB of memory. A stock A1200 has 2 MB of in-built "chip RAM".. Up to 8 MB of "fast RAM" can be added in the "trap-door" expansion slot, which doubles the speed of a stock machine. Various CPU upgrades featuring 68020, 68030, 68040, 68060 and PowerPC processors were made available by third-party developers; such upgrades utilize faster and greater capacity memory. The A1200 shipped with Commodore's third-generation Amiga chipset, the Advanced Graphics Architecture, which features improved graphical abilities in comparison to the earlier generations. However, the sound hardware remains identical to the design used in the Amiga 1000, though the AGA chipset allows higher sampling rates for sound playback, either by using a video mode with higher horizontal scan rate or by using the CPU to drive audio output directly. Like earlier models, the A1200 features several Amiga-specific connectors including two DE9M ports for joysticks and light pens, a standard 25-pin RS-232 serial port and a 25-pin Centronics parallel p
The Commodore Amiga 4000, or A4000, is the successor of the A2000 and A3000 computers. There are two models, the A4000/040 released in October 1992 with a Motorola 68040 CPU, the A4000/030 released in April 1993 with a Motorola 68EC030; the Amiga 4000 system design was similar to the A3000's, but introduced the Advanced Graphics Architecture chipset with enhanced graphics. The SCSI system from previous Amigas was replaced by the lower-cost Parallel ATA; the original A4000 is housed in a beige horizontal desktop box with a separate keyboard. Commodore released an expanded tower version called the A4000T; the stock A4000 shipped with either a Motorola 68EC030 or 68040 CPU, 2 MB of Amiga Chip RAM and up to 16 MB of additional RAM in 32-bit SIMMs. There is a non-functional jumper, intended to expand the "chip RAM" to 8MB. Third-party developers created various CPU expansion boards featuring higher rated 68040, 68060 and PowerPC CPUs; such hardware typically offers faster and higher capacity RAM. Unlike previous Amiga models, early A4000 machines have the CPU mounted in an expansion board.
Revisions of the A4000 have the CPU and 2 MB RAM surface-mounted on the motherboard in an effort to reduce costs. These machines are known as the A4000-CR and the surface-mounted CPU is a 68EC030; the cost-reduced models make use of a non-rechargeable lithium battery for real-time clock battery backup rather than a rechargeable NiCad battery. The NiCad backup battery is one of the most common causes of problems in an aging device that uses one because it has a tendency to leak; the released fluids are somewhat corrosive and can damage the circuitry. The A4000 is the first Amiga model to have shipped with Commodore's third-generation Amiga chipset, the 32-bit Advanced Graphics Architecture; as the name implies, AGA introduces improved graphical abilities a palette expanded from 12-bit color depth to 24-bit and new 128, 256 and 262,144 color modes. Unlike earlier Amiga chipsets, all color modes are available at all display resolutions. AGA improves sprite capacity and graphics performance; the on-board sound hardware remains identical to that of the original Amiga chipset, four DMA-driven 8-bit PCM channels, with two channels for the left speaker and two for the right.
The A4000 has a number of Amiga-specific connectors including two DE-9 ports for joysticks and light pens, a standard 25-pin RS-232 serial port and a 25-pin Centronics parallel port. As a result, at launch the A4000 was compatible with many existing Amiga peripherals, such as, MIDI devices, serial modems and sound samplers. Like the just-earlier Amiga model, the 3000, the A4000 has four internal 32-bit Zorro III expansion slots; this expansion bus allows the use of devices which comply with the AutoConfig standard, such as graphic cards, audio cards, network cards, SCSI controllers, even USB controllers. One of the most notable hardware items of the era is the NewTek Video Toaster system which became popular in the 1990s for amateur and commercial desktop video production of standard-definition broadcast quality video, consisting of tools for video switching, chroma keying, character generation and image manipulation; the three ISA slots can be activated by use of a bridgeboard, which connects the Zorro and ISA buses.
Such bridgeboards feature on-board IBM-PC-compatible hardware, including Intel 80286, 80386, or 80486 microprocessors allowing emulation of an entire IBM-PC system in hardware. Compatible ISA cards may be installed into the two remaining ISA slots. In an effort to offer modern expansion options third-party developers created replacement expansion boards for the A4000 which provide PCI slots allowing use of higher performance and available PCI hardware, such as graphic and network cards; the A4000 shipped with AmigaOS 3.0, consisting of Workbench 3.0 and Kickstart 3.0, which together provide a single-user multi-tasking operating system and support for the built-in hardware. Following release of AmigaOS 3.1 it became possible to upgrade the A4000 by installing compatible Kickstart 3.1 ROM chips. The AmigaOS 3.5 and 3.9 releases were software-only updates requiring Kickstart 3.1. AmigaOS 4, a PowerPC-native release of the operating system, can be used with the A4000 provided a CyberStorm PPC board is installed.
MorphOS, an alternative Amiga-compatible operating system, can be used with this hardware. Variants of platform-independent operating systems such as Linux and BSD can be used with the A4000. Amiga models and variants
The Commodore Amiga 1000 known as the A1000 and simply as the Amiga, is the first personal computer released by Commodore International in the Amiga line. It combines the 16/32-bit Motorola 68000 CPU, powerful by 1985 standards with one of the most advanced graphics and sound systems in its class, runs a preemptive multitasking operating system that fits into 256 KB of read-only memory and shipped with 256 KB of RAM; the primary memory can be expanded internally with a manufacturer-supplied 256 KB module for a total of 512 KB of RAM. Using the external slot the primary memory can be expanded up to 8.5 MB. The A1000 has a number of characteristics that distinguish it from Amiga models: It is the only model to feature the short-lived Amiga check-mark logo on its case, the majority of the case is elevated to give a storage area for the keyboard when not in use, the inside of the case is engraved with the signatures of the Amiga designers; the A1000's case was designed by Howard Stolz. As Senior Industrial Designer at Commodore, Stolz was the mechanical lead and primary interface with Sanyo in Japan, the contract manufacturer for the A1000 casing.
The Amiga 1000 was manufactured in two variations: One uses the NTSC television standard and the other uses the PAL television standard. The NTSC variant was the initial model sold in North America; the PAL model was manufactured in Germany and sold in countries using the PAL television standard. The first NTSC systems lacks the EHB video mode, present in all Amiga models; because AmigaOS was rather buggy at the time of the A1000's release, the OS was not placed in ROM then. Instead, the A1000 includes a daughterboard with 256 KB of RAM, dubbed the "writable control store", into which the core of the operating system is loaded from floppy disk; the WCS is write-protected after loading, system resets do not require a reload of the WCS. In Europe, the WCS was referred to as WOM, a play on the more conventional term "ROM"; the preproduction Amiga released to developers in early 1985 contained 128 KB of RAM with an option to expand it to 256 KB. Commodore increased the system memory to 256 KB due to objections by the Amiga development team.
The names of the custom chips were different. The casing of the preproduction Amiga was identical to the production version: the main difference being an embossed Commodore logo in the top left corner, it did not have the carry handle. The Amiga 1000 has a Motorola 68000 CPU running at 7.15909 MHz or 7.09379 MHz double the video color carrier frequency for NTSC or 1.6 times the color carrier frequency for PAL. The system clock timings are derived from the video frequency, which simplifies glue logic and allows the Amiga 1000 to make do with a single crystal. In keeping with its video game heritage, the chipset was designed to synchronize CPU memory access and chipset DMA so the hardware runs in real time without wait-state delays. Though most units were sold with an analog RGB monitor, the A1000 has a built-in composite video output which allows the computer to be connected directly to some monitors other than their standard RGB monitor; the A1000 has a "TV MOD" output, into which an RF Modulator can be plugged, allowing connection to a TV, old enough not to have a composite video input.
The original 68000 CPU can be directly replaced with a Motorola 68010, which can execute instructions faster than the 68000 but introduces a small degree of software incompatibility. Third-party CPU upgrades, which fit in the CPU socket, use faster successors 68020/68881 or 68030/68882 microprocessors and integrated memory; such upgrades have the option to revert to 68000 mode for full compatibility. Some boards have a socket to seat the original 68000, whereas the 68030 cards come with an on-board 68000; the original Amiga 1000 is the only model to have 256 KB of Amiga Chip RAM, which can be expanded to 512 KB with the addition of a daughterboard under a cover in the center front of the machine. RAM may be upgraded via official and third-party upgrades, with a practical upper limit of about 9 MB of "fast RAM" due to the 68000's 24-bit address bus; this memory is accessible only by the CPU permitting faster code execution as DMA cycles are not shared with the chipset. The Amiga 1000 features an 86-pin expansion port.
This port is used by third-party expansions such as SCSI adapters. These resources are handled by the Amiga Autoconfig standard. Other expansion options are available including a bus expander. Introduced on July 23, 1985, during a star-studded gala featuring Andy Warhol and Debbie Harry held at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City, machines began shipping in September with a base configuration of 256 KB of RAM at the retail price of US$1,295. A 13-inch analog RGB monitor was available for around US$300, bringing the price of a complete Amiga system to US$1,595. Before the release of the Amiga 500 and Amiga 2000 models in 1987, the A1000 was called Amiga. In the US, the A1000 was marketed as The Amiga from Commodore, with the Commodore logo omitted from the case; the Commodore branding was retained for the international versions. Additionally, the
The Amiga 4000T known as A4000T, is a tower version of Commodore's A4000 personal computer. Using the AGA chipset, it was released in small quantities in 1994 with a 25 MHz Motorola 68040 CPU, re-released in greater numbers by Escom in 1995, after Commodore's demise, along with a new variant which featured a 50 MHz Motorola 68060 CPU. Despite the subsequent demise of Escom, production was continued by QuikPak in North America into at least 1997; the A4000T was the only Amiga to have both SCSI and IDE interfaces built-in on the motherboard. Having driver software for both interfaces in the 512 KB ROM meant that some other parts of AmigaOS had to be moved from the ROM, thus the A4000T is the only machine to require the file "workbench.library" to be stored on disk. It was the only Amiga to use a PC form factor for the motherboard, one of the few to use a lithium battery instead of a nickel–cadmium rechargeable battery, vastly reducing the risk of leaking corrosive fluids onto the motherboard and causing damage with age.
Modularity was another unique aspect to the machine, with the CPU, audio and input-output ports all on separate daughterboards. This made the machine near-modular; the machine was targeted as a high-end video workstation with expandability in mind and an eye towards NewTek's Video Toaster. Its motherboard contains two Amiga Video Slots, five 100-pin Zorro III slots, 4 ISA slots, its case can accommodate up to six drives. Up to 16 MB of RAM can be installed on the motherboard, while additional RAM can be installed on some CPU boards, yet more can be added on Zorro cards; this was the last computer to be released by Commodore International. It is estimated. Production of the A4000T was restarted. Apart from the new option of a 68060 CPU, the Escom-manufactured 4000Ts had minor differences from the old one including the substitution of the high density floppy drive with a double density one, a different front bezel on the case. CPU: 68040 at 25 MHz 68060 at 50 MHz Memory: 512 kB Kickstart ROM 2 MB Amiga Chip RAM Up to a further 16 MB RAM on board Up to an additional 128 MB RAM via the CPU slot on the CPU's local bus Up to an additional 512 MB per Zorro III slot Chipset: AGA Video: 24-bit color palette Up to 256 on-screen colors in indexed mode 262,144 on-screen colors in HAM-8 mode Resolutions of up to 1280×512i HSync rates of 15.60-31.44 kHz Audio: 4 hardware channels 8-bit resolution / 6-bit volume Maximum DMA sampling rate of 28-56 kHz Removable Storage: 3.5" HD floppy disk drive, capacity 1.76 MB Internal Storage: 34-pin floppy connector 40-pin buffered ATA-Controller 50-pin fast SCSI-2 Input/Output connections: Analogue RGB video out Audio out Audio out Keyboard 2 × Mouse/Gamepad ports RS-232 serial port Centronics style parallel port Fast SCSI-2 Expansion Slots: 5 × 100pin 32-bit Zorro III slots 2 × AGA video slots 4 × 16-bit ISA slots 1 × 200-pin CPU expansion slot 4 × 72-pin SIMMs slots Operating System: AmigaOS 3.1 Other Characteristics: 0 × front accessible 3.5" drive bays 5 × front accessible 5.25" drive bay 1 × internal 5.25" drive mountings Key lock Amiga models and variants Ryan E. A. Czerwinski's Commodore Amiga 4000T page Commodore A4000T Amiga Technologies A4000T Famous Amiga Uses
Commodore International was an American home computer and electronics manufacturer founded by Jack Tramiel. Commodore International, along with its subsidiary Commodore Business Machines, participated in the development of the home–personal computer industry in the 1970s and 1980s; the company developed and marketed the world's best-selling desktop computer, the Commodore 64, released its Amiga computer line in July 1985. With quarterly sales ending 1983 of $49 million, Commodore was one of the world's largest personal computer manufacturers; the company that would become Commodore Business Machines, Inc. was founded in 1954 in Toronto as the Commodore Portable Typewriter Company by Polish-Jewish immigrant and Auschwitz survivor Jack Tramiel. For a few years he had been living in New York, driving a taxicab, running a small business repairing typewriters, when he managed to sign a deal with a Czechoslovakian company to manufacture their designs in Canada, he moved to Toronto to start production.
By the late 1950s a wave of Japanese machines forced most North American typewriter companies to cease business, but Tramiel instead turned to adding machines. In 1955, the company was formally incorporated as Inc. in Canada. In 1962 Commodore went public on the New York Stock Exchange, under the name of Commodore International Limited. In the late 1960s, history repeated itself when Japanese firms started producing and exporting adding machines; the company's main investor and chairman, Irving Gould, suggested that Tramiel travel to Japan to understand how to compete. Instead, Tramiel returned with the new idea to produce electronic calculators, which were just coming on the market. Commodore soon had a profitable calculator line and was one of the more popular brands in the early 1970s, producing both consumer as well as scientific/programmable calculators. However, in 1975, Texas Instruments, the main supplier of calculator parts, entered the market directly and put out a line of machines priced at less than Commodore's cost for the parts.
Commodore obtained an infusion of cash from Gould, which Tramiel used beginning in 1976 to purchase several second-source chip suppliers, including MOS Technology, Inc. in order to assure his supply. He agreed to buy MOS, having troubles of its own, only on the condition that its chip designer Chuck Peddle join Commodore directly as head of engineering. Through the 1970s Commodore produced numerous peripherals and consumer electronic products such as the Chessmate, a chess computer based around a MOS 6504 chip, released in 1978. In December 2007, when Tramiel was visiting the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, for the 25th anniversary of the Commodore 64, he was asked why he called his company Commodore, he said: "I wanted to call my company General, but there's so many Generals in the U. S.: General Electric, General Motors. I went to Admiral, but, taken. So I wind up in Berlin, with my wife, we were in a cab, the cab made a short stop, in front of us was an Opel Commodore." Tramiel gave this account in many interviews, but Opel's Commodore didn't debut until 1967, years after the company had been named.
Once Chuck Peddle had taken over engineering at Commodore, he convinced Jack Tramiel that calculators were a dead end, that they should turn their attention to home computers. Peddle packaged his single-board computer design in a metal case with a keyboard using calculator keys with a full-travel QWERTY keyboard, monochrome monitor, tape recorder for program and data storage, to produce the Commodore PET. From PET's 1977 debut, Commodore would be a computer company. Commodore had been reorganized the year before into Commodore International, Ltd. moving its financial headquarters to the Bahamas and its operational headquarters to West Chester, near the MOS Technology site. The operational headquarters, where research and development of new products occurred, retained the name Commodore Business Machines, Inc. In 1980 Commodore launched production for the European market in Braunschweig. By 1980, Commodore was one of the three largest microcomputer companies, the largest in the Common Market.
The company had lost its early domestic-market sales leadership, however. BYTE stated of the business computer market that "the lack of a marketing strategy by Commodore, as well as its past nonchalant attitude toward the encouragement and development of good software, has hurt its credibility in comparison to the other systems on the market"; the author of Programming the PET/CBM stated in its introduction that "CBM's product manuals are recognized to be unhelpful. Commodore reemphasized the US market with the VIC-20; the PET computer line was used in schools, where its tough all-metal construction and ability to share printers and disk drives on a simple local area network were advantages, but PETs did not compete well in the home setting where graphics and sound were important. This was addressed with the VIC-20 in 1981, introduced at a cost of US$299 and sold in retail stores. Commodore bought aggressive advertisements featuring William Shatner asking consumers "Why buy just a video game?"
The strategy worked and the VIC-20 became the first computer to ship more than one million units. A total of 2.5 million units were sold over the machine's lifetime and helped Commodore's sales to Canadian schools. In another promotion aimed at schools (and as a
The Amiga 500 known as the A500, is the first low-end Commodore Amiga 16/32-bit multimedia home/personal computer. It was announced at the winter Consumer Electronics Show in January 1987 – at the same time as the high-end Amiga 2000 – and competed directly against the Atari 520ST. Before Amiga 500 was shipped, Commodore suggested that the list price of the Amiga 500 was US$595.95 without a monitor. At delivery in October 1987, Commodore announced that the Amiga 500 would carry a US$699/£499 list price. In Europe, the Amiga 500 was released in May 1987. In the Netherlands, the A500 was available from April 1987 for a list price of 1499 HFL; the Amiga 500 represents a return to Commodore's roots by being sold in the same mass retail outlets as the Commodore 64 – to which it was a spiritual successor – as opposed to the computer-store-only Amiga 1000, as well as being another computer whose keyboard is included in the same case. The original Amiga 500 proved to be Commodore's best-selling Amiga model, enjoying particular success in Europe.
Although popular with hobbyists, arguably its most widespread use was as a gaming machine, where its advanced graphics and sound were of significant benefit. It has been claimed that over 6 million A500s were sold worldwide, according to Commodore UK, the entire sales of all Amigas in both Europe and the USA were 4-5 million. While not the first computer to have an open architecture, the Amiga is considered due to its expandability as one of the early examples. In October 1989, the Amiga 500 dropped its price from £499 to £399 and was bundled with the Batman Pack in the United Kingdom which included the games Batman, F/A-18 Interceptor, The New Zealand Story and the bitmap graphics editor, Deluxe Paint 2. Included was the Commodore A520 RF Modulator, an adaptor which allowed the A500 to be used with a conventional CRT television set, via its RF antenna socket. In late 1991, an enhanced model known as the Amiga 500 Plus replaced the original 500 in some markets; the Amiga 500 series was discontinued in June 1992 and replaced by the specified and priced Amiga 600, although this new machine had been intended as a much cheaper model, which would have been the A300.
In late 1992, Commodore released the "next-generation" Amiga 1200, a machine closer in concept to the original Amiga 500, but featuring significant technical improvements. Despite this, neither the A1200 nor the A600 replicated the commercial success of its predecessor, as by this time, the popular market was definitively shifting from the home computer platforms of the past to commodity Wintel PCs and the new "low-cost" Macintosh Classic, LC and IIsi models. Outwardly resembling the Commodore 128 and codenamed "Rock Lobster" during development, the Amiga 500 houses the keyboard and CPU in one shell, unlike the Amiga 1000, it utilizes a Motorola 68000 microprocessor running at 7.09379 MHz. The CPU implements a 32-bit model, has 32-bit registers and 32-bit internal data bus, but it has a 16-bit main ALU, uses a 16-bit external data bus and 24-bit address bus, providing a maximum of 16 MB of address space; the earliest Amiga 500 models use nearly the same Original Amiga chipset as the Amiga 1000.
So graphics can be displayed in multiple resolutions and color depths on the same screen. Resolutions vary from 320×200 to 640×400 for NTSC and 320×256 to 640×512 for PAL The system uses planar graphics, with up to five bitplanes allowing 2-, 4-, 8-, 16-, 32-color screens, from a palette of 4096 colors. Two special graphics modes are available: Extra HalfBrite, which uses a 6th bitplane as a mask to cut the brightness of any pixel in half, Hold And Modify which allows all 4096 colors to be used on screen simultaneously. Revisions of the chipset are PAL/NTSC switchable in software; the sound chip produces four hardware-mixed channels, two to the left and two to the right, of 8-bit PCM at a sampling frequency of up to 28 kHz. Each hardware channel has its own independent volume level and sampling rate, can be designated to another channel where it can modulate both volume and frequency using its own output. With DMA disabled it's possible to output with a sampling frequency up to 56 kHz. There's a common trick to output sound with 14-bit precision that can be combined to output 14-bit 56 kHz sound.
The stock system comes with AmigaOS version 1.2 or 1.3 and 512 KiB of chip RAM, one built-in double-density standard floppy disk drive, programmable and can read 720 KiB IBM PC disks, 880 KiB standard Amiga disks, up to 984 KiB using custom-formatting drivers. Despite the lack of Amiga 2000-compatible internal expansion slots, there are many ports and expansion options. There are two DE9M Atari joystick ports for stereo audio. There is a floppy drive port for daisy-chaining up to three extra floppy disk drives via an DB23F connector; the then-standard RS-232 serial port and Centronics parallel port are included. The power supply is; the system displays video in analog RGB 50 Hz PAL or 60 Hz NTSC through a proprietary DB23M connector and in NTSC mode the line frequency is 15,750 Hz HSync for standard video modes, compatible with NTSC television and CVBS/RGB video, but out of range for most VGA-compatible monitors, while a multisync monitor is required for some of the higher resolutions. This connection can also