The Amiga 500 was the most successful model of all the Amigas - and feature wise, was the most underwhelming. Released at a mere $595.00 US (without a monitor) the A500 as it was known gathered a great following (especially in Europe) as a games machine.
The 500 featured an expansion port on the bottom of the machine, where most commonly an additional 512K of RAM could be found as well as a real-time clock chip that retained the date and time when the machine was powered off.
The left side of the machine was an expansion bus that could be used to add additional memory or items like a hard drive connector.
The Amiga introduced many firsts into the industry including widespread use of a multitasking operating system, four channel stereo sound, advanced integration with video hardware and more.
Commodore A590 Hard Disk Plus
The Amiga A590 is an expansion peripheral that plugs into the left side of the Amiga 500. It came with a 20 MB hard disk and the ability to increase the system ram by 2 MB. It's not a very common peripheral, as third party solutions that were more affordable existed not long after the product launch.
Anonymous on Friday, August 14, 2015 Amiga 500 to me was more than a games machine and most popular model until Amiga 1200 came out. It might be considered 'underwhelming' as it built on existing technologies found in Amiga 1000 except it was more accessible, Kickstart in ROM rather than floppy disk being more affordable to more people being aimed at home consumer market. In year of it's launch, Acorn Archimedes 305 and 310 in someways surpassed it: 8 channel stereo sound (instead of 4 channel), ARM (RISC) processor at 12Mhz (versus Motorola 68000 7.14Mhz) and superior BBC BASIC programming language. Price wised comparative to Amiga 2000. Despite this Amiga was by far the superior machine thanks to four DMA (Direct Memory Access) custom chips: Agnus, Gray, Paula and Denise. Generally, DMA freed up CPU for other tasks which made true multitasking a reality. Graphics chip featured a revolutionary first ever fully featured BLITTER (or BLIT aka BLock Image Transfer) considerably sped up, allowed for more sophisticated graphics not previously possible and as well as reducing the load on the CPU. It took a while before IBM PC compatible computer manufacturers caught up as most operations were rationed for CPU time, hence why Amiga versions of games were so much better and in some cases impossible like "Shadow of Beast". Best 16-bit computer of it's generation for me remains Amiga 500.
Torisoft on Friday, October 3, 2014 When talking about A500 people mostly go after the "games" feature! or the cost-effectiveness of a home computer or as a friend nicely put: "Fun" computer. While respecting these all, I must add that I was a c64 beginner, my world of computer began with a c64 on which I spent a few years and learned machine code. I did good works and ventured into cracking and coding as far as I could. I then found the money to buy an A500. I had it for less than 3 years, but they were the best most usefull years of my computer experience. A500 brought good games, nice graphics, astounding sound, robust dos capabilities (though different with PCs) and a lot of space for programming and experiencing. I learned a lot on Amiga workbench, arrex, basic, pascal, C and of course assemblers. I was a DeluxPaint maniac and did nice works. I even earned money teaching depaint tricks to video-mixers and graphic designers. I worked with Real 3D and vide effects software (e.g. Scalla...) and gained the required skills later used on 3Ds Max 2. For me the A500 was a jump-pad to an extensive and deep world of computing and programming. I am for ever grateful to A500. I never got another Amiga for by the time the company went out of business, and then I WAS FORCED TO CHANGE TO A 80486 PC. Torisoft out!
Dan Wolak on Thursday, July 9, 2009 I owned one from 1988-1996. Until about 1991, this machine was definitely considered most bang-for-the-buck and had the graphics and sound quality to compete with much-higher priced Macs and PCs of the time. The problem was, it was difficult to upgrade and the upgrades that were available were a bit expensive. There were some awesome games released for this machine though. Who can forget "It came from the desert", "Blood money", "The Killing Game Show", "Shadow of the beast", "Wings", etc...
Michael Evans on Thursday, April 24, 2008 I disagree that A500 was "the most underwhelming" feature wise. It had all the features of the A1000 - plus ROM-based kickstart - in a much smaller "all-in-one" case at less than half the price of the A1000 (...not to say the A1000 wasn't awesome). If you consider the competition at the time, I'd say the A500 was probably the computer with the "biggest-bang-for-the-buck" of all time.
I'm actually using a real A500 to type this, so maybe I'm a bit biased. ;)
Jay M. on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 With a multitude of really cool games for the Amiga 500, this was the last "fun" computer I owned before finally giving in and buying a "real" computer (PC).