Personal Computer Museum, Canada's Videogame Museum

Commodore 64 - Additional Info

Commodore 64

Speed1 MHz
Memory64 KB
Release Date: 1/1/1982
Original Retail Price: $599.00
The 64 went through a number of internal changes and just a few cosmetic ones. The one currently in the museum is the original style, but the Commodore 64C as shown here was a later model that was updated to be more in line with machines at the time in terms of color, and also was a more reliable unit.
Commodore C64C System


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This computer is currently interactive in the Museum.

Commodore 1541 Disk Drive

Commodore 1541 Disk Drive
Release Date: 1/1/1982
Original Retail Price: $399.95
The Commodore 1541 was the most popular disk drive manufactured for the Commodore 64. It was the successor to the 1540 drive (intended for the VIC-20) and actually was a small computer in itself. The DOS (Disk Operating System) resides inside the 1541 and it actually contains a MOS 6502 processor (essentially the same processor inside the C64 itself).

The disk drive used Group Code Recording (GCR). The number of sectors per track varied from 17 to 21 (an early implementation of Zone Bit Recording). The drive's built-in disk operating system was CBM DOS 2.6.

The drive has been criticized as being extremely slow, for reasons that are explained in the book On the Edge: the Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore by Brian Bagnall.

The capacity of the drive is 170 KB per side and it was common for the drive to go out of alignment. The speed problem was partially addressed by a bunch of different "fast load" cartridges and software solutions, with the Epyx Fast Load being the most popular.

User Comments
Jason Gambacort on Sunday, October 1, 2006
This was my first machine, as I'm sure it was for many people. The first game I ever played on the 64 was Lemonade, and the first game to drop my jaw was Summer Games by Epyx. Soon after I joined the BBS revolution and ran my own board, Private Heaven II with custom software written by Syd Bolton. To my knowledge, it was the only BBS running on a 64 in Brant County. Loads of fun... what a great machine!
Brad Ryan on Monday, May 7, 2007
This was the greatest computer ever built and although I have upgraded through the years to an Amiga 2000, then to a 486 , then a Pentium 1 , an athlon 2600, and soon a Core 2 Duo E6600, No computer ever has been as special or exciting to me as the C64. I remember writing games for this machine, researching Basic ( poke, peek, print, goto etc) learning assembler ( LDA , ROL, etc ) and memory adresses ( 32768 , 49152) I forget the name of the magazine that I used to read that was always current about the C64, but I wrote a utility and sent it in to them for publishing. I am now a High School Computer teacher and often tell my students about this computer but it is very hard to have them understand what such an antiquated machine meant to me and why it was great, given that it is so "Lame" compared to what a computer can do for us today. I remember one night staying up all night with my brothers playing Sammy lightfoot, and figuring out all of the levels, or playing Loadrunner for hours and then getting caught inside a window and not being able to escape. I even had the custom Commodore desk that had the spot for the 1541 floppy drive on the side. I took this computer to Queens with me in 1985 and played tons of games with my classmates in teacher's college. Several years ago my wife's school threw away about 30 sets of monitors and c64's including some c128's. By that time I had the emulating software that can run c64 stuff on a PC and thought why keep any of them ( I regret that one a bit ). None of the fancy games of today have ever interested me as much as games like ( Loadrunner, Frantic Freddie, Summer Games, Sammy Lightfoot, Jumpman, BeachHead, Archon, Double Dragon, Moon Patrol, Raid over Moscow, etc ). I could go on and on ... what a great computer. Brad Ryan Computer Teacher
David Slater on Friday, May 18, 2007
Just found this website in the last week or so. Can't believe it has been so long since I had the C64 running none stop, juiced up to the max with the ZIP CHIP, the 256K RAM DRIVE, 3-1/2" and 5-1/4 drives, and GEOS, so I could create the newsletter for the WOODSTOCK COMMODORE USER CLUB! Checking in on the local bulliten board HALEY'S COMMENT. Running up a $100 per month long distance phone bill using my 300 baud modem to call Virginia thru DATA LINK. WOW! And when I saw the C64 on display at SCIENCE NORTH in Sudbury, I really felt old. I'll have to dig it out of the original boxes sometime, and set it back up just for fun. Hope to visit the museum some time too! Thanks for the memorys!
James Alexander on Wednesday, July 18, 2007
One of my first computers also. 1983 and 84 saw an original brown C64 (and atari 600xl) come into my home. Like many of that era, had a paper route to afford the computer. Bought it with with datasette and connected to a little tv. Spent many hours over the summer programming in basic on these machines including many programs from books & magazines
Jeff Robbins on Saturday, July 21, 2007
Couldn't wait every month for the next issue of Compute! so I could have new programs to type in and use! Still have a complete 64 in the basement. Of course, it hasn't been turned on in years, so I have no idea if it is still alive.
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