03/21/2001: First edition of page. >>>

commodore 128:

Commodore 128.

quick facts

Overview Photograph
Commdore 128 keyboard
Commodore 128 ports
Model or Part # C128
My unit's vintage Serial #CA1639689, made in November 1985.
CPU MOS 6510 for Commodore 64 compatibility mode (and native C128 mode) and a Z-80 for CP/M mode.
Memory 128K RAM.
Operating System CBM BASIC V7.0 in ROM. Also supports CP/M.
Ports Commodore serial port (for printer, disk drives and other peripherals), cartridge port (not compatible with other Commodore models), video out (compatible with all the other 8-bit Commodores), two 9-pin digital joystick/paddles/light pen port (Atari standard), proprietary cassette recorder port (compatible with C64/C128), TTL RGBI video out, and user port (used mostly for modems and third-party printer interfaces).
Video/audio output NTSC (PAL in PAL markets) and separate audio on a proprietary DIN connector. Also has inbuilt RF modulator for direct TV connection.

The C128 supports all the usual Commodore 64 text and graphics modes, and also allows 80x25 text on a digital (CGA) monitor attached to the RGBI port.
Available peripherals Almost all of the peripherals intended for the Commodore 64 also work with the C128. Common peripherals are the VIC-1540 or VIC-1541 floppy drive, the VIC-1525 printer, the VIC-1530 (C2N) data cassette recorder and various joysticks, paddles etc.

Commodore also had two drives specifically designed for use with the C128 - the single-sided 1570 and the double-sided 1571. Both of these drives supported MFM encoding as well as Commodore's standard GCR format, allowing these drives to read and write CP/M and MS-DOS disks.

The C128 is a kind of "64 pro edition". It is essentially a CP/M machine (with a Zilog Z-80 processor) that has an entire Commodore 64 built into it!

The machine has three modes of operation. By default, it boots into C128 mode, which is a kind of enhanced C64 mode (with a more advanced version of BASIC, and more memory). By using the GO 64 command, or holding down the Commodore key at startup, you can boot into C64 mode, which is close to 100% compatible with Commodore 64 software. You can also boot CP/M on the Z-80 processor.

I don't have a lot of information on the C128 at this time; it's not a machine with which I was intimately involved (I read about it when it was a current machine, and I played with them in stores, but I never owned one). I will document this machine better once I have researched it more.

A point to note: The C128 uses the same power supply as the Amiga 500 (and the A570 CDTV-ROM drive, for that matter).


Please see the Commodore 64 emulator page's downloads section for C128 emulator information. The emulators featured there also emulate the C128 (though not all emulate it fully), and ROMs are available from the same source as C64 ROMs. and all original content herein is © Copyright 2001 by Lewin A.R.W. Edwards. "" is a trademark protected under U.S. and international law. Infringement or attempted dilution of the intellectual property rights held by Lewin A.R.W. Edwards will be prosecuted to the fullest possible extent.