Unveiling the Timeless Excellence of the Commodore 128D: A Vintage Computing Gem

128d commodore

The Commodore 128D: A Remarkable Piece of Computing History

In the realm of vintage computers, the Commodore 128D holds a special place. Released in 1985 as an upgraded version of the popular Commodore 128, the 128D brought a range of improvements and innovations that made it a standout in its era.

One of the most notable features of the Commodore 128D was its sleek design. Encased in a stylish cream-colored casing, this computer exuded elegance and sophistication. Its compact form factor made it suitable for both home and office use, fitting seamlessly into any environment.

Underneath its visually appealing exterior, the Commodore 128D boasted impressive technical specifications. Equipped with a Zilog Z80 processor running at 4 MHz, it provided compatibility with CP/M software, opening up a whole new world of applications to users. Additionally, it featured an upgraded version of the BASIC programming language, which further expanded its capabilities.

One standout feature that set the Commodore 128D apart from its predecessors was its built-in 1571 disk drive. This dual-sided floppy drive offered enhanced performance and storage capacity compared to previous models. With support for both CP/M and Commodore DOS formats, users could easily access their favorite software and games.

The keyboard on the Commodore 128D was also worth mentioning. With full-travel mechanical keys, typing on this machine was a satisfying experience. The inclusion of dedicated function keys and cursor control keys further enhanced usability and productivity.

Another noteworthy aspect of the Commodore 128D was its expandability. It featured two cartridge slots on top that allowed users to add additional functionality and software without any hassle. Whether it was adding memory expansions or utilizing specialty cartridges like MIDI interfaces or networking adapters, this computer provided ample room for customization.

Despite being released during a time when IBM-compatible PCs were gaining popularity, the Commodore 128D managed to carve out its own niche. Its unique combination of compatibility, performance, and expandability made it a favorite among enthusiasts, educators, and professionals alike.

Today, the Commodore 128D stands as a cherished relic of computing history. It serves as a reminder of the innovative spirit that defined the era and continues to captivate collectors and retro computing enthusiasts worldwide. Whether you’re a seasoned computer aficionado or simply curious about the evolution of technology, the Commodore 128D is undoubtedly an intriguing piece to explore.

In conclusion, the Commodore 128D remains a remarkable testament to the ingenuity of its creators. Its sleek design, technical prowess, and expandability make it a standout in the world of vintage computers. As we look back on this iconic machine, we can’t help but appreciate its contributions to computing history and its enduring appeal among enthusiasts who continue to celebrate its legacy.


Frequently Asked Questions about the 128d Commodore: History, Cost, Features, Software Compatibility, Connectivity, Pre-installed Games, Accessories, and Upgrades

  1. What is the history of the 128d Commodore?
  2. How much does a 128d Commodore cost?
  3. What are the features and specifications of a 128d Commodore?
  4. What type of software can be used with a 128d Commodore?
  5. How do I connect my 128d Commodore to my computer?
  6. Does a 128d Commodore come with any pre-installed games or programs?
  7. Are there any accessories available for a 128d Commodore?
  8. Is it possible to upgrade or repair a 128d Commodore?

What is the history of the 128d Commodore?

The Commodore 128D, an upgraded version of the popular Commodore 128, was introduced by Commodore International in 19

It was part of the company’s efforts to further expand its line of home computers and cater to a diverse range of users.

The development of the Commodore 128D can be traced back to the original Commodore 128, which was released in 1985 as a successor to the highly successful Commodore

The Commodore 128 aimed to offer improved performance and compatibility while maintaining backward compatibility with its predecessor.

Commodore recognized the need for a more compact and integrated design for their next iteration, leading to the creation of the Commodore 128D. The “D” in its name stood for “Desktop,” highlighting its suitability for both home and office environments.

One significant improvement in the Commodore 128D was the inclusion of an integrated disk drive. Unlike its predecessor, which required an external disk drive, the 128D featured a built-in dual-sided floppy drive known as the 15

This enhanced storage capacity and convenience for users who could now access their software and data without additional peripherals.

Another notable enhancement was the inclusion of a Zilog Z80 processor alongside the native MOS Technology 8502 processor. This addition allowed compatibility with CP/M software, a popular operating system at that time. Users could switch between CP/M mode and native mode, expanding their options for software and applications.

The keyboard design on the Commodore 128D also underwent improvements. It featured full-travel mechanical keys that provided a satisfying typing experience. The addition of dedicated function keys and cursor control keys further enhanced usability and productivity.

Despite its advancements, the Commodore 128D faced tough competition from IBM-compatible PCs that were gaining popularity during that era. As a result, it didn’t achieve as much commercial success as its predecessor or some other computer models on the market.

However, the Commodore 128D remains highly regarded among retro computing enthusiasts and collectors today. Its unique combination of compatibility, performance, and expandability has made it a sought-after piece of computing history.

In conclusion, the Commodore 128D was an upgraded version of the Commodore 128 that brought significant improvements in design, integrated disk drive capabilities, and expanded compatibility. While it didn’t achieve widespread commercial success, its legacy lives on as a cherished relic of computing history and continues to captivate those with an appreciation for vintage computers.

How much does a 128d Commodore cost?

The price of a Commodore 128D can vary depending on various factors such as its condition, included accessories, and the current demand in the market. Since the Commodore 128D is considered a vintage computer, its price can fluctuate significantly.

On online marketplaces and auction websites, you may find listings ranging from around $200 to $600 or more for a fully functional and well-preserved Commodore 128D. However, it’s important to note that these prices are approximate and subject to change.

If you’re interested in purchasing a Commodore 128D, it’s recommended to research different sellers and platforms to get an idea of the current market value. Additionally, factors such as the presence of original packaging, peripherals, or additional software can also influence the price.

Remember that when buying vintage computers or electronics, it’s crucial to thoroughly assess the condition and authenticity of the item before making a purchase. It’s advisable to buy from reputable sellers who provide detailed information about the product and offer buyer protection options.

Ultimately, the cost of a Commodore 128D will depend on various factors, so conducting thorough research and comparing prices will help you make an informed decision.

What are the features and specifications of a 128d Commodore?

The Commodore 128D was a notable computer released in 1985, offering several features and specifications that set it apart from its predecessors. Here are some of the key features and specifications of the Commodore 128D:

  1. Design: The Commodore 128D featured a sleek and compact design with a cream-colored casing, giving it an elegant appearance suitable for both home and office use.
  2. Processor: It was powered by a Zilog Z80 processor running at 4 MHz, providing compatibility with CP/M software.
  3. Memory: The computer came with 128 kilobytes (KB) of RAM, which could be expanded up to 640 KB using additional memory modules.
  4. Operating Systems: It supported multiple operating systems, including Commodore BASIC 7.0, which provided enhanced programming capabilities, as well as CP/M, allowing users to run a wide range of software.
  5. Built-in Disk Drive: One standout feature of the Commodore 128D was its built-in dual-sided floppy disk drive, the 1571. This drive offered improved performance and storage capacity compared to previous models.
  6. Keyboard: The Commodore 128D featured a full-travel mechanical keyboard with dedicated function keys and cursor control keys for ease of use and productivity.
  7. Graphics and Sound: It supported high-resolution graphics modes with up to 16 colors on-screen simultaneously. The computer also had built-in sound capabilities for generating music and sound effects.
  8. Expandability: The Commodore 128D featured two cartridge slots on top that allowed users to add additional functionality or software without any hassle. This expandability made it possible to customize the computer according to individual needs.
  9. Ports and Connectivity: It included various ports such as serial, parallel, joystick ports, as well as RGB video output for connecting external peripherals like printers, modems, joysticks, monitors, and more.
  10. Compatibility: The Commodore 128D maintained compatibility with its predecessor, the Commodore 64, allowing users to run a vast library of software and games.

These features and specifications made the Commodore 128D a versatile and powerful machine for its time. Its compatibility with CP/M, expandability options, built-in disk drive, and sleek design contributed to its popularity among computer enthusiasts, educators, and professionals. Even today, the Commodore 128D remains a beloved relic of computing history cherished by retro computing enthusiasts worldwide.

What type of software can be used with a 128d Commodore?

The Commodore 128D, being a versatile computer, supports a wide range of software applications. Here are some of the software types that can be used with a Commodore 128D:

  1. Operating Systems: The Commodore 128D is compatible with various operating systems, including its native Commodore DOS (CBM DOS) and CP/M (Control Program/Monitor). These operating systems provide a foundation for running other software applications.
  2. Productivity Software: The Commodore 128D supports productivity software such as word processors, spreadsheets, and databases. Popular software titles like GeoWrite, GeoCalc, and GeoFile were specifically developed for the GEOS graphical user interface on the Commodore 128 series.
  3. Programming Languages: The Commodore 128D offers support for programming languages like BASIC (Commodore BASIC V7), which is built into the machine’s ROM. BASIC allows users to write their own programs and create custom applications.
  4. Educational Software: Many educational programs were developed for the Commodore 128D, making it an excellent tool for learning purposes. Educational software covered various subjects including math, science, language arts, and geography.
  5. Games: The Commodore 128D has an extensive library of games available for entertainment purposes. From classic text adventures to graphic-intensive games, there is a wide variety of titles to choose from that can be loaded from floppy disks or cassette tapes.
  6. Graphics and Music Software: Graphics and music enthusiasts can enjoy software designed specifically for creating artwork or composing music on the Commodore 128D. Programs like KoalaPainter and Music Construction Set allowed users to explore their creative side.
  7. Communication Software: With the appropriate hardware peripherals such as modems or network adapters, the Commodore 128D can connect to bulletin board systems (BBS) or even early online services for email and file transfers.

It’s worth noting that the availability of specific software titles may vary, as the Commodore 128D was released in the mid-1980s. However, thanks to the dedicated Commodore community and online resources, enthusiasts can still find a wide range of software applications, including emulators and disk images, that are compatible with the Commodore 128D today.

How do I connect my 128d Commodore to my computer?

To connect your Commodore 128D to a modern computer, you will need a few additional components and cables. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Identify the Ports: The Commodore 128D has several ports on the back. The most common way to connect it to a modern computer is through the serial port, also known as the RS-232 port.
  2. Obtain a Serial to USB Adapter: Since most modern computers do not have serial ports, you will need a serial to USB adapter. This adapter converts the serial signal from your Commodore 128D into a USB signal that your computer can recognize.
  3. Install Drivers: Before connecting the adapter, make sure you have installed any necessary drivers for it on your computer. These drivers can usually be found on the manufacturer’s website or included with the adapter.
  4. Connect the Adapter: Plug one end of the serial to USB adapter into the serial port on your Commodore 128D, and then connect the USB end of the adapter to an available USB port on your computer.
  5. Power On: Turn on your Commodore 128D and ensure that it is functioning properly.
  6. Configure Terminal Software: To establish communication between your Commodore 128D and computer, you will need terminal software installed on your computer. There are various options available, such as PuTTY (for Windows) or CoolTerm (for macOS).
  7. Configure Terminal Settings: Open your terminal software and configure its settings according to the specifications of your Commodore 128D. Typically, this includes selecting the correct baud rate (usually 2400 or 9600), data bits (8), stop bits (1), and parity (none).
  8. Establish Connection: Once you have configured the terminal software settings, establish a connection by clicking “Connect” or similar in your chosen terminal software.
  9. Test Communication: To verify that communication has been established, type a command or send a message from your computer to the Commodore 128D. You should see the response on your terminal software screen.

By following these steps, you should be able to connect your Commodore 128D to your modern computer and establish communication between the two. Enjoy exploring the capabilities of this vintage computer!

Does a 128d Commodore come with any pre-installed games or programs?

Yes, the Commodore 128D typically came with a few pre-installed games and programs. While the specific bundled software may vary depending on the region and time of purchase, here are some examples of software that were commonly included:

  1. GEOS: The Commodore 128D often came with GEOS (Graphic Environment Operating System) pre-installed. GEOS was a graphical user interface (GUI) for the Commodore 64 and 128 series, providing a more user-friendly environment for tasks such as word processing, drawing, and file management.
  2. BASIC Programming Language: The Commodore 128D included an upgraded version of the BASIC programming language called “BASIC 7.0.” This powerful programming language allowed users to create their own programs and games.
  3. Demo Programs: The computer often came loaded with demo programs that showcased the capabilities of the hardware, such as graphics demos or music players.
  4. Educational Software: Some versions of the Commodore 128D included educational software designed to help users learn various subjects, such as math or typing skills.
  5. Games: While not all models had games pre-installed, some versions did include a few games to enjoy right out of the box. Popular titles like “Space Taxi,” “Gyruss,” or “Jumpman” were sometimes bundled with the computer.

It’s important to note that these bundled software offerings varied depending on factors like region and specific bundles offered by retailers at the time of purchase. Additionally, users could always add more software by utilizing external disk drives or cartridges compatible with the Commodore 128D system.

Are there any accessories available for a 128d Commodore?

Yes, there were several accessories available for the Commodore 128D that allowed users to enhance their computing experience. Here are a few notable accessories:

  1. External Floppy Drives: While the Commodore 128D came with a built-in 1571 disk drive, users had the option to connect additional external floppy drives. This expanded storage capacity and allowed for easy data transfer between disks.
  2. RAM Expansion Units: The Commodore 128D had built-in memory, but users could further expand its capabilities with RAM expansion units. These units plugged into the expansion port and provided additional memory for running more complex programs or multitasking.
  3. Modems: Modems were popular accessories for the Commodore 128D, allowing users to connect to bulletin board systems (BBS) and access online services. Modems enabled communication and file transfer over telephone lines, opening up a world of online connectivity.
  4. Printers: Various dot matrix printers were compatible with the Commodore 128D, allowing users to print documents, graphics, and even colorful banners. These printers connected via serial or parallel ports and offered both monochrome and color printing options.
  5. MIDI Interfaces: For those interested in music production or MIDI-based applications, MIDI interfaces were available for the Commodore 128D. These interfaces allowed users to connect musical instruments and control software synthesizers or record compositions.
  6. Networking Adapters: Networking adapters provided a way to connect multiple Commodore computers together in a local area network (LAN). These adapters facilitated file sharing, multiplayer gaming, and collaborative work environments.
  7. Joysticks and Controllers: To enhance gaming experiences on the Commodore 128D, various joysticks and controllers were available. From simple joysticks to more advanced gamepads with multiple buttons, these accessories added excitement to gaming sessions.

These are just a few examples of the accessories that were available for the Commodore 128D. The wide range of options allowed users to customize their computing setup based on their specific needs and interests, enhancing the overall functionality and enjoyment of the system.

Is it possible to upgrade or repair a 128d Commodore?

Yes, it is possible to upgrade and repair a Commodore 128D. While the original components and parts may be difficult to find due to the computer’s age, there are still options available for enthusiasts and collectors who wish to keep their Commodore 128D in working condition or enhance its capabilities.

Here are some common upgrades and repairs that can be done on a Commodore 128D:

  1. Memory Upgrades: The Commodore 128D initially came with 128KB of RAM, but it can be expanded by adding memory expansion cartridges or internal memory upgrades. This allows for more complex programs and games to run smoothly.
  2. Disk Drive Repair/Replacement: If the built-in disk drive is not functioning properly, it can be repaired or replaced. There are still refurbished or new-old-stock (NOS) disk drives available for purchase online that can be installed in the Commodore 128D.
  3. Keyboard Maintenance: Over time, the keyboard may develop issues such as stuck keys or unresponsive buttons. Cleaning the keyboard contacts or replacing faulty key switches can help restore functionality.
  4. Power Supply Replacement: Like many vintage computers, power supplies in the Commodore 128D may fail due to age. Replacing the power supply with a modern equivalent or refurbishing the original one can ensure stable power delivery.
  5. Video Output Enhancement: Some enthusiasts may choose to modify their Commodore 128D’s video output to improve display quality on modern monitors or TVs. This can involve adding composite video outputs or RGB modifications.
  6. Expansion Port Upgrades: The expansion port on the back of the Commodore 128D allows for various peripherals and enhancements. Users can add devices like networking adapters, MIDI interfaces, accelerators, or even create custom hardware expansions.

It’s important to note that while many upgrades and repairs are possible, they require technical knowledge and expertise in working with vintage electronics. It’s recommended to consult forums, online communities, or seek assistance from experienced individuals who specialize in Commodore repairs and upgrades.

By investing time and effort into upgrading or repairing a Commodore 128D, enthusiasts can breathe new life into this iconic computer and continue enjoying its unique capabilities for years to come.