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1980s Computers Explanation of terms
Notes


The Commodore Amiga Range


Amiga 1000
Amiga 1000

Manufacturer

Commodore (US)

Model

Amiga 1000

Date Launched

July 1985

Price

Approx. £1000

Microprocessor type

Motorola 68000 @ 7.16 MHz

ROM size

192 kilobytes

Standard RAM

256 kilobytes

Maximum RAM

512 kilobytes
Up to 8 megabytes with expansion boards.

Keyboard type

Typewriter style

Supplied language

Amiga Workbench user interface.
Programming language was optional.

Text resolution

Up to 80 x 32 characters

Graphics resolution

320 x 200, 320 x 400, 640 x 200, 640 x 400 pixels

Colours available

32 in 320 x ... modes, 16 in 640 x ... modes, from a palette of 4096.
Later models allowed all 4096 colours to be used at once, though with restrictions on the colours of adjacent pixels.

Sound

4 channels in stereo.
Also speech synthesizer.

Cassette load speed

Built-in 3½" disc drive holding 880KB.

Dimensions (mm)
Weight (grams)

Amiga 1000
  • 450 x 330 x 108
  • 5900 (figures for main unit only)
Amiga 600
  • 355 x 240 x 75
  • 2720

Special features

Had three custom designed chips, for graphics, sound and memory management.
The operating system was window based and fully multitasking (better than Microsoft's Windows 3.1 and several years sooner).

Good points

The best graphics of any desktop computer of 1985.
Advanced operating system.

Bad points

Expensive
Some bugs in early versions of Workbench.

How successful?

The Amiga range, particularly the later 500, 600 and 1200 models, were amongst the most popular home computers well into the 1990s. Several million were sold.
Commodore had a $25 million advertising budget for 1985.

Comments

The Amiga's chief architect was Jay Miner, who had previously worked for Atari on the custom chipsets in the 400 and 800 series.
When the Amiga company ran out of money while designing their new machine they were given a loan by Atari, who had intended to incorporate Amiga technology into a new Atari range.
In the event Commodore outbid Atari for the Amiga technology so Atari developed the ST range independently of Amiga, and the Amiga design was bought by Commodore.

The original Amiga 1000 impressed the industry with its capabilities but was a little too expensive for the home market. In April 1987 the Amiga 500 was launched, with 512 KB of RAM, expandable up to 9 megabytes, in a one-box console style design, priced at £600.
Amiga 500

The A500 type sold very well but in early 1992 Commodore replaced it with the A600. This achieved a very compact size by doing away with the numeric keypad and was intended as a low cost model to be used mainly as a games console.
Amiga 600

It seems though that many customers missed the number keys and in late 1992 the A1200 was produced, essentially the same as the A600 but with the numeric pad reinstated and priced at £400.
Amiga 1200



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