amiga 500

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Boot screen the Amiga 500 


Introduced January 1987
Discontinued ???
Release Price $595.95


      The Amiga 500 was introduced in January of 1987 along with the Amiga 2000. It was designed to bring the powerful 32 bit 68000 processor; the same processor used in the Macintosh, into the home computer market previously dominated by the highly successful C-64.

      The two computers were designed to replace the somewhat successful Amiga 1000 introduced in mid 1985. Commodore realized that to crack the highly competitive home market, it would need to lower the price of the A500 to be competitive, the original A1000 sold for a list price of $1295 when it was introduced. Commodore introduced the A500 at a list price of $595.95.

      In order to get down to this the A500 when through some major design changes. The most obvious change was to the computers appearance. The first to go was the detachable keyboard and IBM style CPU box to sit the monitor on. The A500 was made to look more like the C128 with the keyboard placed in a plastic housing and placed on top of the motherboard all in one unit.

      To further cut costs, new custom chips and gate arrays were designed to take over functions previously performed by off the shelf chips. For example, the Agnus chip was redesigned to become the Fat Agnus chip and incorporated all the surrounding support circuitry of the chip. More powerful chips mean less complex, easier to build motherboards.

     Another major change was to put the 'Kickstart' into ROM. The Kickstart is the Amiga's operating system which had previously been disk based for the A1000, and had to be loaded into a specially protected 256k part of RAM called WCS (Writeable Control Store). This was a welcome improvement because the floppy load was time consuming.

      The A500 also came with 512k of user RAM easily expandable to 1 MB with the insertion of a memory cartridge that plugged into a compartment on the underside of the unit. It could also be expanded to maximum of 9 MB through the expansion port on the left side of the unit. There are two game controller ports located on the back of the computer.

      The computer's great graphics capability requires an RGB monitor, in fact there is no hookup for a television or composite color monitor, although it does have a mono output for a hi-res monochrome monitor to do word processing applications. It uses standard RS232 and Centronics parallel printer interfacing and has a built in 3.5 inch - 880k floppy drive on the right side.


System Architecture Ports Data Storage
Data Buss:  
Address Buss:  
L1 Cache:  
L2 Cache:  
2nd Processor:  
No. of Expansion Slots:  
Clock Speed:  
Buss Type:  
Mic Type:  
AirPort Ready:  
Other Ports:  
Tape Drive:  
Disk Drive:  
Floppy Size:  
No. of FD's::  
Int Hard Drive:  
Int HD Size:  
Int HD Interface:  
Int CD Support:  
Orig CD Speed:  
No. of Internl Bays:  
Memory Video and Graphics
Logic Board:  
RAM Slots or Sockets:  
Min - Max RAM:  
Min RAM Speed:  
RAM Sizes:  
Install in Groups of:  
Graphics Processor  
Screen size - columns & rows  
Video on board  
Video RAM  
Max colors  
RGB output  
Composit Video Output  
Screen Resolution  
Sprites or Missles  
Physical Specs. Software Power
Form Factor:  
Gestalt ID:  
Weight (lbs):  
Dimensions (in):  
Addressing Modes:  
Orig SSW:  
Orig Enabler:  
ROM Ver:  
ROM Size:  
Amiga OS Supported  
Max Watts:  
BTU per Hr:  
Freq Range:  
Battery Type:  
Soft Power:  
Pass Through:  
Sound Keyboard Specs.  
Sound Interface Device:  
Sound Generation:  
ADSR Capable:  
Sound Output:  
Sound Input:  
Number of keys:  
Built In:  
Upper / Lower case  


System Architecture



Microprocessor 68000   Standard on system board 1 MB
Clock speed 7.14 MHz   Maximum on system board 1 MB
Bus type CBM proprietary   Maximum total memory 9 MB sidecar
Data bus width 16-bit   Memory speed and type 120ns dynamic ram
Address bus width 24-bit   System board memory socket type ???
Interrupt levels N/A   Number of memory module sockets ???
DMA channels N/A   Memory used on system board ???

Standard Features


Disk Storage

ROM size 256k   Internal disk and tape drive bays 1 - 3.5 inch
Optional math coprocessor 68881   Standard floppy drives 1 - 3.5 inch 880k
Parallel port type yes   Optional floppy drives: external
RS232C serial ports yes   * 5 1/4 inch 360k optional
Mouse ports yes - joystick   * 5 1/4 inch 1.2MB optional
UART chip used N/A   * 3 1/2 inch 880k 1 standard
Maximum speed N/A   * 3 1/2 inch 1.44MB No
CMOS real time clock yes   * 3 1/2 inch 2.88MB No
CMOS RAM yes   Hard disk controller included No

Video & Graphics



Graphics Processor Fat Agnus, Denise, Paula   Sound Interface device  
Screen size - Col x Rows 80 x 25   Sound generation  
Resolution - Colors/High 4 - 640 x 200 pixels   ADSR capable ???
Resolution - Colors/Low 256 - 320 x 200 pixels      
Max colors 4096   Programming language  
Sprites or Missiles ???   Built in language Amiga Basic / CLI
      Built in M L monitor no

Expansion Slots


Keyboard Specs.

Total adapter slots 1   Number of keys 95
Number of 8/16/32 bit slots 0/0/1   Upper/lower case yes/yes
      Keyboard cable length N/A

Physical Specs.


Environmental Specs.

* Height inches   Operating voltage @ 60 Hz 117 VAC
* Width inches   Maximum power supplied  
* Depth inches   Power supply output - volts N/A
* Weight pounds   Power supply output - amps N/A