Many view the C128 as the pinnacle of the 8 bit era. A computer
that was indeed three computers in one and machine that could
finally fulfil Commodore's promise to run CP/M.
The C128 when first switched on boots in to it's native 128 mode.
which has sharp RGBI video output, 128K memory, 2mHz 8502 CPU and
advanced BASIC 7.0. The computer also fixed the serial port making it
as fast as possible.
If the machine is turned on with the CP/M disk in the drive it
switches over to its 1-4mHz Z80 processor becoming a business
computer capable of running many established business titles.
Finally with a particular key pressed on boot the computer fires
up using the 6510 emulation mode of the 8502 processor to run in
Commodore 64 mode.
With the C128 and also the desktop versions complete with 1571
floppy drive, Commodore pretty much saved the best to last. With
the Amiga about to crash onto the scene for Commodore I guess the
engineers wanted to show just what they could do. The 128 may not
be the greatest 8-bit computer released, but it shows an art and
a skill of a truly dedicated engineering and software staff to
deliver a refined machine at a time when sadly the party was all
but over. With this machine you can almost sense a sigh of relief
that they finally made it and now could just sit back and have a
well earned rest. A case of going out with guns blazing.
There were a number of further developments of note still to come
but I sense with these machines the true Commodore 8-bit staff
could finally say that their work here was done. And so the stage
was cleared finally for the Amiga, and reflecting on what that
meant I sense maybe sombre recognition of the end of an era, and
a realisation that this was about as good as it ever was going get.
For me I just love the 128 basically cus I'm a CP/M nutter. The
desktop is the way forward given the integral floppy drive. However
it saddens me to say that if I had a choice for my CP/M provider
it would have to be the Amstrad 6128. As for the floppy well the
1571 is still the best of the best. It offers a lovely large flat
area next to your C64 that supports your disks or the datassette.
It is smooth, quiet and works without fault. These last bastions
of Commodore's 8 bit wizardry may not have set the world alight,
but when you are up against the Amiga , I think they made a good
show all the same. It would be interesting to see what would have
happened if the Amiga had not arrived. Who knows.
For now here is the 128 and 1571 in all their glory. Collecting
has truly never been as much fun as when I put together my Commodore
floppy drive collection. These final servings were a fine end to
what I still view as a most valuable time in the history of the
home computer. Commodore provide continuity from the beginning to
the end of the 8-bit era and managed to survive throughout that
period. The era of the Amiga was not going to be so lucky. So sad.