Commodore  Amiga 1000
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Commodore 1000

In 1985, Commodore introduced the Amiga 1000, the first personal computer created by Commodore in the Amiga line. It combined the popular 68000 processor with top of the line graphics and sound capabilities.

The Amiga architecture is built around Motorola's 68000 processor. The Amiga 1000 came standard with 256KByte of RAM, expandable to 9MByte. The RAM was devided into Chip RAM and Fast RAM. The Chip RAM was accessible by the Video and Sound Chip, and the Fast RAM was accessible by the CPU.

The Amiga could be connected to a monitor, but also to a TV set. The Amiga 1000 came in a case that had room to store the separate keyboard when not in use. The Amiga 1000 did not, like later models, have the AmigaOS in ROM, but it was loaded from floppy disk into a special Writable Control Store, a daughterboard with 256KByte RAM that after loading the OS remains write protected. Commodore chose this route because its AmigaOS was rather buggy and needed constant upgrades. Had the OS been baked into ROM, upgrading it would have been an expensive and technical challenging undertaking for it's users.

Graphics Capabilities, provided by the Denise Sound Chip.

  • 320x200 in 32 colors (320x256 on PAL versions)
  • 640x400 in 16 colors (640x512 on PAL versions)
  • Planar graphics with up to five bit planes.
  • Colors come from a 4096 color palette
  • Extra half-brite mode for 32 additional colors at half brightness
  • HAM (Hold And Modify) mode allowing 4096 colors simultaneous

Amiga had 8 hardware sprites, each is 16 pixels wide, by unlimited height, in 4 colours (3+transparent)

  • Sprites 1&2 take their palette from Colours 16,17,18,19 (16 is ignored.. transparent)
  • Sprites 3&4 take their palette from Colours 20,21,22,23 (20 is ignored.. transparent)
  • Sprites 5&6 take their palette from Colours 24,25,26,27 (24 is ignored.. transparent)
  • Sprites 7&8 take their palette from Colours 28,29,30,31 (16 is ignored.. transparent)
2 sprites can be combined, by setting their positions to the same place, and setting the "attach" bit in the control word. This gives you a 16 colour sprite that uses from colours 16 to 31 (although again, 16 is treated as transparent)

Motorola 68000 CPU Family

The Motorola 68000 is a 16/32-bit microprocessor that was first released in 1979. It was widely used in computers and other electronic devices during the 1980s and early 1990s. The 68000 was known for its advanced architecture, which included a 32-bit internal bus and a 24-bit address bus, allowing it to access up to 16 megabytes of memory. This made it more powerful than many other processors of its time, such as the Intel 8086 and Zilog Z80. It was also designed to be highly modular and expandable, with a large number of on-chip and off-chip peripherals.

Some of the most famous and successful computers that used the 68000 was the Commodore Amiga and the Atari ST, both of which were popular in the home and personal computer markets. Additionally, it was also used in workstations, such as the Sun 3 and Apollo DN3000, and in a wide variety of embedded systems and industrial control systems. The 68000 was also used in the Macintosh, the first model of the Macintosh was powered by a Motorola 68000 CPU. The processor was eventually succeeded by the 68020 and 68030, which offered improved performance and additional features.

The 68000 has a 32-bit instruction set, with 32-bit registers and a 16-bit internal data bus. The address bus is 24-bit and does not use memory segmentation, making it easier to address memory. There are three ALU's (Arithmetic Logic Unit), two for calculating addresses, and one for data, and the chip has a 16-bit external address bus.

The 68000 architecture was expanded with 32-bit ALUs, and caches. Here is a list with some 680x0 versions and their major improvements:

  • 68010 - Virtual memory support
  • 68020 - 32-bit ALU & Instruction Cache
  • 68030 - On-Chip MMU, 2x 256 byte cache
  • 68040 - 2x 4K Cache, 6 stage pipeline, FPU
  • 68LC040 - No Floating Point Unit (FPU)
  • 68060 - 2x 8K Cache, 10 stage pipelinet

Technical Details
Released 1985 Brand Commodore Type Commodore Amiga Desktops Name Amiga 1000 CPU Class 68000 CPU Motorola 68000 @7.16MHz Memory RAM: 256kB
RAM max: 8MB
Sound Chip Paula - 4 DMA-driven 8-bit PCM channels Sound 4x8-bit channels @28 kHz stereo Display Chip Denise Display 16.8 million color palette, with 262,144 simultanuous. Best Color 12-bit color, 4096 simultanuous Best Graphics 640x400 interlaced (640x512 on PAL) Sprites 8 16pixel wide/scanline 3 colors System OS AmigaOS 1.0 Storage Internal 3.5" Floppy Disk Drive. Original Price $1295
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Amiga  1000 (1985)
Related Media
68' Micro Journal
Magazine devoted to the 68xx user
Commodore Magazine
Magazine for the Commodore 64/128/Amiga
Happy Computer
Das Grosse Heimcomputer-Magazin
MC Micro Computer
Una delle riviste storiche di informatica in Italia
Moj Micro
Slovenian Computer Magazine
World Wide Web Links
Wikipedia: Motorola 68000 CPU Family
WikiPedia page on the Motorola 68000 series of processors