Route 64 User's Guide
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Commodore 64 Basics

This chapter explains the terminology used around the Commodore 64 and Route 64.


The Commodore 64 supported two types of persistent storage, either casette tape or 5 1/4 inch floppy disks. The tape device was called Datasette and was notoriously unrelieable. The floppy disk device was called the Commodore 1541 floppy drive. It supported single-sided, low density floppies holding around 160k worth of data. While the 1541 was a bit expensive – it cost about the same as the Commodore 64 itself – it developed to the normal storage device that most people owned. Later there where additional periphereals that supported larger disk sizes like the Commodore 1571 but these never reached the same level of acceptance like the 1541.

These peripherals are simulated in Route 64 behind the scenes, Route 64 is equipped with a Datasette and a floppy drive out of the box. The visible concept is the attachment of an image file to the emulator. The image files are available on the internet and implicitely define the type of periphery. For example the wiedly used .d64 files represent a Commodore 1541 disk image, while .t64 files are Datasette tape images.

Commodore 64 Chips

Internally the Commodore had some custom chips that were developed by MOS Technologies, a chip factory owned by Commodore. The most prominent chips in the Commodore 64 were the VIC and the SID. VIC was short for Video Interface Chip, a friendly name for a chip originally called MOS65xx. This chip was repsonsible for the impressive graphics capabilities of the 64.

SID stood for Sound Interface Device, officially named MOS 65xx, which was responsible for the sound. The sound capabilities were similarly impressive as the graphics capabilities.

Other chips that sometimes are referred to are the CIA chips. CIA is Complex Input/Output Adapter and the 64 had a pair of them, being responsible for a range of tasks including keyboard input, timer interrupts and joystick handling.

Last modified: 2004/05/25CommentsCopyright © 2006 Michael G. Logo