Commodore SX-64

Commodore SX-64This portable computer is the Commodore SX-64 and is known as the first portable with a color screen. It was released in 1984 to compete with the Osborne 1 and Compaq Portable but it didn't do a very good job of it. Sales were poor and it was discontinued by 1986. The SX-64 used a MOS 6510 chip and ran at 1.02 MHz. It boasted 64kB RAM and 20kB ROM. It ran slower than both the Compaq Portable and Osborne 1 which didn't help much in marketing the machine.

 

Commodore SX-64

 

The SX-64 has a built in 5 inch screen that used blue text on a white background which was different than other Commodores that had a blue background. Commodore also got rid of the RF and cassette ports on the SX-64. They did this because the SX-64 had a built in 1541 floppy disk drive as well as the monitor so there was no need for external connectivity.

These design differences led to problems between the SX-64 and other Commodore accessories. The standard printer interface was not compatible, some C64 cartridges will not work on the SX-64, and the Commodore Ram Expansion Unit (REU) was not comaptible with ealry version of the SX-64. Later versions from serial number GA4 and on had a larger power supply and could utilize the REU.

 

Commodore SX-64

 

The SX-64 has a cartridge port on the top of the unit and most C64 cartridges could be used. The front of the computer detaches and on the inside of the cover is a keyboard.

Because of the slow processor speed , small screen and compatibility issues it is estimated by some that less than 10,000 SX-64's were ever sold. This is in contrast to about 20 million C64's being sold. Commodore had also announced the DX-64 which was better than the SX-64 so many buyers waited to buy it instead of the SX-64. Apparently they didn't learn from Osborne's similar mistake of announcing upgraded units before the product cycle of the previous unit had run its course.

 

Commodore SX-64 Drive

 

At just over 23 pounds the SX-64 strains the definition of portable. While it does have a rugged carrying handle it does not have a built in battery so it needs to be near an outlet to be plugged in.

 

Commodore SX-64 Back

 

The Commodore SX-64 retailed for $995.00 which was fairly competitive with other portables on the market but far more expensive than the stadard C64. Today they are fairly rare and sell for about $200 to $300 though very nice units have sold for $700.

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