The Commodore 64 Turns 30
The Commodore 64 (C64) was an 8-bit home computer that was introduced in January 1982 by Commodore International and began shipping in August 1982. The C64 took its name from its 64 kilobytes (55,535 bytes) of RAM, and had favorable sound and graphics when compared to other more expensive systems back then like the Apple II. It also competed with the Atari 8-bit 400 and 800. Back in the mid 1980s the C64 became the best-selling single personal computer model of all time with sales of nearly 17 million units! The Commodore 64 cost $595, affordable when it came out in 1982. According to the United States Department of Labor that $595 price tag in 1982 is comparable to about $1,415 in 2012 after you factor in inflation.
The machine was hugely successful for its time, helping to encourage personal computing, popularize video games and pioneer homemade computer-created music. Commodore highlighted the fact that since it had designed and manufactured its own chips, it had been able to keep costs down -- and the advantage helped it become the best-selling model in North America. The Commodore's ability to display 16 colors, smoothly scroll graphics and play back music through its superior SID (sound interface device) chip -- even while loading programs off tape -- helped win over fans, but it did not become the market leader until the late 1980s.