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Who wrote this stuff?
This trivia was originally written by Jim Brain as part of the now long defunct C= Hacking Magazine, but happily Jim has kindly agreed to let me reproduce it in HTML-ized format for retro computing fans everywhere.

If you are interested in seeing the Commodore Trivia digests in their original form, take a look at this website.

For those who are interested, these pages were generated from the original text files using Perl and Velocity (and a nice template originally found here)


	How many keys were there on the "original" PET and what was special
        about them?

	the original PET had 73 calculator-style keys that were laid out
        in a rectangular matrix, not typewriter-style.

	How do you produce the "hidden" message(s) on the Commodore 128?

	SYS 32800,123,45,6.  The screen will clear, and the software
        and hardware developers on the 128 project will be named.
        The exact text is as follows:
[RVS]   Brought to you by...
 Fred Bowen
 Terry Ryan
 Von Ertwine
 Bil Herd
 Dave Haynie
 Frank Palaia
[RVS]Link arms,don't make them.

	How much memory did the "original" PET show on bootup?

	The "original" PET came in two configurations, 4K and 8K, so:
          The PET 2001-4 had 3071 bytes.
          The PET 2001-8 had 7167 bytes.

	We all know the "reboot" sys for the 64 is sys 64738, but who knows
        the same sys location to reboot the CBM 8032?

	sys 64790

	Which computer(s) beeped at bootup?  (May be more than one, but only
        one required)

	I know some of these are corect, but the sheer size of the
        list prevents me from checking them ALL out.
        FAT 40XX series
        80XX series
        PC-10  (I suspect a number of IBM clones did, and these things have
                no consistent naming convention across country boundaries.)
        Amiga 1000
        SP9000 (SuperPET)

	How much memory did the CBM 8032 show on bootup?

	31743 bytes.

	Certain Commodore computers provided emtpy EPROM sockets on the
        motherboard.  Give me the number of empty sockets on the following
        a)  CBM 30XX.
        b)  CBM 8XXX.
        c)  CBM C128.
        d)  Plus/4.

	a)  3 sockets.
        b)  2 sockets.
        c)  1 socket.
        d)  1 socket.

	In Germany, the CBM 8032 came with a 4kB EPROM for the EXXX area,
        while the US version only had a 2kB EPROM.  Why?

	The German version had additional keybaord drivers for umlaut
        characters and dead keys.  

	Who published the first PET memory map in the "PET Gazette"?

	None other than the infamous Jim Butterfield.

	Which is faster to move the cursor on a PET/CBM or C64: SYS or 

	PRINT is faster, since the sys approach must process the pokes
        before the sys, which are very slow.

	On the Amiga 1000, where are the signatures of the first Amiga
        developers located?

	Inside the top case of the Amiga (1000).
        There is an interesting footnote to this question.  It seems
        that at least some original Amiga machines were labeled as
        Amiga (with no number).  Then, at some later point, the number was
        added.  In addition, Commodore produced some Amiga 1000 machines
        without the signatures, but most had the telltale handwriting on
        the inside of the case.  

	On the 6502, what does the accumulator contain after the following
        is executed:
        lda #$aa
        adc #01

	Assume carry was clear.  If so, then $11 is the coprrect answer. 

	What is the model number of the US NTSC VIC-II chip?

	Its first number was 6567, and that is the number most people know
        it by, but Commodore produced a VIC-II using a new manufacturing 
        process that was numbered the 8562. 

	What is the European PAL VIC-II chip's model number?
        (Not sure if that's its rightful term, but I hope you understand).

	Same here.  The part number 6569 is the most remembered number, but
        an 8565 will work as well.

	Assume you have two computers, one with each of the above chips inside.
        Which chip draws more pixels on the screen per second?

	Note, for the purposes of the calculation I am performing, "pixels"
        refers to picture elements that can be adddress and modified using
        normal VIC modes, so there are 320*200 "pixels" on both the PAL
        and NTSC screens.  (I probably should have stated this, but it is
        too late now.)  Also, the screen refresh rates used in the 
        calculations are those defined by the respective television
        standards (60Hz U.S., 50Hz European), even though the actual
        frequencies are off by a small percentage. (for example, the actual
        50Hz refresh rate on European VIC-II chips was calculates as 
        50.124567Hz by Andreas Boose)
        So, the PAL draws 320*200*50 pixels per second = 3200000 pixels/s
        NTSC draws 320*200*60 pixels per second = 3840000 pixles/s
        Now, some people thought I meant the whole screen, not just the 
        display area provided by the VIC-II chip.  Well, I am not sure
        exactly you calculate pixels on a screen, since the numbers could
        vary from display to display, but if we measure in scanlines:
        PAL = 312 scanlines * 50 = 15600 scanlines/s
        NTSC = 262 scanlines * 60 = 15720 scanlines/s
        The NTSC machines wins both ways.  

	In Commodore BASIC, which statement executes faster:
        a = 2--2
        a = 2+2

	b is the correct answer, and there are a couple of reasons why:
        1) 2--2 takes longer to parse in the BASIC interpreter.
        2) Commodore BASIC subtracts by complementing the sign of the
           second number and adding.  This incurs extra time.
        There are even more subtle ones, but I leave them as an
        exercise for the reader.  Send me your reason why.

Jim Brain
[email protected]
10710 Bruhn Avenue
Bennington, NE  68007
(402) 431-7754


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