The Commodore SX-64

The Commodore SX-64, also known as the Executive 64, was the world’s first portable color computer. It was more commonly called “luggable”computer because it weighed 23 pounds. Let’s get the tech specs out of the way:

Introduced: January 1983
Released: January 1984
Weight: 23 pounds
Price: $995 USD
CPU: MOS 6510, 1MHz
Audio: 3 channels
RAM: 64K
Display: built-in 5″ color screen, 40 X 25 text, 320 X 200, 16 colors max
Storage: internal 170K floppy drive, external floppy drive
Ports: S-video, composite video2 joysticks, cartridge port, serial and ‘user’ ports
OS: Commodore BASIC in ROM

I had one back in the glory days of the Commodore. It was gift from my cousin Cliff. He was the guy who really helped really get into computers. He had just gotten his fancy new Commodore 128. I remember it was the first time I saw a 3.5” floppy disk. I was amazed the disk was no longer floppy. When he fired up Defender of the Crown, it blew me away. But I am getting off topic. He “won” it in a card game when he was serving aboard an aircraft carrier during his stint in the Navy. It was a good thing I had a monitor because trying to view the 5” screen for too long would give you such eyestrain. I don’t want anyone complaining how small their netbook screen is or how heavy their laptop is.

I spent hours lying on the floor playing games like Zorro, Space Taxi, and Marble Madness. One year at Christmas I set it up right next to the tree so I could play the games as fast as I could unwrap them. I would take this machine to friends’ houses that did not have a computer preaching the C64 gospel. Later, the cartage door in the top broke and the pins in the cable that connected the keyboard to the computer bent. It was the end of an era. I moved on to a PC clone and DOS. Many more fun times lay ahead, but none quite as magical as that luggable box provided. It was 2004 before I got another portable computer.

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drquest

Who knew living in the 80's would lead to writing and podcasting about them 30 years later?
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7 thoughts on “The Commodore SX-64

  1. Vinvectrex says:

    I always wanted this particular machine. I envisioned traveling all over with it – at a point in my younger days when both computers and air travel seemed exotic. Thanks for providing a great overview of this fantastic machine!

  2. Vinvectrex says:

    Oh, and that is a simply spectacular commercial. I’ll be humming “are you keeping up with the Commodore” for the rest of the day.

  3. JF says:

    8U

    Neat! I didn’t know it existed! Here and I thought I was a c64 know it all! ;)

    Thanks for the post. Will be sharing on FB later.

  4. tcv says:

    I wanted one desperately, too, but I had always thought it didn’t run all C64 software. Not true?

  5. @tev it ran all the programs I had. Because of my love of the computer I did not get a consol system until the Genesis. Who needed a Nintendo when you had Radar Rat Race.

  6. Alvin DeBord says:

    I have a SX-64 in excellent condition that needs a new home. At the present it is gathering dusk along with a new (in the box) 40 column Citizens printer. Several floppies along with it. Make and Offer!

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