nicholas.jj.taylor's Avatar History of
Commodore AMIGA

July 1985
AMIGA 1000
Released by 

  • The A1000, or Commodore Amiga 1000, was Commodore's initial Amiga personal computer, introduced on July 23, 1985 at the Lincoln Center in New York City.
  • Machines began shipping in September with a base configuration of 256 kB of RAM at the retail price of 1,295 USD.
  • A 13-inch (330 mm) analog RGB monitor was available for around 300 USD bringing the price of a complete Amiga system to 1,595 USD.
  • Before the release of the Amiga 500 and A2000 models in 1987, the A1000 was simply called Amiga.
  • In the US, the A1000 was marketed as The Amiga from Commodore, however the Commodore logo was omitted from the casing.
  • Additionally the Amiga 1000 was exclusively sold in computer stores, rather than the various non-computer related stores the Commodore 64 were retailed in. These measures were an effort to avoid Commodore's "toy-store" computer image created during the Tramiel era!

July 1986
AMIGA 2000
Released by 

  • The A2000, also known as the Commodore Amiga 2000, was released in 1986.
  • Although aimed at the high-end market it was technically very similar to the A500, so similar in fact that the A2000B revision was outright based on the A500 design.
  • What the A2000 had over the A500 was a bigger case with room for five Zorro II proprietary expansion slots, two 16-bit and two 8-bit ISA slots, a CPU upgrade slot, a video slot, and a battery-backed clock.
  • It should also be noted that, like the Amiga 1000 and unlike the Amiga 500, the A2000 came in a desktop case with a separate keyboard.
  • The case was more PC-like than the A1000 - taller to accommodate the expansion cards and lacking the space beneath for the keyboard.
  • The 2000 offered graphics capabilities only exceeded among its contemporaries by the Macintosh II, a system which sold for about five times the Amiga's price.
  • Also like the Amiga 1000, the 2000 was sold only by specialty computer dealers.
  • There was a rebadged version of the A2000 in the UK called the Amiga 1500.
  • Commodore also went on to release the 2500 which was really just an A2000 which was supplied with either a Commodore A2620 or a Commodore A2630 processor card, and a hard drive controller which was the Commodore A2090 or A2091.
  • A variant of the A2500 called the A2500UX was also available which was supplied with Commodore Amiga UNIX by default, although Commodore certainly shipped some A2500s without the UX designation with UNIX as there is no hardware differences between to two "models".
  • The A2000 was eventually succeeded by the Amiga 3000 in 1990.

January 1987
Released by 

  • The Amiga 500, also known as the A500 (or its code name 'Rock Lobster'), was the first “low-end” Commodore Amiga 16/32-bit multimedia home/ personal computer (It’s probably the first Amiga anyone here at R3play would have owned).
  • It was announced at the winter Consumer Electronics Show in January 1987, at the same time as the high-end Amiga 2000, and competed directly against the Atari 520ST.
  • Before A500 was shipped Commodore suggested that the list price of the A500 was 595.95 USD without a monitor.
  • At delivery in 1987, Commodore announced that the Amiga 500 would carry a 699 USD list price.
  • The Amiga 500 represented a return to Commodore's roots, being sold in the same mass retail outlets as the Commodore 64 to which it was a spiritual successor, as opposed to the computer store-only Amiga 1000 (in the UK this would have been stores such as John Menzies, WH Smith, Curry’s and even Boots!).
  • The original A500 proved to be Commodore’s best-selling Amiga model, enjoying particular success in Europe.
  • Although popular with hobbyists, arguably its most widespread use was as a gaming machine, where its advanced graphics and sound for the time were of significant benefit.
  • Commodore later released the A500+ in 1992 which generally had 1mb Chip RAM and shipped with Kickstart 2.04.
  • It was discontinued and replaced by the Amiga 600 in summer 1992, making it the shortest lived Amiga model.

June 1990
AMIGA 3000
Released by 

  • Released in June 1990, The Commodore Amiga 3000 was the third major release in the Amiga computer face.
  • Compared with earlier Amigas it featured improved processing speed, better rendering of graphics, and a new revision of the operating system.
  • Its predecessors, the Amiga 500,1000 and 2000, shared the same fundamental system architecture and consequently performed without much variation in processing speed despite considerable variation in purchase price.
  • The A3000 however, was entirely reworked and rethought as a high-end workstation.
  • The new Motorola 32-bit 68030 CPU, 68882 math co-processor, and 32-bit system memory helped increase the "integer" processing speed by a factor of 5 to 18, and the "floating point" processing speed by a factor of 7 to 200 times.
  • The new 32-bit Zorro III expansion slots provided for faster and more powerful expansion capabilities.
  • In common with earlier Amigas it ran a 32-bit Operating System, but the "Workbench 2.04" revision resulted in a more ergonomic and attractive interface and access for programmers was simplified.
  • Additionally, Commodore had a licensing agreement with AT&T to include a port of Unix System V (release 4), which was available with the Amiga 3000UX.

March 1991
Released by 

  • The CDTV (for "Commodore Dynamic Total Vision") was a multimedia platform developed by Commodore International and launched in 1991.
  • On a technological level it was essentially a Commodore Amiga home computer in a Hi-Fi style case with a single-speed CD-ROM drive.
  • Commodore marketed the machine as an all-in-one home multimedia appliance rather than a computer. As such, it targeted the same market as the Philips CD-i.
  • Unfortunately for both Commodore and Philips, the expected market for multimedia appliances did not materialise, and neither machine met with any real commercial success.
  • Though the CDTV was based entirely on Amiga hardware it was marketed strictly as a CDTV, with the Amiga name omitted from product branding.
  • The CDTV debuted in North America in March 1991 (CES, Las Vegas) and in the UK (World of Commodore 1991 at Earls Court, London).
  • It was advertised at £499 for the CDTV unit, remote control and two titles.
  • Commodore chose Amiga enthusiast magazines as its chief advertising channel, but the Amiga community on the whole avoided the CDTV in the expectation of an add-on CD-ROM drive for the Amiga, which eventually came in the form of the A570.
  • The CDTV was supplied with AmigaOS 1.3, rather than the more advanced and user-friendly 2.0 release that was launched at around the same time.
  • Notably, the CDXL motion video format was primarily developed for the CDTV making it one of the earliest consumer systems to allow video playback from CD-ROM.
  • Though Commodore later developed an improved a cost-reduced CDTV-II it was never released.
  • Commodore eventually discontinued the CDTV in 1993 with the launch of the Amiga CD32, which used similar hardware but explicitly targeted the games market.

March 1992
Released by 

  • The Amiga 600, also known as the A600 (codenamed "June Bug" after a B-52s song), was a home computer introduced at the CeBIT show in March 1992.
  • The A600 was the final model of the original A500-esque line based on the Motorola 68000 CPU and the ECS chipset.
  • A notable aspect of the A600 was its small size.
  • Lacking a numeric keypad, the A600 was 14" long by 9.5" deep by 3" high and weighed approximately 6 pounds.
  • AmigaOS 2.0 was included which was generally considered more user-friendly than AmigaOS 1.3.
  • Like the A500 before it, the A600 was aimed at the lower "consumer" end of the market, with the higher end being dominated by the Amiga 3000.
  • It was essentially a redesign of the Amiga 500 Plus, with the option of an internal hard disk drive.
  • It was intended by manufacturer Commodore International to revitalize sales of the A500 line before the introduction of the 32-bit Amiga 1200.
  • According to Dave Haynie, the A600 "was supposed to be 50 – 60 US$ cheaper than the A500, but it came in at about that much more expensive than the A500."
  • This is supported by the fact that the A600 was originally to have been numbered the A300, positioned as a budget version of the A500+.
  • In the event, the cost led the machine to be marketed as a replacement for the A500+, requiring a change of number. Early models feature motherboards with the A300 designation.
  • An "A600HD" model was sold with an internal 2.5" ATA hard disk drive of either 20 or 40 MB.
  • This model was marketed as a more "scholarly" version of a home computer hitherto best known for its extensive range of games and retailed at almost double the price of a standard A600.
  • However, this hard disk support introduced some incompatibility with existing Amiga software because the memory used for hard disk control prevented some memory intensive titles from launching without adding additional RAM.
  • The A600 was the first Amiga model manufactured in the UK.
  • The factory was in Irvine, Scotland.
  • The first ever production A600 — serial number "1" — resided in the Commodore UK Managing Director's office.

October 1992
AMIGA 1200
Released by 

  • Like its predecessor, the Amiga 500, the A1200 is an all-in-one design incorporating the CPU, keyboard, and disk drives (including the option of an internal 2.5" hard disk drive) in one physical unit.
  • The A1200 shared hardware with Commodore's Amiga CD32 game console, and was technically similar to the Atari Falcon, which was the A1200's most direct competitor.
  • Initially, only 30,000 A1200s were available at the UK launch.
  • During the ?rst year of its life the system reportedly sold well, but Commodore ran into cash flow problems and filed for bankruptcy.
  • World wide sales figures for the A1200 are unknown but 95,000 systems were sold in Germany before Commodore's bankruptcy.
  • After Commodore’s demise in 1994 the A1200 almost disappeared off the market but was later re-launched by Escom in 1995.
  • The new Escom A1200 was priced at £399 and it came bundled with two games, seven applications and Amiga OS 3.1. It was initially criticized for being priced 150 pounds higher than the Commodore variant had sold for two years prior.
  • It also came with a modified PC floppy disk drive that was incompatible with some Amiga software titles.
  • The A1200 was finally discontinued in 1996 as the parent company folded.