The Commodore 64 is the machine that spawned many a computer geek's obsession with all things PC. It's even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling computer model of all time, with sales estimated at between 17 million and 30 million units worldwide since its introduction in 1982 and its reluctant end in 1994.

Even now, nerds everywhere get misty-eyed when they talk about it, heaping praise on the brown-on-brown low-cost wonder that dominated the low-end computer market for most of the 80s. We've gone to the workbench, to look at the insides of this little PC that could.

Side View: ports, switch, and brown plastic

First, though, let's zoom in on a few features on the outside of the box. Looking at the right side of the C64, we see the most commonly used ports on the computer. Two connectors labelled 'control port' support Atari-compatible joysticks. The 'on' switch is self-explanatory, and an external power supply plugs into the seven-pin DIN connector to the right.

The business end

A row of unlabelled ports spans the back end of the C64. From left to right, we see the cartridge port (for plug-in software), the RF channel switch, the RF video out (for connection to a TV set), the A/V port (for connection to a monitor), the serial port (usually used for disk drives), the cassette connector (for audiocassette data storage), and the 'user port' for RS-232 serial applications and special accessories. That's an impressive array of ins and outs for such a low-cost PC.

NEXT PAGE: Inside the case

  1. We find out what lies beneath its brown shell
  2. Inside the case
  3. The VIC-II
  4. How the keys work