Commodore 64

This computer is very loosely associated with Commodore 64. In 1994, Commodore was after their best times and after trying to sell overly expensive PC clones, they filed bankruptcy. The thing which could be sold to compensate losses was a trademark which was sold to Escom - a German PC giant which sold re-branded PC components. They tried to do something with Amiga, but in 1996 they went to liquidation too. The Escom Netherlands inherited the Commodore trademark and they quickly got down, being bought by Tulip Computers. Literally every company messing with Commodore name got into troubles - this is sometimes called "curse of Commodore". In 1998 open licensing, similar as with Gateway2000, allowed to build machines and sell them under Commodore brand. This is an effect of such agreement with Web Computers International (a Belgian? company), when machine totally not Commodore-like built to order by some ?Asian? manufacturer has been sold as Commodore.
Inside, this is a small, all-in-one PC, powered by AMD ELAN SC405 processor (486-like) running 66-100MHz, with 16MB of RAM, 16MB of ROM with some flash and a modem. It was upgradeable with PCMCIA cards. The built-in software based on MS-DOS and specially adapted Windows 3.x allowed to use the Internet and work in some productivity applications. Thanks to built-in CCS64 emulator it was also possible to run some Commodore 64 software, but it was not exceptionally good emulator and media emulation was quite poor. There was no hard disk, only 1.44MB 3.5-inch floppy drive, although built-in Prime2 I/O controller allowed to connect IDE drive (there was a connector, but no space for one).
The machine has a typical PC keyboard with some keys renamed and a touchpad which could be used with a pen. It was possible to connect the machine to TV, so buying expensive monitor was not needed, although there is a VGA output too. There is a sound input/output, serial and parallel port, as well as infrared link - a popular method to exchange small amounts of data in 1990s.
The machine ended like all Internet client appliances these days - when built-in Netscape Navigator 3 and Lotus software became unfeasible for WWW's development, it was over. And before, it was not too popular too, it got some purchases based on brand, but that causes signifiacnt disappointing. Full computers going cheaper finally ended the business of "Internet appliances".

If I could recommend some material about end times of Commodore, I would not recommend any modern movie, but the classic 1994 documentary called The Deathbed Vigil. I know, it's more around Amiga and has a relatively poor quality, but you are literally watching the last days of Commodore from inside.

Manufacturer Web Computers / Commodore

Origin Nederlands / Belgium
Year of unit 1998
Year of introduction 1998
Class All-in-one PC
CPU AMD Elan SC405
Speed 100MHz
ROM Phoenix BIOS
Graphics On board CyberPro 2010
Sound SoundBlaster-like chip onboard
System expansion bus PCMCIA
Floppy/removable media drives 3.5" 1.44MB floppy drive
IDE  port (not used)
Hard disk: 16MB of ROM / Flash
Other boards: Modem expansion
Non-standard expansions: -

Operating system(s): MS-DOS / Windows 3.x adaptation

The history of my machine is not known. Inside it has some hacks, but they look like factory-made: ROM board is installed in place of two Amiga-like ROMs, by using poor extensions made with DIP sockets cut. RAM stick seems to be patched too, probably to pull some signal. It came to me in quite neglected state, was probably disassembled earlier, and the only thing I'm sure it works is floppy drive. It boots VGA screen and halts there, so it's probably some problem around BIOS.

These machines were popular mostly in Germany and in some neighbouring countries.

Contents: Starting, usage Links  


The left LED is for power/standby, the right one informs about modem operation. A small red LED in the infrared window shows activity of IR port.
The machine boots first by quickly clearing the screen to blue, and then goes silently through BIOS, then boots the system and shows logo while running additional components. F2 may lead you to Phoenix BIOS Set-up, where it may be even possible to use on-board IDE connector which is on the right-hand side of mainboard. The on-ROM system should have all drivers, including for 56k modem.

The system menu image courtesy of OS Beta Archive.

Although there is some info on the net that it is running a Windows version of CCS64, here is a screenshot of CCS64 I have launched from files in pure DOS. This screenshot has been obtained by booting the VFD EmbOS image in BOCHS, quitting the Autoexec by F8 and launching CCS64 from C64 directory of drive D. We can see that it used a DOS version, as probably it gave a nicer full-screen experience.

Inside, there are resistor jumpers for rome ?multiplier?, however it is not known is it multiplier of bus for CPU or for PCMCIA controller. The LGS Prime2 Multi-I/O controller is pre-configured in system and it is possible to use IDE oprt, however, there is no space for hard disk (maybe CF card would fit?).

Links (Expect German): - a description - EmbOS translation to English, for PC virtualization. - Photos of running unit and German description. - In German collection - Description and detailed photos - In collection