Global Specifications

Brand/Model Country Year Units Sold CPU Coprocessors RAM ROM VRAM
Commodore VIC20 US Sept. 1980 2.5 million MOS 6502 @ 1.02Mhz - 4 KB 20 KB 1 KB
Sinclair ZX81 UK March 1981 +1 million
Zilog Z80 @ 3.25Mhz - 1 KB (up to 64KB) 8 KB
TI 99/4A US June 1981 2.8 million
TMS9900 @ 3Mhz - 256 bytes 16bits (up to 32KB) 26 KB 16 KB
Commodore 64 US Sept 1982 22 million
MoS 6510 @ 0.985 MHz - 64 KB 16 KB (20KB for the 64C) up to 20KB of RAM used
Apple IIe US Jan 1983
MoS 65c02 @ 1Mhz - 64KB 16KB up to 16KB of RAM used
Tandy/RS TRS 80 CoCo II US Sept 1983
Motorola 6809E @ 0.895 MHz
16 KB 16 KB
Micronique Hector HRX FR Aug 1983
Zilog Z80A @ 5Mhz - 64KB 16KB
Atari 800 XL US Dec 1983
MoS 6502C @ 1.77 MHz - 64KB 24KB up to 8KB of RAM used
ORIC Atmos UK 1984
MoS 6502A @ 1 MHz
48 KB 16 KB 8 KB of RAM used
Thomson MO5
FR
1984

Motorola 6809e @ 1Mhz
-
32 KB
16 KB

Philips VG8020 msx NL 1984
Zilog Z80 @ 3.58MHz - 64 KB 32 KB 16 KB
VTECH Laser 310 HK 1984
Zilog Z80 @ 3.58MHz - 16 KB 16 KB 2 KB
Exelvision EXL100
FR
1984

TI tms 7041 + tms 7020 @ 4.91 MHz -
32 KB up to 290
4 KB

Commodore 128 US 1985 4 million
MOS 8502 @ 1.97/0.985MHz
+ Zilog Z80A @ 4Mhz
- 128 KB 64 KB 16KB + up to 20KB of RAM used
Thomson MO6 FR 1986
Motorola 6809e @ 1MHz - 128 KB 64 KB 16 KB of RAM used
Sinclair ZX Spectrum 2+ UK 1987 . Zilog Z80A @ 3.54Mhz - 128 KB 32 KB 7 KB of RAM used
Amstrad 6128 plus UK 1987
Zilog Z80A @ 4MHz - 128 KB 128 KB (64 KB used by a demo game!) 16 KB of RAM used
Atari 520 STf US 1987
Motorola 68000 @ 8MHz - 512 KB 192 KB 32 KB of RAM used
Macintosh II
US
1987
 
Motorola 68020 @ 16Mhz
68881 FPU
1 MB
256 KB
external video card (300 KB typ.)
Commodore Amiga 600 US march 1992 a500+;August 1990 5 million (all Amigas)
Motorola 68000 @ 7.14MHz - 1 MB 512 KB up to 1 MB of RAM used (2 MB with extension)
Apple Macintosh SE30 US 1991
Motorola 68030 @ 15.77Mhz 68882 FPU 4 MB 256 KB

Books

If you're interested in Retro-computing, I would also recommend reading the following books. I find very interesting how these computer industry pioneers, with brillant ideas, begun to earn millions of dollars !

Sound, Graphics, I/O

Brand/Model Text Modes Graphics Modes BIT BLT/Sprites Sound

I/O ports
Commodore VIC20 - 22x23 8 colours - 176x184 16 colours
none 3 voices (square wave), noise and volume

Video composite, 1 Joystick, Cardridge, Tape, Serial, User Port (RS232 compatible)
Sinclair ZX81 - 32x22 B/W - 64x44 B/W
- 256x182 B/W with 16KB RAM expansion
none none

RF video, Expansion slot, Tape
TI 99/4A - 40x24 B/W - 32x24 16 colors
- 256x192 16 colors, 2 colors per 1x8 block
- 64x48 16 colors
32 sprites TMS9919 3 voices, 1 noise

ROM cartridge, tape, Audio/Video output, Joystick, bus expansion
Commodore 64 - 40x25 16 colors - 320x200 16 colors (1 color per 8x8 block)
- 320x200 16 colors (1 color per 1x8 block) - 160x200 16 colors (4 colors per 4x8 block)
- 160x200 16 colors
yes SID 6581: An advanced 3 voices synthetizer

Video composite, Joystick x2, Cardridge, Tape, Serial, User Port (RS232 compatible)
Apple IIe - 40x24
- 80x24 (with 80 columns card)
- 40x48 16 colors
- 280x192 6 colors with constraints
- 560x192 16 colors with constraints
none 1 channel

Composite video, Internal slots *7, Tape, Joystick *2
Radio Shack TRS 80 CoCo II - 32x16 8 colors - 32x16x8 colors
- 64x32x8
- 128x96x2 or 4
- 128x192x2 or 4
- 256x192x2
none 1 voice

Tape, RGB, Joystick x2, Cardridge, Serial RS232
Micronique Hector HRX - 40 x 24 4 colors - 243 x 231 4 colors. 15 colors palette none 1 voice

RGB, Centronics, Cardridge, Joystick * 2
Atari 800 XL up to 40 x 24 5 colors
256 colors palette
- up to 320 x 192 1 color
- up to 160 x 192 4 colors
- up to 80 x 192 16 colors
256 colors palette, flexible video chip (ANTIC)
4 sprites 8x256 1 color, 4 sprites 2x256 1 color, H/V scrolling Atari POKEY, 4 voices

Composite Video, Bus, Cardridge (16KB), Joystick * 2, Tape+Serial Bus
Oric Atmos 40 x 28 8 colors 240 x 200 8 colors with constraints (hard to display more than two colors per line) none 3 voices: AY-3-8912

RBG, RF video, Bus, Printer, Tape
Thomson MO5 - 40 x 24 - 320 x 200 16 colors (1 color per 1x8 block)
none
1 voice (8 bits DAC)

RGB (Scart), Light Pen, Tape Cardridge,  Bus
Philips VG8020 msx 40 x 24 16 colors 256 x 192 16 colors with constraints yes 3 voices: YM-2413

RGB, Centronics, Cardridge *2, Tape, Joystick *2
VTECH Laser 310 - 32 x 16 9 colors - 64 x 32 9 colors
- 128 x 64 8 colors
none beeper, 1 voice

RGB, Tape, Centronics (opt), Expansion bus
Excelvision EXL100
- 80x25
- 320x250 8 colors
?
Vocal synthetizer


IR joystick+keyboard, centronics, bus, RAM ROM ext, tape
Commodore 128 - 40x25 16 colors
- 80x25 16 colors
- 80x50 16 colors
- 640x200 16 colors (1 color per 8x8 block)
- 320x200 16 colors (1 color per 8x8 block)
- 320x200 16 colors (1 color per 1x8 block)
- 160x200 16 colors (4 colors per 4x8 block)
- 160x200 16 colors
yes SID 6581: An advanced 3 voices synthetizer

RGBI, Video composite, Joystick x2, Expansion port, Tape, Serial, User Port (RS232 compatible)
Thomson MO6 - 80 x 24
- 40 x 24
- 160 x 200 16 colors
- 320 x 200 16 colors (1 color per 1x8 block)
- 640 x 200 2 colors
4096 colors palette
none 1 voice (8 bits DAC)

RGB (Scart), Light Pen, Joystick, Mouse, Centronics, Cardridge, Stereo, Bus
ZX Spectrum 2+ - 32x22 8 colors - 256x192 8 colors (1 background/foreground by 8x8 block) no 3 voices: AY-3-8912
+ 1 bit audio


Z80 Bus, Numeric Keyboard, RS232 or Midi Out, Audio, RGB, 2 x Joystick
Amstrad 6128 plus - 40 x 25
- 80 x 25
- 20 x 25
- 160 x 200 16 colors (32 colors with sprites)
- 320 x 200 4 colors (20 colors with sprites)
- 640 x 200 2 colors
27 or 4096 colors palette
16 sprites (16 x 16 15 colors each in any graphics mode, XY x1 x2 x4 magnification), hardware scrolling, horizontal split screen with independent scrolling 3 voices: AY-3-8912 + possibility to stream data without CPU intervention

RGB, Centronics, Z80 Bus, Joystick x 2, 1 Analog Joystick (SUB-D 15), Light gun (RJ-11), Disk unit, Tape, ROM Cardridge (up to 512 KB)
Atari 520 STf - 40 x 25
- 80 x 25
- 320 x 200 16 colors
- 640 x 200 4 colors
- 640 x 400 B/W
512 colors palette
NO (Appeared on the MegaST and STe) 3 voice: YM-2149

RGB, Cardridge, Midi in and out, Centronics, RS232c, Hard Disk, Floppy disk, Joystick, Mouse
Macintosh II

- 640x480 256 colors (external video card)
Depends on video card
Stereo 8 bits


ADB x2, Serial x2, 6 Nubus slots, 2 integrated FD
Amiga 600
- VERY flexible PAL/NTSC chip - up to 320 x 512 from 2 to 64 or 4096 colors - up to 640 x 512 from 2 to 16 colors - up to 1280 x 512 2 or 4 colors - 4096 colors palette. - overscan, dual video output Yes 4 stereo channels 8 bit (28 or 56 Khz sampling rate)

Analog RGB, Composite Video, 2 Stereo Audio RCA, 1 parallel port, PCMCIA T1, 1 internal slot, Mouse/Game port x2, RS-232 (DB-25), External Floppy,
Apple Macintosh SE/30 - 512 x 342 B/W none 1 voice (22Khz / 8 bits DAC)

RS232/422 *2; ADB *2 (keyboard, mouse), Stereo, Floppy disk, SCSI, 68030 Processor Direct Slot

Sound chip specs

→ AY-3-8912: 3 voices 9 octaves 16 volume levels, 1 noise generator, 10 fixed enveloppe paterns (but with programmable period).

→ YM-2149: 3 voices 8 octaves 32 volume levels, only 1 waveform (square wave), 1 noise generator, 10 fixed enveloppe paterns. similar to AY-3-8912.

→ SID 6581: 3 oscillators (0-4Khz), 4 waveforms per oscillator (Triangle, Sawtooth, Variable Pulse, Noise), 3 amplitude modulators (8 bits), 3 envelope generators (Full ADSR), ring modulation, programmable filter (low pass, Bandpass,High pass, Notch with variable resonance), one channel can be used as a 12 bits PWM (12 bits digital sound in 1983 !!!).

→ YM-2413: FM synthetizer, 9 poly channel or 6 channels and 5 rythm sounds. Built-in instruments: 15 melody tones, 5 rhythme tones. 1 programmable instrument (ADSR).

→ Atari POKEY: 4 voices of 8-bit pitch-resolution, 4-bit volume-resolution, 8-distortion sound can be produced. 2 voices (1 and 2, and/or 3 and 4) can be combined to make 16-bit pitch-resolution. Also 4-bit volume-only modes can be enabled for digitally sampled sound replay.

Obsolete Microprocessors

I also tried to estimate to power in MIPS of these old processors using the theorical cycles needed for basic machine language instructions.

Brand/Model Year Type Typ. Freq. Registers Imm. Load Mem. Load And Imm. And Incre- ment Imm. Sub- stract Compa- rison Condi- tionnal Jump Stack Push Estimated Power
Zilog Z80 July 1976 8 bits 4-8 Mhz 1 x 8bits
3 x 16bits (or 6 x 8 bits)
2 x 16bits index (double all these numbers if you count shadow registers)
7 (10*) 7 (16*) 4 7 4 7 7 12-7 11* 0.58 MIPS @4Mhz
MoS 6502 1975 8 bits 1-2 Mhz 1 x 8bits**
2 x 8bits index
2 3-4 2 2 2 2 2 2-3 4 0.43 MIPS @1Mhz
Motorola 6809 1977 8 bits 1 Mhz 2 x 8bits (or 1 x 16bits)
2 x 16bits index
2 4 2 2 2 2 2 3 5 0.42 MIPS @1Mhz
TI TMS 9900 June 1976 16 bits 3 Mhz 3 x 16bits
256 x 16bits in fast ext RAM
0.1-0.2 MIPS @3Mhz
Intel 8086/8088 1978 16 bits 8 Mhz 4 x 16bits (or 8 x 8bits)
4 x 16bits index
4 x segment
4 14 3 4 2 4 3 16 8 1.2 MIPS @8Mhz
Motorola 68000 Sept 1979 16/32 bits 8 Mhz 16 x 32bits 4/8 8 4 8 4 4/8 4 10/8 8 1.4 MIPS @8Mhz
*: Using 16 bits values or registers
**: Only one register but fast access to the 1st 256 bytes of memory => 256 registers
68000: 68000 transistors.