Commodore’s “Inner Space” – Revolutions

It seems that 2 missing pieces of my collection have fallen into my lap within the time span of a couple of weeks.  First I was lucky enough to get a hold of the elusive Commodore 64GS (Games System), on which I featured the sequel to the article Commodore’s “Inner Space” – aptly called Commodore’s “Inner Space” – Reloaded and now I managed to acquire a Commodore 64 “Silver Label”.

Since the second article already sounded a bit like “The Matrix – Reloaded”, I decided to call this 3rd article in the series: Commodore’s “Inner Space” – Revolutions (to keep the Matrix theme going)

The Commodore 64 “Silver Label” was the first version of the popular breadbox to hit the stores back in 1982.
The classic breadbox design featured the Commodore name and 64 both on metallic labels, hence giving it the name “Silver Label”.  The machine came equipped with all the classic 64 stuff but had some flaws in the components, which meant that most of these breadboxes were recalled to the factory.  There they were fixed and also got the new logo with the rainbow stripes.  Because of this, not many “Silver Label” versions are around today and hence are considered a valuable collector’s item.

Now the error that caused these 64s to be recalled seems to be what was known as the “sparkle bug”.  Apparently, the video chip, the VIC, caused light blue sparkles on a dark blue background when it heated up.
Furthermore, customers were complaining that the color scheme of the C64 seemed rather garish.  This was caused by assembly line workers adjusting the color saturation all the way up, resulting in overpowering colors.
Add the fact that Commodore needed to ship the C64s out in time for the Christmas season and you’ll find that many early models had defective VIC chips, simply because when production lines encountered a shortage of these chips, they’d go to the bin with the defective chips, remove the label and put them in anyway.
Nonetheless, Commodore overcame these problems and the rest is, as they say, history.

When it comes to the mainboard versions out there of the silver C64, it seems there are for sure two in existence, one being the US produced 326298 board and the other being the 250407 Rev.A European board.  The C64 Preservation Project also mentions a 250425 board, but the two former are the most “common”.
There’s also a difference in color of the F-keys, with some having the VIC-20 yellow-brown keys and others having the “classic” C64 dark brown keys.

When I opened mine (a Rev.A), I was surprised to find the board and components in such an amazing condition.  The metal case that shields the VIC was untouched and shined as if it came straight out of the Commodore factory!  Removing the cap revealed an awesome sight: a Revision 1 VIC chip!
Something you see with some of the refurbished models, is that they do have an older mainboard (i.e. the 326298 and the Rev.A) but their chips are dated later than 1983 or have a higher revision number – a sign that these have been replaced at some stage.
You sometimes also find a later model C64 with one of these old boards.  I guess they used the boards they had in stock and these, in some occasions, could have been the older boards.

Looking at my silver labeled C64, it seems to tick all the boxes of a genuine golden oldie, a true Silver Label. A true treasure to cherish and yes, one more happy collector!

Share This Post


2 Responses to Commodore’s “Inner Space” – Revolutions

  1. Congratz!
    Today, I picked up a NOS (yes a New Old Stock) c64 white with 1541 disk drive. Another happy collector here :)

  2. Ah that golden VIC. Got one as well but it’s not quite working

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *