Commodore SX-64

Computer facts

Type home
Year 1983
Language SX-64 Basic v2.0
CPU 6510
Speed 1 MHz
Commodore SX-64

In my collection

Commodore SX-64

Some problem with the internal disk drive.
Bought from Fredrik Roubert.


The Commodore SX-64, also known as the Executive 64, or VIP-64 in Europe, was a portable, briefcase/suitcase-size "luggable" version of the popular Commodore 64 home computer and holds the distinction of being the first full-color portable computer.

The SX-64 featured a built-in five-inch composite monitor and a built-in 1541 floppy drive. It weighed 23 lb (10.5 kg). The machine was carried by its sturdy handle, which doubled as an adjustable stand. It was announced in January 1983 and released a year later, at $995.

Aside from its built-in features and different form factor, there were several other subtle differences between the SX-64 and the regular C64. The default screen color was changed to blue text on a white background for improved readability on the smaller screen. This sometimes caused compatibility problems with programs that assumed the C64's default blue background. (This was, however, often easily overcome by the user simply entering the appropriate BASIC POKE commands to change screen colors and keystroke to change the cursor color to mimic the C64's default colors prior to loading of the program.) The default device for load and save operations was changed to the floppy drive. In addition, the cassette port and RF port were omitted from the SX-64 because it had a built-in disk drive and monitor, and thus no need for a tape drive or television connector. However, the omission made it impossible to use a standard C64 Centronics parallel printer interface without modification, since these interfaces used a connector on the cassette port to get +5V for operation. There were also subtle differences in the cartridge port, both electrically and in regards to its physical placement on the board, which made compatibility with certain C64 cartridges spotty.

Like the C64, the original SX-64's power supply limits the machine's expandability. Later units used a larger power supply intended for the DX-64.

Compatibility with Commodore RAM Expansion Units varies. Early SX-64 power supplies cannot handle the extra power consumption from the REU. The physical placement of the cartridge port can prevent the REU from seating properly. The 1700 and 1750, 128K and 512K units intended for the C128, are said to work more reliably with the SX-64 than the 1764 unit that was intended for the regular C64. Some SX-64 owners modified Commodore REUs to use an external power supply in order to get around the power supply issues.

An enhanced version of the SX-64 with dual floppy drives, known as the DX-64, was announced and a few have been reported to exist, but it is very rare. Some hobbyists installed a second floppy drive themselves in the SX-64's empty drive slot. A version with a monochrome screen called the SX-100 was announced but never released.

Commodore SX-64 images