"Alien Technology Near Your Neighbor"

Released in April 1987, the Amiga 500 is a legendary multimedia home computer manufactured by Commodore until 1992. The A500 offered the same CPU and chipset as the original Amiga 1000, however, it had a considerably lower price tag.

  • Initially sold for $699 ($1,780 in today’s money)
  • A500 was the most successful Amiga model ever sold (especially successful in Europe)
  • The Amiga series of computers were used by artists all over the world


  • AmigaOS version 1.2/1.3
  • Mouse-driven graphical user interface (GUI)
  • Preemptive multitasking
  • 68000 CPU running at 7.16 MHz (NTSC) or 7.09 MHz (PAL)
  • 512 KB of RAM, easily upgradable to 1 MB
  • OCS graphics / 12-bit color palette (4,096 colors)
  • Built-in blitter
  • Hardware graphics (sprites & scrolling)
  • PCM stereo sound (4 channels)
  • 880K 3+1⁄2-inch floppy disk drive
  • Compatible with the Amiga 1000


Colors & Graphic Modes

Amiga 500 offers OCS graphics with up to 4,096 (HAM) colors on-screen. The Amiga has the unique ability to display multiple resolution modes at the same time, by splitting the screen vertically.

Boxed A500 and its fantastic guide, from my collection...

  • Pal Modes
  • Up to 32 colors on screen (without tricks)
  • Blitter, hardware sprites, and hardware scrolling
  • Planar graphics, with up to 5 bitplanes
  • A500 graphics can be upgraded to ECS (Amiga Enhanced Chip Set)
  • 320×256, 640×256, 640×512 (interlaced), and up to 704×576 (overscan)

NTSC modes

  • 320×200, 640×200, 640×400 (interlaced), and up to 704×484 (overscan)

Special Modes

  • Extra HalfBrite (EHB) mode
  • Hold-And-Modify (HAM) mode, which allows all 4,096 colors on the screen


Sound Capabilities

The sound capabilities of the Amiga were far ahead of its time as it offered four hardware-mixed audio channels (2 to the left and 2 to the right).

  • 2 stereo channels (4 × 8-bit PCM)
  • 28 kHz DMA sampling rate, and up to 57 kHz
  • The hardware channels have independent volumes (65 levels)
  • Software controllable low-pass audio filter


I/O Ports

  • 2 DE-9 ports for mouse and joystick
  • RGB video out (DB-23M)
  • Mono video out (RCA)
  • Audio out (2 × RCA)
  • RS-232C compatible serial port
  • Centronics style parallel port (DB-25F)
  • 2nd disk drive (DB23F), and up to 3 extra floppy disk drives
  • Trapdoor expansion slot (inside the machine)
  • Side expansion port (Zorro)



The Amiga 500 can be connected to TVs, RGB monitors, 15-kHz VGA monitors, or even modern HDMI monitors with the right video upscaling hardware.

  • Commodore monitors (1084, etc.) and other RGB monitors (Philips CM 8833, etc.)
  • 15 kHz VGA monitors with RGB to VGA adapter (monitors such as BenQ) 
  • TVs via modulator or a SCART cable (RGB to SCART)
  • Modern VGA/HDMI monitors via video upscaling hardware


A500 Upgrades

Amiga500 Advert...

A Zorro expansion (86 pins) on the left of the Amiga 500, can be used to accommodate peripherals such as a hard disk or a CD-ROM drive.

An inside expansion slot is also commonly used for a memory upgrade.

Memory Upgrades

  • 0.5 MB of extra RAM +RTC via the trapdoor expansion slot (easy upgrade)
  • All A500 can be upgraded to 2.5 MB of RAM (by fitting the 8372B Agnus chip)
  • The A500s can have up to 138 MB of RAM by using expansion techniques {2 MB of Chip RAM + 8 MB of 16-bit Fast RAM + 128 MB of 32-bit Fast RAM}

CPU upgrades

  • The CPU can directly be upgraded to a 68010
  • The CPU can also be upgraded to 68020, 68030, or 68040 via a CPU socket adapter or the side expansion slot
  • Vampire 500 v2+ (powerful but expensive accelerator)
  • Powerful and cheap accelerators based on the Raspberry Pi

Storage Upgrades

  • A hard disk can be accommodated on the left Zorro slot (for example, the old GVP hard disks)
  • The A570 CD-ROM was available by Commodore
  • Up to 3 extra floppy disk drives (external DD)
  • Modern upgrades include CF/SD hard disks
  • A Gotek USB drive can replace the internal A500 floppy disk drive

Upgrading the Graphics

  • The A500 can be upgraded to the Enhanced Chip Set (ECS)
  • HDMI output upgrade


Related Models: A500+ (Amiga 500 Plus)

Released in November 1991, A500+ is an enhanced version of the classic Amiga 500, A500+ offered a new operating system (2.04) and improved ECS graphics in the same case.

  • Sold for £399 (Cartoon Classics pack)
  • Amiga 500+ was discontinued in mid-1992, and replaced by the Amiga 600.
  • 1 MB of RAM
  • Operating system 2.04
  • ECS (enhanced) graphics, including a new version of Agnus and Denise chips
  • Built-in Real Time Clock (the battery leaks)

A500+ Incompatibilities

Due to the new Kickstart, A500+ users face many incompatibilities with classic Amiga software. This issue can be addressed by:

  • A Kickstart switching board, that includes both 1.3 and 2.04 ROMS
  • Relokick is a software that loads the Kickstart 1.3 ROM image into memory and directly boots to 1.3 (offers decent compatibility)


The A500/A500+

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