The MAX Machine / Ultimax was based on the technology of the C64. While I think about 35,000 MAX Machine built were built (see Interesting / keyboard below) other sources mention 50.000-100.000 units.
Here the rare MAX Machine. Right under the F-keys you can see the name "MAX".
The keypad is simple constructed and corresponds to the key arrangement of the C64. Top left is a raised lettering Commodore, which was only used on the MAX machine.
At the back there are the following connectors (from left to right): power switch, power connector, audio out, cartridge port, TV-modulator (with setting) and connecting to a Datasette. On the side are two ports for joysticks.
The side view shows that the computer is very flat. The keyboard itself is higher at the back. On each side there a hidden connector for a joystick.
At the back the MAX Machine is called "MAX-04". The device was sold only in Japan and was also produced here.
The inside of the upper part is white plastic. Only on the outside it was painted silver. You can also see the back of the keyboard and the connector to the board. The keyboard was produced by AMP Keyboard Technologies, Inc. The date of manufacture of the keyboard is apparently 41st Week in 1982.
Inside the Max Machine on top left there is the joystick and Datasette port. Underneath - normal covered by a metal shielding - the VIC-II NTSC version (6566). Here in a rare ceramic chip from the 35th Weeks of 1982. The big TV modulator and cartridge port sits in the middle. Right side of the cartridge port: connectors for audio, power supply, the power switch and the second joystick port. Underneath sits the fuse and the keyboard connector. The chip on the right is a CIA 6526 and responsible for the keyboard. The second CIA of C64 (for floppy) is missing - just as the serial port on the MAX Machine. To the left there is a special PLA 6703 and the SID 6581. Then follows the Static RAM and processor 6510.
Since the computer has no built-in BASIC-ROM, a special BASIC module is necessary. This appeared in two versions. Under Mini-Basic 510 bytes were free. The commands for LOAD and SAVE are missing.
On the right you can see a startup-screen of the Max Machine, when the MAX BASIC cartridge is plugged-in: Here are at least 2047 bytes fee. In addition, there are LOAD and SAVE commands.
3D modelsYou can change the perspective, zoom and also change the lighting. Because of the ability to rotate the model in 3D, a current Adobe Reader is required (version 8.0 or better). You can download the necessary software from the manufacturer's site.
This 3D-Model is © Stefan Egger!
Commodore planned to interduce the Commodore Max Machine in Germany under the name VC10 (positioned below the VC20) and in the U.S. under the name "Ultimax". The Max Machine was never sold outside Japan, because on 13 June 1983 Commodore sued the company AMP Keyboard Technologies, Inc. at 30 million dollars in damages. Of 50,000 supplied keyboards only 35,000 were installed in computers. The other 15,000 were defective. AMP confirmed that the keyboards were not suitable for use in computers/consoles, and they meet the agreed specification of Commodore. Commodore spoke that this was the reason why the MAX Machine was no success. Industry experts said that Max Machine would not be successful in the U.S. too, because the computer shuold be sale at about USD 150 and the VIC20 costs only USD 100 or less.
All Max Machine are named "MAX-04" on bottom. There were also prototypes with other cases and keyboards. Michael S. Tomczyk said, that the MAX Machine originally was planned with built-in software and voice generator. The prototype has similarities with the V364.
It was planned as a game console with keypad. Because it was build on the technology of the C64, but has less RAM, only special cartridges with MAX-Machine-Mode will run. Every C64 (and the C128) automatically starts in a Max Machine compatibelity mode, if such a cartridge is inserted. The Max Machine has little other signals/pin-out on the cartridge port as the C64 becuase one CIA 6526 is missing.
The case is uniquely under all Commodore computers and was designed by Ira Velinsky, an employee of Commodore Japan. He later designed the CBM II series (eg 610, 720). The CBM 610 is considered one of the most beautiful Commodore computers. Ira Velinsky has won several awards for his designs, and later moved to Atari, where he designed the Atari Portfolio, Stacy and TT. For his work he won the IF Design Award.
|Launch Price:||€ 235|
|Processor:||MOS 6510 (1,02 MHz)|
|Operating system:||none, only with cartidge|
|graphics chip:||MOS 6566 (VIC-II)|
|Resolution:||Up to 320 x 200|
|Soundchip:||MOS 6581 (SID)|
|Sound:||3 voices, mono|
|Size:||350 x 185 x 60 mm|
|Units sold:||about 35.000|
The above shown computers are in the collection!
Compatible drives for the computer MAX Machine: