Commodore MAX Machine

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Commodore MAX Machine
Commodore MAX Machine / Ultimax
Type: Home Computer
Producer: Commodore
Price: 149.95 US$, (498 DM, ca. 250 €)
Released: 1982
Discontinued: 1982
Processor: MOS 6510 @ ca. 1 MHz
Memory: 2.5 KByte
OS: Only with cartridge Mini BASIC I or BASIC V2.0
Info: alias Ultimax (USA) or VC10 (Germany)

The Commodore MAX Machine was released in 1982 as a cut down version of the C64 and was only sold in Japan for $179. The MAX Machine used the same architecture as the C64, but only had 2 kilobytes of RAM compared to the C64's 64K. About 50,000 units were produced. In Germany was it called VC-10, in the USA: Ultimax. Because of its limited capabilities, and the popularity of the more capable VIC-20, the MAX Machine was quickly discontinued.

Weak points[edit]

  • Only two kilobytes of memory → the Commodore 64 has 64 kB
  • A membrane keyboard instead of a full-travel keyboard
  • No Serial Port → no disk drives or Printer
  • No User Port
  • No ROM-chips → no Operating System → a cartridge is necessary for functionality
  • No cartridge included
  • Access to the datasette is only possible with the "MAX BASIC"-cartridge. (Maximum program size is two kiloBytes)


To use the Max Machine with an OS like BASIC you must plug in one of these two cartridges:


Start screen of MINI BASIC I.

The cartridge MINI BASIC I contains a cut down BASIC V2 with 510 free Bytes.

The following commands are missing: ATN, CLOSE, CMD, COS, DEF, DIM, EXP, FN, INPUT#, LEFT$, LOAD, LOG, ON, OPEN, PRINT#, RIGHT$, SAVE, SIN, SQR, TAN, USR, VAL, VERIFY and WAIT.

Cover of "MINI BASIC I".
Mini BASIC PCB, upper.
Mini BASIC PCB, lower.


The cartridge MAX BASIC contains the full BASIC V2 with 2047 free Bytes.

Cover von "MAX BASIC"
"MAX BASIC" PCB, upper.
"MAX BASIC" PCB, lower.



rear view

Most connections are on the rear (from left to right):

  • Power on/off switch
  • Power connection (7 pin) for the power supply (4 pin DIN)
  • Audio connection (1/8" jack)
  • Expansion Port (44 pin; I/O)
  • Channel select (channel 1 or 2)
  • RF out (RCA jack)
  • Datasette connector (Cassette Port; 12 pin; I/O) for connecting a 1530 or C2N

There is a Control Port on both sides.


Original package

It was always built a Assy 325565 Rev.A or Rev.B board.

  • Processor: MOS 6510 with ca. 1 MHz clock
  • Memory: 2 KB RAM (M58725P) + 0,5 KB Color RAM
  • Graphics: VIC-II (MOS 6566)
    • Display in text mode (big letters/graphic symbols or big/small letters) 40 (columns) * 25 (rows) chars or in graphic mode (HiRes) 320*200 pixel in 16 colors, 16 frame colors and 16 background colors (additional 8 sprites (HiRes or Multicolor) in BASIC
  • Sound: SID 6581
  • Miscellaneous: One interface chip CIA (MOS 6526) for I/O (Input/Output), PLA 6703
  • Operating System: None, must be supplied through cartridge ("MINI BASIC I" or "MAX-BASIC")


The serial number is always greater than 10000!
  • Dimension: Max machine: 350x185x60mm, Package: 445x330x140 mm
  • Weight: 1820 g
  • Keyboard: Membrane keyboard with 66 keys (QWERTY layout)
  • Power supply: Sekundär: 5V DC and 9V AC
  • Power consumption: 25W
Power supply.


MAX Machine cartridges are compatible with the C64, since the C64 has a MAX Machine compatibility mode. Freezer cartridges for the C64 used this compatibility mode to write their ROM in the address section of the hardware interrupt vectors $FFFA to $FFFF (for normal C64 cartridges, these addresses are not accessible) and so they can freeze a program without crashing the CPU or modifying the RAM content.

Block diagram[edit]

MaxMachine block diagram.png

Memory map[edit]

Memory map (hex) Memory map (decimal) Standard configuration Cartridge Mini Basic I Cartridge Max Basic
$E000-$FFFF 57344-65535 - 8KB Kernal/Basic/Char-ROM 8KB Kernal/Char-ROM
$D000-$DFFF 53248-57343 I/O-area I/O-area I/O-area
$A000-$CFFF 40960-53247 - - -
$8000-$9FFF 32768-40959 - - 8KB Basic-ROM
$1000-$7FFF 4096-32767 - - -
$0800-$0FFF 2048-4095 - - 2KB RAM (on the cartridge)
$0400-$07FF 1024-2047 screen RAM screen RAM screen RAM
$0200-$03FF 512-1023 0,5KB RAM 0,5KB RAM RAM (system area)
$0000-$01FF 0-511 RAM (zeropage, stack) RAM (zeropage, stack) RAM (zeropage, stack)

Note: Green background means free basic-memory.

Ultimax cartridges[edit]

Game cartridge: GORF 3404
Game cartridge: Billiards 3510
Game cartridge: Slalom 3512

The Commodore MAX cartridges are mainly published in 1982 in Japan. They can be also used on the C64.

Part No. Name ROM-size ROM-chip Description
3101 Mini BASIC I 8KB 901233-01 (Kernal+Basic+Char) Application
3102 Max BASIC 8KB
901231-01 (Kernal+Char)
901230-01 (Basic)
HM6116P-4 (RAM)
3201 Music Composer 8KB Application
3401 Omega Race 8KB Game
3402 Wizard of Wor 8KB Game
3403 Kickman 8KB 325362-02 Game
3404 Gorf 16KB Game
3501 Avenger 8KB 325350-01 Game
3502 Jupiter Lander 8KB 325351-01 Game
3503 Super Alien 8KB Game
3504 Radar Rat Race 8KB 325352-01 Game
3505 Road Race 8KB Game
3508 Mole Attack 8KB Game
3509 Clowns 8KB 325356-01 Game
3510 Money Wars 8KB 325357-01 Game
3511 Bowling 16KB Game
3512 Slalom 16KB Game
3xxx Le Mans 8KB Game
3xxx Billiards 8KB Game
3xxx Music Machine 4KB Application
3xxx Pinball Spectacular 16KB Game
3xxx Sea Wolf 8KB Game
3xxx Speed/Bingo Math 8KB Game / Learning software
3xxx Visible Solar System 8KB Application

MultiMAX Cartridge[edit]

MultiMAX [1] is a cartridge for the Commdore MAX Machine. This cartridge can also used in a C64 or C128! MultiMAX was present at "Vintage Computing Festival" in New Jersey in April 2014. The price of a complete cartridge is 29,95 USD [2] plus 4 USD for shipping (without uninsured ).

The PCB has a 1 MByte large EPROM-Chip (27C801), which contains all published games and applications for the Commodore MAX Machine. A 2 KByte large RAM-Chip (6116) is also installed, because it is needed for correct running "MAX BASIC". After installing and power on the computer appears a program menu. The cartridge has also a reset button.

Multimax cartridge.
Multimax PCB.
Multimax start screen.


  1. MultiMAX Cartridge
  2. MultiMAX selling price


WP-W11.png Wikipedia: Commodore MAX Machine