Retro Home Computers – Commodore Amiga 600


Commodore Amiga 600,
1992 – 1993

Bad decision

Commodore Amiga 42000

Above: Commodore Amiga 600 desktop model

The Amiga 600, also known as the “June Bug” after a B-52’s song, was a home computer introduced at the CeBIT show in March 1992. The A600 was the final model of the original A500-esque line based around the Motorola 68000 processor. It was essentially a redesign of the A500 Plus. Commodore intended to revitalise sales of the A500 line before the introduction of the 32-bit Amiga 1200.

Amiga 500 desktop computer

Above: Amiga 500 desktop computer

A notable aspect of the A600 was its small size. Lacking a numeric keypad, the A600 was 14″ long by 9.5″ deep by 3″ high and weighed approximately 6 pounds. It came with AmigaOS 2.0 and was generally considered more user-friendly than its older brethren. It was aimed at the lower “consumer” end of the market, with the higher end being dominated by the A3000.

According to Dave Haynie, the A600 “was supposed to be $50–$60 cheaper than the A500, but it came in at about that much more expensive than the A500.” This is supported by the fact that the A600 was originally to have been numbered the A300, positioned as a budget version of the A500+.

In the event, the cost led the machine to be marketed as a replacement for the A500+, requiring a change of number. Early models feature motherboards with the A300 designation.

Dave Haynie Commodore Engineer

Above: Dave Haynie, Commodore Engineer

The Managing Director of Commodore UK, David Pleasance, described the A600 as a “complete and utter screw-up”. It was unexpandable, did not improve on the A500’s CPU, was more expensive than the A500, and lacked a numeric keypad, meaning that games such as F19 Stealth Fighter, Railroad Tycoon and productivity software could not be used without a numpad emulator.

David Pleasance, Commodore UK

Above: David Pleasance, Commodore UK

The A600 was the first Amiga ever manufactured in the UK. The factory was in Irvine, Scotland. The first ever production A600 — serial number “1” — sat in the Commodore UK Managing Director’s office.