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Introduction to the Amiga 500

an Amiga 500 with Commodore monitor

The Amiga 500 was probably the most popular and most successful machine in the Amiga's range. The A500 was an update to the previous A1000 and was the little brother of the A2000. The A500 was released in 1987 and was the major competitor to the Atari 520ST, the subject of many playground arguments. The A500 was a success up to the end of it's lifespan in 1991, but by many is still considered one of the best Amiga models made.


Released 1987
End of production 1991
CPU 68000
CPU speed 7.0 MHz (PAL)
7.1 MHz (NTSC)
Chipset OCS (Original Chipset)
ECS (Enhanced Chipset) present in later models
Kickstart ROM 1.2 (early models)
1.3 (most models)
2.04 (late models)
Workbench 1.2 (early models)
1.3 (most models)
2.04 (late models)
Price £599 (UK, 1987), £369 (UK, 1990)

Further Reading

Different versions of the A500 hardware

There was quite a few different versions of the Amiga, but the most popular are the following:

  • Original early A500 (1987) - came with Kickstart 1.2, Workbench 1.3, OCS, red Power LED, green Floppy Disk access LED, and the key to the left of the space bar was a Commodore logo (C=) instead of the italic A Amiga key. The Commodore logo (in the top right corner, by the floppy drive) was embossed into the case. This is considered the most rare A500 model and is desirable amongst collectors.
  • The popular A500 that nearly everyone had (1988) - came with Kickstart 1.3, Workbench 1.3, OCS, still got the red Power LED, green Floppy Disk access LED, normal italic A Amiga keys to each side of the space bar. The Commodore logo was no longer embossed into the case and was a flat badge glued into the square where the embossed logo used to be.
  • The slightly later A500 (1989-1990) - came with Kickstart 1.3, Workbench 1.3.2, some OCS but a few ECS machines started to creap into the mix, green Power LED, yellowish/orangeish Floppy Disk access LED, same keyboard as the 1988 versions, same Commodore logo.
  • The really late A500's (late 1990-1991) - mostly came with Kickstart 2.04, Workbench 2.04, ECS, same green Power LED and yellow Drive LED, same keyboard, Commodore logo replaced with a bage that says 'Commodore A-500' ... the same badge was used on the A500 Plus models. It's speculated that Commodore were using the same stock for A500 and A500 Plus machines during the short time that they sold both machines. These are also considered to be collectable (not as much as the original 1987 version A500 though)


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