From 'A Company on the Edge', page 545:

Commodore marketing scheduled the release of the TED computers for May 1984, but met with inevitable delays due to RAM shortages and problems with the supplier, Micron. "We had to wait on the 16 kilobyte DRAMs, which were brand-new back then," says Herd. "All of this wouldn't have mattered as it waited on the TED chip."

Temporary RAM shortages and delays in debugging a custom chip are commonplace enough, but I'm surprised at the remark that 16k DRAMs were brand-new in 1984; my understanding is that they were introduced in the mid-70s. What could Bil Herd have meant by this? Did the C16 and Plus 4 need RAM chips that were faster than those hitherto available?

1 Answer 1


You're getting confused, I suspect, between 16 kilobit DRAMs (eg 4116) which were introduced in the early 70s and 16 kilobyte DRAMs (i.e. 128 kilobit) such as the 41128 ... I'm not sure when that line was introduced exactly, but TI's datasheet is dated April 85, although other manufacturers may have introduced it earlier.

(Although, having said that, neither the C16 nor the Plus/4 used 128kbit chips - the plus/4 used 8 x 4264 64kilobit chips, while the C16 used 2 x 4416 16k times 4 bit, i.e. also 64 kilobit chips, so I'm confused as to why they would have been waiting for them...?)

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    I think DRAMs with an Nx4 layout were somewhat new-ish at that point, since most DRAMs had an Nx1. Such chips should maybe have been called 16Knybble rather than 16Kbit, but there would have been a definite board size advantage versus two of those versus eight 16Kx1.
    – supercat
    Sep 3, 2018 at 0:21

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