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MOS / CSG Commodore KIM-1 History & Pictures

The MOS / Commodore KIM-1: The Worlds First Single Board Computer

by Ian Matthews of Commodore.ca Feb 15, 2003   Last Updated April 12, 2014

commodore-mos-kim1-whiteIn August 1974 eight Motorola employees including Bill Mensch and Chuck Peddle quit and went to work for a small chip manufacturer named MOS Technologies. By June of 1975 they had developed samples of the now legendary 6502 processor and needed a system to demonstrate it’s power.   Until they could produce a demonstration computer to show industry what the 6502 could do, they were limited to selling very small quantities of the 6502 chip directly end user hobbyists.  They charged just for just US$25 (adjusting for inflation that is  $125 in 2014) at a time when its functionally reduced competitor, the Motorola 6800 was selling for $200 (which is $1000 2014 dollars).

commodore-mos-KIM-1-april-1976-byte-magazineIn 1976 MOS built that needed demonstration computer and made history with the worlds first single board computer: the KIM-1.  Of course it used the 6502 (clocked at 1 Mhz) and it came with 1K RAM, built in ROM, Hex Keypad, LED Display, 15  bidirectional input/output ports and a cassette interface (for storage!).  All of these components came fully assembled on a the KIM-1’s 9″ x 10″ board although it did not ship with a power supply.  They sold for $245 .

Over a short period of time, it became apparent to enthusiasts and corporations that the KIM was more capable than originally intended.  Instead of being used just a basic training device, companies were using it to control mechanical machines like  factory equipment and Universities were using it for ‘real education’.  As  you can see in this 4 page  brochure, MOS went on to develop expansion boards such as:

  • KIM-3: 8K Memory Expansion Module

  • KIM-4: Motherboard: to interface with up to 6 other boards

  • KIM-5: Resident Assembler/Editor: to enter, edit and store assembly language programs

KIM-1 Schematics Manuals and Projectsmos-technologies-inc building sign

KIM 1 Magazine Articles

  • Is the KIM1 for Every1 – The Computerost 1976 – PDFWeb Page
  • Where is the KIM1 Going? – Kilobaud 1977 – PDFWeb Page
  • Computer Performance of Music -Byte 1977 – PDF


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