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Commodore PET 4008

The Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) was a home/personal computer produced from 1977 by Commodore International. A top-seller in the Canadian and United States educational markets, it was Commodore's first full-featured computer, and formed the basis for their entire 8-bit product line. The PET has a special place in the history of micro-computers, as it was one of the biggest sellers in the 1979/1980 period, when computers were aimed at both the home and business market. Many people instantly recognise the PET as it stood out from the usual ' terminal plus box' computer.

The PET 4000 series was the final version of what could be thought of as the "classic" PET. This was essentially the later model 2000 series, but with a larger black-and-green monitor and a newer version of Commodore's BASIC programming language, Basic 4.0. The Commodore PET 4008 was the base model of the 4000 series with just 8K of RAM. It offered BASIC 4.0 as standard and a lower price point that made them attractive to schools.

The PET 4000 series was released in May 1980, three years after the original PET 2001. Although it has the same MOS 6502 CPU, running at the same speed (1MHz), improved circuitry allowed the 4000 series to run substantially faster. Other improvements included more memory and a better keyboard.

4008 refers to 40x25 character display. The 4000 series was available with either 8K, 16K or 32K; this example in our collection is the 8K model, hence the 4008. It has four ports. An eight-bit parallel port, a port for a cassette recorder, a port that brings out the system bus, and an IEEE-488 port. Still in use today, the IEEE-488 bus is relatively complex, allowing up to 15 devices on the bus, but is mostly used for laboratory and scientific instruments.

By this point Commodore had noticed that many customers were buying the "low memory" versions of the machines and installing their own RAM chips, so the 4008 and 4016 had the sockets punched out of the motherboard.

Commodore also released the CBM 8000 Series at about the same time as the PET 4000 Series. The 8000 Series is almost identical, except for having a 12-inch screen as standard instead of the 9-inch screen, displaying 80 characters per line of text.

Commodore apparently had legal issues with the "PET" abbreviation, and had to change it to something else. They chose "CBM", for Commodore Business Machines. It seems that in Germany, in 1976, there was already a PET - a "Programm Entwicklung Terminal", or "Programmer Development Terminal", based on a Philips X 1150 data pooling system.

Manufacturer: Commodore
Date: May 1980

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Commodore PET 4008 Manuals:

Item Manufacturer Date
Centronics 737-4 Printer Owners Manual Centronica Nov 1980

Other Systems Related To Commodore PET 4008:

Item Manufacturer Date
Commodore PET 3016 Commodore 1977
Commodore PET 2001 Commodore June 1977
Commodore PET 2001 (Blue Label) Commodore June 1977
Commodore PET 2001-32 Commodore June 1978
Commodore PET CBM 3008 Commodore 1979
Commodore PET 3032 Commodore 1979
Commodore Pet 8032-32B Commodore 1980
Commodore PET 8032SK Commodore 1980
Commodore Pet 4032-32N Commodore May 1980
Commodore SuperPet (SP9000) Commodore 1981
Commodore PET 8096SK Commodore 1981
Commodore VC-20 Commodore 1981
Commodore VIC-20 Commodore 1981
Commodore MAX Commodore 1982
Commodore P500 Commodore 1982
Commodore 64 Commodore August 1982
Commodore Pet 8296-D Commodore 1983
Commodore SX-64 (110v US) Commodore 1983
Commodore SX-64 (240V UK) Commodore 1983
Commodore 116 Commodore June 1984
Commodore 16 Commodore June 1984
Commodore Plus 4 Commodore June 1984
Commodore 128 Commodore January 1985
Commodore 128D Commodore December 1985
Commodore Amiga A2000 Commodore 1987
Commodore Amiga A500 Commodore 1987
Commodore Amiga A500 Class of the 90s Pack Commodore 1987
Commodore PC-I Commodore 1987
Commodore 64 C German Commodore March 1987
Commodore 64 C Hollywood Presents Pack Commodore March 1987
Commodore 64 C Commodore March 1987
Commodore 64 C Terminator 2 Pack Commodore March 1987
Commodore Amiga A500 Plus Commodore April 1987
Commodore 64 G Commodore 1989
Commodore 64 C Light Fantastic Pack Commodore March 1989
Commodore Amiga 1500 Commodore 1990
Commodore C286-LT Portable Commodore 1990
Commodore C386SX-LT Commodore 1991
Commodore Amiga A600HD Commodore 1992
Commodore Amiga A600 Commodore March 1992
Commodore Amiga 4000 Commodore October 1992
Commodore Amiga 1200 Commodore 21st October 1992
Commodore Amiga 1200 Commodore 21st October 1992
Commodore Amiga CD32 Commodore September 1993

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH43250. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.


Commodore PET 4008

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