Commodore PET 8096SK
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 8000 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 8000 series to run substantially faster. The 8000 series uses Basic 4.0. It features a 12-inch screen for the first time as standard.
This machine was a major remodelling of the range, and was targeted more at the business user rather than the home market, which was a shift in strategy from the 2001/3000 machines. Business users were the main target of new features in the new 4.0 Basic, although like models before it, and afterwards, the impact in the US market was stunted by the lack of CP/M compatibility.
8096 refers to 80x25 character display. The machine originally shipped with 32K standard as the 8032, but allowed another 64K to be added externally. Later the upgrade was installed from the factory, creating the 8096. This example in our collection is the 96K model, hence the 8096. The SK designation indicates Separate Keyboard. This model was the first PET to feature a detachable keyboard and a monitor with tilt and swivel.
Commodore also released the PET 4000 Series around the same time as the CBM 8000 Series. The 4000 Series is almost identical, except for having a 9-inch screen as standard instead of the 12-inch screen, displaying 40 characters per line of text.
This was the end of the line for the Commodore PET, which signified the end of Commodore's work in the business market. Many reviewers believe was one of many serious errors in strategy which eventually lead to the company's demise.
The rounded-edge case is designed by Porsche Design, and it has an ultra-smooth look to it. The round chassis was introduced on some 8032SK models and was continued on in the B and P Series Commodore Pet II lines.
Our machine was kindly donated by Robert Mirfin and was complete with A Double Disk Drive unit complete with manuals and cables.
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This exhibit has a reference ID of CH6223. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.