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.
In 1980, the 4000-series PETs were launched. These used a larger 12" monitor with a redesigned CRT controller and also included the enhanced BASIC 4.0, which added commands for disk functions. By this point, Commodore discovered that people were buying cheaper 8 kB and 16 kB models of the 3000-series and upgrading the RAM rather than pay extra for the 32 kB model. Because of this, they punched out the memory sockets in the 4016 (there was no 8 kB 4000-series PET) to prevent that practice. The 4032 was a huge success in schools, where its tough all-metal construction and all-in-one design made it better able to stand up to the rigors of classroom use. Just as important in this role was the PET's otherwise underutilized IEEE 488 port. Used wisely, the port could be used as a simple local area network and allowed printers and disk drives (which were then very expensive) to be shared among all of the machines in the classroom. Unlike later Commodore machines, PETs had no kernel ROM functions for the IEEE-488 port and users had to write their own for using peripherals such as modems.
Two more machines were released in the PET series. The 8000 series included a new display chip which drove an 80×25 character screen, but this resulted in a number of software incompatibilities with programs designed for the 40 column screen, and it appears to have been unpopular as a result. The machine shipped with 32 kB standard as the 8032, but allowed another 64 kB to be added externally. Later the upgrade was installed from the factory, creating the 8096. Unlike the 40-column models, 8000-series PETs came standard with a 1-channel speaker for sound generation.
Processor: MOS 6502
Processor frequency: 1 MHz
Memory: 96 kbyte RAM, 18 kbyte ROM
Graphics: 80 x 25, monochrome
Connections: IEEE 488, Userport, Datassette
Dimensions: 450 x 450 x 450 mm
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.