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The P500 is a member of the short-lived Commodore PET-II family of computers.
These were also known as the CBM II machines, the P series were for personal use, then there were the B Series, which were for business, the 600 and 700 were in this category, and had separate keyboards, this design would later find it's way into the SK model of Pet.
The Commodore 600/700 models were designed with 80 column monochrome video, the P500 featured 40 column video, two Atari style joystick ports, and also contained the VIC-II chip that was later available in the C64. Because the timing is controlled by the VIC, it is in fact determined by the video standard in use. So the other difference between the 600/700 computers and the P500 is that in the latter, the 6509 CPU is clocked with about 1MHz, while the former run with 2MHz.
There was an optional Intel 8088 co-processor board, so the computer could run CP/M. Though due to complications this was never put into full production.
The Commmodore 64 had proved to be a huge hit, and far simpler to make than the P500, which had an over complicated RAM banking system, the machine's launch in the US was cancelled. It did receive a commercial launch in Europe, but was not made in large numbers, and discontinued quickly.
Being expensive to manufacture, and with no retail future against the success of the Vic 20 and C64, the whole CBM II range was cancelled, the technology ending up with the CBUG, the Chicago B128 Users Group, who produced some software for the machine. The only technology from the machines used going forward was the memory banking which was used in the C128.
•Extended BASIC 4.0
•40*25 video mode (16 colors)
•Available with PAL or NTSC video (needs VIC replacement)
•128k memory (one 64k bank is accessible by the VIC)
•Clocked with 1MHz
•Two joystick ports
•Parallel IEEE488 connector
•RS232 port. An ACIA (6551) chip allows baud rates up to 19200
•Builtin machine language monitor
•Optional memory extension (up to 256k internal, up to 1M externally)
•Optional Z80 or 8088 coprocessor boards
This information and further details can be found at http://www.von-bassewitz.de/uz/oldcomputers/p500/
Our machine is in excellent condition in the original box and has a serial number of 00525
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This exhibit has a reference ID of CH4861. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.