Commodore PET

Jules Richardson julesrichardsonuk at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Nov 9 14:53:54 CST 2007


M H Stein wrote:
> Date: Fri, 09 Nov 2007 09:55:34 +0000
> From: Jules Richardson <julesrichardsonuk at yahoo.co.uk>
> Subject: Re: Commodore PET
> 
>> We still seem to get them offered to the museum in healthy numbers - including 
>> the chicklet models (and once in a while one of the blue-fronted ones, which I 
>> believe are the earliest).
> 
>> I've never tried actively seeking one out though as there's been no need.
> 
>> Finding one that works seems to be the difficult bit - I don't think I've ever 
>> seen one which hasn't required some form of TLC inside. Nasty, clunky, 
>> horrible things they are ;-)
> 
>> cheers
> 
>> Jules
> 
> --------Reply:
> Well, recognizing that this was probably just flame bait, I respectfully disagree.
> 
> Granted, with time there were problems with poor connectors and failing RAM
> & ROM chips, but that was common in systems of that day (and still is).

PETs do seem particularly prone to it though - but then every system tends to 
have some common failure mode, and the ICs happen to be the PETs. :-(

> In my not-so-humble opinion, the PET's metal case and automobile-style 'hood'
> ('bonnet' to you), hefty linear power supply, crisp built-in monitor, IEEE port, and its 
> generous supply of other I/O ports, not to mention Commodore's good official
> support, made it stand out among the Apples and R-S model 1s of the day.

I think it's not that they're particularly bad, just that I'm failing to see 
why they've got quite the following that they have (unless this is just 
another one of those UK/US differences - there were lots of expandable, 
well-built, well-documented systems around in the UK back in the day, but 
perhaps that wasn't so true of the US?)

On a personal note, the styling never appealed somehow - a dinky monitor 
physically bolted to a large, squat, angular case with a large footprint just 
didn't seem too practical. But then I've never been a big fan of all-in-one 
systems anyway, I suppose - I'd much rather have separate keyboard / display / 
CPU / drives, and with units that took up vertical space in favour of horizontal.

> And, as an aside, it was many years before the mainstream reached the 500MB 
> *per side* of the 8050 and 8250 disk drives (which could use pretty well any
> diskette you had on hand, soft sector, 10 or 16S hard sector, whatever). 

Granted that does seem pretty good (I assume you mean 500KB ;) - I think Acorn 
would have been doing 400KB around that time but a lot of the competition (at 
least in the UK) were aiming at something like half that.

I'm not really serious about them being nasty machines (hence the smiley in 
the original message) - they just don't really 'do' anything for me. But then 
we all have out *cough* 'pet' systems... ;)

(Anyone know the price on a 8250 drive back in the day? I bet they didn't come 
cheap!)

cheers

Jules



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