From: Ethan Dicks (erd_at_infinet.com)
Date: 2002-07-11 20:46:21
> On Thu, Jul 11, 2002 at 11:35:24AM -0400, Ethan Dicks wrote: > > If you _had_ a 32K PET, what does a B500 get you > > that you didn't already have? > > Advanced features of the Commodore 600/700/B128/B256/B500/... include > > * a 6502 compatible CPU clocked with 2MHz OK... Nice, but probably too little, too late. > * an ACIA (6551) featuring baud rates up to 19200 Also nice (but available for a couple hundred bucks as a PET add-in (I have one that fits in a ROM socket and taps R/W, etc off of some jumper wires). > * up to 960KB of adressable memory (up to 256KB on board) Quite the little MMU in there, I would say. Who could afford the memory back then anyway? Does it use 4116s or 4164s? Probably 4164s if they wanted to be able to close the lid - 32 chips vs 128 chips. I don't think the PSU could take that much draw. > * a BASIC that can use up to 256KB memory Nice. I remember running programs on a 32K PET that were banging up against the ceiling. The problem is, of course, that with a cassette tape, who *wants* to load/save programs that large. :-) > * coprocessor capability (Z80 + 8086 boards were available or > planned) Nice for business (at the time), especially if the Z80 board came with CP/M. > And maybe some more. IMHO the greatest drawback was the use of a 8 > bit 6502 compatible CPU, which was no longer adaequate for a business > machine at this time. "At this time" being when? 1982? 1983? I knew plenty of businesses still buying CP/M cards for the Apple II and still using CP/M on a daily basis up through about 1985 (Kaypros mostly that late; other, larger stuff in the 1982-1983 timeframe). 8-bits is not the issue; 8-bit *business* software probably is. Nobody was writing anything new then. It was DOS and CP/M and a little Apple II and not much else by 1984. > Another problem was the missing software compatibility with the PETs. Sure. Same problem killed the Apple III - not compatible enough with the immensely popular Apple II. > I've read an estimate that said, applications that make use of the > new features need 30-40% of the code to get rewritten - which is way > too much in my eyes. 25% is probably too much to be viable, especially given the development techniques and disciplines of the day. Having been a professional programmer as early as 1982 (assembly on a C-64, no less), companies maintained entirely independent code bases for different platforms. "Porting" was a huge hairy deal. I worked for a childrens' games company in 1984 that supported the Apple II, the BBC Acorn and the C-64. With the exception of a one-time migration (over custom-written serial-transfer software) of code from the Apple II to the C-64, the code, once split, never saw its ancestors again. Every feature and every bug fix had to be done and done over, one platform at a time. Things used to really suck in the 8-bit world. > Similar thing for the P500: It can do anything that the C64 can do > plus a lot more. But the C64 was already established and probably a > lot cheaper. The C-64 was $595 new, plus another $400-$600 for the 1541, c. 1982. I'm sure the B500/P500 was quite a bit more than that. Besides, the C-64 was clearly a home game machine. The B500/P500 at least *looked* like a business machine. The C-64 was always perceived as a toy. Thanks for the summary of what's "new and different" with the PET-II line. I remember seeing them and being underwhelmed. I probably looked at the price tag and was scared off. If I had that kind of cash back then, I would have bought a 4040 drive (I had to wait five more years to get them for $10 from the University surplus ;-) I wouldn't leave one in the pile if I ran across one, but I don't expect to be bidding on one on eBay anytime soon. -ethan -- Visit "The Seventh Continent" http://penguincentral.com/penguincentral.html Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list
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