The main improvement over the other PET / CBM computers is the 80-column display. The screen is 12'' large and the ROM version is 4.0.
The CBM-80xx was often sold as a "bundle". It was made up of the computer (most often the CBM 8032, though other models were made), the 5.25" double disk drive CBM 8050 (500 KB, 77 tracks) and the bi-directional 132-columns, 160 CPS printer. The 8050 has a 6502 CPU, 4 KB of RAM and 12 KB of ROM (which contains the DOS). It was sold with Ozz, a Database, and a version of the spreadsheet "Visicalc".
Dave Ridley reports to us:
CBM & PET 4000/8000 series - Brings back the memories! I used to fix these things, and boy did they have some classics. Regular problems were caused by the chip sockets going intermittant together with the molex power connectors burning out! Fix - remove chip squirt with RS Solvent Cleaner and stick them back. The external Disk units were connected by IEEE connectors. These disk drive units would fail, many a time I would open a unit up onsite(rather like opening the bonnet of a car) to find a pair of rectifier diodes that had got so hot they had actually melted themselves out of the board and fallen into the base.
Ben Pony adds:
I experimented with the compatibility of this computer and the C-64. Any software stored on cassette by the CBM could be loaded into the C-64, but C-64 tapes wouldn't work on the CBM.
About the 8296 FDD unit, by Michael Huth:
The 8296DS double disk drive unit uses 2x 6502. They work as multi-processor system. One cpu manages the data transfer and the other the drives hardware. So in fact the floppy has the double computing power than the computer itself.
We used these very seriously at a insurance company, Albany Life, where we had these as standard for word-processing (using WordCraft) across the company at about 20 different branches around the UK. Used BASIC programs as well as Visicalc to do a lot of finanical modelling, so much so that we got Wordcraft to develop a micro-mainframe link so that we could transfer data from mainframe into our financial modelling systems. Was much quicker $ more cost-effective than trying to get things done through mainframe systems. Eventually moved to PCs, but loved teh simplicity and flexibility of the Commodore PETs
Saturday 17th December 2016
Peter Singleton (UK)
Granville Kirkup in England created a camera repair shop application on the 8032, using the dual 500K floppy drive unit for storage. I bought a system from him and used it for many years to run my shop. It would hold data for about 2,000 repairs. There was nothing like it at the time. He also did a simple payroll tax program. The Leica camera company in Germany developed a camera shutter speed tester using an 80XX as the output device.
Tuesday 5th May 2015
Jim Amos (Denver, CO USA)
I learned to program on one of these in school when I was 15 and I loved it. Only had a tape deck though so very slow. My friend had a BIG program he wrote and it would take most of a lesson to load it! Because of this lots of people preferred the timeshare teleprinter terminal linked to our local council''s mainframe as it had instant save/load times.