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The Commodore Personal Electronic Transactor (PET) is a line of personal computers manufactured by Commodore between 1977 and 1982. The PET was part of the second generation of personal computers introduced alongside the Apple II and the TRS-80 that were marketed toward consumers. The computer was based around the MOS Technology 6502 processor.
The Commodore PET was Commodore’s first personal computer and one of the first to be marketed to consumers rather than electronics hobbyists, the way the MITS Altair 8800 was. The PET used the MOS Technology 6502 8-bit CPU. Commodore owned MOS Technology and was able to keep costs down using vertical integration.
The PET had a distinctive wedge-shaped case, chiclet keyboard and a built-in cassette drive. A monochrome monitor was also built into the unit. The PET did not have graphics, but had a set of special characters that could be used for drawing pictures called “PETSCII.” Like most other personal computers in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, it had BASIC built into the ROM which started up when the machine was powered on.
The first model was the Pet 2001. The later 4000-series PET, also known as CBM in Europe, dropped the tape drive in favor of a full-size keyboard with a numeric keypad, as floppy disks had already supplanted cassettes as the preferred data storage medium. The PET was most successful in the U.S. and Canadian education markets. The last PET rolled off the assembly line in 1982, replaced by the CBM-II.