Did Commodore, more than Apple, contribute to the birth of the personal computer?

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mediatechnology
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Did Commodore, more than Apple, contribute to the birth of the personal computer?

Post by mediatechnology » Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:49 am

Chuck Peddle and the 6502 chip determined the history of personal computers.

The same year the Altair was released, in 1975, an engineer called Chuck Peddle, with his team at MOS Technology, created a microprocessor called 6502. It was cheaper and more powerful than the ones existing at the time. It was not meant to be a CPU, but it ended up shaping the history of personal computers. MOS did not just produce the 6502, they also created other components and assembled a kit for hobbyists called KIM-1. With this kit you could create a fully working computer, with keyboard, led display and tape interface. You could say it was the Raspberry PI or the Arduino of the ’70s. Peddle wrote a very detailed documentation to help hobbyists. It was definitely easier to use compared to the Altair. MOS Technology sold around 7000 KIM-1 computers in total.
https://gamesnostalgia.com/en/story/158 ... of-the-per

Related reading:

"When We Invented the Personal Computer" Steve Jobs 1981: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=460
Apple II 40th Anniversary, June 5th 1977-2017: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=891
August 12, 1981: Apple Computer is History: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=516

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JR.
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Re: Did Commodore, more than Apple, contribute to the birth of the personal computer?

Post by JR. » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:32 am

I guess it depends on how you define a personal computer.

I recall the s-100 bus computer(?) kit in Poptronics back in 75, but it didn't seem very useful, with a toggle switch interface.

A few years later I bought a Heathkit kit version of DEC LSI-11/2 which was arguably not a PC.

But it could be programmed using basic, walked and quacked like a PC.

JR

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Re: Did Commodore, more than Apple, contribute to the birth of the personal computer?

Post by Gold » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:39 pm

JR. wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:32 am
I recall the s-100 bus computer(?) kit in Poptronics back in 75, but it didn't seem very useful, with a toggle switch interface.
The Zuma computer for the VMS66/70 lathes is an S100 bus computer. Only the I/O card was designed by John Bittner. The CPU, RAM and other card which I forget and don't want to open the box or dig out drawings were all standard S100 bus cards. I think Cromenco manufactured most of them.

There is a whole S100 bus subculture. Geeks who restore and use them. Hmm sounds familiar.

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Re: Did Commodore, more than Apple, contribute to the birth of the personal computer?

Post by mediatechnology » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:08 pm

One of the things that made the Apple II low cost was the use of dynamic RAM and the clever combination of DRAM refresh and video scan generation circuitry.

As the article points out the 6502 processor, which Peddle, MOS Technology and Commodore used also made the Apple II affordable.

My brother started one of the first computer stores in Texas and I do remember the early S-100 systems as well as the original Apple "I".

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Re: Did Commodore, more than Apple, contribute to the birth of the personal computer?

Post by JR. » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:03 pm

I thought the apple II used 6511? but I am not (was not) a digital geek back then...

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Re: Did Commodore, more than Apple, contribute to the birth of the personal computer?

Post by billshurv » Fri May 04, 2018 6:59 am

I think it depends which side of the pond you are on and what you were exposed to. My early computing experiences were a mix of Z80 and 6502. Certainly Commodore having the b*lls to buy MOS with Motorola hanging around helped.

Z80 was most famously used in the Radio Shack TRS80 family and the sinclair spectrum as well as hoardes of CP/M machines

6502 was PET, Apple and numerous games consoles.

I have to say as a yoof I found Z80 assembler a lot easier to get my head around. it took years before 6502 clicked.

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