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1982 - The CBM BX256 (BX Series)


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Announced at the Chicago Electronics Show in June 1982, the CBM BX256 was to be the first in the new 'BX' series range, the third-generation PET designed by none other than the German designer of Porsche motor cars. Along with the B128, it was touted as one of the replacements for the CBM 8032 that promised to bring Commodore Business Machines in line with more modern micro computers. The BX256 was equipped with the MOS 6509 micro processor, the same SID chip as used in the C-64, and 256K of RAM, but using an external 640K memory expansion, 896K was possible. It also included the 8088 16-bit micro-processor board for CP/M-86 capability.

There was a built-in RS-232C interface for hooking up modems and printers, Commodore's traditional IEEE-488 interface to support the full range of Commodore peripherals, a real-time clock, an enhanced Microsoft BASIC upward compatible with BASIC 4.0, audio system output, monitor output, and a cartridge slot for plug-in games and other software. High-level languages such as U.C.S.D. Pascal would also be supported, and the CP/M made possible languages such as FORTRAN, COBOL and APL. It came with an 80 column 25 line built-in "tilt-and-swivel" green phosphor monitor, dual 5" disk drives and detachable keyboard. Its 94 keys included 10 programmable function keys, a separate numeric keypad with CE, 00, ENTER and math operators, a key for each cursor arrow to support the full-screen editor, a large and easy to find RETURN, Pi, ESC, CTRL, INS/DEL, RUN/STOP, NORM/GRPH, CLR/HOME, OFF/RVS, and the full CBM business character set with PET graphics symbols.

A release date of October 1982 was announced but the machine was not released as far as we know.

CBM BX256 Technical Specifications
Microprocessor MOS 6509
System Memory 2K ROM
User Area 256K RAM, and using a 640K external expansion to 896K.
Keyboard Qwerty layout - 94 keys including 10 programmable function keys and numeric keypad.
Display 80 columns 25 lines 255 displayable characters
Resolution 640 x 400 pixels
Colours None - Monochrome Green only
Sound 3 tone generators + white noise generator
Input/Output RS232C Commodore Serial Port
IEEE-488 Interface
Cassette Drive No Cassette Drive port
Joysticks No Joystick ports
Other ROM Cartridge port
Price US$2995


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Revised: September 25, 2005.