Commodore PC; another unimaginative clone in an overcrowded market. (evaluation) David H. Ahl.
At the srpings SICOB show in Paris, I had the opportunity to use the new Commodore PC which is now being sold in the U.K., France, Germany, and Canada. Commodore has no current plans to market the PC in the U.S. because their current channels of distribution are not appropriate for a business machine of this type.
Fundamentally, the Commodore PC is an IBM PC compatible with a garden variety 8088 mpu running at a sedate 4.7MHz, the same as the IBM PC. It ran our benchmark about 15% faster than the IBM PC, probably because GW Basic (on the Commodoree is slightly faster than BasicA on the PC. For most applications, however, the speed of the two machines will be identical.
Physically, the machine resides in the usual three units: system unit, keyboard, and monitor. The system unit is a shade larger than the PC; it sports two half-height 360K floppy disk drives on the right. It has a serial and a parallel port (with the IBM style 25-connector D plug). Inside are five expansion slots that you won't want to access too often if your machine is like the one at the show whose cover slid open with a grating sound like a snowplow on a bare road.
A basic machine is equipped with 256K of RAM. Additional memory, up to 640K, can reside on the main motherboard, which also contains the serial and parallel ports (no extra card needed).
the keyboard has a few minor changes compared to the IBM unit--specifically a larger RETURN key, CAPS LOCK and ALT keys away from the spacebar, and LEDs on the CAPS LOCK and NUM LOCK keys. These changes are nice, but on the con side, the keyboard is much lighter than the IBM unit giving it an insubstantial, plastic feel.
Naturally, the Commodore people told me that their PC was fully compatible with the IBM PC and, indeed, all the software packages at the show ran flawlessly (including Lotus 1-2-3 and Flight Simulator). However, I not from Peter Bright's review in Personal Computer World that he found at least one piece of software that would not run.
Is there a market for yet another PC compatible? The Commodore PC is not faster than the PC and has no advanced features. A built-in parallel port and memory on the motherboard are nice, but nice doesn't sell machines. Thus, the only real selling premise is price, announced as $2000, about the same as many other compatibles. Thus, I have to agree with the conclusion of PCW, "Too little and too late."
Products: Commodore PC (computer)