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Hwlngmad

Modern Day PET a Legit Possibility?

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In one of the recent videos from the 8-bit Guy, he showcased a case that enclosed a Mini-Pet.  It made me wonder if something like this would be a viable product considering that the Mini-Pet is something that is being actively sold and retro-computing seems to becoming more and more mainstream.  Anyway, just a thought and enjoy the video if you haven't seen it yet

 

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I loved the sheet metal aesthetic and keyboard of the pet 4032, which this is not. If someone could make such a beast with a real high quality CRT, I'd consider it.

 

I don't see the appeal of the Pet as a machine, truth be told. Why not just use a subset of the features of a C-64? I don't say that to be nasty. I'm honestly curious what the Pet has going for it.

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A lot of people like the form factor... for a few days at least. Yes it is classic but IMHO it doesn't need to be recreated. Today we have laptops that serve the same purpose as PET and TRS-80 once did, not to mention a few odd-ball all-in-one computers both from Apple and other more or less profiled PC manufacturers. Usually those attempts to combine computer motherboard with the monitor, and have a separate keyboard are short lived.

 

Same goes for those all-in-one keyboards which mimic the old Amiga/Atari ST type computers and to most part are laptops minus the screen. Cute form factor but nothing people in a larger scale are interested in using. A bit like driving hot-rods I think. It can be fun a few days a year but nothing you would have for a daily driver even if it was affordable.

 

Sure you can custom build anything, and perhaps even build on order from customers but I don't see much of a demand for full PET style replicas. Even the Mini PET is a rather niche product, in particular with its price tag.

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For the cost of Mini-Pet and assorted bits like keyboard (~300GBP) I'd rather spend a little bit more and buy an original one. Full-on Mini Pet will never happen because of the impossibility to manufacture a CRT nowadays. It could happen with a flat modern panel, and some sort of RPi inside, but even so it's too niche a machine for somebody to bother with putting it all together.

 

I don't quite understand the issue with its lack of "appeal" though. It's a retro computing pioneer, what else is there to be said? Of course it's more primitive than C64, but C64 is more primitive than Amiga, which in turn is...and so on. Nobody is going to use it for modern productivity tasks, but for the fact it's totally amazing to keep alive such an iconic piece of history.

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7 hours ago, carlsson said:

A lot of people like the form factor... for a few days at least. Yes it is classic but IMHO it doesn't need to be recreated. Today we have laptops that serve the same purpose as PET and TRS-80 once did, not to mention a few odd-ball all-in-one computers both from Apple and other more or less profiled PC manufacturers. Usually those attempts to combine computer motherboard with the monitor, and have a separate keyboard are short lived.

 

Same goes for those all-in-one keyboards which mimic the old Amiga/Atari ST type computers and to most part are laptops minus the screen. Cute form factor but nothing people in a larger scale are interested in using. A bit like driving hot-rods I think. It can be fun a few days a year but nothing you would have for a daily driver even if it was affordable.

 

Sure you can custom build anything, and perhaps even build on order from customers but I don't see much of a demand for full PET style replicas. Even the Mini PET is a rather niche product, in particular with its price tag.

Yeah, very true all that you are saying.  However, seeing this all put together made me wonder how much of a viability something like this would be.  Still something like the Raspberry Pi 400 or something else out there could do the trick and much cheaper too I imagine.

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Like Youxia mentioned above, CRT manufacturing now finally has ceased. The last market was for airplane displays, for older airplanes not upgraded to LCDs. Toshiba was the final manufacturer and closed down in 2020.

 

That means for a true CRT experience, whoever manufactures a PET like computer needs to source 20+ year old TVs or monitors, preferably a large lot of the same model. The actual hardware on the driving motherboard might not be that important, remember that Commodore sold e.g. the Educator 64 to schools which was a C64 in a PET shell plus that they had a few variants of this model. You most probably could put together a Windows XP system with built-in CRT and fixed keyboard if you are only looking for the form factor rather than specific hardware capacities. Or use a Raspberry Pi as you mention.

 

We must not forget shipping costs as well. A unit like the original 9" PET has dimensions around 50x50x55 cm and weighs roughly 15-18 kg IIRC (I've shipped quite a few). Then you need a protective layer. The bigger screen you would integrate, the larger and heavier the package becomes. To build all-in-one C64 style computers like the casing The 8-bit Guy uses but leaving out the monitor would be far easier and cheaper to ship around, but then a lot of the iconic form factor is lost.

 

Some of this reminds me about arcade games, though their form factor never has gone out of style, just changed and monitors become bigger and bigger. OTOH those are normally not intended for home consumers and probably are shipped on pallets instead of smaller packages.

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Using an actual CRT in a mini model is absolutely nuts. Kinda defeats the entire point of "mini".

Personally I think the mini-pet sold inside a custom C64 style case and a proper keyboard for anywhere under $300 would be good enough for everyone, but I suppose not enough people would buy them to get costs as low as that.

There really isn't a big enough appeal for a PET; I mean, if it was a really awesome computer then maybe but it really isn't. And like others have mentioned before the aesthetics is a big appeal for a PET and after that's gone, there really isn't much left. Don't get me wrong, I still love my PET. But for the average person there's no good reason to buy mini-pet.

 

TL;DR: Nope, modern PETs are impossible.

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Yes. Just because there are resellers of CRTs doesn't equal there still are manufacturers. Or maybe there is some small scale custom manufacturing still going on in China.

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