In January of 1982 Texas Instruments announces the release of the Peripheral Expansion Box (PEB). This
was to replace the sidecar peripherals which were quite unwieldy, and could take up a LOT of desk space.
When first released the PEB was in short supply, and rather expensive. To get a PEB with a
disk controller, SSSD disk drive, RS232 card, and 32K of memory cost almost $1500. Later through clubs and
such the above system could be purchased in the $400 to $500 range.
There were 8 slots which you could plug in expansion cards, but one slot was needed
for the flex cable interface which is the card that used a large cable, known as the
"Fire Hose" to connect the PEB to the console.
These are heavy duty systems, built to last, and there are many expansion cards available for them, including
cards still being developed today!