BOSTON, OCT. 6 -- Digital Equipment Corp. said today it had struck a deal to market personal computers manufactured by Tandy Corp., a move that takes the heat off Digital to produce a personal computer of its own.

Tandy will make personal computers to Digital's specifications, which Digital will market and sell under its brand, said Geoffrey Burr, a Digital group manager for strategic relations.

Under the agreement, Digital agreed to service and certify certain Tandy personal computers to operate in Digital networks. Company officials refused to describe the computers in detail.

"The personal computer market has moved more and more into a commodity orientation. Digital doesn't feel that we {should be} using our resources to try and compete in manufacturing that kind of product," Burr said. "So we cut out and made an agreement with a company which is."

The agreement comes two days after Digital announced its first licensing agreement to allow an outside firm to manufacture its computers. On Tuesday, Digital and Allen-Bradley Co. of Cleveland announced an alliance designed to strengthen Digital's hold in the manufacturing automation market.

"It's desirable for DEC to be able to provide the complete computing needs to any major customer from the personal level to the superminicomputer level," said Bruce Watts, the managing director of Needham & Co. "Most analysts would agree that DEC is making the right decision in augmenting their product line through outside suppliers."

Watts said Digital missed the boat with its first attempt at a personal computer line five or six years ago.

"DEC had a major false start in personal computers when they introduced a number of products, including a product called Rainbow {and} ... they didn't meet with a great deal of success," Watts said. "For one reason or another the personal computer was not their focus at that time."

Burr said the arrangement with Tandy is "in response to customer demand."

"Digital has been asked to provide support for a range of different vendors and we have concluded agreements with several of those companies to provide full service and support," he said.

Dean Burran, the marketing manager for Digital's personal computer group, said the new machines will differ from Tandy's line in extra features that will make them fit easily into Digital's networking system.

Tandy spokesman Mark Yamagata said he was not at liberty to reveal a product line. "We're their manufacturing source. We will work to develop the computers to their specifications," he said.

Sonny Monosson, an independent analyst who has followed Digital for 20 years, said Digital has created systems in the past to interface with software from other companies. But he said this is Digital's first marketing agreement with another company.

"I wonder how Apple, Compaq and Olivetti are going to feel about this new arrangement," Monosson said. "This is the first product that they are offering to distribute through their sales operation."