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Amstrad CPC / History

Amstrad/Schneider CPC - models + history
Common: Alan Sugar, photo in Crash magazine No. 28 May 1986

Amstrad stands for "Alan M. Sugar Trading". Amstrad was founded in 1968 by the present Chairman Alan Sugar, first trading in electrical goods.

The nickname of the Amstrad CPC was Arnold. Arnold is an anagram of "Roland". The main designer of the CPC was Roland Perry ... and as he presented his ideas for a homecomputer to Alan M. Sugar, the workname of his drafts was "Arnold".

Move the mouse over the images to get a short explanation.

CPC 464: 1984, Zilog Z80A, 3.3 MHz, 64 KB RAM, 32 KB ROM, Tapedrive
CPC 464, Colourmonitor CTM640 / Greenmonitor GT64 CPC 464 Amstrad CPC 464 Schneider CPC 464 startscreen
CPC 472: 1984, Zilog Z80A, 3.3 MHz, 72 KB RAM, 32 KB ROM, Tapedrive

This special spanish version was released by the spanish Amstrad distributor Indescomp without the knowledge of Amstrad UK. The additional 8 KB are only accessable from machine code. The spanish government had a tax for 64KB homecomputers which would have caused lots of costs for the mass sales of the CPC464. By adding 8KB Indescomp worked around this tax ...

CPC 472 CPC 472
CPC 664: 1985, Zilog Z80A, 3.3 MHz, 64 KB RAM, 32 KB ROM, 3"-Floppydrive
CPC 664, Greenmonitor GT65 CPC 664, Colormonitor CTM644 3'' disk, price for 10 pieces: 35 to 60 EUR
CPC 6128: 1985, Zilog Z80A, 3.3 MHz, 128 KB RAM, 32 KB ROM, 3"-Floppydrive
CPC 6128, Greenmonitor GT65 CPC 6128, Colormonitor CTM644 CPC 6128 startscreen CPC prices (in german mark) end of 1987
ZX Spectrum +2: 1987, Zilog Z80A, 3.54 MHz, 128 KB RAM, 32 KB ROM, Tapedrive

In 1986 Amstrad took over Sinclair's computer business. Changes in the direction of Sinclair's most popular computer, the ZX Spectrum (released 1982 as sucessor of the popular ZX 81), were in the air.

Spectrum (Sinclair), 1982
In early 1987, the change came with the launch of the Spectrum +2. It was very different from any previous Spectrum, coming with a proper typewriter keyboard and built-in tape recorder and twin joystick ports. Externally at least, it was very similar to Amstrad's CPC 464.

ZX Spectrum +2 (Sinclair/Amstrad) ZX Spectrum +2 startscreen
CPC 464plus: 1987, Zilog Z80A, 4 MHz, 64 KB RAM, 0 KB ROM (ROM on Cartridge),
Tapedrive, Cartridge Slot
CPC 464+, colour stereo monitor MM14 / grey monitor MM12 CPC 464+ startscreen
CPC 6128plus: 1987, Zilog Z80A, 4 MHz, 128 KB RAM, 32 KB ROM, 3"-Floppydrive, Cartridge Slot
CPC 6128+, colour stereo monitor MM14 / grey monitor MM12 CPC 6128+ startscreen
ZX Spectrum +3: 1988, Zilog Z80A, 3.54 MHz, 128 KB RAM, 64 KB ROM, 3"-Floppydrive

Amstrad's last Sinclair product.
ZX Spectrum +3 (Sinclair/Amstrad)
KC compact: 1989, UA 880 D (Z80 clone), 4 MHz, 64 KB RAM, 32 KB ROM, 3"-Floppydrive

The KC compact is a clone of the Schneider/Amstrad CPC 464, manufactured in the German Democratic Republic by RFT / VEB Microelektronik Muehlhausen. It was anounced to the 40. anniversary (7 Oct 1989) of the GDR, which lasted only a few weeks longer. So the KC compact was not produced very long and now is a rare collector's item. The CPU was a Z80-GDR-clone called UA880D. 64 KB RAM are equal to the CPC 464/664, the ROM is equal to the CPC 6128.
This KC computer is not compatible to the previous KC systems (i.e. the popular KC85/2-4 series), but it mainly is compatibly to the Amstrad CPC.

KC compact KC compact startscreen
GX4000
games console:
1990, Zilog Z80A, 4 MHz, 64 KB RAM, Cartridge Slot (128 KB ROM Cartridges),
sprites, 32 colours (palette: 4096)
(mainly a CPC 464+ without keyboard)
GX4000 console
popular magazines in Germany: CPC Magazin, later Schneider Magazin, later Computer partner:
CPC Magazin (first edition 12/1985) Schneider Magazin (here edition 12/1988)

Schneider / Amstrad (C)PC International:
Schneider / Amstrad (C)PC International (edition 11/1989)

Amstrad Action (U.K. import):
Amstrad Action (edition 09/1990)

popular CPC accessoires: DDI-1 Floppy drive (with interface), FD-1 (without interface) AMX mouse Light-Pen Amstrad DMP 2000 printer Amstrad Joystick MP1/MP2 TV adaptor RS232 serial interface Vocal synthesizer Music synthesizer Vortex: 5.25'' drive, memory extensions Dart Scanner - DMP-printer mounted
others:
Datapen Trackball,
D'K Tronics Memory Extensions,
Dobbertin memory extension
Magnum phaser gun
Screenvision TV tuner (for colour monitor CTM64x)
Digiblaster (sound interface for 8-bit mono sampled audio, parallel port)
ROM-RAM-Box