Schneider CPC 464
Baujahr: ca. 1984
Prozessor: Z80, 3,3 MHz
Kern-Speicher: 64 k
Monitor: farbe, 160x200x16 colours (mode 0), 320x200x4 colours (mode 1) and 640x200x2 colours (mode 2, 80-column mode)
Produziert in: England (?)
Anwendungen: siehe Links
CPC464 - foto: cpcwiky.com
The Amstrad CPC (Colour Personal Computer) series was a series of 8-bit home computers that were manufactured by the British company Amstrad between 1984 (launch of the CPC464: 21st June 1984) and 1993 (?). The CPC, like most contemporary home micros, had an integrated computer-in-a-keyboard design. Also incorporated in the keyboard was the tape recorder or disc drive.
In general what Amstrad aimed for was to offer a completely integrated solution at a low price. Just as with Amstrad's stereo towers before, Alan M. Sugar wanted to provide a solution with as few separate components as possible, with as few cables as possible and at as low a price as possible. A truck driver, unfamiliar with computers, was often cited as the CPC's target market.
As a result, Amstrad chose ready off-the-shelf components and used low-cost production methods in an effort to bring manufacturing costs down. They also included a monitor to connect the computer to - a move which, while raising the price, was designed to free the home TV from little brats hogging it for a dose of Ikari Warriors while Eastenders was on. This concept appealed to users and proved to be a success.
The combination of low cost, integrated design, good manufacturing quality and some impressive features like CP/M and an 80-column display mode (lacking in much of the competition, particularly the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64) proved to be a success both with home users and small businesses, and Amstrad went on to sell millions of CPCs.
Because of its use of the Z80, which was also used in the Sinclair models, some of the earliest games found on the CPC were fairly direct ports of the Spectrum versions which failed to take advantage of the CPC's extra capabilities. The amount of Spectrum ports has often been overstated by those who wish to knock the machine, and in fact formed a comparatively small number of largely unsuccessful games. Nonetheless, those that were published left users and reviewers with a bad taste in their mouth.
At its core, the CPC combined a standard 4MHz Z80A with off-the-shelf components and a custom Gate Array chip. The firmware comprised two 16k ROMs (combined onto one 32k chip): one was effectively the operating system, the other the fast and flexible Locomotive BASIC interpreter. All machines except the original 464 would also include a further 16k ROM (on a separate chip), the AMSDOS disc operating system.
In all, there were three 'classic' models, the CPC 464, 664 and 6128; plus two short-lived later advanced models, the 464 Plus and the 6128 Plus. A final iteration was the GX4000 games machine based on the CPC+ computers.
First came the CPC464, the father of the CPC family, released on the 21st June 1984(with production ceasing in 1990). This model used an integrated tape recorder and offered 64KB of RAM. It sold around two million units in Europe and, technologically-wise, was more impressive than the ZX Spectrum and on a similar level with the Commodore 64. (One notable exception was the sound chip; while the C64 employed the splendid custom SID chip, Amstrad opted for a generic sound chip - AY-3-8912 - with unremarkable features. That said, the firmware of the CPC was leagues ahead of the C64.) At its core was a Z80 clocked at 4MHz - though screen display considerations, and the particular design of the Gate Array limited this to an effective 3.3MHz in practice - while the display was managed by the 6845 CRTC along with a gate-array chip.
The CPC464 sported a palette of 27 colours and three distinct resolutions: 160x200x16 colours (mode 0), 320x200x4 colours (mode 1) and 640x200x2 colours (mode 2, 80-column mode).
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