Computers i’ve owned – CPC464

14 Nov

I owned a few 8 bit machines, this was the very first model of computer i owned that was manufactured by Amstrad.  I obtained it as a load of parts that someone had tried to fix the keyboard & couldn’t, it also had an azimuth problem (which i later fixed with a special program) so loading games meant you had to drop some weight onto the tape deck lid.

I fixed the machine & learned a few things about it on the way.  It was powered by a Zilog Z80 processor clocked at 4MHz, with 64K RAM built in, It also had 32K ROM containing the operating language and BASIC, and with a built-in cassette drive unlike it’s bigger brother the 6128 which had the 3″ Amstrad locosoft disc drive as did the rare 664 machine.  It also had a stereo audio output which was via a small jack in the back, sadly you needed an amplifier of some description, or some modern day PC speakers to get any sound out of it as headphones were useless.

Upon bolting the machine back together i noticed on the main board there were some solder pads which were left open, later research lead me to believe this was how the machine was changed identity.. for example by soldering a wire bridge across the pads you could change the word “Amstrad” on the welcome screen to say “Schneider” or “Orion” depending on which 2 pads to bridge.

This was the 1st machine to be sold as a complete package, in the box it came with a colour or mono monitor – the “mono” monitor was green which for some reason 70’s & 80’s business machines always seemed to use green text on black backgrounds.  I have to say i was not keen on the idea of a bespoke system when it 1st came along complete because if for example 1 part broke such as the tape deck this rendered much of the system useless, i much prefered seperate systems, although this was the 1st machine i had that didn’t mean i had to plug into the family colour TV or the old black & white portable in my bedroom to use as it had it’s own monitor although an add-on was an RF modulator.

The machine spec was very similar to the 48k Spectrum i found, with the graphics being more or less the same although the sprites were coloured improving from rather blocky cartoon like sprites with coloured halo’s  & the machine had much better sound, although at the time i still owned & a spectrum & found myself sometimes buying 2 copies of the same game or buying the game for the spectrum & leaving the CPC for more business like purposes such as programming my own programs or games in BASIC.