Terry Stewart's (Tezza's) Classic Computer Collection

Amstrad CPC 464

Amstrad CPC 464(Note: I also describe this machine in a YouTube video)

Prior to 1984, UK company Amstrad were mostly known for their cheap stereos and other hi-fi products. However, sometime in 1982-83 Amstrad owner Alan Sugar noticed something. A new phenomena in consumer electronics was in town! Home computers like the Sinclair Spectrum and Commodore 64 were all the rage. Amstrad needed to be part of the action!

Rather late to the party, the Amstrad CPC 464 was launched in April 1984, taking aim squarely at the same market as those computers listed above. Under the hood the 464 was a conservative design, powered by the trusty Z80 chip, offering 64K RAM onboard and featuring adequate graphics and sound for the time. However, the machine did offer some points of difference to the competition. Firstly, not only did the full-stroke keyboard look striking and was pleasant to type on, there was a numeric keypad and a cursor cluster. The screen mode included 80 columns if necessary and the Locomotive BASIC was a classy implementation of the language. The biggest difference though was the computer was sold as a complete package. The data storage device (a tape deck) was built in, and either a mono or colour crystal clear RGB screen came with the console. All other machines required users to either compete for the family TV, or buy their input and output devices as separate purchases, hence pushing the overall cost up considerably. The Amstrad CPC 464 was comparable in pricing when that was taken into account.

Although it didn't destroy the competition this Amstrad, and its subsequent models, carved out a significant following in the European home computer market. For that reason the Amstrad CPC 464 can be justifiably called a classic computer.

Although they were sold here, these machines are not common in New Zealand. This one came from the U. K. via e-bay. As you can see it's in beautiful condition. The screen was donated by fellow classic computer enthusiast, Mike Railton (Thanks Mike!). There is plenty of software on the Internet I can access to keep it company and I've also got some titles on tapes. What's more, I have a combined disk drive/disk interface for the machine. This item was donated even before I had the computer by someone who thought I might find it useful someday. The drive doesn't work but a diagnostic session showed all that's required is a new drive belt. I now have one, and will fit it in the next few weeks.

It's a worthy member of the collection.

This page last edited 25th July, 2015

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