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Amstrad CPC

Released in 1984
Gaming platform
Amstrad CPC - picture
The Amstrad CPC was a line of computers that were sold as all-in-one units where the main processor, keyboard and storage (either cassette or 3" disc) were packed together in one and unit and bundled with a combination display/power supply. Amstrad originally positioned the CPC to be a competitor to the popular ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 as a low cost home computer and ultimately the line became quite popular in several west European markets.

The CPC line was based on the Zilog Z80A, and offered graphics that allowed for 160x200 with 16 colors, or 320x200 with 4 colors. The CPC was capable of playing three sound channels in stereo, and could play digital samples in a limited fashion. The CPC also had built in joystick ports which made the platform attractive for gaming.

One distinctive feature of the CPC line was the support for a 3" floppy disc format different from the much more common 3.5" diskette. Due to their uniqueness, the 3" discs were more expensive and when the CPC line was discontinued and Amstrad switched its Amstrad PCW line to 3.5" disks, the format basically died out. The generic floppy media should be used to document CPC disc releases.

Starting in the fall of 1990, Amstrad introduced the "Plus" line to replace the existing CPC models. The machines were very similar to the CPC, with the addition of an enhanced color palette, the addition of a cartridge slot and the attempted marketing of a console based on the CPC, the GX4000 (which could also be hooked up to a standard television). These machines were not very successful as the processor and graphics capability were very limited for 1990 and Amstrad discontinued the CPC line in 1991.
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Also known as
  • Schneider CPC
  • Amstrad GX4000
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