Hail the 464 ! Hail Sugarman ! Power to the People !

The first in a range of home computers sold by Amstrad, the CPC464 brought some welcome realism into the home computer market of the early eighties. It equaled or exceeded the technical abilities of competitors' machines in every area, and came bundled (this was the killer) with a colour monitor, all for 399 pounds. At the time of launch, punters (as Alan Sugar would call them) were being asked to pay the same for a monitorless, tapeless, BBC Micro with half the RAM.

Overnight, the 464 outspecced and undercut all competing machines, bar none. While Acorn went bust and Sinclair were gobbled up by Amstrad, the 464 sold in quadrazillions and allowed Amstrad to dominate the home computer market and (subsequently) the small business PC market.

The 464 was equiped with a 4 Mhz Z80 processor and Locomotive Basic 1.1, which made it the fastest and most structured programming platform in the home computer market. It had a dedicated 3 channel sound chip and noise generator, a pallete of 27 colours, the ability to display 80 column text, and more useable RAM (44 Kb) than any of its competitors. These things were important at the time!

There was no shortage of games for the 464. Since it used the same processor as the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, most popular Spectrum games were simply ported.

I spent years programming and gaming on my 464. I liked its technical excellence, low price and practicality. I liked the way that Amstrad exploded the pretence and pedantry which had become a part of the home computer scene at the time. The CPC464 encapsulated the greatest strengths of competing systems in one cheap box. Nice one Alan!

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.