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1980s Computers Explanation of terms

The CPC 464

CPC 464


Amstrad (UK)


CPC 464

Date Launched

March 1984


£249 with green monitor
£359 with colour monitor

Microprocessor type

Zilog Z80A @ 4 MHz

ROM size

32 kilobytes

Standard RAM

64 kilobytes

Maximum RAM

128 kilobytes

Keyboard type

Typewriter style with separate numeric pad and cursor keys

Supplied language

Locomotive extended BASIC.
This was quite an advanced version of BASIC which allowed programs to respond to hardware interrupts, giving a simple form of multi-tasking.

Text resolution

20, 40 or 80 columns x 25 rows

Graphics resolution

160 x 200 pixels in 16 colours
320 x 200 pixels in 4 colours
640 x 200 pixels in 2 colours

Colours available

27 (maximum 16 at once)

Example Screenshot

CPC 464 4-colour mode
Displays in the higher resolutions tended to look rather colourless.


Three channels in stereo

Cassette load speed

1200 or 2400 baud

Dimensions (mm)
Weight (grams)

550 x 160 x 67 (CPC 464)
Not known

Special features

Had an integral cassette recorder.
Was supplied as a package with monochrome or colour monitor and a software bundle.

Good points

A complete package ready to plug in and start using.
A wide range of software, for entertainment and business, was produced.
With a disc drive it could run the CP/M operating system.

Bad points

In hardware terms it was not groundbreaking and lagged behind the Commodore 64, Atari 600XL and BBC B.

How successful?

About 2 million units were sold in total, through till 1990.
Sold particularly to people who wanted to play games or use a word processor, but were not interested in computers as such.


Amstrad were established in the consumer electronics market, especially known for providing all-in-one hi-fi units at low cost. They continued this idea with the CPC 464 which was designed to appeal to the non computer-enthusiast.

CPC 664A later model, the CPC 664, had a floppy disc drive in place of the cassette recorder and cost £449 with a colour monitor, as illustrated. Unfortunately it used 3 inch discs which never became a standard in the way 3½ inch ones did.

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