Amstrad CPC 464


  • Type: Home computer
  • Manufacturer: Amstrad
  • Released: April 1984
  • Discontinued: November 1993
  • Introductory price: 199 GBP (with green monitor),  299 GBP (with color monitor)
  • CPU: Zilog Z80 @ 4MHz
  • Memory: 64 KB
  • Palette: 27 colors
  • Graphics: 160×200 in 16 colors, 320×200 in 4 colors, 640×200 in 2 colors
  • Units sold: 2 million
  • Best selling game: The Guild of Thieves
  • Audio: General Instruments AY-3-8912

Released 1984: The CPC 464 was the first personal home computer built by Amstrad in 1984. Amstrad was known for cheap hi-fi products but had not broken into the home computer market until the CPC 464. Their consumer electronic sales were starting to plateau and owner and founder Alan Sugar stated “We needed to move on and find another sector or product to bring us back to profit growth”. Work started on the Amstrad home computer in 1983 with engineer Ivor Spital who concluded that Amstrad should enter the home computer market, offering a product that integrated low-cost hardware to be sold at an affordable “impulse-purchase price”.

Spital wanted to offer a device that would not commandeer the family TV but instead be an all-in-one computer with its own monitor, thus freeing up the TV and allowing others to play video games at the same time.

Bill Poel, General Manager of Amsoft (Amstrad’s software division), said during the launch press release that if the computers were not on the shelves by the end of June “I will be prepared to sit down and eat one in Trafalgar Square”.

Aside from the joystick port, the computer, keyboard, and tape deck were all combined into one unit that attached to the monitor via two cables. The monitor also contained the power supply unit which powered the whole unit via one wall plug. It did not have very many wires and was simple to install for even the most inexperienced use.

My Amstrad CPC 464

I got my Amstrad CPC 464 together with the GT64 12″ green monitor, but no games, manuals or other peripherals for it. The monitor also houses the power supply, so the computer will not turn on without the monitor connected. When I got it. I cleaned it up and hooked it up to the monitor. I’ll turned it on and got a stable display of the boot screen into BASIC 1.0.

Amstrad CPC 464
My Amstrad CPC 464 – Loaded a game using a cassette adapter connected to my pc

Loading a game using a cassette adapter
At this point I got no game cassettes for it, but I used a cassette adapter with audio cable. I inserted the cassette adapter into the cassette recorder built into the Amstrd and connected the audio cable to the headset output on my pc laptop. I’ve used a small program that can play Amstrad cassette image files as sound through the pc sound card. After turning off sound improvements in the sound driver on my pc I manage to load a game on the Amstrad using the cassette adapter.

Amstrad CPC 464

Remi Jakobsen

I'm collecting classic computers and video games, stretching from the 70's into the 90's. Restoration, history, usage ...

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