Amstrad CPC

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Platform - CPC.png
Amstrad CPC
Released: 1984-??-??
Discontinued: 199?-??-??
Developer: Amstrad
Type: Hardware

The Amstrad CPC (short for Colour Personal Computer) is an 8-bit home computer released by Amstrad. The built-in operating system mainly consists of a BASIC dialect which was developed specifically for the new platform by Locomotive Software Ltd.

The CPC has always been very popular in France. In German-speaking countries, it was distributed by Schneider and renamed to Schneider CPC. Magazines and users often call the platform just Amstrad or Schneider.



CPC 464

The original model has a built-in tape recorder and 64 KB.


This short-lived model has a built-in 3-inch disk drive and 64 KB.


The most popular model has a built-in 3-inch disk drive and 128 KB.

Music and Sound

The CPC has a Z80 CPU clocked at 4 Mhz, a 300 Hz timer, and a General Instrument AY-3-8912 sound chip at 1 Mhz.

It allows up to 3 square waves from 15–62500 Hz (almost thrice as high as a human can hear) and white noise from 2016–62500 Hz. Sound drivers are often synchronized with the aforementioned 300 Hz, which slightly limits song tempos.

Just like the later Game Boy, the CPC has a built-in speaker which outputs all sound in mono, and a 3.5 mm jack to output in stereo. This is possible since the AY-3-8910 chip series outputs each channel through its own pin. Similarly to the later Amiga, though, all panning is fixed: Channel A is always hard left, channel B in the middle, and channel C hard right.

Besides sound, the CPC keyboard and joysticks are connected through AY-3-8912's single I/O port, so if the sound chip is removed, the whole computer will not respond.