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amstrad

 
 relevant links
 
Sprinter
The Russian 8-bit "supermicro" – the FPGA-based multiform architecture allows to an enthusiast to build a brand new Amstrad simply by developing a new configuration. Everything else is already there, including floppy and IDE controllers, serial port, even ISA slots.
 
 applications 
 
NATIVE
 
Wordprocessing:
Tassword
ProText (also supplied in EPROM for the Rombox by Rombo)
 
Databases:
ProData
   
CP/M
 

The Amstrad CPC/PCW range of computers came either with a built-in disk drive or with a floppy connector (the controller was built in all the models) and CP/M 2.2 and 3.0 was available, even bundled with some models and often used. Most standard CP/M applications can therefore be used if successfully transferd to a 3" floppy disk.
 
Wordprocessing:
WordStar
 
Spreadsheets:
Supercalc
 
Databases:
dBASE II
 
 connector
 
What you need in order to be able to use the computer and what peripherals connect to it.
 
Amstrad CPC
The CPC comes with pretty much everything you could ask for: a monitor (green or colour) was a compulsory part of the package since it also included the computer's power supply (later Amstrad released a stand-alone PSU with an RF modulator), a built-in tape recorder or a 3" floppy drive. You can readily use any of the joysticks for Atari/Amiga.
Parallel printers require a special cable since there's only an edge mainboard connector on the computer side (Schneider however sold their CPC's with a regular Canon connector).
 
Third party
add-ons:

You can find an external 3,5" floppy drive, however with minor skills you can install one inside, instead of the 3" one.
 
One of the most notable devices was the Rombox, which allowed installation of several EPROMs with software burnt in (for instance the Arnor's Protext word processor). This idea really caught up in the Amstrad community and enhanced versions of this are still available, if only as D.I.Y. procjects. This is actually required for the FutureOS operating system.
 
 quick links
 
HOME
COMMODORE
SHARP

SINCLAIR
 
 check it out

 
The Old Computers Museum

   
 
 fact file
 
CPC 464
Year: 1984
Tech stuff: Processor Z80/4 MHz, RAM 64 KB, graphics 160x200 16 colours to 640x200 2  3channel sound; built-in tape recorder,  printer port, FDD port, colour or green monitor which also powers the computer.

 
CPC 664
The same as CPC 464 with a 3" floppy drive replacing the tape recorder.
 
CPC 6128
The same as CPC 664, with 128 KB of memory. There also was a version with a 5,25" disk drive!
 
CPC 464+/6128+
Modernised versions of the above mentioned models, housed in a new sleek case, with some improvements in the built-in Basic, sound and graphics. It also came with parallel and serial ports, headphones connector and an analog joystick port. 


Optional add-ons:
Power supply with a TV adaptor released due to popular demand. Some bundles were actaully supplied with it instead of the otherwise compulsory monitor.
 
 spotlight on
 
PcW 16 Anne
 

 
Amstrad's last word in dedicated word processors. Sports a 16 MHz Z80 processor, PC keyboard and a mouse. Not really compatible with the previous models, it came with 1 MB of RAM and the same ammount of flash ROM, which held the Roseanne OS, a word processor, spreadsheet and couple of other apps. The 3,5" drive works with 1,44 MB disks and can read (although not write) MS-DOS and older PCW diskettes. There's a regular parallel port for connecting commodity printers and two RS-232 ports, one of which is used for the mouse.
This machine however came too late (in 1996) with too little and can't really be upgraded (not even second FDD can be added) and nobody's likely to bother developing third party add-ons. It is still the ultimate 8-bit computer - the most powerful Z80 based machine that ever left production lines.

 
 fact file
 
PCW 8256 Joyce

Year: 1985
Tech stuff: Processor Z80/4 MHz, RAM 256 KB, graphics 720x256, single-sided 3" floppy drive - 180 KB on each side - (with an empty second drive bay), monochrome (green) monitor, a 9-pin dot-matrix printer with an Epson compatible cartridge. Came with the LocoScript word processor, Mallard Basic and CP/M Plus (no software in ROM).
 
PCW 8512 Joyce
Year: 1985
The same as PCW 8256, but with 512 KB of RAM and a second FDD - this time double sided, 720 KB.
 
PCW 9512
Year: 1987
Tech stuff:
The same as PCW 8256/8512, BW monochrome screen, daisy wheel printer, single 3" FDD (720 KB) and a parallel port as standard. Came with LocoScript 2, LocoMail and LocoSpell.
 
PCW 9256
Year: 1991
Tech stuff:
Very similar to PCW 9512, equipped with a 3,5" drive (720 KB) and a parallel port as standard.
Came with a dot matrix printer, LocoScript 1.5, CP/M Plus, Mallard Basic and DrLogo.
» Amstrad CPC range came to market as a direct response to the growing demand started by Sinclairs affordable computers. It shares the same processor, but is closer to a general purpose (read professional) computer - it comes with at least 64 KB of RAM as standard and a "typewriter" style mechanical keyboard, which means you could actaully use it as a small office computer. From the very beginning Amstrads came with a monitor, which also made a diference (also in price though). Yet they quickly caught up and were the major reason why the MSX standard never really made it in Europe. They also came equipped with a tape recorder and later with a floppy drive - unfortunatelly this was an already non-standard Hitachi 3" drive which could write meagre 180 KB on one side of a disk, which you could flip for a total capacity of 360 KB. Amstrad had aparently bought huge quantity of these and kept putting them in all their 8-bits till the early 90's. After their acquisition of the Sinclair Research these drive even found their way into the Spectrum +3.
» The PCW range however started another revolution, if only in the U.K. and partly in Germany - the fully equipped "word processor" computer could be found in many small entreprenuers' offices and workshops, hidden under piles of paper or wood shards and splinters, running the paper side of their businesses.
» Although not as lively as the Spectrum community, Amstradism is still well alive and kicking. There are new software as well as hardware developments and, maybe, one of those days we'll have a brand new 'Super Amstrad' clone just like with the Speccy and Commodore. The PCW scene however is almost non existent - those word processors simply never inspired anyone's imagination (possibly due to lack of colour), did their job and cheap PCs or iMacs, even notebooks, have now taken their place.
 
 amstrad cpc/pcw

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CPC Zone [eng] Major Amstrad CPC portal with a search facility and a (not very frequented) message board.
 
Amstrad.dk [eng][dan] A site packed full of info and links, with full-text search engine.
 
Genesis8 [eng][fr] Amstrad news site with an archive, bunch of links (many of which unfortunatelly are dead or just don't apear to work...).
 
Amstrad Computer Site [eng] The formerly official Amstrad web site created and managed by an ex-Amstrad employee. Comprehensive information on the entire home computer range, loads of technical stuff, downloads etc.
 
LocoScript Software [eng] Formerly known as the Locomotive Software - the Amstrad's Locomotive Basic is from these guys, as well as the LocoScript word processor found on PCWs - still being supported and developped (also for a PC).
 
Odiesoft [eng] Original software - mostly games and demos - for Amstrad CPC.
 
CPC Scene [eng][fr][ger] The demo scene, meeting reports, mailing list, lots of docs and stuff to download.
 
CPC-Hardware [fr] News, articles, info, links, downloads. All in French only.
 
Amstrad Computer 
Spares
[eng]
Spare parts for your Amstrad available here including (refurbished) 3" floppy disks! Also file downloads, odd stuff for othe 8-bits etc.
 
Inicron [ger] Developers of the ROM BOX and RAM ROM BOX add-on. Download the docs and build one yoursef.
 
Future OS [eng] An alternative OS with GUI, addressing 2 MB of RAM, program size up to 512 KB etc.
 
Futurs' Freeware 
Diffusion
[eng][fr]
Developers of hardware and software for the Amstrad CPC. Many interesting HW projects, some downloads, a printed fanzine.
 
VN96 [eng][ger] A hardware/software solution for networking two CPCs.
 
The Trailing Edge 
of Technology
[eng] 
Documentation to firmware, software, Basic tutorial, service manual, software downloads.
 
Martin Zacho's CPC page [eng] Hardware and software solutions for CPC (serial connection etc.), CPC schematics etc.
 
Merline Serve [eng] Amstrad CPC/PCW computers, accessories and repair. Software supplied on floppies, links.
 
AmsTech [eng] D.I.Y. upgrades, docs and software downloads, a handfull of links.
 
Le Site Amstrad [fr] Charles da Silva's Amstrad-dedicated web site with lots of info on all Amstrad computer products including some very rare ones! Pitty this one's French  only...
Amstrad CPC and C64
Nostalgia
[fr]
Some basic info, a few games to download, links. 
 
The Amstrad CPC Poke 
Database
[eng]
Download a database of pokes in text or DBF format.
 
WACCI On-Line [eng] A U.K. based user group and a publisher of a printed subscription based magazine.
 
WACCI The CPC 
User Group
[eng]
Another (rather outdated) WACCI web site
 
WACCI [eng] And yet another one!
 
Unofficial Amstrad WWW Resources [eng] Kevin Thacker's web site with lots and lots of docs, downloads, source code and links. Also stuff for the KC Compact (East German CPC clone).
 
SD Microsystems [eng] A U.K. based company which still supports the Amstrad computers. Commercial software packages (including LocoScript, accounting etc.), alternative printers connection to PCWs, and more.
 
Turbo Transfer [eng] A utility for transfering DSK and EDSK files from a PC to CPC via a parallel cable
 
CPC Reviewer [eng] Amstrad CPC games reviews plus a few links.
 
CPC/IP [eng] TCP/IP stack for Amstrad CPC with serial interface: PPP, SLIP, IP, ICMP, UDP, TCP, DNS, TFTP, HTTP, ping, finger and telnet protocols.
 
Amstrad/Schneider
Department
[ger]
A comprehensive Amstrad/Schneider German only web site with lots of info, sections and links
 
CPC Game Reviews [eng] A web site that, well, reviews CPC games. Pretty much all of them...
 
The Basic Idea [eng] Sean McManus' CPC web site - mostly good advice, tips and tricks (a tutorial) on programming in Basic.
 
CPC Szene [eng] A German language Amstrad/Schneider web site.
 
Ulrich Corders's 
CPC Page
[eng][ger]
A nice Amstrad/Schneider CPC web site with some tech solutions, a download section (DTP, games, the Desk Royal menu library etc.), CPC Emulator for Linux, links.
 
Phenix Informatique [fr] A comprehensive French language web site
 
La Página de Amstrad CPC/CPC+/PCW [sp] A Spanish Amstrad web site. Lots of useful stuff, docs and links.
 
Amstrad [eng] And yes - THE Amstrad. The company is into consumer electronics these days and no trace of support for their computers can be found on their site.

The C64 Banner Exchange
The C64 Banner Exchange

 other amstrad computers

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Tim's Amstrad NC User's Site [eng] Amstrad NC laptop users' heaven and user group. Lots of info, software, screenshots and more.
 
16 Storm [eng] Amstrad PcW 16 (Anne) web site with lots of info, docs and links. Not terribly up-to-date though.
 
Ron's Amstrad PCW Page [eng] Loads of more or less usefull information on all PCW range. Tips and hints on maintenance and a decent links section.
 
PCW Gallery [eng] Kathleen Thorpe's site with PCW, compatibility overview, history line with pictures and a FAQ section. The links page however doesn't quite seem to be there...
 
Amstrad PCW [eng] Spares, repairs and disc conversion services.
 
PCW Today [eng] A printed magazine that's currently undergoing a painful death.
 
Info-Zentrum der
JOYCE-User-AG e.V.
[ger]
A German Amstrad/Schneider's user group's web site
 
Joyce for Unix [eng] Amstrad PCW emulator for Unix and Windows. Also bunch of useful links and info on connecting a TV set to your Joyce... Wow.
 
PCW Joyce Computer Club [eng] A Dutch Amstrad PCW users club web site. Galleries, software downloads, links and more.
 
La Página de Amstrad CPC/CPC+/PCW [sp] A Spanish Amstrad web site. Lots of useful stuff, docs and links.
 
Novedades [sp] Another Spanish web site containing useful information for today's Amstrad CPW users.
 
Highstreet Micro [eng] Amstrad PCW - used computers, spares and manuals to buy.
 
Amstrad PCW8256 [fr] An overview information on the Amstrad PCW range in French.
 
O'WONDER - Stop Press [eng] A review of the Stop Press DTP package for Amstrad PCW.
 
 user groups and magazines

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WACCI On-Line [eng] A U.K. based user group and a publisher of a printed subscription based magazine.
 
Amstrad Cent Pour Cent [fr] An online archive of a major French CPC magazine.
 
The Arkos Dungeon [fr][eng] Not quite an up-to-date web site of a French CPC users group.
 
CPC Telegramm [eng][ger] An online archive of the CPC Telegramm disk zine published between 1995 and 1998.
 
Overlanders [fr] A French demo group's web site
 
Lamers International [ger] A cool web site of a seemingly cool German demo group.
 
 emulation

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CaPriCe32 [eng] Amstrad CPC emulator for Windows (requires DirectX 7+) and utilities. An MS-DOS/Win9x version also available.
 
WinAPE [eng] Amstrad CPC emulator for 32bit Windows.
 
CPCE [eng] Amstrad CPC emulator for DOS, DPMI and Win32. Also many games,demos and tapes to download.
 
NO$CPC [eng] No cash CPC emulator and debugger of Amstrad CPC - versions for PC/XT, 386, 486, DOS and Window. Also usefull conversion utilites.
Also an MSX, ZX80/81 and GBA emulator.
 
Arnimedes [eng] Another Amstrad CPC emulator for DOS/Windows.
 
Arnold [eng] Kevin Thacker's Amstrad CPC emulator for Win9x.
 
Multimachine [eng] An emulator for several Z80 based computers including Amstrad CPC for Win9x.
 
Ulrich Corders's 
CPC Page
[eng][ger]
An Amstrad CPC emulator for Linux (as well as other software downloads and usefull stuff)
 
Ami-CPC [fr][eng] Home of a CPC emulator for the Amiga computers (also works under WinUAE). Comes with source code.
 
CPC++ [eng] A CPC emulator for MacOS (68k, PPC), SunOS/Solaris and Linux
 
CoPaCabana [eng] Another CPC emulator for Windows. MacOS and Palm OS versions are aparently comming.
 
Joyce for Unix [eng] Amstrad PCW emulator for Unix and Windows.
 
Joyce/MacOS [eng] An Amstrad PCW emulator for MacOS, whose further development was stopped by a screwed up CD-R. Crmbs...
 
Amstrad PCW page
[sp][fr][ger][eng]
A comprehensive and actually useful web site in four languages. Docs for software, emulators, links and much more.
 
Turkish Emulator Page [turk] A Turkish page of Amstrad CPC and PCW emulators.
 
Joyce 1.36 [eng] Download the Joyce emulator for PC from this site.
 
 games and software downloads

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CPCE [eng] Amstrad CPC emulator for DOS, DPMI and Win32. Also many games for download.
   
The Amstrad CPC Games Resource [eng] A great gaming and emulation resource. Also includes links, forums, manuals, reviews and more.
 
Demon FTP archive  A great CP/M software resource
 
Barnyard FTP archive Another CP/M software resource
 
LIP6 FTP Archive An FTP archive of all things Amstrad CPC: software (games, CP/M...), documentation, ROMs, zines and more.
 
NVG archive Yet another FTP archive with lots of stuff including games, emulators, PCW stuff etc.
 
CPC Games Page [eng] A games download web site with Action Arcade, Graphics Adventure, Simulation and Arcade sections.
 
 projects 

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CPCng [eng] CPC Next Generation project. Another attempt to revive and old, time-proven hardware. The specs look pretty impressive, like the Sprinter or C=1 uses an FPGA chip to implement the chipset functions as well as new features.
 
MF-2 Keyboard Interface [eng] Ever wanted to install your CPC's mainboard in a PC case? This is how to connect a PC keyboard to it...
 
Future OS [eng] An alternative OS with GUI, addressing 2 MB of RAM, program size up to 512 KB etc.
 
CPC/IP [eng] TCP/IP stack for Amstrad CPC with serial interface: PPP, SLIP, IP, ICMP, UDP, TCP, DNS, TFTP, HTTP, ping, finger and telnet protocols.

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