ScuzzBlog: Diaries September 2021

Entry 25th September 2021: Post 1: Amstrad 464plus - Just too late.

Amstrad 464plus - Just too late.

Rubber band checking day again. Today it was the turn of the very
cute Amstrad 464plus. You may be wondering why this computer is
in the wrong box. Well, I have two of these and the 6128plus that
should be in this box is sat out upstairs on permanent duty.

Rubber band man... That is how I felt when I first started mucking
around with all the Amstrads. There wasn't a machine that I didn't
have to replace rubber bands inside. With that and power switches
the Amstrad models, though working fine, do degrade if left for
any length of time.

The last time I checked this particular 464 was back in July 2018
so a little overdue. One thing to note when you consider buying
an Amstrad, and that is you need a monitor. The power for the
actual computer and the drives is powered by the monitor. Without
a monitor they just will not work. What is worse about the plus
is that it uses a different monitor to all the other Amstrads.

The case doesn't appear to have yellowed much since I last took
some pictures. I never trouble myself about yellowing given
that it's just a vanity thing. I work in dim light so I never ever
really notice it. The computer works and that is all that matters.
One minor problem with the machine and that relates to the small
cartridge you need to run BASIC. The connectors on most of the
Amstrads appear to dull badly and you may get failures and crazy
screen problems. It just needs a good clean and a firm insertion
of the cartridge once given a stiff brush.

The tape was working without fault and I was able to load a game
no problem. I also played Burning Rubber. So few games were made
on cartridge for this computer.

Bit of history. The 464plus and the 6128plus along with the
GX4000 were Amstrad's attempt to prolong the life of the 8-bit
series of machines. Sadly by the time these computers were
released in 1990 the game was up for 8-bit and so they really
were fighting a losing battle from the start. The attempt by
Amstrad to release a console at this time was doomed so the whole
sorry episode failed from the get-go. Sad, cus the 6128plus has
all the features of the previous 6128 and now fully supported
CPM, albeit CPM was also on its last legs.

There were a few welcome upgrades to the system worthy of note.
The computer supports hardware scrolling, a bigger palette, an
improved sound chip, cartridge port and redesigned keyboard. The
obvious change was the style and shape losing that cricket bat
feel. Sadly the 464plus did not readily support the DDI external
3" drive. Bit silly that.

The computer was made in the UK in 1990. Uses the Zilog Z80A and
ran at 4 mHz. The 464 had 64 kb RAM and 32 KB ROM. The OS supported
was the CP/M 2.2 and CP/M Plus. Built in language is Locomotive
BASIC, though this is on the cartridge. So no cartridge, no BASIC.

On the down side the power is through the monitor and the tape
does not have a tape counter.

All in all a very efficient well designed out of date at launch
machine. So forgettable I forget why I got it. No wonder it was in
the wrong box. It does play all the Amstrad tape library and takes
up less horizontal space. I really don't think there was enough
reason in the day to upgrade your original CPC464. Chances are you
were more likely to buy a new modern bit of kit.

So where is my second 464plus. Deep in storage. Not today me thinks.

Sorry for the shaky images of the monitor. I was perched in a tricky
position having displaced the 6128plus for the exercise.

Amstrad 464plus - Just too late.

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Last updated 25th September 2021

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