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Amstrad CPC Buyers Guide

145 bytes added, 07:56, 5 May 2015
CPC 6128 - The Rolls Royce of the original range. 128k, built in floppy drive. The machine to own.
=====Plus Series=====
*6128 Plus - Again new model of the original 6128 but has no tape input.
*GX4000 - Cartridge based console. We'll cover this separately in another article.
None of the costs above take into account any extra bundled software. It is up to you to assess the value of any included software, joysticks, etc.
==== Gotchas ====
The oldest CPC's are now 30 years old. Amstrad have a bit of a reputation for some of their equipment being poorly built but this doesn't extend to their computers. As far back as 1989 the CPC was voted the most reliable home computer by UK computer dealers as reported in New Computer Express. However at 30 years old there are a few things to look out for. *Drive belts inside disc drives WILL need replacing. Don't wait for the dreaded "Disc Missing" message and funny noises. Cost is about £2 for the part and they are easily available on Ebay. Don't be tempted to use a rubber band, you'll wreck the drive. Use the CPC Wiki guide and for heavens sake don't lose the write protect pin!*Likewise tape belts are also starting to age and while not as fragile as the disc drive belts it is advised to replace them. Again easily available and cost about £2.*Clean the tape heads with a lint free cotton swab and isopropyl alcohol. Do not use an abrasive head cleaning cassette (as often given away on the front of computer magazines). They are like running sandpaper over the delicate mechanism!*If you've purchased a monitor be aware that any CRT of that age is a timebomb. At some stage you will end up trying to source an old fashioned TV repair man to replace some capacitors, or worse, the flyback transformer. Do not under any circumstances attempt to open or repair the monitor yourselfunless you're pretty sure you know what you're doing. CRT's contain dangerous voltages and can retain them for a long time after they are disconnected from the mains.*The CPC Plus machines (and GX4000) rely heavily on a custom ASIC chip for their function. If this chip is damaged you have next to zero chance of getting a replacement. So be very sure any Plus machine you buy fully works.*If purchasing a monitor do undo the plug and check the wiring. IWe've seen a few CTM monitors with poor/loose connections inside the plug (often due to the plugs strain relief failing). Also check it has the correct fuse as detailed on the back of the monitor. You are dealing with a 30 year old CRT so the correct fuse is essential. It will protect you and your monitor.*Watch out for rip off postage prices for people trying to sell monitors. A well packaged CTM 644 monitor costs £13 to send via UPS on 48 hour delivery and collected from your door. I know this as I've sent one myself (Feb 2015). Don't let people charging rip off postage fees profit from your desire to own a CPC with monitor     ==== Essential Knowledge For A New CPC owner. ====*If you have a monitor, always turn it on first, then the computer. When finished, turn the computer off then the monitor.*Never remove a floppy disc until the drive has stopped spinning.*Auto fire on joysticks doesn't work on a CPC. Sorry!If you have a system capable of supporting a disc drive out of the box (not the 464 or 464 Plus) consider getting an HxC floppy drive emulator and load all your software in from SD card.*The built in speaker is awful. Turn it down with the volume control and plug an amplifier into the 3.5mm jack on the side. The socket doesn't work with headphones, it requires an amplifier.*On a 464 (or 664 or 6128 after typing |Tape ) pressing control and small Enter at the same time will give you a shortcut to loading.*On a Spectrum you Load"", on a CPC you Run"" .*In BASIC hold down shift and then use the curser cursor keys to move a second curser cursor around the screen. Then press copy to copy whatever text the second curser cursor is over.*Join the CPC Wiki forum for friendly and helpful advice from long standing CPC users.   ==== Does The CPC Have Any Good Games? ====Loads! Far more than it is given credit for. Among others check out:*Sorcery + (disc only)*Head Over HeelsFeudChase HQSuper Heels*Feud*Chase HQ*Super Robin HoodNorth Hood*North And SouthGet DexterRobocop South*Get Dexter*Robocop*Gryzor*...and the list goes on.   Above all, enjoy your new Amstrad CPC. It's a great complete computer system!