Author Topic: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC  (Read 9496 times)

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Offline protek

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Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« on: 20:14, 18 June 12 »
Just curious. If one might be able to get one's hands into Amstrad PC1512 monitor, CM14, if I remember correctly, would that be of any use with a CPC? CM14 is a CGA monitor so that alone may cause complications in the form of analog vs digital RGB. How about the PSU connector, are those pin and signal compatible?

Offline Bryce

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #1 on: 10:34, 19 June 12 »
The CM14 monitor is the one that was supplied with the CPC+ series. This isn't CGA, it's analogue.

The PC CM that was supplied with the PC1512 is CGA. It's possible to make an adapter to get a picture on the screen, but it would look terrible and not give you the correct colours or even all the colours.

Bryce.
« Last Edit: 10:43, 19 June 12 by Bryce »

Offline MacDeath

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #2 on: 16:41, 19 June 12 »
Basically the CPC is some sort of simplified yet upgraded CGA.

CRTC was used in CGA but CGA standard don't use analog monitor... well some of them did (the ones that could be connected to a TV) but CGA specific monitors are really unusable by anithing else than CGA compatible cards (some EGA are retro compatible, perhaps some old EGA too).

Quite a shame but actually a will from IBM to get their standards not standard, which failed thx to Microsoft.

Same with EGA... lots of stupid things... while EGA is in theory a good and powerfull standards (640x350x16 (64 palette)), embeded by CGA retro shits absurdities : could not access the 64 colour palette most of time, couldn't really put what you want as inks in CGA modes and so on.

CGA and EGA would have been far better provided you could simply set each ink from the palettes freely.
CGA had to stick to pre-set palettes, with only the "black" as an ink that could be changed, major drawback for games and graphics...
EGA was lilmited to the extended CGA palette (only 16 colours, actually something like a ZX spectrum palette...) in most video modes (320x200x16 mostly).



Many CGA monitor were actually of good quality (fine detailed pixels)... but the technology itself was still some sort of harsh limitation.


Amstrad managed to actually  "upgrade" in theory the CGA with the PC1512...
yet it wasn't that much "100% compatible" (PC and CGA norms wise).
Sad part is that the PC1512 should/could have been sold as an original standards which would happen to be quite compatible with IBM PC and MsDos.
Those compatibilities issues (some say the PC1512 is only 80% compatible...) were some sort of argument from IBM (this and being Fan-less) which is sad because as a proper system, PC1512 was really good.

the 640x200x16 (extended CGA 16 colour palette only...sadly) video mode (constructor specific), the 8mhz CPU, the 512K RAM... all was good to remind those Nec PC88 machines...
just add an AY for sounds and give dev kits to game companies and it could really have been a nicer machine perfect for homes (and bizness).

It could actually compete quite well with those NEC PC88 standards (640x200x8 video mode only...) or even Atari ST : 640x200x16(/16) being actually quite superior to 320x200x16(/512) or 640x200x4 (/512)...
IMO, the palette being corrected by nice ditherings can really be well exploited..


Perhaps Amstrad should have sold the custom CGA as cards to put on other machines too so its video standards would have lift off betterly as a proper format.

also would have been nice if those PC200/PC20 (amiga looking PC) were also compatible with the PC1512 specific video mode and get an AY as soundchip (and a sweet custom MIDI/network card fitting the casing)...

And get those Math Co-CPU always put on could have been great too (sort of 3D accelerator, I guess).


some interesting links

Wikipedia of course :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC-1512

A site I like a lot :
Games with EGA Graphics
CGA: IBM's Color Graphics Adapter
CGA: IBM's Color Graphics Adapter
Games with CGA Graphics

some doc on the various PC video standards connectic :
Older EGA and CGA Monitors


another retro site with shittons of interesting PC1512 pages :
http://www.retroisle.com/amstrad/pcs/general.php

http://www.retroisle.com/amstrad/pcs/Technical/Hardware/PC1512_Video.php
« Last Edit: 16:58, 19 June 12 by MacDeath »

Offline Sykobee (Briggsy)

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #3 on: 17:13, 19 June 12 »
Shame Amstrad didn't design a CPC based around the PC1512 hardware, or an evolution of it. CPC case, PC internals. The 1512 was £499 with a colour monitor, so it wasn't much more than a 6128, and a lot of that extra cost was for the mouse, large case, ISA, separate keyboard, etc. But you would have had to add a sound chip (2MHz AY would do), switch to 3.5" floppy, cut RAM to 256KB to differentiate, and fix the CGA to work more like the CPC with a palette.

Offline Bryce

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #4 on: 18:02, 19 June 12 »
Isn't that what the EuroPC tried to be?

Bryce.

Offline MacDeath

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #5 on: 19:13, 19 June 12 »
good stuff could have been a CPC hard emulation Card to add inside the PC1512/1640 (and actually any IBM PC compatible...)

This would actually be some sort of Video+Sound card, but would enable CPC full compatibility on a PC...
A proper application to add a few software emulations bits of course would be needed I guess.


Could also be a nice soundcard, because you would have a Z80 controlling an AY, while the PC do its stuff... ::)
(in theory)
 

On the other hand there was a PC upgrade for CPC...
it would use the CPC as a keyboard/terminal (and disk drive if 6128 or 664 I guess) and would add all the PC bits...

But to be fair, I'm not quite sure wether the CPC or the "PC" part was actually an extension of the other...lol.



to me that's perhaps where Amstrad missed the point.
They started to do constructor specific video modes, but no graphic cards with it... Had they also produced video+sound cards based on their CPC-PC1512 technology, it could have been good sales too.

They missed the fact a PC can also be build from scratch parts.

Hence Adlib or Hercules sold well.

A CPC-PC1512 based Video+sound card could really have sold a lot (if cheap anyway) and they then also could sell cheap monitors right by 1987.
« Last Edit: 19:29, 19 June 12 by MacDeath »

Offline protek

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #6 on: 20:30, 19 June 12 »
The PC1512 was actually my first Amstrad and my first PC too. It's a shame that the games didn't support the extended palette of the PC1512 so you were stuck with the hideous CGA palette. The keyboard had an Atari style joystick port but didn't realize it then that you should've mapped it to the keyboard. It also came with GEM like Atari ST did.

Offline MacDeath

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #7 on: 21:33, 19 June 12 »
a few games actually supported the Amstrad PC1512 special mode...

Sadly i never managed to find a complete list of them, would be nice to have one.

Offline Bryce

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #8 on: 23:21, 19 June 12 »
They'd have to supply a better monitor and the PC would have to have a better graphics card (for the PC stuff). The original monitor is CGA, so it can't display all the CPC colours.

Bryce.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #9 on: 20:53, 30 June 12 »
 
Isn't that what the EuroPC tried to be?

Bryce.




...or this?


[attachimg=1]

Offline Bryce

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #10 on: 23:21, 30 June 12 »
Oooooo, the Sinclair PC200, it was so terrible that it has attained cult status. But I will see your PC200 and raise you Amstrad PC20!! Beat that!

Bryce.



Offline Gryzor

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #11 on: 20:22, 01 July 12 »
 Can't beat that, that'll be all. Any other such beasts?

Offline protek

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #12 on: 23:12, 01 July 12 »
Oooooo, the Sinclair PC200, it was so terrible that it has attained cult status. But I will see your PC200 and raise you Amstrad PC20!! Beat that!

Bryce.
A PC200 or PC20 would actually be a very nice beast with a mini-ITX motherboard and an optical drive.

But anyway, I'll give you the Tandy 1000 EX.
« Last Edit: 23:14, 01 July 12 by protek »

Offline ralferoo

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #13 on: 12:37, 02 July 12 »
to me that's perhaps where Amstrad missed the point.
...
They missed the fact a PC can also be build from scratch parts.
But they didn't miss that point. Amstrad's design philosophy has always been a "1 box for everything, made as cheaply as possible" strategy. Sugar really made his name on all the hifi systems in the very early 80s and his "all in one" product wasn't chosen for its looks, but because it cost a couple of hundred quid for a radio, turntable, TWIN tape decks and a reasonable amplifier when to buy those as separates would cost 3 times that much even for "low-end kit" (which didn't really exist then - it was hi-fi or no-fi).

Offline MacDeath

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #14 on: 14:50, 02 July 12 »
Quote
A PC200 or PC20 would actually be a very nice beast with a mini-ITX motherboard and an optical drive.
had they been with some cusom EGA  instead of straight CGA, and even a basic soundcard, all in-built, this could have been a huge hit.

I like de design of the PC-20... looks better than Amiga and STs to me.

Offline Carnivius

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #15 on: 14:55, 02 July 12 »
I like de design of the PC-20... looks better than Amiga and STs to me.

The keyboard area looks alright but too common and not as nice as an Amiga or ST.  The vent section though is absolutely hideous.
Favorite CPC games: SwitchBlade, Stryker in the Crypts of Trogan, Turrican II, UN Squadron, Oh Mummy

Offline Bryce

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #16 on: 15:14, 02 July 12 »
had they been with some cusom EGA  instead of straight CGA, and even a basic soundcard, all in-built, this could have been a huge hit.

It's an 8086 PC, sound (other than the beep speaker) were very rare back then. EGA was available but extremely expensive still. Not what Alan would have considered for his low-cost clone.

Bryce.

Useless piece of CPC Hardware trivia: Did you know that both the original CGA and EGA standards were based on the MC6845 IC, the same graphics chip that's used in the CPC?

Offline ralferoo

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #17 on: 16:02, 02 July 12 »
Useless piece of CPC Hardware trivia: Did you know that both the original CGA and EGA standards were based on the MC6845 IC, the same graphics chip that's used in the CPC?
And BBC and MSX :) Also that it was designed for text-only use, and was never intended for graphics use.

The (different) stupid memory layouts on the CPC and BBC are a direct result of R4 (total lines) being a 7-bit register and this unable to hold the true number of lines on the screen so they both treat the screen as measured in 8-pixel high characters. CGA 200-line graphics mode is achieved by having 2-pixel high characters and the line number drives the top address bit creating yet another stupid screen layout!

Offline MacDeath

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #18 on: 21:15, 02 July 12 »
Quote
Useless piece of CPC Hardware trivia: Did you know that both the original CGA and EGA standards were based on the MC6845 IC, the same graphics chip that's used in the CPC?
sadly for PC gaming it was almost betterly used on the Amstrad CPC. 

The CPC managed with only 2 chips to do something almost better and more practical than the CGA on a cheaper non-specific Monitor.

IBM was known for being the clumsy mammooth it used to be (Mainframe big ass IBM) and the old CGA cards are almost even bigger than a complete CPC motherboard.
« Last Edit: 21:17, 02 July 12 by MacDeath »

Offline protek

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #19 on: 07:20, 03 July 12 »
And BBC and MSX :)
Actually MSX used the TMS9918 chip, which has hardware sprites.

Offline Bryce

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #20 on: 10:38, 03 July 12 »
Also that it was designed for text-only use, and was never intended for graphics use.

That's not correct either. I have an original first issue HD Datasheet here and it specifically says: "The CRTC is also designed as a programmable controller, so applicable to wide-range CRT display from small low-functioning character display up to raster type full graphic display as well as large high-functioning limited graphic display."

Bryce.

« Last Edit: 10:42, 03 July 12 by Bryce »

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #21 on: 17:10, 04 July 12 »
This last part read like "...from a small shitty, utterly despicable display to a really trying, but severely failing one.".

Offline Bryce

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #22 on: 17:19, 04 July 12 »
That sums it up perfectly, but I assume the Hitachi marketing department wanted to phrase it slightly more positively.

Bryce.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #23 on: 17:25, 04 July 12 »
It's marketing speech alright. Seriously, what does it mean (apart from my own contribution)? :D

Offline Bryce

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Re: Amstrad PC1512 monitor in CPC
« Reply #24 on: 17:33, 04 July 12 »
I think they just wanted to cover all their bases, so that the designer/buyer would consider using it for everything from simple terminals up to Highend Graphic powerhouses such as the CPC :)

Bryce.