The Amstrad CPC 464 was the first of the CPC series released on the 21st June 1984. it quickly became one of the most successful home computers in Europe. More than two million CPC 464s were sold in total between 1984 and 1990.
Despite its lack of stand-out features from competitors such as Commodore and Sinclair, it gained popularity from its low price and the fact that the computers were sold as a complete unit, comprising of CPU/keyboard, built-in tape recorder and monitor (optional monochrome green or colour). Competitor computers such as the ZX Spectrum came only with the CPU/keyboard, requiring a separate monitor.
The CPC 472 was a Spanish version of the CPC 464 with an additional, non-functional 8KB RAM. A Spanish law required that every computer with up to 64KB should have extra keys for the Spanish language, or an extra tax would be levied. So Amstrad soldered in an extra 8KB which was not, however, usable by the machine since it was not connected to anything else. Later on Amstrad released a 472 with a proper Spanish keyboard. After the rule changed there was also a CPC 472 with non-Spanish keys available for a very short time. Today, the CPC 472 is very rare.
Released in In June 1985, the CPC 664 is essentialy the same hardware as the previous CPC 464 with a floppy disc drive taking the place of the cassette drive and a new easier to type keyboard.
Amstrad launched the CPC 6128 shortly after the CPC 664 for the American market . The new machine had 128KB of memory and a sleeker appearance, but was otherwise identical to the 664.
The machine was launched in Europe shortly afterwards, replacing the 664 for the same price.
The Plus Series
The last models in the Amstrad CPC range were the Amstrad 464 Plus, Amstrad 6128 Plus, and the short lived Amstrad GX4000, a standalone console aimed squarely at the burgeoning home console market.
All launched together in 1990. The CPC name is said to have been dropped because of a legal dispute with a French firm, though it is also likely that "CPC 6128 Plus" was considered too unwieldy a name and one redolent of the machine's mid-80s heritage.
Described as a solution of "too little, too late", this was Amstrad's second effort to prolong the life of its 8-bit computer series in the face of fierce competition from new 16-bit machines (notably, the Atari ST and the Commodore Amiga). The Plus series were mostly (but not quite 100%) compatible with the original CPC computers, and incorporated a list of new features, like a cartridge port for instant program loading, DMA for the AY soundchip, hardware scrolling, programmable interrupts, 16 hardware zoomable sprites (not vectorized) with an independent palette of 15 colours, and a choice of 4096 colours all in a new, sleek case which mimicked the keyboard-computer design that was en vogue in the 16-bit market (ST, Amiga etc). While the Amstrad Plus computers were arguably one of the best 8-bit computers ever built for the mass market, they died an early death as the 16-bit era had well and truly begun.