Archives of Genesis8 Amstrad Page from 1999 to 2020 about hardware, page 13 / 15





X-Mass, an flash IDE drive for Amstrad CPC by TotO

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A new hardware interface by TotO the hero which should be available for Christmas on Cent Pour Cent. See below, it's just a copy and paste of this site about the X-mass.

Shown at the ReSeT #18 event in France, the X-MASS is actually work in progress.

This last MX4 expansion is a mass storage. It embed a 128MB turbo flash drive for storing thousands of files into your CPC and definitively make it autonomous as no PC is required to configure and use it.

Developers will be able to work on more ambitious projects requiring megabytes of resources and code to be compiled, breaking the floppy limitation. Used in conjunction with X-MEM, the cross-dev will be no more the only issue for the future.

Last but not least, users will be able to copy, load, save, run files faster than ever !

By the way, the X-Mass can already be used with SymbOS.




Amstrad CPC floppy disks, Kryoflux and SuperCard Pro

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The Amstrad CPC use 3" disks because Alan Michael Sugar got a large batch of 3" drives, and then stayed with it for compatibility. Game editors started to add protections to avoid piracy. Amstrad CPC emulators are using the .DSK format to store the content of a disk (but it assumes that each track have only one size). This format can't manage well protections, for this you need the extended DSK format where each track can have a different size to support more protections, but still not all of them. That's why hardware solutions are necessary to preserve the exact content of the original disks in their totality (and then you can write them again to real disks) such as :

There is a problem to create .IPF for Amstrad CPC programs, the real disks have been either :

  • written in an usine so they will be seens as originals and IPF will be created
  • written on a real Amstrad CPC, so they will be seens as copies and IPF wont be created

Every emulator can use the raw or CT Raw kryoflux files if using the SPS decoder library. If an emulator doesnt use this library, then the best thing is to use .DSK created from kryoflux files with Samdisk like those dumped by Maxit on CPC-Power. SuperCard Pro support must be added internally into an emulator. Sugarbox already supports the SCP and of course the kryoflux (from a kryoflux raw or CT Raw, sugarbox can create a SCP file). Samdisk will soon support the SCP hardware, so it will be possible to read one track only.



The Amstrad notepad NC100, original software, ZCN (CP/M) or Fuzix (unix) ?

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The Amstrad notepad NC100 was out in 1992 with the protext word processing (already on Amstrad CPC and Amstrad PCW). But it's also possible to use it with ZCN by Mark Russel wich is a native CP/M, or use the all new Fuzix (fuzix announced on google+), this time an unix (system 5) by Alan Cox. You can emulate an Amstrad NC100 (and also NC150 and NC200) with nc100em (still by Mark Russel) for linux or ms-dos, and since start of 2014 as I just discovered for windows (port by Stefano Bodrato). The MESS emulator also supports the 3 Amstrad notepad NC. If you dont have the original NC100 ROM, you will need the ZCN.BIN file included in ZCN v1.3. You will find more informations about the Amstrad Notepad NC on the excellent Tim's Amstrad NC users site (see ZCN page).



The first ever hard nude photo on Genesis8bit (and the last one too)...

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This news isnt for the young ones under 18 years old. But are they people under 18 years old interested in the Amstrad CPC ?

So, it's the first ever nude photo on this site, and it's a hard one !

By the way, there is an intruder in this photo, a bit hard to find though...

nude photo of Amstrad CPC hardware : Z80 processor and CRTC


A portable Amstrad CPC by Bryce, a dream coming true !

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Bryce's last project that you will find on CPCWiki is something that will make you dream : a portable Amstrad CPC .

It will take time, but you can see some photos, it's only a start though, on the CPCWiki subject about the portable Amstrad CPC.

And if it's not too late, go see too the subject about the mouse adaptater for Amstrad CPC.




HxC Floppy Drive Emulator v2.0.18.4 available on Sourceforge

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HxC Floppy Drive Emulator v2.0.18.4 is available on Sourceforge (source included of course).

It's an utility to create images to be used by the SDCard HxC Floppy Emulator, to replace the good old 3 inch disks drives of our Amstrad CPC.



Cent pour Cent by TotO, do your Amstrad CPC shopping there

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Cent pour Cent is a new Amstrad CPC web site where you will be able to buy extensions created and made by TotO :

  • MultiRAM "concept" (still in prototype phase) : a 512KB RAM expansion using the MotherX4 module card format. (8x5cm)The idea is to use a 8x512Kb SRAM IC that allow a design close to a ROM board instead of trying to clone existing DRAM/PAL boards.
  • MiniBooster : it is intended to be a CPC Booster replacement board for users who need to exchange data from a modern computer using USB or Bluetooth (optional module) connexion instead of the old DB9 serial connector. This board is MotherX4 formatted.
  • MotherX4 : a multi-slots board that allow to plug up to 4 expansions to the back of your CPC like the MiniBooster COM board and the FlashGordon ROM board. Made to fit between the CPC and the CTM, its size is the same as a 3" floppy disc.
  • CTC-AY : a card with 2 audio chips (2x Yamaha YMZ294 : AY compatible) on custom ports (no PPI), three left canals and 3 right canals with speaker mono mix and stereo mix, ...


HxC Floppy Emulator Manager V3 released by NoRecess

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The 3rd version of the HxC Floppy Emulator Manager is available.

It's a complete rewrite of the original software.

It features a new user interface (thanks Ced !), better support of the HxC Floppy Emulator device (detection, release..) and some critical bug-fixes.

Finally, it now allows proper exit to BASIC (Amstrad CPC's default shell).

The software remains available as a ROM.



New Amstrad CPC firmware by Syx et TotO

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A new Amstrad CPC firmware is available, written by Syx and TotO.

This Firmware was designed to get a better support of RAM and ROM expansions. Looking the future, not the past.

It don't work with BASIC 1.0 and no more support Tape by default. (need a ROM to manage it, that allow to improve it as new storages too).

So, the actual target is all CPC with BASIC 1.1 and floppy or HxC drives.

New features are :

  • Display RAM (up to 576K)
  • Display CRTC version
  • Initialize up to 32 ROM
  • Boot with [ESC] initialize only ROM 0 & 7
  • Mouse support under BASIC (see the previous FW test)
  • Fix the FR chars table, so all keys are properly displayed
  • CTRL+keys give usefull chars

Beware, you must use the 16 Ko files with an emulator. 32 Ko ROMs are to be used with a real Amstrad CPC.

Loading screen of an Amstrad CPC with firmware v3.12



Be nice to your Amstrad CPC, get a better sound with a Digiblaster, Amdrum or Music Machine

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As much as we love our Amstrad CPC, the sound we get with the General Instrument AY-3-8912 sound chip isnt the bestone on 8bit computers. Happily it's possible to get a better sound with either a Digiblaster, an Amdrum or a Music Machine.

The first version of the Digiblaster was designed by Face Hugger (Interview of Face Hugger by NoRecess) and printed in the German magazine CPC Amstrad International in issue 8-9/1991. It's a small hardware device plugged into the CPC's printer portto play 8-bit mono sound samples. Joshua made a redesign for better sound quality (electronic printout of Digiblaster v1 and v2 here).Then there is new Digiblaster by Futurs : the SoundPlayer and the SoundPlayer+ (VN96 network included). The SoundPlayer+ was replaced later by the SoundPlayerNG.

The digiblasters v1, v2 and SoundPlayer(+/NG) can be connected to passive mono speakers.

A few months back, Bryce made a redesign with even better sound quality : the Digiblaster v3. You can feed the AY output through the card so that both sound sources are played through the same speakers. The DigiBlaster has been made dual-mono so that both speakers play the sample as is done withthe AY-3-8912 Channel B. The AY and Digiblaster sound levels are balanced. You must use active stereo speakers.

You can write music using the Digiblaster with :

At least 2 Amstrad CPC demos did use the Digiblaster : Bordelik Demo 4 (1995) and Digital Orgasm (1994).

The Amdrum has been made by Cheetah, but it uses the expansion connecter. It can also play 8bit samples like the Digiblaster, and was advertised as a drum synthesiser. You can check the youtube video of the Amdrum being used with the JavaCPC emulator.

A third device which I found on CPCWiki : the Music Machine, using the expansion connector like the Amdrum. Another hardware letting play sound samples, designed by Flare Technology andmanufactured by RAM Electronics. It could record sound with a microphone.

an Amstrad CPC Amdrum expansion by Cheetah, playing 8bit samples




Connecting a Bluetooth module to the Amstrad CPC Booster+ (made by Antitec) by Octoate

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There is an interesting article on Octoate which shows how to add a bluetooth module on the CPC Booster+ made by Antitec.

Informations, software and manual for the CPC Booster+ are available on CPC Wiki.

an Amstrad CPC Booster+ by Antitec



A dream come true, an all in one video game console, with a GX4000 inside soon

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The Unity project by Bacteria is ambitious, to make an all in one video game console (see Hack a Day).

At the moment, you have the following video game consoles inside :

  • Sega SMS (done, not added into system yet)
  • Nintendo NES (done, not added into system yet)
  • Mattel Intellivision
  • Nintendo GameCube
  • Nintendo GBA
  • Amiga CD32
  • Philips CD-i
  • Playstation
  • Playstation 2

And he is working on adding others consoles, including our Amstrad GX4000 !




Playing on Amstrad CPC with a wii nunchuck ?

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Well they do it already on a MSX, and the electronic plan is available.

Two MSX games were adapted to run using the Nunchuck controller. The games are Konami's Road Fighter and Ping Pong. The machine used is a Brazilian HOT BIT with a do-it-yourself Assembler cartridge. A Basic program loads the game and the nunchuck driver and then applies the patch. The driver can detect a Nunchuck in either joystick port and reverts to the standard port when no nunchuck answers.




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