The Amstrad PC 1512 was launched in 1986. After the Amstrad CPC 464, the CPC 664 and the CPC 6128 (three home computers based on the Z80) and the PCW 8256 and the PCW 9512 (both dedicated word processing computers based on the Z80 as well), Amstrad decided to make its first low-cost PC clone. It was a great European success, capturing more than 25% of the European computer market (impressive now and phenomenal then).
This cheap computer was, however, complete and offered more than some others did. The small power supply (57 W) was integrated into the monitor.
Eight models were offered: The PC 1512 SD/DD (with one or two 5.25" floppy disk drives) and two models with hard disk (HD10 with 10 MB hard disk and HD20 with 20 MB hard disk). FD and HD versions could be acquired with a monochrome or colour monitor.
The Amstrad used an "enhanced" CGA graphic mode, which could display 640x200 pixels with 16 colors (or grayscale). It was sold with MS-DOS 3.2, DR-DOS plus 1.2 (an operating system from Digital Research), GEM (a graphic interface, also used in the Atari ST, TT & Falcon), GEMPAINT and GEM BASIC.
The mouse port, although using 9 pins like a COM port, is proprietary to Amstrad ... The port is female and is only for use with an Amstrad mouse. The special PC-CM monitor provides power to the system unit by a large 14-DIN connector.
Charles Da Silva adds:
Digital Research brought all its support to the Amstrad PC with its DR-DOS, expecting it to know the same success as the CPC and PCW series. The problem is that, near to the launch, Sugar decided to also include MS-DOS, destroying all D.R. hopes to get even on Microsoft...
Andrew Balls comments:
The PC-1512 was CGA-compatible software wise, but the display had a round DIN connector instead of 9-pin D and the signals were different: I vaguely recall that they were analogue instead of digital and perhaps had composite sync. It has been many, many years since I looked at these. The PC-1640 had proper TTL EGA on a 9-pin D.
Rond Ofstad adds:
On the earliest versions of the 1512 model SD/DD you could get a HardCard. It was a controller card with onboard 10 or 20 MB HD.
Full-stroke professional keyabord, with function keys, numeric keypad and editing keys
512 KB (up to 640 KB)
40 x 25 / 80 x 25
CGA graphic modes : 320 x 200 / 640 x 200 + Amstrad specific mode : 640 x 200 / 16 colors
4 (CGA colors) / 16 (Amstrad Mode)
Centronics, RGB, RS232, Mouse (proprietary), Joystick, 8 bit ISA slots (3)
BUILT IN MEDIA
One or two 5.25'' disk-drives
MS-DOS or DR-DOS
Monochrome 1FD: $799 - 2FD: $899 - 10 MB HD: $1299 Colour versions: add $200 (USA, March 1987) From £490 to £1090 (UK)