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ZX Spectrum

1982 series of home computers / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The ZX Spectrum (UK: /zɛd ɛks/) is an 8-bit home computer that was developed by Sinclair Research. It was released in the United Kingdom on 23 April 1982, and became Britain's best-selling microcomputer.[5][6]

Quick facts: Developer, Type, Generation, Release date, In...
ZX Spectrum
An issue 2 1982 ZX Spectrum
DeveloperSinclair Research
TypeHome computer
Release date
  • UK: 23 April 1982 (23 April 1982)[1]
  • US: 1983 (1983)
  • ESP: 1985 (1985)
Introductory priceUK: £125 (16KB) / £175 (48KB),[2] ESP: Pta44,250
Units sold5 million[4]
MediaCompact Cassette, ZX Microdrive, 3-inch floppy disk on Spectrum +3
Operating systemSinclair BASIC
CPUZ80A (or equivalent) @ 3.5 MHz
Memory16 KB / 48 KB / 128 KB
(IEC: KiB)
DisplayPAL RF modulator out, 256 x 192, 15 colours

Referred to during development as the ZX81 Colour and ZX82, it was launched as the ZX Spectrum to highlight the machine's colour display, which differed from the black and white display of its predecessor, the ZX81.[7] The Spectrum was released as six different models, ranging from the entry level with 16 KB RAM released in 1982 to the ZX Spectrum +3 with 128 KB RAM and built in floppy disk drive in 1987; altogether they sold over 5 million units worldwide (not counting unofficial clones).

The Spectrum was among the first home computers in the United Kingdom aimed at a mainstream audience; thus, it had similar significance to the Commodore 64 in the US and the Thomson MO5 in France. The introduction of the ZX Spectrum led to a boom in companies producing software and hardware for the machine,[8] the effects of which are still seen. Some credit it as the machine which launched the British information technology industry.[9] Licensing deals and clones followed, earning Clive Sinclair a knighthood for services to British industry.[10]

The Commodore 64, Dragon 32, Oric-1, Oric Atmos, BBC Micro and later the Amstrad CPC range were rivals to the Spectrum in the UK market during the early 1980s. The machine was officially discontinued in 1992.[3]