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Zx spectrum

The meaning of «zx spectrum»

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

Referred to during development as the ZX81 Colour and ZX82, it was launched as the ZX Spectrum to highlight the machine's colour display, compared with the black and white display of its predecessor, the ZX81. The Spectrum was released as eight 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 UK aimed at a mainstream audience, similar in significance to the Commodore 64 in the US or the MO5 in France. The introduction of the ZX Spectrum led to a boom in companies producing software and hardware for the machine,[7] the effects of which are still seen. Some credit it as the machine which launched the UK IT industry.[8] Licensing deals and clones followed, earning Clive Sinclair a knighthood for services to British industry.[9]

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.

The Spectrum is based on a Zilog Z80, a CPU running at 3.5 MHz (or NEC D780C-1 clone). The original model has 16 KB (16×1024 bytes) of ROM and either 16 KB or 48 KB of RAM. Hardware design was by Richard Altwasser of Sinclair Research, and the outward appearance was designed by Sinclair's industrial designer Rick Dickinson.[7]

Video output is through an RF modulator and was designed for use with contemporary television sets, for a simple colour graphic display. Text can be displayed using 32 columns × 24 rows of characters from the ZX Spectrum character set or from a set provided within an application, from a palette of 15 shades: seven colours at two levels of brightness each, plus black.[10] The image resolution is 256×192 with the same colour limitations.[11] To conserve memory, colour is stored separate from the pixel bitmap in a low resolution, 32×24 grid overlay, corresponding to the character cells. In practice, this means that all pixels of an 8x8 character block share one foreground colour and one background colour. Altwasser received a patent for this design.[12]

An "attribute" consists of a foreground and a background colour, a brightness level (normal or bright) and a flashing "flag" which, when set, causes the two colours to swap at regular intervals.[11] This scheme leads to what was dubbed colour clash or attribute clash, where a desired colour of a specific pixel could not necessarily be selected. This became a distinctive feature of the Spectrum, meaning programs, particularly games, had to be designed around this limitation. Other machines available around the same time, for example the Amstrad CPC or the Commodore 64, did not suffer from this limitation. The Commodore 64 used colour attributes in a similar way, but a special multicolour mode and hardware sprites were used to avoid attribute clash.[13]

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