You can build a new ZX Spectrum for less than the cost of a PS5

new zx spectrum

The creator of YouTube’s The Lost Retro Tapes has built his own brand new ZX Spectrum from scratch using all-new parts…


The ZX Spectrum celebrates its 41st birthday on the 23 April, and it goes without saying that Sir Clive Sinclair’s 8-bit computer ceased production long, long ago. But what if you were to build your own, brand new ZX Spectrum, using almost entirely modern parts? Would such a thing be possible? How much would it cost?

YouTube’s Lost Retro Tapes has the answer to those questions. The channel’s creator, Charles Astwood, grew up with the ZX Spectrum, and recently decided to embark on a particularly ambitious project – to completely reconstruct the ZX Spectrum, from its components to its box, manuals, and Horizons tape of bundled starter software.

Astwood’s website breaks down exactly how he achieved this in glorious detail, including the name and quantity of parts required and where you can buy them yourself.

Incredibly – given the Spectrum’s vintage – Astwood managed to find modern equivalents or replacements for all the components the project needed. The only part that remained elusive was, he tells us via email, “the LM1889N chip”. He says he’s “working on some ideas to take it out completely but nothing has worked so far.”

What’s surprising is the cost. All told, Astwood estimates that his Spectrum costs £412.15 to build. That may sound a lot for a bit of retro tech, but bear in mind that the sum includes the replica box and manuals (total: £110 to print) the reproduction Horizons cassette (£20) and the purchase of an external tape recorder (£30).

If our sums are correct, that means the computer itself cost £262.15 in parts – which really isn’t bad when you consider that the base 16K ZX Spectrum retailed at £125 in 1982. Adjusted for inflation, that’s around £415.

Best of all, Astwood built his ZX Spectrum “for fun, not profit,” he writes. “The original build is going to be auctioned off for Evelina Children’s Hospital.”

A full guide to building your own ZX Spectrum can be found on Lost Retro Tapes’ website.

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