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A > AMSTRAD  > PPC 512 / 640   


Amstrad
PPC 512 / 640

With the Amstrad PPC-512 and 640, Amstrad wanted to make the cheapest portable PC compatible computer, in the same way as the Amstrad PC1512 was for desktop computers.

But, despite its pleasant form, this computer suffered due to its poor 9" LCD screen. It had one or two 3.5" 720 KB floppy drives and some versions could also be found with a 10 or 20 MB internal hard disk.

If you were tired of the poor LCD screen, you could connect a monochrome or CGA monitor to the PPC at home. The Amstrad CPC series monitors could be used too.

The differences between the PPC-512 and PPC-640 were a different colour case, a built-in modem (v21, v22, v22 bis and v23 protocols) and 640 KB RAM for the PPC-640. Both versions could run with 10 C size batteries (1 hour battery life), or with an external AC adaptor.


 

I had one of these and have to agree that the screen wasn''t that bad when compared to others of the era. I had used it with an adapter for Shortwave radios that allowed you to decode various types of transmissions. I sold it to a guy at a swap meet who was going to use it for a packet radio terminal. He liked the full keyboard and the "convenient" size. :-)

          
Monday 13rd December 2010
Jack Ungerleider (USA)

I had one of these things, and it really was a truly horrible piece of hardware.

The screen was so bad that even with an anglepoise lamp positioned directly over it, you could barely read it. Who came up with the idea of a non-backlit black-on-dark-green LCD?? It''s just nuts.

And yes, it will run on 8 D-cell batteries. Good luck getting an hour''s use out of them! Running on batteries is a hideously expensive proposition.

I ran MS-DOS 3.3 happily on this machine. I bought it second-hand with no software, if I remember correctly.

If you have one of these, just toss it in the bin. It really doesn''t deserve to be remembered.

          
Tuesday 19th October 2010
Curtis Burisch (Johannesburg)

I remember a 640 coming into our company''s possession in the late 80''s. We ran our business systems on an IBM S/36, and our month end processing took all week-end. I had to drive to the factory 2 or 3 times every month-end weekend to check the processing was OK, and fix any errors if necessary and prod it along again. We had a PC in the systems office with a S/36 terminal emulator in it, and it also had a modem (for sending BACS payments).
So, when we got the PPC640, I was able to transfer the S/36 console to the systems office PC, and take the PPC home, and dial in and use PCAnywhere to run the PC which had the S/36 Console. Absolutely brilliant for its day. What used to take a few hours out of my weekends now took a few minutes. I don''t remember any complaints about the screen.

          
Wednesday 20th November 2019
David Frith (United Kingdom)

 

NAME  PPC 512 / 640
MANUFACTURER  Amstrad
TYPE  Transportable
ORIGIN  United Kingdom
YEAR  1988
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  None
KEYBOARD  complete 102 key QWERTY mechanical keyboard
With numeric keypad, editing block and function keys
CPU  Nec V30
SPEED  8 MHz
RAM  PPC-512 : 512 KB
PPC-640 : 640 KB
ROM  16 KB
TEXT MODES  40 or 80 chars x 25 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  320 or 640 x 200 dots
COLORS  Monochrome green - 4 or 16 colours with external monitor
SOUND  beeper
SIZE / WEIGHT  45 x 23 x 10 cm / 6 kg
I/O PORTS  Centronics, RS232, CGA Monitor, Expansion ports A (25 pin port just bigger than a parallel port) and B (37 pin RS494)
BUILT IN MEDIA  One or Two 3.5'' floppy-drives (720 KB)
OS  MS DOS 3.2 or 3.3, GEM, Q-DOS II (menu driven interface)
POWER SUPPLY  10 x C cell batteries
PERIPHERALS  Mouse Systems driver
PRICE  PPC 512 - 2 disk drives : 6500 F (France, dec. 1987)
PPC 640 - 2 disk drives : 7697 F (France, dec. 1987)




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