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A > AMSTRAD  > PPC 512 / 640     

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 bought one of these (the 640) when they first came out. We used it almost entirely to drive an lcd panel that sat on an overhead projector and let you project onto a standard screen. For us it was a great buy, about six hundred pounds less than a standalone modem that could do the same speed, for remote demonstrations to potential customers. And no fan meant it was silent. That unit and the lcd panel made a teriffic sales tool and really helped convince customers we were a state of the art ncompany. It was cheaply made - but the tosh 486 laptop i had later cost six thousand pounds...

Wednesday 9th March 2016


NAME  PPC 512 / 640
TYPE  Transportable
ORIGIN  United Kingdom
YEAR  1988
KEYBOARD  complete 102 key QWERTY mechanical keyboard
With numeric keypad, editing block and function keys
CPU  Nec V30
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)


This is quite a strange portable computer !




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