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A > AMSTRAD  > PC 1640


This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Amstrad  PC 1640 computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum


Tuesday 28th January 2020
Steve Skepper (UK)

I was teaching spotty teenagers database sand spreadsheets, and programming in BASIC, at a govt funded private training college . We bought 24 of these machines. They had 640k of RAM, and 1 megabyte hard drive. AMstrad made thiier own hard drives originally, and they would run so hot the plastic on the front of the HDD would soften up, and you could leave your thumbprint in it. ALL the HDD''s failed after three months and were repalced with Toshiba Drives.

The other faill was the platters on the drives would expand with heat, so if you formatted the drive when it was cold, it then wouldnt be able to read the tracks when the drive was hot, and vice versa.

At the same time i remember British Gas was going to buy half a million of them , then backed out when they discovered the power cables had no earth wire.

Wednesday 14th December 2016
Misses Robata


EGA is the minimum requirements for a PC not to be considered poop.


Thursday 17th March 2016
Jim (Boston, USA)

I bought one of these through and American Express deal back in the late 80s. It was a surprisingly competent machine, and I ran some very complex simulations for regenerative braking and for composite materials with it. Turbo Pascal was my platform of choice, and some of my simulations could keep this machine cranking for over an hour. But it always worked. Looking back, those were good times.

Wednesday 17th June 2015
Colin McCormick (Plymouth, UK)
Audio $ video transfers

These things were sold off cheap due to overproduction, with no HDD or monitor for about £99. Myself and some work colleagues bought them and rigged up our own power supply arrangements, since no monitor meant no power supply. I built a little gadget which tweaked the timings of the sync pulses so it gave a really good display on my Sony TV set. Then I bought a used 20MB hard disk and controller card. I used it for years, especially with Locoscript word processor and database. Bit slow at times, but a very cheap PC.

Tuesday 28th May 2013
James Dougherty (United States)
Jimmy D Net

Although this was not my first computer it was my first PC and second with a hard-drive. My mother bought it here in the States via an American Express offer I believe. Great machine. Programmed in Turbo Basic $ Pascal. Lots of BBS time also!

Sunday 18th March 2012
Johnb (UK)

We had the dual disk drive model with hi-res EGA monitor. Used it mainly for Turbo Pascal 5.0. I remember it being pretty fast. Problem was the monitor fan was NOISY!

I think we paid about £600 for it in 1988.

Sunday 18th March 2012
Johnb (UK)

We had the dual disk drive model with hi-res EGA monitor. Used it mainly for Turbo Pascal 5.0. I remember it being pretty fast. Problem was the monitor fan was NOISY!

I think we paid about £600 for it in 1988.

Tuesday 9th August 2011
AK (Moldova)

JC, you surely must mean 10 Megs, NOT 10 Gigs.
And Amstrad 1640 was the first computer I ever did see and use. Wasn''t mine, but I still had access.

I guess I''m getting nostalgic.. sob.

Friday 15th July 2011
JC in Jacksonville, Florida

This was my first "IBM" PC. I traded a Commodore 128 setup ( with virtually every add-on ) for this machine.
It was AMAZING! A 10 Gig HD - more than I would ever need :)
I hacked a 3.2 inch 720kb drive on to the side of it, mounted an external fan on the monitor and used it for YEARS untill I upgraded to an 8 MHz PC.

Tuesday 12th July 2011
Jim (Boston, USA)

I bought one of these while in college through American Express. I did a ton of programming with it using Turbo Pascal. Overall it worked fine. I remember that the keyboard wiring was unique, but that Keytronic had a keyboard that worked with it when the dip switches were set correctly.

While computers are now vastly more powerful, I dare say that the finite element analysis program I wrote on the Amstrad had this machine doing harder-core work than the flashy hardware of today. Sure, a simulation run took twenty minutes, but who cares? The answers came out okay...

Sunday 7th November 2010
Andy Gibbs

My memory of the Amstrad 1640 was forgetting to park the hard drive heads, moving it (even just across the table) and having to reformat and reinstall everything! I think it happened quite a few times. The other thing was some rather cryptic bios error message which was eventually tracked down to needing to replace the AA batteries under the monitor base.....

Wednesday 11th August 2010
Dom (UK)

This was my first experience of computers after the ZX81 and my first experience of DOS. It gave me a measure of how computers were developing from hobbyist little boxes like the ZX81 to much more useable desktop machines. I had a lot of fun messing around on it in the ''90s, I suppose it was old then. It came with a tetris game that had soviet space ships as background and I''d very much like to find that old version. I don''t know if it is the original version of Tetris, probably not, but the Russian theme seems very fitting to Tetris. I can''t find it anywhere on the net. 1995 seems a lvery long time ago! Somehow when I got my Win95 machine in ''96, I lost something like losing a childhood as I was swept into the modern world of windows and the internet..

Friday 22nd June 2007
Ewan Cronin (UK)

I have an 1640 and it still works!!. the only problem is finding disks that work:). Was a hand me down from my dad and has seen me though college and to this day(after 20 years still going,beat that laptops)

Saturday 13rd January 2007
David P (Australia)

I remember having a PC 1640, it had a strange mouse which i had trouble getting to work. My PC 1640 had a 20 MB hard drive from Conner which i still have. My uncle gave this to me with Space Quest 2 and 3.

Saturday 23rd September 2006
Michel Borduas (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

After buying and learning on a SINCLAIR Z80 around 1984, this was my first "fast and powerful" computer which I bought around 1987 or 88. I kept it until 1995 when I migrated to Windows 95 and a more powerful machine. Surprisingly, my AMSTRAD PC-1640 (they were sold under that number in Canada) still work today and I gave it to a local farmer who still use old DOS program (mostly dBase III and Lotus 1,2,3). I'm always surprised to see what he can do with it!!!

Tuesday 13rd June 2006
Tim Parsons (uk)

For a while, it was slightly cheaper to buy a floppy-disk-only model with a 32MB Western Digital or Miniscribe "hard card" occupying one-and-a-half of the three available expansion slots at the back of the machine. Sadly, the one place there was no decent EM shielding was in the expansion bay cover immediately above where the drive was, and the natural angle for the monitor (which rested in a rectangular indentation on top of the system case) was pushed right back so the back of it rested on the expansion bay cover. The hardcards lived about 18 months then died suddenly, whereas the "supplied and fitted" internal 20Mb hard disks seemed to go on forever.

We actually found these were a better choice than the then "corporate standard" of Apricots, as they conformed more closely to the IBM spec than the three-times-the-price Apricots did.

Oh yes; and there was a decent little text editor, written by Roland Perry of Amstrad, that was indispensable!

Wednesday 22nd June 2005
dave (essex, england)

I remember my father owning one of these when i was a kid, he bought it second hand and even then it was old so i was suprised to find, around 1998 whist working in a chemist, they actualy used one to store patients detail!

Thursday 9th September 2004
Alex L (Milton, ON, Canada) v4.2 :: we have a go!

This was my families first computer as well. Ours although bought in North America was labeled PC1640. After we sold it to my grandfather, he used it for several years, and once again it has returned to me, it still runs. It just thinks the year is 1980, the batteries died, and I don't need it to date everything.

Wednesday 31st March 2004
J.T (Fin)

My first computer too!! and i´ts still working.
sorry if my english is bad

Wednesday 9th July 2003
Elliot (Burnaby, BC, CAN)

This was my first computer. I used to waste my time playing Where in Time is Carmen SanDiego, Ancient Art of War, Ancient Art of War at Sea, and Sierra's Quest for Glory I. I recall rather fondly making stupid-looking posters on GEM-Paint and printing them on our really loud 9-pin printer.

My last experience with this computer was at the house of my former babysitter. She had the same model. It wasn't working at the time. We checked the disk drives and found that one of the kids had shoved coins inside.

Tuesday 22nd April 2003
Malc (UK)

My first PC! I still have the technical reference manual somewhere. I bought the twin floppy model and added a 30MB hardcard which went in an ISA slot. I can't remember if it had colour or mono screen though - probably mono. Replaced it with an Olivetti 386SX thing.

Saturday 28th December 2002
Jeremy Pavleck (Madison, WI USA)

This was one of my first PC's. I believe it was called the 6400 in the US though. Used to play all sorta of games on it as well as make horrible cards and banners on the yucky, slow dot matrix printer.
Saved up all summer and bought a co-processor for it. But it in wrong and it never worked again. Oh well!

Tuesday 14th May 2002
Martin Kukac (Czech Republic)

I need schematics of POWER and KEYBOARD connector of Amstrad PC1640. Please send me it to my mail, if you have it.

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