My newest old computer, an Amstrad PPC

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My newest old computer, an Amstrad PPC

Postby GXL750 » 2012-6-11 @ 21:38

Little over a week ago I received a circa 1988 or 1989 Amstrad PPC640. It's essentially a portable XT clone typical of the era. The CPU, an NEC V30 running at 12mhz puts this computer a little bit ahead of an actual XT or most other 8088/8086 systems in terms of processing speed. Spec-wise, everything else is pretty typical; dual 720kb 3.5" floppy drives, CGA screen, 640kb memory. The LCD is nice in that, unlike most portables from the time, this one here is similar aspect ratio to a CRT so you don't have everything looking squished. Unfortunately, contrast is poor making this screen usable only in direct light or outside on sunny days.

Just like the computer itself, the AC adapter is large and heavy. If I felt compelled to go out and buy ten C-cell batteries, I could run this thing for about an hour away from an outlet.

So far, the only software I've run on this includes the Amstrad organizer software that came with the system and some old games including Commander Keen, Alleycat, ZZT, Tetris and Jeopardy. The only thing really that makes this a less than stellar system for CGA games of the era is that the LCD appears inverted compared to a CRT. However, there is a port for a CGA monitor on the back and the built in keyboard is full size and nice to use so I could easily convert this into an XT class desktop system if I had the time, cash or room.

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GXL750
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Re: My newest old computer, an Amstrad PPC

Postby Stull » 2012-6-11 @ 23:21

Hah, I knew you couldn't stay clean! ;)

You should incant some serial/null modem voodoo and get that thing online.
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Re: My newest old computer, an Amstrad PPC

Postby GXL750 » 2012-6-12 @ 18:26

I thought about it. Maybe if I get bored, I'll try to find a DOS web browser that fits on a floppy disk. Make a few posts to this messageboard from the thing. I'll bet that modem transfers data faster than the speed of smell.

BTW, the only 720kb floppies in my house are the two that came with this thing. I've been using 1.4mb floppies with tape covering the appropriate hole in the top corner and formatting them to 720kb. I have several disks that, at their intended 1.4mb capacity, threw errors left and right and were unreliable but as 720kb, seem totally solid. It's funny the computer I use daily for internet and such is old enough to have a floppy drive and until I got the Amstrad, I hadn't used said floppy drive in several years.

I enjoyed playing Jeopardy for a few hours the other night; easy time killer. Being from 1987 though, some questions were funny to me. "Andrew Jackson is the only president to get this form of government censure." Naturally, I had just ran out of time when I thought about Bill Clinton 12 years after this game's making.
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Re: My newest old computer, an Amstrad PPC

Postby Aektann78 » 2019-11-10 @ 11:51

I have a same Amstrad model 512D. However there is a lack of battery compartment cover on my PC. Is it possible to scan your piece to any 3D-printable format so I could print it myself? I’d be very appreciated for any help with it.
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