Amstrad PPC 512

Amstrad PPC 512

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The two computers had very similar specifications. The PPC512 had an NEC V30 processor running at 8 MHz, 512 KiB of memory, a full-size 102-key keyboard with a numeric keypad, a built-in liquid crystal display (not backlit)[1] that could emulate the CGA or MDA and either one or two 720k 3.5" floppy drives (the model was either the PPC512S or PPC512D depending on the number of drives it had). The PPC640 was otherwise identical except that it had 640 KiB of memory, a built-in 2400 baud modem (unusually fast for its day), and its case was a darker shade of grey. Both versions of the machine had an empty socket on the main circuit board so that an Intel 8087 coprocessor could be installed to permit hardware processing of floating point arithmetic.

The PPC included standard connectors for RS-232Centronics and CGA/MDA video, allowing existing peripherals to be used. All the signals used by the 8-bit ISA bus were also available through a pair of expansion connectors. There was available an external card cage for expansion cards.

Four possible power sources could be used:[2]

  • Ten C-size alkaline batteries. (10 x 1.5v = 15 volts, but the load was such the voltage dropped to nearer 12 volts in use.)
  • Mains adaptor
  • Car cigarette lighter.
  • An Amstrad PC-MD, PC-CD or PC-ECD Monitor. (These monitors all contained a power supply)

The physical layout of the components was unlike most laptop designs: instead of the lid containing the screen, it contained the keyboard. The hinges were therefore at the front of the main unit, rather than the back. The LCD was hinged separately and folded down into a recess on the top of the system unit. The one or two floppy drives were located on the right-hand side. When closed, the size of the PPC was 45 cm wide × 10 cm high × 23 cm deep.

A bank of six DIP switches was used to select whether the video hardware emulated CGA or MDA, and whether to use an internal or external monitor.

No official hard drive option or docking station was manufactured, but both were sold by third-party manufacturers.