Friday, 16 October 2009

Adventures with an Amstrad PC1512 - Windows 3.0

Yes it will run but it takes up quite a lot of Hard disk space and is a little slow. It is also restricted to CGA Mono display which isn't very pretty and won't work with the Amstrad mouse (see previous) and is restricted to the real mode memory model. Note that this is Windows 3.0 and NOT 3.1 which won't run in real mode. If you don't have a 3.5 720k drive attached then getting it to work is a little difficult (more on that later). However, with a 3.5 inch drive it will install and run in the usual way. However, despite the fact that it loads and runs, it is a little difficult (ok impossible) to find software that will run in both CGA and real modes. For example, Visual Basic programs won't run as they require standard mode. You have File Manager and notepad and all the other programs available but not much else. Probably not worth bothering with.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Adventures with an Amstrad PC1512 - BIOS

The PC1512 does not have a BIOS screen. It will detect devices attached and will leave the seperate controllers to do the work. Setup is sometimes effected using dip switches (as with the Amstrad PPC512/640 family of portables).

Adventures with an Amstrad PC1512 - Floppy Drives

It is possible to plug a 3.5 inch 720k (NOT 1.44Mb) floppy drive into the machine with the relevent connectors. However, the system won't recognise the drive as being 720k unless you add to the config.sys:-


My machine has an external 3.5 inch drive which connects to the B drive and has a switch at the back which cleverly allows either the 5.25 drive or 3.5 drive to be used (but not together).

Monday, 5 October 2009

Adventures with an Amstrad PC1512 - The Hard Disk

Hard drives are very rare because, as this is an XT machine, modern drives won't work on it. The HD MUST be supplied with its own controller (usually on a card) that will only work with that particular drive (you can't use another drive with the controller ven it is by the sam manufacturer) which is a bit of a pain. The best type is a Hard Card which is a card that plugs into an 8 bit slot that contains both controller and drive which has the advantage of allowing both 5.25" floppy drives to be retained.

Adventures with an Amstrad PC1512 - The GUI

The PC1512 is one of the few PC's of the era that shipped with a Graphical User Interface (GEM) - most were shipped only with DOS. There are various versions of GEM available on the Internet as it has been released as GPL as have all the software which includes Paint and Word Processor programs.