Amstrad PC1640

PC1640 with Monitor, Disk  Drive and HDD
Base Unit with Disk Drive and HDD, RTC Battery Holder visible

This page is dedicated to the Amstrad PC1640 and how to emulate it in MAME


If you want to emulate the Amstrad PC1640 you will first need the Amstrad PC1640 BIOS Files

As of Mame 0.235 (probably also earlier) I found no changes in the checksums of the BIOS Files compared to the recent version Mame 0.240

Necessary BIOS Roms names and Checksums for Amstrad PC1640
File Name Size CRC SHA1
40044-1 8809.ic132 8192 f1c074f3 a055ea7e933d137623c22fe24004e870653c7952
40043-1 8809.ic129 8192 e40a1513 447eff2057e682e51b1c7593cb6fad0e53879fa8
40044 8738.ic132 8192 43832ea7 eea4a8836f966940a88c88de6c5cc14852545f7d
40043 8738.ic129 8192 768498f9 ac48cb892417d7998d604f3b79756140c554f476
40044 88xx.ic132 8192 6090f782 e21ae524d5b4d00696d293dbd4fe4d7bca22e277
40043 88xx.ic129 8192 9219d0aa dde1a46c8f83e413d7070f1356fc91b9f595a8b6
40042.ic801 1024 607edaf6 4422c6475596c3881c11b6a6266811c336d55d19
40100.ic913 32768 d2d1f1ae 98302006ee38a17c09bd75504cc18c0649174e33

These files are necessary to emulate the Amstrad PC1640.

As it is policy that no Rom Files are distributed here , please use your googleFu (or whichever search engine you prefer) to find an Internet Archive of these Files.

They can be placed directly in Mame's Rompath or you can put them in .7z or .zip archives (named

System Disks EN,FR,DE

After you succeeded finding the roms, you will still need something to put into the "Disk Drive"

I am happy to provide the set of necessary disks here, the Archive contains the matching software list disks for English and French System Disks so you can directly select them from the software lists when you put the archive in your rom path. the german disks are not (yet) in the official software lists, so you have to enter the archive from the file menu inside mame if you want to select those.


This Archive can be placed either in the same Rom Folder where the BIOS resides or to keep a better overview in a separate directory referenced in the rompath inside mame.ini (Note the _flop appended to the archive name to sign mame that this archive contains floppies for the specified device)

How to use them will be covered in the next chapter

Boot from Disk

'Prerequistes reachable by Rompath in mame.ini
Rom Bios Files
System Disks
  1. Let us start with booting up the Amstrad for the first time, For this example I've choosen the 20MByte version (any would do here)
    cd <your Mame Directory>
    mame pc1640hd

  2. You will be greeted with Mame greets you with the selected hardware info this shows that you got the BIOS Files at the correct location, you can simply press any key now
  3. and will now be shown a warning Most devices in Mame are not 100% perfectly emulated yet
  4. you can simply press a key again to get rid of it and after a few moments the emulated device will ask you for a boot disk You need to enter UI enabled mode#Useful Keyboard Shortcuts now which is by default done by pressing the <Scroll Lock> Key (again to turn it off later) this allows you to press <tab> to bring up the Mame Menu Select the Filemanager here
  5. Outside of UI enabled mode pressing the <tab> key will simply send <tab> to the emulated machine ( it will still do this in UI enabled mode, so be aware of inputs going to the device when inside of the menu! ). Now inside of the Filemanager Menu select the Floppy Disk Drive as target Select Floppy Disk
  6. and then we select an image from the Softwarelist Select Softwarelist as Source
  7. next step is Select Amstrad PC1640 diskettes and the disk is nearly in the drive:
  8. Select English System Disks
  9. last step now Select Disk 1 (which is the only boot disk in this set) Select Disk 1 here.
  10. Now you can leave the Mame UI by pressing <ESC> (do not press too often or you are closing the Mame Process!)
  11. Congratulations you made it if you see Booted successfully

System Hard Disks

While with the provided System Disks you can create your own harddisk installation, I am planning to provide here Basic Installations in all three available languages.

How to create your own PC1640 HDD

  1. Have the prerequisites ready #Prerequisites #System Disks EN,FR,DE
  2. Create your Harddisk Image first (I choose pc1640_hdd.chd as filename)
    cd <your Mame Directory>
    chdman createhd -tp 6 -o pc1640_hdd.chd

    Output should lool like

    chdman - MAME Compressed Hunks of Data (CHD) manager 0.240 (mame0240)
    Template:     Seagate ST-225
    Output CHD:   pc1640_hdd.chd
    Compression:  none
    Cylinders:    615
    Heads:        4
    Sectors:      17
    Bytes/sector: 512
    Sectors/hunk: 8
    Logical size: 21,411,840
  3. Start up Mame with your Empty Harddisk (follow #Boot from Disk ) Note we use the Device with Harddisk now!
    mame pc1640hd20 -harddisk1 pc1640_hdd.chd
  4. You should have reached step 11 from chapter #Boot from Disk now Booted
  5. Now we have to initialise the fresh Harddrive, Enter
    inside the Mame Window and press <ENTER>

    fdisk on Amstrad PC1640 MS Dos 3.2

  6. Select 1 here and confirm to use the entire Disk Press Y and enter here
  7. You are requested to have a Boot Disk in Floppy Drive and press any key to reboot (You should still have it there so nothing to do here for you)
  8. You should be back at the DOS Prompt now, if you wish to do so you could start fdisk again and us option 4 to check the new partition, the next step will be to format the drive and copy a boot sector to the harddrive
    format c: /s
    format c: /s
  9. Confirm to proceed with formatting formatting
  10. formatting finished now we have formatted 20MByte Harddisk with bootable system
  11. Stll not finished, next thing to do is installing what we got on all 4 System Disks, first swap the disk in Floppy Drive to Disk 4 Supplementary Disk and then
    cd suppleme
    This will start the copying process, just follow the onscreen instructions and swap the floppies when requested (makes sense to pause the emulation while you are fiddling inside of the menu)
  12. The copy process takes some time, so just be patient and wait until the request to swap comes up copying in progress
  13. You are finished when you see Amstrad PC1640 HDD created
  14. Take Note that this process is the same for all languages, just the source disks differ, I can provide English, French and German System Disks, if you can supply more please get in contact with me in the forum so i can update the archive

Basic PC1640 HDD

English Amstrad installation

French Amstrad installation

German Amstrad installation

Basic Mame handling of PC1640

Useful Keyboard Shortcuts

While using Mame it is always good to have these ready, note that inside the emulation the keys are not recognised by Mame until you enable UI mode!

Keyboard Shortcuts
Key Description (UI enabled Mode!)
<Scroll Lock> Switch UI enabled/disabled
<ESC> Exit Mame
<F3> Soft Reset
<TAB> Open/Close Mame Menu
P Pause Emulation

Supported versions of Amstrad as of Mame 0.240

get a list of available Amstrad PC1640 versions in Mame:

cd <your Mame Directory>
mame pc1640 -listclones

the output will give this information (without Notes column and minues the first row)

Name: Clone of: Notes
pc1640 PC1640 Single Disk version
pc1640dd pc1640 PC1640 with Two Drives
pc1640hd20 pc1640 PC1640 with Disk Drive and 20 MByte HDD (pictured on this page)
pc1640hd30 pc1640 PC1640 with Disk Drive and 30 MByte HDD (pictured on this page)

DIP Switches

(and Machine Configuration)

Mame will start the device without modifying them, but you will have a better experience when you adjust them to your needs.

  1. enable the UI mode #Useful Keyboard Shortcuts
  2. enter Mame Menu→DIP Switch settings Enter DIP Switch settings here
  3. check your values (I had my setup in german language, you probably want english instead) and adjust to your needs compare to your settings and adjust
  4. Mame Menu→Machine ConfigurationMachine Configuration additional menu
  5. Reset the device with <F3>


PC-XT in the 80's did have a BIOS, but they had no fancy BIOS Boot menus to enter (First PC's that had those are with 286 CPU and up). AMSTRAD decided that they wanted to offer the User something to use the Non Volatile RAM (battery buffered by cells located in the case below the monitor see second picture at the top #Amstrad PC1640 .

You can find the tool to access it on the provided system Disk 47003 (Disk 3) #System Disks EN,FR,DE and the prepared Harddisks #Basic PC1640 HDD

  1. Just start up the PC1640 Emulation and enter nvr at the Prompt Enter nvr at prompt
  2. Personalize your Amstrad this is the Non Volatile Ram Tool from Amstrad

Known issues

  • short: Well this one is no joke sadly
  • long: most often I will show some evident graphical bugs, but these are more or less to be expected due to the emulations of the graphics being imperfect as is noted in the warning, i still like to mention them
  1. GEM
    • if you start it and it looks like check section #DIP Switches GEM looks like this with wrong DIP Switch settings
    • it has to look like GEM looks like this
    • still there is a GFX Bug in the driver Bugged gfx in GEM Menu drawing
  2. Funny values with Norton Utilities Funny values in Norton Utilities
  3. CPU the driver hooks up a NEC V30, the original machine hat an Intel 8086 installed


Technical Manual


Amstrad PC1640 on

Museum Group. Amstrad PC1640 computer. Y2008.33.5Science Museum Group Collection Online. Accessed February 14, 2022.