Amstrad PCW

The Amstrad PCW / Joyce Schneider personal computer for Word Processing was offered as a writing system and CP / M office computer as a complete package with monitor, disk drives, and printers.

For a long time he was a low-cost 8-bit competitor to the IBM PC, and besides the actual, supplied text processing LocoScript (of Locomotive ) was the rich CP / M- Plus software deal available. The programming languages ​​were Mallard BASIC ( by Locomotive Software) and DrLogo ( Digital Research ) while already. There were also office applications for desktop publishing, database and spreadsheet. The cost of such a LocoScript complete system were mostly lower than the purchase price just for the competitors software.

During the Amstrad PCW in the UK was a long time as a universal office computers in use and probably partly still is, he was marketed and used in Germany as a writing system. The project name Joyce ( according to the secretary of Alan Sugar, the boss of Amstrad ) was retained by Schneider.

For connecting a regular Centronics printer, an optional adapter was necessary. Thus, in addition to the supplied needle, ink-jet and daisy wheel printers as well as the connection of a laser printer was possible. Depending on the series and retrofitting 256 KB RAM, 512 KB later and more memory were available initially. Was supplied a green-black, and later a black and white monitor. The computer itself was predominantly integrated, roughly analogous to the original Mac or Canon Cat, together with the drives in the monitor cabinet, in a series but you copied the PC desktop design. When drives were z.T. next to each other, the following types installed:

  • 3 "
  • 3 "for disks with expanded memory (720 KB)
  • 5.25 "
  • 3.5 "
  • Hard disk ( optional)

The 3 " storage format was not compatible with that of the Schneider CPC, a special software managed (later ) Remedy. A data exchange via a kind of parallel port null modem but was no problem.

When PCW could use in a special mode the computer directly as a typewriter. At the last PCW, the Type 16, a the Amstrad NC100 was given similar office software package instead LocoScript.

The PCW was quite popular and well known in the UK. Among the users counted among others the former Prime Minister John Major, and the PCW was also used in the television series Doctor Who.


  • PCW 8256, 1985, known as Joyce, 256 kB RAM, a 3 " drive (for disks, each 170 kB per side, each had to be upside down)
  • PCW 8512, 1985, known as Joyce Plus, 512 kB RAM, two 3 "drives ( with an additional drive for floppy disks of 720 kB, which had not be reversed )
  • PCW 9512, 1987
  • PCW 9256, 1991
  • PCW 9512plus, 1991
  • PCW 10, 1993 ( Press only )
  • PCW 16, 1996, also known as Anne

There were clones or modifications of other companies, including with black housing or in the portable pilot case format.