PC-9801 was released by NEC on '82 for business purposes originally.
This was the first 16-bit computer for NEC.
The earliest one had i8086/5Mhz CPU and 128kbytes of main
memory, the graphics capacity was 640x400 with digital 8 colours.
Since their 8-bit computers, such as PC-6001, PC-8001, PC-8801,
got decline in popularity presently, NEC set this machine to be
their staple products.
best seller model was PC-9801VM (V30/8Mhz CPU and 384kb memory,
dual 5inch FDDs) released on '85, and then PC-9801VX (i80286/10Mhz
1MB memory, 640x400 res. with analogue 16 colours of 4096 colours)
followed. V30 is an Intel-compatible CPU developed by NEC. The latter
is virtually the standard for following machines from NEC. Although
most of games available there set the standards it, PC-98x1 series
have upper-compatibility they can be worked on nowadays' one.
Until '92, PC-9801's graphics ability had not been changed
very much, they however forced to think better of it because of
Microsoft Windows 3.0. The new model was named 'PC-9821' not PC-9801,
and had SVGA-level graphics (640x480 with 256 colours). Apart from
graphics, this had CD-ROM, SCSI, 40MB of harddrive, and 4MB main
memory. Since its CPU was i386SX, running Windows seemed to be bit
series had progressed year by year, there was PentiumII model installed
Windows95 very recently. To tell the truth this computer is not
different to IBM PC awfully, this is however why this computer was
Lastly I describe about its sound capacity. This computer
was originally deigned for business use, the sound was bit poor;
SSG (AKA PSG)x3 and FMx3, these are monaural, of course there was
some models which don't have sound feature. The next generation
of sound feature appeared along with arrival of PC-9821. Its capacity
was SSGx3, FMx6 with drum kit, 44Khz/16bit PCM, all are supported
stereo. Although there're still more another type of sound features,
the above had been used by almost all games.
By the way since PC-98x1 series had ruled Japanese computer
scene, many many softwares available. Those emulators will supply
us the huge legacy.