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N > NEC  > PC 8801   

PC 8801

The NEC PC 8801 was the successor of PC 8001. It offered fine colour graphics.
It had an optional MS-Dos board. It was one of the fist, if not the first color CPM computer.

It ran in three bootable modes: CPM, MS-Dos, and N88-Basic. The N-Basic would natively boot on the system without disk, just like the PC 8001. It also had a software / hardware switch to turn it into PC 8001 mode.

We need more info about this computer ! If you designed, used, or have more info about this system, please send us pictures or anything you might find useful.



The NEC PC8801 was the followup from the NEC PC8001. It was distributed in west Europe by NEC Neuss Germany. These even manufactured computer furniture to be bought by complete systems. In the U.K. this was also a well know model in the marked of office equipment. The PC8801 had 2 basic interpretors in ROM, at first the bill gates written N-basic from Microsoft and second the very special Microsoft N-88 basic with extended commands for graphics etc.
You could load CP/M operating system by discette. At first the CP/M from the PC8001 computer, and later also CP/M in PC8801 mode.
In GB was at last also availble separate double DS/DD 8 inch discette station. The discettes had 1,2 Mb capacity in this format. Also was available a harddisk station from Japan for these computers. It''s brand was Anritsu, and the capacity was 10 Mb.

In America was another development going, also selden sold in Europe, the famous APC computer.
This was a more IBM compatible model, with build in
2 x 51/4 inch discette stations. The APC was the counterpart for the Northstar pc''s.

only link for available software

Saturday 10th November 2012
Frits Meuris (Nederland)

It was definitely released in the US. My folks bought one in 1982 or 1983. I learned to program on it in BASIC, Pascal, and Z80 Assembly.

It went from sibling to sibling until it finally was sent to me sometime in the 90s. It still functioned as late as a year ago when I finally donated it to a museum rather than move it across country with me. :-) By the time I got it back from a sibling, you could emulate a Z80 processor in software faster than the NEC would run it, but... I still have fond memories of all the hours I spent in front of it during my high school years, though.

Friday 13rd April 2012
Brent (US) (Colorado, USA)

I bought a PC-8801 in Canada and used it from 1984 to 1990, with an NEC "Spinwriter" printer, and a pair of 5.25" disk drives, CP/M WordStar (with MailMerge) and MultiPlan.

I didn''t buy the MS-DOS board (it was only available with DOS 1.25) and heard later that, in contrast to the PC-8801 itself, the MS-DOS board was very troublesome.

I also used code and circuit diagrams supplied by NEC to write a driver that used the 48K graphics memory as a rAM disk, a utility that would convert 5.25" diskettes from N88-Basic format to CP/M format and back, and a file manager that would automatically recognize MS-DOS and CP/M diskettes and treat them as if they were all CP/M diskettes. All of these were posted on a bulletin board run by Ryugen Fisher, who gave me some useful advice and coaching.

It was a very good computer and, at the time, well-supported by NEC Home Electonics in the USA.

Saturday 7th April 2012
Ian E. Gorman


NAME  PC 8801
TYPE  Home Computer
YEAR  December 1981
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke keyboard 67 key + 20 key numeric pad + 5 function keys
CPU  uPD780C-1(Z80A compatible)
RAM  64 KB (up to 576 KB)
ROM  72 KB
TEXT MODES  36/40/72/80 characters x 20/25 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  640 x 200 (8 colours), 640 x 400 (Monochrome)
SOUND  3 FM channels + 3 SSG + 6 rhythms + 1 ADPCM
SIZE / WEIGHT  main case: 496W x 342D x 107H / 7.1 Kg
keyboard: 464W x 214D x 73H / 2 Kg
I/O PORTS  4 expansion slots
Tape recorder (600/1200 baud)
POWER SUPPLY  PSU built-in, AC100V±10%, 40w-70w
PERIPHERALS  Dual 5'' (2x320 KB) or 8'' (2x1 MB) floppy drive unit
PRICE  228 000 yen (Japan, 1981)

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