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N > NEC  > APC   


This professional computer from NEC was a very nice system at the time. With its high resolution graphics (640 x 475) and its large disk capacity (1 MB), it sure was impressive in 1982!

Bill Czermak recalls:
I developed the first version of MIPS (Manufacturers Integrated Production System) on one of the first colour APCs sold in Australia. I added a 5 Mb NEC harddisk later. The 8" floppies held 1.2 Mb. I am told my original system is in a museum in the Geelong area.

I added an XT compatibility card to port my software to the the IBM XT and my software worked fine using this card. When I installed it on a customer's genuine IBM, I got a blank screen!!! Which I fixed that day on the customer's premesis. I think the APC was 30% faster than the XT and cheaper with better graphics.

Jeremiah S. Junken reports :
I actually have one of these which still works. By default, it runs CPM/86, there was a UNIX available, and MS-DOS available. Mine had an external 10MB HDD. The software included "benchmark" word processor, VisiCalc and dBase II.

The major things worth nothing about this otherwise unremarkable machine were it's relative speed, the fact that the lights would dim slightly when it was turned on, and that, in the year 2002, it still works. :-)

Gary McCray adds:
I actually still have a working one of these also. Actually, it was pretty remarakable when it came out for its high resolution graphics capability using a (at the time) powerful NEC 7220 Graphics controller chip which formed the base strategy for virtually every other graphics controller since.

Unfortunately very little software was available that took advantage of its graphics capability. Also it was featured in one of the stupidist full page ads ever produced and ran for months with a giant hand covering it up and the admonition "The Computer The Competition Doesnt Want You to See" and a suggestion to write away for information on it (see 'Adverts' section). If that wasn't stupid enough, you couldn't actually get any information on it from either writing or calling.

It is remarkably well made and was extremely powerful and reliable in the time it was built (weighs over 80 lb). But a combination of truly stupid advertising and lack of easy access doomed it in the US to a very small group. It fared much better in Japan understandably, and surprisingly in Australia (no giant hand I guess). I developed graphics authoring programs for it that sold successfully in both Japan and Australia.

We need more info about this console ! If you designed, used, or have more info about this system, please send us pictures or anything you might find useful.
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I have WordStar and Zork for the APC on 8" floppy, probably CP/M but could be MS-DOS

Sunday 21st March 2021
Vaffangool (United States)

I worked at a telecom startup in 1982-4. We all used these machines to do cross-platform software development for the custom switching equipment we were developing. Management chose them as our development platform because the dual 8" floppies had enough capacity for each of us to do a meaningful amount of work without needing hard drives.

We would use the first drive with MS-DOS and the Aztec C compiler, and the second drive would contain our development modules, source and object. Only the software librarian and one build machine had hard drives, almost a dozen coders were each on a floppy version. Plus, these machines would do compiles more quickly than a couple of other computers that we''d tried.

They were sturdy, workhorse machines.

Sunday 20th January 2019
Eliyahu Skoczylas (Jerusalem, Israel)

Aaah... this machine brings back memories! Back in the 80s, while Madonna was true blue and Reagan was playing brinksman, I was lugging one of these babies from company to company to install and maintain NEC NEAX2400 PBX systems. We affectionately referred to it as the "Wonk-Wonk" computer, owed to the sound it often emitted while searching floppies. It was big, heavy and built like a battleship. Larger customer bought one, but small NEAX2400 customers couldn''t afford the $6000 US price tag, so we brought our maintenance machine with us on installs. One night, after a long brutal cutover, I was leaving a savings and loan branch with My APC on a hand truck. I was cluncking down a set of concrete stairs when it broke loose! It tumbled down one flight, rounded the landing, and descended another entire flight. Oh Shit! I''m in big trouble, I though. I rushed to the scene, to find the machine largely in tact, with only a small crack in the case. I took it back to the lab, opened it up, re-seated a couple of add-in cards, and it fired up fine! It was heavy and monstrous, but built like a battleship.

Thursday 11th October 2018
Pete Peterson (United States)


YEAR  1982
CONTROLLERS  Typewriter type, 61 key + 25 key numeric/cursor pad + 22 function keys
SPEED  5 Mhz
CO-PROCESSOR  NEC 7220 graphic chip, socket for a math co-processor
RAM  128 KB standard, 640 KB max.
VRAM  Unknown
ROM  4 KB ROM, 4 KB battery-backed CMOS RAM
TEXT MODES  80 columns x 25 lines + 1 status line (8x19 dots character matrix)
GRAPHIC MODES  640 x 475 pixels
SOUND  Buzzer
SIZE / WEIGHT  48.3 (W) x 61 (D) x 35.5 (H) cm / heavy!
I/O PORTS  1 or 2 x RS232 up to 19.200 baud, 1 x Parallel
MEDIA  2 x 8'' floppy disk drives (243 KB or 1 MB)
Optional hard-disk (9 or 18 MB formatted)
NUMBER OF GAMES  CP/M-86, UNIX and MS DOS in option
PERIPHERALS  2nd RS-232 port, 32-bit floating point unit, Line drawing graphics subsystem, Very high resolution (1024x1024) , IBM emulation software, SDLC communication procedure
PRICE  Monochrome, single floppy : $3,298 (US, 1983)
Monochrome : 27 800 FF (France, Dec. 83)
Color, dual floppy : $4,998 (US, 1983)

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