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N > NEC  > APC III   


The Nec APC III appears to be the U.S. version of the NEC PC-9801, which was made in a variety of configurations.

This machine was partially IBM PC compatible, but neither the PC bus or BIOS were cloned. It had an NEC 7220 graphics chip which was not directly CGA compatible, but was much higher resolution, and quite fast for its day.

The CPU is an 8086 running at 8 MHz with 128K of memory. The system used an OEM version of MS-DOS 2.11, modified to work with its non-standard BIOS and hardware. Simple DOS applications that did not make use of IBM BIOS calls or of lower-level hardware would work.

Optionally there was an expansion board called SLE (for Software Library Expander) which some nicknamed the SLEeze board. This board included a second 8086 processor, Phoenix BIOS and memory. In conjunction with its accompanying software this board allowed for "more PC compatibility" by emulating a true PC clone with CGA graphics. Accounts of how well this actually worked vary.

NEC also ported a version of System III UNIX and released it as PC-UX available as an optional OS. NEC also provided a hardware-based virtual memory paging board for PC-UX which helped performance.

Other options included a 10MB hard drive. Memory was expandable to 640K.

Thanks to Richard Bramante for information and pictures.

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I have a working APC III and color monitor, fully decked out. It has the 8087 option and the SLE board, which stands for Software Library Expander, giving it essentially full IBM compatibility. I haven''t tested it, but the hard drive has/had Jeopardy loaded, and it seemed to run fine. Ok not MS Flight Simulator or Lotus 1-2-3 (IBM version), which were designated compatibility litmus tests back in the day, but I assume it''s pretty compatible. I''d have to pull it out and dust it off and mess with it some. I doubt the h/d will boot anymore, but I have all the necessary s/w images, including those necessary to activate the SLE subsystem.
From the looks of it, the III is the American market version of the PC-9801, or very similar at least. Has the same cards/card cage in the back. C-Bus? A 9801 would be very very cool to have, Japanese to the hilt, but I''m still proud of my APC III.

Sunday 20th March 2016
Chris (New Jersey)

I used both the original APC and the APCIII. They were cutting edge computers at the time. My father was IS Director for NEC Technologies at the time so I got to play with most of the new NEC products, including some of their home audio gear. I really liked the APC with the two 1MB floppies and 10MB hard drive. Moonball was great on that having the color screen. My dad used it for doing letters (stuffing envelopes) for an organization outside Boston and the machine would keep me up at night as both floppies were very noisy when being accessed for the mail merge (can''t remember what the word processing program was". But it would be going all night long processing the letters and then printing them out on the NEC Spinwriter, a letter quality printer at the time. It''s funny how looking back on those days how amazing they seemed.. even compared to today with all the technology. I guess it was my age and the newness of computers, but there was something special about messing around with these computers. I''ve been in and out of IT for 35 years now (and my dad a lot longer) and these old computers have a special place in my heart.

Tuesday 7th May 2013
Rob Sullivan (Washington/USA)

I used an APC III back in 82/83. It booted in BASIC direct if no floppy was $ed. The floppy drive was an accessory that came later and a wonder to me! Before that I had to type the program I needed to run line by line every time it was turned on again! With floppies also came the possibility to boot in other operating systems. I used CP/M and the fantastic programs DR-Draw and DR-Graph. Also Wordperfect! Miss those days!

Monday 25th February 2013
Paulo (Portugal)


TYPE  Professional Computer
YEAR  1983
KEYBOARD  101-key with 12 function keys, cursor and numeric keypads
CPU  Intel 8086
RAM  128 KB up to 640 KB
VRAM  Unknown
ROM  Unknown
TEXT MODES  40 or 80 columns x 25 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  640 x 400 dots bit-mapped color
SOUND  Internal speaker
I/O PORTS  Floppy Disk Drive, RS-232C, Printer, C-bus slot x 6
BUILT IN MEDIA  2 internal TEAC FD-55B-01-U 5.25'' floppy drives - 720 KB in native mode, 360 KB with the SLE board
OS  Special version of MS-DOS 2.11
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply unit
PERIPHERALS  External hard disk drives
PRICE  About $3,000 with internal 10 MB hard drive 1984

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