NEC PC-9821 (Gaming) Buyers Guide

For discussion of NEC's PC-98 and 9821 computers, software etc.
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Raion-Fox
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NEC PC-9821 (Gaming) Buyers Guide

Post by Raion-Fox » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:58 am

This will be updated as I acquire and aggregate more information.

If you're buying a PC-9821 with the intent to game, here's a buyer's guide:

Where Should I Buy?

Yahoo Auctions (Japan). You will need to use an auction deputy like Noppin to bid on and have stuff shipped to you.

What Am I Looking For?

There are three classes of machines to be aware of when looking:

PC-9801 - These are 16-bit, MS-DOS compatible (but not PC compatible) computers. They are unable to play any 32-bit games.
PC-9821 (Pre-Pentium) - These are 32-bit and are designed to run, in most cases, up to Windows 3.11 (Japanese localized and ported versions) and play the 32-bit PC-9821 games such as Policenauts, Touhou etc.
PC-9821 (Post-Pentium) - These are somewhat more PC-compatible, often possessing PCI busses in lieu of the proprietary C-BUS, and most forgo the OPN sound chip (YM2608) for PCM-based sound chips. They run up to Windows 2000 (PC-9821 versions) and can run some Windows/DOS programs. These are not ideal for gaming and usually have serious compatibility issues with NEC DOS games.

What do I Need To Game?

Ideally a 486 of some sort, especially if you want to play Touhou games.

These models are confirmed to be suitable even without the OPN C-bus cards (They have it onboard):
PC-9821af
PC-9821ap(2 & 3 as well!)
PC-9821Ce2/Cs2

What should I budget?
For SAL shipping, you're looking at $100-200 USD to the US. The machines are available at various price points, with confirmed working ones fetching much higher prices.

What do they mean by JUNK?

Junk is incorrectly used most of the time on Yahoo Auctions, referring to either simply as-is/untested machines OR old machines. Either way, don't discount JUNK auctions.

Can I use PS/2 peripherals?

NO. You can fry both the peripheral and the computer. It's best to find a keyboard with a unit, but failing that, you can find cheaper ones. Mice are also proprietary.

I bought a model without a sound card!

You're going to need a PC-9801-86 C-bus card. Avoid C-bus soundblasters. They do not work.
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