A PC-98 computer.


Home computer

Release date:




Operating system:



Intel 8086


128-640 KB

The PC-9801 is a Japanese 16-bit microcomputer manufactured by NEC from 1982, the first in the PC-98 series of 16-bit and 32-bit personal computers. The platform established NEC's dominance in the Japanese personal computer market, and by 1999, more than 18 million PC-98 units had been sold. As with its predecessor, the PC-88, it's abbreviated as PC-98.

Seiko Epson also manufactured PC-98 clones as well as compatible peripherals.


Although similar to IBM PCs, the PC-98 used its own 16 bit C-Bus instead of the ISA bus; BIOS, I/O port addressing, memory management, and graphics output are also different.


The PC9801 had thousands of game titles designed for it, many of which made creative use of the system's limitations (it was originally designed as a business machine) to great commercial success. Despite having hardware specifications far inferior to the Fujitsu FM Towns and Sharp X68000 personal computers, the massive install base and steady flow of game titles (in particular "dōjin" style dating sims and RPGs, as well as early games of the Touhou Project and Valis franchise) kept it as the favored platform for PC game developers in Japan until the rise of the DOS/V clones.


Partial list of PC-98 models sold in the Japanese market (no 1992-2000 models, no notebook models, etc.).

Model CPU Year Features Other
PC-9801 8086 5 MHz 1982 RAM 128 KB, 6 slot C-bus 640×400 8 colors, 2 externals floppy drive 8" (optional)
PC-9801E 8086-2 5/8 MHz 1983 2 externals floppy drive 8" (optional)
PC-9801F 8086-2 5/8 MHz 1983 F1 and F2 with 128KB of RAM,
F3 256 KB of RAM and hard-disk 10 Mb
Internal floppy drive, 5" 2DD (640KB/720KB)
PC-9801M 8086-2 5/8 MHz 1984 M1: 2 internal floppy drive, 5" 2HD (1MB/1.2MB); M2: 1 internal floppy and HD 20Mb
PC-9801VF NEC V30 8 MHz 1985 RAM 256 KB double 5" floppy-disk 2DD
resolution 640×400 with 8 colors (16 colors optional) chosen from among the 4096 available
PC-9801VM NEC V30 10 MHz 1985 RAM 384 KB double 5" floppy-disk 2HD/2DD
resolution 640×400 with 8 colors (16 colors optional) chosen from among the 4096 available
PC-9801VX Intel 80286 10 MHz 1986 RAM 1 MByte resolution 640×400 with 16 colors chosen from among 4096
PC-9801U NEC V30 8 MHz 1985 2 floppy-disk 3.5" 2DD
PC-9801UV NEC V30 10/8 MHz 1984 2 floppy-disk 3.5" 2HD/2DD
PC-9801UX 80286 10 MHz 1987 2 floppy-disk 3.5" 2HD/2DD
PC-9801RA 80386DX 16-20 MHz 1988 2 floppy-disk 5" 2HD/2DD
PC-9801RS 80386SX 16-20 MHz 1989 2 floppy-disk 5" 2HD/2DD
PC-9801RX 80286 16-20 MHz 1989 2 floppy-disk 5" 2HD/2DD
PC-9801ES 80386SX 16-20 MHz 1989 ES2 no HD, ES5 HD 40MB 2 floppy-disk 3.5" 2HD/2DD
PC-9801EX 80286 16-20 MHz 1989 2 floppy-disk 3.5" 2HD/2DD
PC-9801DA,DA/U 80386DX/20 MHz 1990 /U means 3.5" floppy
No /U means 5" floppy
PC-9801DS,DS/U 80386SX/16 MHz 1990 /U means 3.5" floppy
No /U means 5" floppy
PC-9801DX,DX/U 80286 1991 /U means 3.5" floppy
No /U means 5" floppy
PC-9801FA,FA/U 80486SX/16 MHz 1992 F means "File slot", memory proprietary expansion slot
PC-9801FS,FS/U 80386DX/16 MHz 1992
PC-9801FX,FX/U 80386SX/16 MHz 1992
PC-9821 Intel 80386SX 1992 RAM 4 MByte, drive CD-ROM hard disk 40 MByte,
resolution 640×480 with 256 colors and SCSI interface
PC-9821Ra43 Celeron 443 MHz 2000 Last computer of series


  • While the PC-98 was still in the market, most of the Valis games that followed Valis II (including its ports) were being developed for NEC and Sega's consoles by 1990.