When I got into the PC98 computers, I was on the lookout for specific models. I wanted the original because it's the original, I wanted a VX because I love the look, I wanted some sort of A-Mate because everyone said they were amazing for games, and I wanted a Ra because they seemed like freaks of nature. I think I did all of that in about three months? Needless to say my priorities are changed nowadays, I hate A-Mates the most of all models, but this isn't about that.
The Ra266 was my third PC98 I ever bought and it may just be my second-favorite after the original model. It's such an odd system, a Pentium II being almost dragged down to worse performance by NEC cramming PC98 guts alongside the ever-popular IBM compatible architecture, but it's got a lot of charm to it.
Say hello the my PC-9821Ra266. It's got some pretty cool specs so let's just go over those real quick:
Something to meniton is that I got really lucky when buying this machine. When buying a 9821Ra, if you want to upgrade your CPU to goofy levels, you need to have the "good VRM" on your motherboard. Some models shipped with HIP6004CBs, others shipped with HIP6004ACBs.
Usually, if what I understand is correct, earlier Ra motherboards shipped with the HIP6004ACB as their CPUs didn't need the VRM to output less than 1.8V, the low end of the output range (1.8VDC to 3.5VDC) for that chip. I know if you go to Ark and look up the 266MHz Pentium II they list the VID Voltage Range as 2.0V.
For whatever reason, I got a motherboard with a HIP6004CB. These have a wider voltage range, 1.3VDC to 3.5VDC, meaning that I could put say a slotket with a 766MHz Celeron in and not fry the thing as it wants 1.65V to 1.75V. I guess it's a thing for later models? I'd say that's pretty cool!
One neat thing about the system is that it gives you a decent amount of expansion in the form of C-Bus slots and PCI slots. For a list of what I'm currently running:
You may notice that I only list two PCI slots but it looks like three exist. The one with the in/out VGA ports is a custom slot, it looks like a PCI connector but it's wired entirely different from one, and it holds the custom video chipset that houses the fake EGC alongside the stock "Windows Accelerator" module. A sticker across the top of the slot says this as well, do not plug a PCI board into the first slot as you run a good risk of sending voltage where it shouldn't go and frying your board!
As-mentioned above, I'd like to get rid of my CF card (4GB is kinda not that much for me) and replace it with an IDE or even SATA hard disk. I got my hands on an I-O DATA UIDE-98 card but, until I rememebr to buy a bus mouse, I'm forced to use USB to hook a mouse up meaning I'm forced to take up one of my PCI slots.
I mostly use this thing to run games 'cause, well, it does that pretty darn well!
The joke test for any old computer seems to be "Can it run DOOM?" and, well...
ha ha, hentai doom on the coomputer so funny
Really though, with the Voodoo Banshee this system can handle games like Half-Life without much of a fuss. I mainly use this to run VNs and the like, it's just a convenient machine to work with, but it's cool seeing it push late-90s 3D stuff as well!