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PC-98 – PC-9801NS/A – RAM, CPU And PCMCIA

This story doesn't have a happy ending. I went on a buyee-spree, trying to find all the parts I needed for this laptop... including a single (obviously-not-legit) floppy drive that contained the PCMCIA driver software needed to get the PCMCIA slot working in DOS. The goal was to then load up a SCSI PCMCIA card connected to a SCSI CD Drive to get data flowing. There were also RAM and CPU upgrades and they looked awesome! Who didn't want a DX2/66 laptop? Who cares if the internal LCD is monochrome.

Anyway, the crap arrived...

RAM and CPU Upgrades

The RAM module was clean and tidy, but the CPU (PK-NSA66/C) not so much.

They're both add-in modules that slot in underneath the unit.

No issues powering up... and the RAM was obviously working!

Very nice... +11mb? There was already a 1.2mb RAM disk in this thing, so the additional 11mb was a bit weird. Maybe it's 10mb? Or maybe it totally replaces the onboard RAM and it's +12mb? Anyway, I went into MSD.EXE and CPU info showed...

No dice... no amount of cleaning or re-inserting got it to say anything different. There was also no heat in the board, so I can't quite tell if it's kicking in... or if it needs an IPL like the PC-9801VX. It seems there are many hardware benchmark softs and other CPU tools on which I'll play around with later. Thanks to this thread on another upgrade for pointers.

Update: Yeah, I was right... this specific upgrade board for the NS/A is the only one that needs an IPL! Of course, the drivers at IO-Data are just updates... just like the hell I went through with obtaining the IPL for the PC-9801VX. See more about the available upgrade boards here, and an even better write-up over here. It seems I need to find PKNSA.EXE. How insulting.

Anyway, I suppose I might as well go ahead and install Win3.1 via floppies... since I'd already created them. Later.


So, I'd received the disk from Yahoo Auctions with an original manual. I still cannot work out what that image/logo is on the manual? Anyway, I eagerly got everything set up.

I slapped the disk in the laptop and DIR'd.

Get stuffed. What is TAKAHOUSE? I tried to boot it...

GRRRR... AUD$60 for an over-written floppy ... but I got the manual!

Marcin to the rescue!

If you jump to the comments below, you'll see two pointers from Marcin to drivers that might-just-work. I tried the MECIA3ATA driver first from PC-98 Tips, using a PCMCIA to CF adapter that I had lying around.

First screenshot is with no card in the slot... and a complaint from the driver saying it can't find anything. Second screenshot above is a switch to D:! What's in there?

Random Macintosh stuff that I had totally forgotten about! Useless for this unit, but we can read a PCMCIA ATA card! Unfortunately the second link just provided SSDRV.SYS which doesn't work with this hardware. Maybe it'll work on the 9821Np/540W that I'll whip out next.

Thanks Marcin! We've made progress!

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  1. Steven,
    Here’s a link that is supposed to be an alternate driver for PCMCIA. Download from this link

    There’s also Ne2/Ne3/etc… drivers in in this archive:

    Please give them a go!

    • Hi Marcin,
      Thanks for these links! The first one works and I can read a PCMCIA-CF Adapter! This’ll make installing Windows much easier.
      As for the latter, it’s the SSDRV.SYS driver which just tells me that it can’t find an adapter.

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