NEC PowerMate SX Portable

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Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:19 pm

NEC PowerMate SX Portable

Postby Washerman » Fri May 20, 2016 4:56 pm

Thought it would be nice to give this beastie its own thread. Not really a build as it's a full working unit already, but it is expandable so it's possible to do a bit more to up-spec it.

Basics are that it's a portable desktop unit based on the 386SX 16MHz chip, has 2MB onboard, red plasma screen, 40MB hard disk (RLL I think) and compact AT keyboard. Bonus extra is the MS Mouse from the era.

Picked it up about a fortnight ago for $10, According to the seller, he bought it new for $3,000, scoring a big discount over the then recommended price of $9,000.

NEC Powermate.jpeg
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It's pretty massive. Here's the carry case with computer inside compared to a 1995-6 Thinkpad 760 (IIRC) - which had a Pentium processor onboard. Despite being in a different class, luggable vs laptop, it is still impressive how quickly miniaturisation occurred over that period.

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Inside the beast. Three ISA slots - one of these will be dedicated to ISA sound, but the other two are undecided as yet. No need for VGA as it appears to have onboard video capable of external output. Has a socket for a 387SX co-pro, which I have at the right speed on another board, and SIPP RAM. There is a socket for a 2MB proprietary board, might be tricky to find that one.

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The computer is setup with DOS 6.2 and Windows 3.1. Originally it would have had a much lower version of DOS, and Win/386. Luckily I have both of these things, although Win/386 is sealed so maybe I'll have to source another copy. The screen is nice and sharp, and legible enough to play Minesweeper ;) as you can see, the camera captures a strange refresh pattern, not the usual horizontal bars.

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Configuration of the machine can also be done by DIP switches - always fun to play with. And handy to have the manual with settings!

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Looking forward to playing around with it some more, and posting here about it!

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Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:44 pm

Re: NEC PowerMate SX Portable

Postby Krumm » Sat May 21, 2016 8:59 pm

She's a classic, nice to have the case for all your portable needs :P

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