From NEC Retro

Manufacturer: NEC
Release Date RRP Code


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The PC-6001 is a home computer released by NEC and the first entry in the PC-6000 series.

In North America the PC-6001 was adjusted and released as the NEC TREK, or PC-6001A.


PC6001 Boot.png

The PC-6001 is a "budget" home computer, released around the same time as the higher end PC-8801 (which at the time was catering for more serious business users, rather than hobbiests in the home).

While similar in many ways to the earlier PC-8001 (with an identical processor clocked at the same frequency), the PC-6001 has real graphics modes, though its low screen resolution meant it was was primarily used as a means of playing video games, rather than traditional office tasks such as word processing. It also has a AY-3-8910 chip to produce real sound, as opposed to the basic beeper found in the PC-8001 (and PC-8801 at launch).

The PC-6001 uses a concept it calls "pages"; entirely separate screens that can be swapped by pressing  button here  on the keyboard. When the machine is turned on, the user is asked "how many pages?"; this is because as "main" RAM and "graphics" VRAM share the same space in memory, the user has to choose how to divide this memory up. The base (16KB) system can only support 1 or 2 pages, however by expanding the RAM up to 32KB, up to 4 pages can be used.

The computer has a single 32-column text mode (mode 1) and three graphics modes; 64 x 48 with 9 colours (mode 2), 128 x 192 with 4 colours (mode 3) and 256 x 192 with 2 colours (mode 4; which on a composite display can be exploited to show more colours). The "page" system is used to swap between multiple modes, with the graphics modes being unsuitable for (legible) text and vice versa. Typically software distributed for the PC-6001 would tell the user how many pages were required.

In an attempt to cut costs, a chiclet keyboard was used instead of the full travel alternatives seen in other NEC computer models. Several features not found in the PC-8001 were included as standard, however, such as two joystick ports, and connections to RF and RCA composite video, a cassette drive and a printer without the need for an expansion boxes.

The PC-6001 also has a cartridge slot on the right-hand side of the system, which can be used to load software, expand the system's memory to 32KB (using the ROM/RAM Cartridge (PC-6006)) or add floppy disk support with N60 Kakuchou BASIC (PCS-6001R). By making use of the Expansion Unit (PC-6011), a further two slots can be added.

While not as successful as either the PC-8001 or PC-8801, the PC-6001 was nonetheless well supported by Japanese software publishers, with an updated successor, the PC-6001 mkII, arriving in 1983.

Technical specifications

  • CPU: μPD780C-1, clocked at 3.993600MHz
  • RAM: 16KB, expandable to 32KB
  • Graphics:
    • Mode 1: 32-column, 16-row text
    • Mode 2: 64 x 48 "semi-graphics", 9 colours
    • Mode 3: 128 x 192 graphics, 4 colours
    • Mode 4: 256 x 192 graphics, 2 colours
  • Audio: AY-3-8910

List of games


PC-6000 series hardware
PC-6001 (NEC TREK) (1981) | PC-6001 mkII (1983) | PC-6001 mkII SR (1984)
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