NEC RISCstation

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The NEC RISCstation was a line of computer workstations made by NEC in the mid-1990s, based on MIPS RISC microprocessors and designed to run Microsoft Windows NT. A series of nearly identical machines were also sold by NEC in headless (i.e., no video card or framebuffer) configuration as the RISCserver series, and were intended for use as Windows NT workgroup servers.

Historical development

The RISCstations were based on a modified Jazz architecture licensed from MIPS Computer Systems, Inc. (and which was originally designed by Microsoft). Although architecturally similar to contemporaneous Intel 80386-based personal computers (including, for example, a PCI bus), the RISCstations were faster than the Pentium-based workstations of the time.

Although based on the Jazz design, the RISCstations did not use the G364 framebuffer, instead using a S3 968-based video card or a 3Dlabs GLiNT-based adapter in a PCI slot.

Form factor

All RISCstations used a standard IBM AT-style tower or minitower case, a motherboard which also met the AT form factor standard, and PCI peripherals (such as the video card) for peripheral expansion.

Operating systems

Several operating systems supported RISCstations.

Like all Jazz-based MIPS computers (such as the MIPS Magnum), the RISCstations ran the ARC console firmware to boot Windows NT in little-endian mode. The MIPS III architecture was capable of either little-endian or big-endian operation.

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