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NEC Versa 550DThis little NEC Versa laptop cost me ten dollars back in 2012. The seller listed the laptop as not working. 

Once received, I plugged it in, turned it on, it fired up into Windows 95! Perhaps the seller had a faulty power outlet or was not pushing the power button. Either way, it was a great little find.

Cyrix 5x86-100GP Processor

The Cyrix 5×86-100GP Processor

This unit features a Cyrix processor, which is rarely seen today as the last processor made by Cyrix was the Cyrix MII-433GP 300Mhz (A Pentium II Alternative).

Overall the NEC Versa 550D is not a bad unit, and this one is the highest model offered in NEC’s Versa 500 lineup that features a 100Mhz processor, 8MB on-board ram expanded to 16mb and a 10.4″ Color DSTN LCD. 

Usually, high-end 486’s were paired with at least 16MB ram, while base models were 8MB.  

NEC Versa 550D Laptop and AC Adapter

NEC Versa 550D Laptop and AC Adapter

The DSTN LCD screen

The 550D’s DSTN LCD screen is challenging on the eyes. One of the many problems with retro LCDs was a horrible refresh rate. The ghosting on this screen is bad, it felt like 4-5 fps just using windows.

The one feature I love about this laptop is the use of the trackball, to this day I still think it was one my favourite pointing devices in retro computing, they are accurate and extremely easy to use.

On the bright side this unit has a total of 16MB’s of RAM, a huge 1000MB (1GB) Hard drive and 1.44MB floppy drive, Add on cards are possible through the 2 PCMCIA slots and although the screen has some ghosting it is very bright and crisp.

My unit is in good condition although the battery no longer holds charger and the rear screen casing is cracked at the bottom which can bee seen in on of my photos below.

550D Specifications & Downloads:

Processor Cyrix 486Dx4-75P @ 75MHz or Cyrix 5×86-100GP @ 100Mhz
Hard disk 340MB / 540MB / 1000MB 2.5″ IDE hard disk
Video adapter 9.4″ or 10.4″ DSTN Color LCD, 1MB Video Memory 640×480 Resolution with 256 colors
Memory 4MB or 8MB on-board upgradeable to 24MB
Floppy Drive 3.5″ 1.44MB Floppy (720k compatible)
Expansion Slots Two PCMCIA 2.1 card slots that support two Type II PC cards at the same time or one Type III and one Type II PC cards at the same time
Pointing Device Large integrated two button 19mm trackball
I/O Port 1 x Serial Port / 1 x Printer Port / 1 x VGA Port / 1 x PS/2 keyboard & mouse port
Suspend modes suspend to RAM, suspend to disk
Battery NiMH, 9.6 V, 2800 mAh
Power System Auto-switching AC Adapter (90V – 264V) / Rechargeable NiMH Battery pack with 3 Hours of life
Weight approx. 2.8 kg / 6.1 lb (with accumulator)
Size 287 × 227 × 52 mm
Year & Cost RRP $???? when released in 1995
  • Be careful not to be to harsh when opening and closing the laptop, as the hinges and plastic around them brakes very easy, might be worth removing the bezel and re-enforcing the hinge plastic with epoxy or JB weld.
Rear view of the Versa 550d's ports

Rear view of the Versa 550d’s ports

The Versa's BIOS

The Versa’s BIOS

Versa 550D from the Front

Versa 550D from the side

Matthew Eva

As a child of the 80s and someone who has been using computers from an early age, I have developed a fondness for vintage technology. With studying IT I have gravitated towards the world of website design and online marketing, and now run my own business called Masters of Digital. Despite my busy schedule, I make it a priority to regularly update my blog with the latest trends and insights in the industry.


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