1) Due to the hardware configuration it has one free hardware interrupt. Stick in a single PCI card and it's gone -- not to the card but to the PCI bus, rendering the PCI slots useless. Considering it's easy enough to set up such an integrated system to use shared interrupts and ensure they work properly, one has to wonder why NEC didn't actually do so to make the machine more expandable.
2) Physically you cannot have an ISA card and a PCI card in the two adjacent locations as they don't fit (PCI cards bend to the left; ISA to the right) and use the same external slot.
3) NEC's distribution kit sucks. They're very nice and give you the manuals and so forth for the software, but neglect to make it easy to reinstall anything. The software is "in a factory installed" state which ought to mean that when your systems gets messed up badly by errant software (say like Corel 6's font manager) you can just reinstall everything from scratch.
4) You get two expansion bays (not much for a tower, but ok) which are both regular half height 5 1/4" -- problem with just about all drives, tape and hard, is that they're 3 1/2". The system doesn't come with any of that size and no adaptor to make them fit. Then there is the oh so minor problem that they're almost (but not completely) inaccessible...
5) Non standard components. I thought Packard Bell had the lock on inconvenient and expensive designs; I guessed wrong. Non-standard graphics chips built in, non-standard soundboard. Ok, I can live with that, if only someone at NEC had thought about supplying the drivers for them where you can actually get at them instead of those encoded CAB files.
6) Not really NEC's hardware here but its software bundled standard with the machine so what the heck. The voice mail system has been cleverly designed to it won't quit. Good luck in trying to run that copy of the Microsoft Internet browser if you can't even access the modem without a reboot.
The floppy install breaks when you try to use it; the reinstall from within Win95 won't install the Win95 files that you have to reinstall -- specifically the graphics driver for the video and the sound driver for the sound board. If you try to reinstall the system directory, you run out of memory.
I'll keep on adding stuff here as I run into it, but it took me several months to get the computer up and running properly. I am not happy at all.
Oh, and forget about Tech support from NEC. They're not interested. Replies to nectech mail end up coming from email@example.com -- fair enough, except that replying to that address results in them losing the mail. Not impressive. Well, assuming you do get through to them (I did manage it eventually) and you ask for technical support in installing a network card. Reply: "This is intended for a home market; go out and buy one of our other machines. You can't add a PCI ethernet card to this machine." Change "PCI network card" to anything else, and you've got the general idea. Oh, has anyone ever managed to get an Adaptec PCI SCSI 2 card working in the machine? Tell me it's possible, please.
These are just some of my complaints about the machine; here's another:
A) With the machine in standard configuration, there is an address conflict bewtween the built in modem and floppy drive!
B) It won't run NT, when you ask NEC, they say downlaod a BIOS upgrade. Guess what? THe BIOS upgrade, after downloading, booting, loading, running... says... "THis machine can't be upgraded with software!"
C) You cannot attach two drives and a CD ROM at the same time without problems.
D) NEC support calls it obsolete and wont support it 6 months after selling it.
E) It uses a non standard graphics card
F) You can't install extra hard drives without taking the entire machine apart.
pass the terrible truth on!
Wow. It finally seems to work properly. NEC tech support has been responsive and helpful for the last week while I've been concentrating on fixing the machine. They've issued a new software pack to fix problems with the original software issue too. Can't do much about the braindead hardware, but I'm not currently so pissed with them as I was! Still prefer my Amiga though, whether or not it is roughly 10 times slower!