The MBC-550 has much better video display possibilities than the CGA card (8 colors at 640x200 resolution, vs CGA's 4 colors at 320x200 or 2 colors at 640x200), but it is not completely compatible with the IBM-PC. The computer lacks a standard BIOS, having only a minimal bootloader in ROM that accesses hardware directly to load a RAM-based BIOS. The diskette format (FM rather than MFM) used is not completely compatible with the IBM PC, but special software on an original PC or PC/XT (but not PC/AT) can read and write the diskettes, and software expecting a standard 18.2 Hz clock interrupt has to be rewritten.
The MBC-550 was also the computer for NRI training. Starting by building the computer, the NRI promised you would be "qualified to service and repair virtually every major brand of computer". NRI advertised in Popular Mechanics and Popular Science throughout 1985.