The wait is over. Today, Japan based company D4 Enterprise have opened a website dedicated to the release of a brand new MSX computer, the long awaited One Chip MSX.
Almost one year ago, we reported about the One Chip MSX computer not being produced by ASCII because the limit of 5000 pre orders wasn't met. Back then, Gigamix already told us not to lose hope though, MSX Association immediately went investigating alternatives for a One Chip MSX release after all. Although we already reported about a potential second chance for the One Chip MSX in October 2005, it looks like now they have succeeded. Today, the One Chip MSX was demonstrated on the 70th Comic Market in Tokyo, while tomorrow it will be demonstrated during the Micro Magazine Game Live event. Simultaneously, D4 Enterprise, the company behind Amusement Center (Project EGG/EGG Plus!) unveiled this website, revealing the new specifications and the new transparent-blue casing of the One Chip MSX.
In the past there have been many discussions about the One Chip MSX. People disagreed with the initial configuration and it was rumoured this was the main reason why the 5000 pre orders weren't placed. It looks like they learned from the past and listened to the international MSX scene. The new OCM looks very promising. Here are a few highlights:
- MSX2 with 256kB RAM
- Kanji support
- MSX-DOS2 support
- PS/2 connection
- 2 MSX joystick ports
- 2 MSX cartridge slots
- SD/MMC flashcard slot with native FAT16 support in MSX-DOS2
- Composite and SVHS TV output
- VGA monitor output
- 2 cinch audio outputs
- FPGA I/O pin (40 pins and 10 pins)
- 2 USB ports
- 32MB SDRAM
The FPGA chip used to make it all work is an Altera Cyclone EP1C12Q240C8, while an Altera EPCS4 configuration ROM allows you to restore the default configuration of the One Chip MSX at any point in time.
MSX-MUSIC and SCC+ are supported, while a little investigation on our side revealed both the cartridge ports also have the proper 12V needed to make e.g. a Moonsound work. In this forum thread, a MegaROM loader tool for the One Chip MSX, which allows you to play any MSX game ROM straight from your SD/MMC cards was announced as well. The One Chip MSX website furthermore mentions possibilities of more advanced stereo audio support in the future. Theoretically, the audio cinch connectors could also be used as inputs, e.g. to connect a cassette recorder to. Very importantly, the OCM will be sold together with extensive manuals and software (including VHDL examples) for development purposes.
This all just looks too good to be true. At the moment, we don't know whether the OCM will be sold through D4 Enterprise only and whether it will be available overseas as well. It is likely though that, just like last time, Bazix is to distribute the One Chip MSX with localized manual and 220V adapter outside Japan. At the moment, pre-ordering is not yet possible in or outside Japan, but at the website of D4E you can leave your e-mail address in order to keep informed. Of course, we will keep you informed as soon as possible as well. Until then, stop reading this newspost and get your browser pointing to the new MSX!
Relevant link: MSX website at D4 Enterprise