One Chip MSX1 - A closer look

by snout on 09-11-2004, 12:14
Topic: MSX Revival
Languages:

Gigamix Online have just posted an article on the One Chip MSX1 containing several close-up pictures and some extra information. The pictures were taken during the MSX Meeting in Minakan, which was held on November 8th.

The first thing that strikes the reviewer is the size of the One Chip MSX: about the same size as a DVD jewel case and just bit smaller than the new Sony Playstation 2. A - for MSX measures - huge amount of 32MB memory is used as smaller capacity SDRAM chips are no longer available at reasonable prices. Although the prototype features many connectors it is likely that quite a few will be left out in the final version in order to reduce production costs.

The reviewer is pleasantly surprised by the way the One Chip MSX1 runs MSX1 software. The real MSX1 palette is being used and the image quality is very high. The 31kHz RGB connector which is used to connect to a VGA monitor can, with a cheap conversion cable and a change of settings, also be used to produce a 15kHz RGB output (RGB-SCART), which makes it possible to connect the One Chip MSX1 to old RGB monitors and televisions as well.

The cartridge slots on the One Chip MSX1 are real cartridge slots which means that, unlike with MSX Game Reader, I/O based extensions like external diskdrives, soundcards, GFX9000 and ObsoNET all work just like they do on real MSX computers. The One Chip MSX also is capable of running MSX2 software, but while doing so 80% of the FPGA space is already in use, making it nearly impossible to implement MSX2+ as well. It is not clear, however, if the FPGA chip of the production version of the One Chip MSX will have more (or less) gates.

Another surprising feature of the One Chip MSX1 is the combination of MSX1 running Disk BASIC 2. By default it is even possible to use FAT16, which makes it possible to use partitions of up to 2 Gigabytes on the SD Card.

At the end of the review Gigamix shows a potential future One Chip MSX setup, connecting it to a TFT screen, a PS/2 keyboard and a USB mouse and joypad. All in all Gigamix is very excited about the current prototype of the One Chip MSX. Hopefully the production version will do the finishing touch.

Relevant link: One Chip MSX preview at Gigamix

Comments (26)

By sunrise

Paragon (1091)

sunrise's picture

09-11-2004, 12:29

I doubt very much the story about the working moonsound or gfx9000 into this version. It isnot only the usb-reader but also the former Ese msx-2 board that dinot cooperate with GFX9000 or Moonsound !
So show it and people are convinced, for the moment I donot !

By Grauw

Prophet (2734)

Grauw's picture

09-11-2004, 12:33

The VGA -> RGB thing is very good to hear.

By Grauw

Prophet (2734)

Grauw's picture

09-11-2004, 12:34

Also, I hope they don't remove too many connectors Smile. It looks good to me this way.

By snout

Ambassador (14810)

snout's picture

09-11-2004, 12:39

Sunrise: Takashi Kobayashi clearly states in his review he has seen I/O cartridges in action on the One Chip MSX1, just as he clearly states that these cartridges work on the One Chip MSX1, while they don't on the GameReader. I see no reason to doubt those statements.

By Sonic_aka_T

Enlighted (4130)

Sonic_aka_T's picture

09-11-2004, 12:44

Actually, it would make very little sense if these extensions didn't work on the oneChip MSX. By default, if this thing works anything like an MSX these carts should all work. That's the beauty of a standard.

By KNM

Master (167)

KNM's picture

09-11-2004, 12:52

I want one !!! Looks pretty good Smile

By sunrise

Paragon (1091)

sunrise's picture

09-11-2004, 13:20

I hope for you that he is right. But it is not only the usb-reader but also the former msx-2 board from ese and I donot see any circuitry that makes it possible to do make it work.
But if you can make a bigger scan of the PCB I would appreciate

By Latok

msx guru (3268)

Latok's picture

09-11-2004, 13:30

I don't like talking about gates.

By msd

Paragon (1222)

msd's picture

09-11-2004, 15:12

Sunrise: In bussum we tested the gfx9000 on the fpga msx you hade on your stand and it worked

By sunrise

Paragon (1091)

sunrise's picture

09-11-2004, 18:08

Oeps,well Ididnot see it myself, but I am 100% sure a Moonsound doesnot.
My statement is meant for people who think everything is straight 100%.

By flyguille

Prophet (2265)

flyguille's picture

09-11-2004, 18:09

is sad to read that it will come with less RAM.... 32mb makes me happy before.

maybe if they just support the tracks for that somebody then of to buying just plug an bigger memory chip. The same with the connectors, maybe they just can to unmount the connector, so the option of to buy in the next electronic store and to mount it in the board is our option

By snout

Ambassador (14810)

snout's picture

09-11-2004, 18:59

Flyguille: I think you misread about the 32MB, as the One Chip MSX - does- come with 32MB memory.

By Algorythms

Master (229)

Algorythms's picture

09-11-2004, 19:37

Looks cool... Bummer about the lack of GATES GATES GATES in the chip, but I hope they will usa a bigger one in the final version. Or maybe the program could be simplified. Anyway, a question: Can this one chip msx be clocked at more than 3,5MHz?

By flyguille

Prophet (2265)

flyguille's picture

09-11-2004, 20:06

yeah sure, it is capable up to 245mhz if i readed correct....

and there is faster chips.... but then the complex circuit inside will makes that the max mhz falls.... i wonders how much it will be capable of?

By legacy

Hero (570)

legacy's picture

09-11-2004, 21:13

So far, the spec's looks very good to me, and yes, I hope that we can use the speed on full power too.
What about Gates? he has notting to do with it, I don't like Gates at all.

By GuyveR800

Prophet (3974)

GuyveR800's picture

09-11-2004, 23:06

Wouldn't it be cool if it actually did come in a DVD case? Tongue

Sunrise: there's no need for external circuitry for I/O support, that's the beauty of FPGA! The older version of the ESE MSX2 board probably just didn't have a fully compatible I/O implementation.
If Gfx9000 works, Moonsound MUST work too, because all devices are MSX compatible. Moonsound does not do anything strange or special that would not make it work.

Although I doubt V9958 support really is impossible if there's still 20% gates left. Afterall, how much can some horizontal scrolling and YJK screenmodes take?

Nevertheless, I do hope the final version will have a larger FPGA!

It should at least be possible for developers to create a V9959 or V9998 chip Smile

By djh1697

Paladin (898)

djh1697's picture

10-11-2004, 00:35

One of the pictures show MSX 1 runing DiskBasic version 2.01 - I dint get Disk Basic 2.01 working on my MSX1, anyone know how I can do that? Do i need a memory mapper? Is that why it works on the 1 chip machine ?

By GuyveR800

Prophet (3974)

GuyveR800's picture

10-11-2004, 01:00

Indeed you need a memory mapper.

By Manuel

Ascended (9824)

Manuel's picture

10-11-2004, 09:43

Regarding the latter: I wonder if MSX-DOS2 works on the Yamaha CX5MII/128. This machine has 128kB mapper and V9938 (with 16kB VRAM, enought for mode 80). It does not have a clock chip... Is that a requirement?

By Algorythms

Master (229)

Algorythms's picture

10-11-2004, 14:36

Well, the SVI-738 can do dos2, so I bet it`d work. (Has no clock chip eighter)

By sjoerd

Hero (587)

sjoerd's picture

10-11-2004, 16:10

I think they also would like to add msx-music to that msx2plus, to make it a 'real' 2+...

By flyguille

Prophet (2265)

flyguille's picture

11-11-2004, 13:14

who can explain this part.

// 2. A - for MSX measures - huge amount of 32MB memory is used as smaller capacity SDRAM chips are no longer available at reasonable prices. Although the prototype features many connectors it is likely that quite a few will be left out in the final version in order to reduce production costs. //

that actually i not understand....

By snout

Ambassador (14810)

snout's picture

11-11-2004, 13:19

By flyguille

Prophet (2265)

flyguille's picture

11-11-2004, 13:28

now i understand what confuse me

.. huge amount of 32MB memory is used as smaller capacity SDRAM chips are no longer available at reasonable prices ...

i readed in this way, i mean in continuous way...... there is no lacking a "," somewhere?

By Samor

Paragon (1589)

Samor's picture

11-11-2004, 13:37

I think it should be like this:
A - for MSX measures - huge amount of 32MB memory is used, as smaller capacity SDRAM chips are no longer available at reasonable prices.

By GORIPON

Supporter (9)

GORIPON's picture

12-11-2004, 18:35

>is sad to read that it will come with less RAM.... 32mb makes me happy before.
It is heard that SDRAM is adopted as a memory.
And since SDRAM smaller than 32MB is not manufactured any longer, a possibility that the capacity of SDRAM will become less is low.
The use of SDRAM is determined by VHDL.
It will also be possible to assign the most to MAPPER RAM.

>Bummer about the lack of GATES GATES GATES in the chip,
> but I hope they will use a bigger one in the final version.
It is heard that FPGA used with a product is the same as what is "Cyclone EP1C12Q240C8", and is carried in the experimental model.

>Or maybe the program could be simplified.
If it is the professional tool to be used, it may be possible to make it small by optimization. However, such a tool is very very expensive.

>Anyway, a question: Can this one chip msx be clocked at more than 3,5MHz?
Although a maximum is not known, it will be possible if VHDL is rewritten.

>One of the pictures show MSX 1 runing DiskBasic version 2.01
> - I dint get Disk Basic 2.01 working on my MSX1, anyone know how I can do that?
> Do i need a memory mapper? Is that why it works on the 1 chip machine ?
The good place has been noticed! Do you think that it is interesting?(^_^)
I heard that the following change was made:
1.MEMORY MAPPER was extended.
2.Initialization of MEMORY MAPPER was added to BIOS of MSX1. (important: If this does not exist, all pages are set to bank #0 and an MSX system hangs up.)
3.The code which refuses MSX1 was deleted from MSX-DOS2.
4.RTC was extended. (if this does not exist, MSX-DOS2 does not operate.)
In real MSX, since System ROM and MSX-DOS2 cannot be rewritten, it is impossible.
Although it is unnecessary addition, MSX-DOS2 does not require V9938 and Japanese BASIC operates by SCREEN2 at MSX1 (however, it restricts to Japanese BASIC built in MSX-DOS2 cartridge).

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