Once the new model of MSX comes out...

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بواسطة Manuel

Ascended (18788)

صورة Manuel

30-01-2016, 20:40

My 2 cents...

For me there are 2 interesting ways to think about this topic:

1. a pure hobby project to create a computer that *would* have been the MSX3, if MSX wouldn't have flopped and everything would have been done properly and ready on time etc. What would that MSX3 look like? So, a 1992 (or so) computer that would have been commercially launched as MSX3. I think it would have had V9978. But that doesn't exist, so best thing that comes close to that is a V9958 superimposed on top of a V9990, I think. It would have MSX-MUSIC, probably. What else? OPL2? Probably! It would also have a faster CPU, but also be totally backwards compatible to MSX2 and MSX1. So, what do you think, how would this MSX3 have been?

2.a modern computer with the "MSX spirit" (whatever that is), which is not per say backwards compatible to any MSX. This could very well be a modern OLPC laptop, as was actually already hinted on by Nishi in 2001. The spirit is then something like: quickly on, easily programmable, inspires users to creation of software, graphics and music.

I would be interested in that MSX3 as I sketched above at point 1 Smile A fair upgrade done by the MSX hobbyists, because the commercial world failed it Smile

بواسطة syn

Prophet (2096)

صورة syn

30-01-2016, 23:50

Kai Magazine wrote:

This fragmentation can also occur if I finally manage to convince a hardware genious to develope new gfx9000, as happened with the opl4 being manufactured today.

You mean you conviced someone in Spain to create a new Moonsound Clone? Can you tell us about who made this and what the specs are (SRAM amount, special features etc)? And if we can still order it? I think it would help the international msx scene since there may still be people looking for a new one.

I already have an opl4 cart but I'm always curious about new msx hardware Big smile

بواسطة Grauw

Ascended (10581)

صورة Grauw

31-01-2016, 00:56

A Gfx9000 clone is produced by Technobytes btw. So, it is available although you may have to wait for a new batch.

بواسطة maxis

Champion (512)

صورة maxis

31-01-2016, 01:16

Manuel wrote:

My 2 cents...
....
"It would also have a faster CPU, but also be totally backwards compatible to MSX2 and MSX1. So, what do you think, how would this MSX3 have been?"
...

@ALL:

IMHO, when talking about MSX3, we shouldn't forget Turbo-R with R800. This is the latest and only one incarnation of the newborn MSX chipset, which we have to date.

Its architecture is not well documented and known. And all the features of R800 are not fully discovered. I would maybe spend a bit more time trying to understand MEI's guys and their endeavor into MSX3 world before embarking on the new development. And there are tons of questions related to R800 itself.
For example:
1. Was R800 developed for MSX applications or for something else in mind?
2. Why there are at least 2 independent DMA channels (not used in Turbo-R)?
3. What are the other 7 maskable interrupt inputs and how are they served (not used in Turbo-R)?
4. What is the amount of RAM supported by R800? Directly we see it has 4 RAS signals with 11 bit multiplexed address but to support 4 banks of 4Mbyte DRAM coming to 16Mbytes of RAM in total with 24 addressing on the external bus. All this is not supported in Turbo-R.
5. Does the memory controller can use the same technique like the VDP in order to boost the memory bandwidth? I'm talking about 2 lane memory access?
6. FTREN pin is disabled. FTREN stands for Fast Transfer ENable?

R800 power is not unleashed in TR, IMHO, hence its structure can be explored more. And many answers are hidden in it. Then, when we completely understand what R800 is, we can actually attack MSX3 with a better knowledge of the intentions of ASCII/MEI/etc designers.

P.S. The reverse engineering is a tough and time consuming job. If necessary it could be taken to the extremeties like this:
http://www.visual6502.org/ If we buy 10 Turbo-R R800 "donors" and get the die scans, we can get the transistor level model of it. Then we will actually see what is really implemented and more. Knowledge comes with persistance too....

بواسطة syn

Prophet (2096)

صورة syn

31-01-2016, 01:12

zPasi wrote:

That I understand. That would be cool. Except that GFX9000, although it existed it's rare and could increase fragmentation. Maybe cool feature, but don't write too much GFX9000-ONLY software please Big smile

Its not that rare, as Grauw says tecnobytes have been making them on and off (as in small batches once every few months) for the last 5 years or so.

Still it doesnt increase fragmentation much because even up until now not much (close to non at all?) new stuff was released for it, and frankly, I dont see it ever becoming a "big" thing unfortunately. I think a recent increase in interest in the gfx9k is because of symbOS. Gameswise I only know that assembler is working on some gfx9k things. Hope they get released at some point :D (I personally would like to make something for it... but first things first:D )

بواسطة Grauw

Ascended (10581)

صورة Grauw

31-01-2016, 13:30

There’s a Graphics 9000 Basic which was supplied by Sunrise together with the Gfx9000 and should still be available for download on their website.

Edit: ok, you were talking about a “different” assembler haha Smile.

I would like to do something with the Graphics9000 someday but at the moment I have no specific plans. I’m trying to think of something that will provide a nice benefit for Gfx9k owners without excluding other MSX users. A multi-engine game perhaps. Or a Gfx9000 version of some MSX2 UI so that MSX1 users can also get pretty graphics.

On-topic, all I’m really looking for in a new MSX is a turboR reproduction with V9990 built-in. TurboR is a very capable and fast machine with smart architecture, but its cost is a big barrier for ownership. A “new turboR” would increase the turboR user base by a lot, would have existing software support and also developer support out of the box.

As for why to add the V9990, it is the only hardware expansion that doesn’t really work well as a cartridge (multiple video outputs is a hassle), and the V9958 has always been the turboR’s achilles heel, so I think it makes sense to include it together with the V9958, despite its low software support at the moment. At least it provides a meaningful “upgrade” to turn the turboR into a true MSX3, along the path (presumably) originally intended by ASCII, without actually introducing new hardware fragmentation to the MSX market that would discourage us developers from using it.

بواسطة madscient

Master (193)

صورة madscient

31-01-2016, 14:21

I strongly believe that we should forget V9990 and R800, to determine the spec.
Both legendary devices cause descent of possibility of realize.
Functionality, performance, availability, and cost, V9990 is not advantageous in all of them.
Also as R800, it's no longer obtained easily.
We should not be swayed too much thought of backward-compatibility for past rare product.

بواسطة Grauw

Ascended (10581)

صورة Grauw

31-01-2016, 15:17

The R800 can be implemented in FPGA. There’s enough research available from the openMSX team and me to be able to implement at least a decent approximation of the CPU.

But base it on a Z80 core at higher frequency if R800 is too difficult, matching the exact timing of the R800 isn’t so important as long as it’s in the same ballpark, though I do think it would be good to support MULUB / MULUW.

An FPGA is needed anyway to be able to implement the MSX-ENGINE (Z80, PSG, logic), and to manage external bus access like the S1990 does which is essential for higher CPU clocks while keeping compatibility with the MSX cartridge slot.

For me as a software developer, backwards compatibility is essential. Already I have to take into account many different MSX system capabilities, I do not want to deal with more. Also I do not really care to develop software for a device which can’t run on any original MSX. I do use the turboR capabilities in my software though, and it would be great if it was accessible to more MSX users. In my mind the turboR is already almost the perfect next-MSX machine. Hence my wish :).

بواسطة Kai Magazine

Paragon (1418)

صورة Kai Magazine

31-01-2016, 14:56

Regarding availability and cost:

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/IC-V9990-V9990-10pcs/19432919...

15 euro a piece, as many as you want.

Regarding functionality and performance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2iSGXSs5b4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwu3nWT3N7I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bz-xBlzYOiE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6v2EFAhiQA

Who does not want to see software like this running on their msx??

بواسطة syn

Prophet (2096)

صورة syn

31-01-2016, 15:58

madscient wrote:

I strongly believe that we should forget V9990 and R800, to determine the spec.
Both legendary devices cause descent of possibility of realize.
Functionality, performance, availability, and cost, V9990 is not advantageous in all of them.
Also as R800, it's no longer obtained easily.
We should not be swayed too much thought of backward-compatibility for past rare product.

Yes ofcourse, if your goal is a machine that moves BEYOND the turbo-r+v9990+opl4 concept then, imho you don't really need to keep backwardscompatibility with v9990, it just makes the pcb bigger and more complex i guess... People who want to use v9990 software on your machine can just get a gfx9000 or clone Wink

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