NO$MSX 1.5

by MSX Resource Center on 21-04-2005, 00:00

The first version of NO$MSX was released in 1999. Right from the start it aimed at being a decent MSX emulator for developers, which shows as the first thing you see after starting the emulator is the built-in debugger. This debugger always runs in the background. With NO$MSX it's possible to watch and change the memory, registers, flags and I/O map of the emulated MSX computer. Real-time. To make things even easier, the emulator contains essential debugging features like breakpoints, speed settings, traces, searches and more.  

 

Don't let it scare you off that NO$MSX is shareware. The emulator runs fully featured right after downloading it. The only thing you get after registering the emulator is your name in the 'about' box of the emulator. In essence: NO$MSX is donationware. An interesting option of the emulator is the possibility to skip the boot logo and remove all disk and boot delays. With this option on, NO$MSX boots into DOS or BASIC within a split second, which is a true blessing when testing software that just keeps hanging. To make things even easier, NO$MSX not only support DSK and ROM images, it also is capable of running files straight from harddisk, provided a filelist of which files to run has been created first.  

 

Although NO$MSX has about all the features a developer could wish for, that's not enough in order to become the first choice for MSX cross-developers who are often coding timing-critical routines. To be truly interesting to MSX developers, an emulator must be capable of running such routines and instructions. So, lets how NO$MSX keeps up in the accuracy test:  

 

Accuracy

 

Unfortunately NO$MSX did not perform well in the tests we ran. Only Avaakkus and Aleste 2 ran reasonably well. Avaakkus only showed some ghost sprites while in Aleste 2 the screensplit didn't work and samples were not played at all. In SD-Snatcher the multilayer scroll at the end of the introdemo went way too fast, the life-meter showed incorrect values. the screensplit was unstable and all weapon/option images were garbled. All other tests did not run at all (Turnix, Vscreen and Unknown Reality) or locked up in a very early stage. In other words: if you're looking for accuracy, NO$MSX is not the emulator for you.  

 

Music

 

NO$MSX is also not a first choice for music. We only managed to get a few sounds from the PSG, other sound extensions are currently not supported. The PSG did not sound particularly good either, on the contrary, but for an emulator that aims at being a decent development tool, music emulation would only be a nice extra.  

 

Conclusion

 

NO$MSX could become an essential tool for cross-developers, if only the emulator would be more accurate than it currently is. The debugging interface is an MSX developers' dream coming true, but to make it really useful a developer must be able to rely on the emulator so that when something doesn't go like he expects it to it's most likely his mistake and not the emulator's. Currently, that's far from the case.  

 

Information chart

MSX2 CPU Benchmark:         1018
MSX2 VDP Benchmark:         1210
turboR CPU Benchmark:       N/A
turboR VDP Benchmark:       N/A
MSX1/2 accuracy score:      35.00%
turboR accuracy score:      00.00%
Music quality score:        00.03%
Usability & Features score: 41.18%
CPU load MSX2 idle:         ~ 88.00%
CPU load turboR idle:       N/A
MRC EmuRank:                22.83%
Emulator interface:         GUI
Save-states:                no
Screenshots:                no
Joystick support:           yes
Mouse support:              no
Printer support:            yes
Real disk support:          no
Multi-disk support:         no
Change disk:                yes
Dir as disk:                yes (through predefined filelist)
MSX1 palette:               no
Image enhancements:         no
Fullscreen:                 no

NO$MSX website: http://www.work.de/nocash/msx.htm

 

To see how NO$MSX compares to other emulators, check out the MRC EmuRank chart.