MSX Newbie...Really!

By NWC

Supporter (4)

NWC's picture

04-10-2005, 05:15

Hello! I am an MSX newbie.

I've searched for other posts using the keyword 'newbie', but they consisted of questions that assume one already knows the hardware. Outside of knowing some of the more famous games released for the system, I am a complete newbie to the MSX world.

I want to purchase an MSX system. I saw two at a store in Osaka (I don't know the specifics; I'll post them when I go later today), but I didn't want to purchase one and not know what I was doing.

I've read some of the MSX FAQ on the net, but I still have some questions.

1) What cables should come with an MSX system?
2) I'm living in a dorm (in Japan) where I'm not allowed access to the communal television (awwww!). Can I use the MSX with any modern monitor, or will I need a specific type of monitor?
3) Since the MSX is a computer, can I access the internet with it? At what speed?
4) I read about Moonsound at the MSX FAQ, but still a little confused. Can any MSX use it, or only MSX2 and above?
5) I'm in Japan right now. If I wanted to take my MSX back to the states, I would need a voltage converter, right?

Thanks in advance!

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By [D-Tail]

Ascended (8233)

[D-Tail]'s picture

04-10-2005, 08:57

Welcome to our forums, NWC! To start with your questions:

  1. Power cord. Sometimes it's firmly attached to the computer itself, sometimes it's loose. Furthermore: RGB-cable. It depends on the type of MSX you have - MSX turboR uses an 8-pin DIN cable or S-VHS cable. Mostly a cable with a cinch connector will do, but image quality won't be outstanding.
  2. Usually, you can use MSX with any type of monitor - as long as it has SCART input, S-VHS input, cinch input, or something like that.
  3. You won't be able to surf the web with it - A decent webbrowser doesn't exist. It's not possible to connect it natively to the internet either. You should first buy an ethernet adapter for that. Search for 'ObsoNET' Smile
  4. I'm not sure. I assume just MSX will suffice, but you really would want an MSX2 to start with. A normal MSX is just too limited Wink
  5. I think not... The States have NTSC as standard too, don't they? In Japan, everything is 100~110V @ 60Hz, iirc it's the same for America.

Hope I could help you out Smile

Have fun at our forums, and have fun with your MSX (once you've acquired it Wink). Cheers!

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5397)

NYYRIKKI's picture

04-10-2005, 09:10


1) What cables should come with an MSX system?

It depends of MSX system, but usually power cable and monitor cable.

2) I'm living in a dorm (in Japan) where I'm not allowed access to the communal television (awwww!). Can I use the MSX with any modern monitor, or will I need a specific type of monitor?

Either TV or video monitor. You can not use (S)VGA monitor.

3) Since the MSX is a computer, can I access the internet with it? At what speed?

I've had pretty good connection with 14400 bps modem, but that was on terminal program without TCP/IP stack. For pure downloading even faster connection can be used.

Today I have no phone line, so I've not been able to test TCP/IP connection, but I think that you'll get pretty close to 1KB/second speed.

When connecting modem you'll need serial port, but only about 5% of MSX models have internal serial port, so you most propably need external serial port card.

There is also ObsoNET ethernet card under development. Few of them have been already sold, but there has not been yet mass production. For more information, look here: www.konamiman.com/msx/obsonet-e.html

One thing to notice is that there exists no WWW-browser for MSX computers, but you can go around this problem by using FudeBrowZer with special proxy server. I know, that at least PING, TELNET, TFTP and IRC programs have been implemented for MSX.


4) I read about Moonsound at the MSX FAQ, but still a little confused. Can any MSX use it, or only MSX2 and above?

There is no hardware reason, why you could not use Moonsound on traditional MSX1, but I think there is not any software for this combination.


5) I'm in Japan right now. If I wanted to take my MSX back to the states, I would need a voltage converter, right?

No, both countrys have close enough 110V

By NWC

Supporter (4)

NWC's picture

04-10-2005, 15:37

Thanks for the replies, guys!

So I can't use a VGA monitor, eh? Dang. The dorm I'm in prohibits game being hooked up to the TV, so I'm going to have to find a display of some sort before I purchase an MSX.

The place that sells them has two used models: A Sony HB75 and a Panasonic A1MkII. I know the Panasonic is a MSX2, but I don't know what the HB75 is.

By Sonic_aka_T

Enlighted (4130)

Sonic_aka_T's picture

04-10-2005, 16:06

The HB75 is an MSX1. The A1 MkII is an MSX2, but it does not have a disk-drive. Personally, I wouldn't recommend buying an MSX2 computer without a diskdrive. The best MSX you could possibly buy is the turboR, which has an internal diskdrive and 'lots' of memory. It has a number of other extra's too, but even in Japan they can be a bit pricy. Just try and look around for something 'nice', and if you want to know if it's a good buy or not, post the type and price here and I'm sure someone will tell you if it's a good deal or not. You could also consider buying one of the Panasonic MSX2+ models. While they're not quite as cool as the turboR, they're still very nice MSX computers and will do just fine if you expand the memory a little.

By pitpan

Prophet (3131)

pitpan's picture

04-10-2005, 22:47

Well, with one of those S-VHS or RCA to VGA converter (such as VGABOX or others, like the one used to plug a PS2 to a VGA monitor) you can connect -of course- any MSX/MSX2 with SCART/RCA/RGB/S-VHS output to a standard VGA display. It's a good option. About image quality, it has been discussed in these fora, so look for it.

By NWC

Supporter (4)

NWC's picture

05-10-2005, 03:47

Sonic: Yeah, I may just wait and keep an eye out for MSX2+ or TurboR models. How much do they usually run? It was about US$60 for the A1 MkII. I'm guessing about US$100+?

pitpan: I forgot about VGA boxes! I'm not sure where to find them here, but I'll keep an eye out.

By [D-Tail]

Ascended (8233)

[D-Tail]'s picture

05-10-2005, 09:21

turboR model: depending on the state, I'd say € 150 - € 250 for an A1ST and € 300 - € 450 for an A1GT. They're expensive, really. An MSX2+ (like the A1WX or the A1WSX) would cost you about € 100 indeed. Note that these models are all Panasonics. You could also get a Sony MSX2+, the HB-F1XDJ. Or get some modified Philips or something. Note that native MSX2+es only have 64kB RAM built in, and you'd really want 128kB at least. The turboR FS-A1ST has 256kB, the A1GT even 512kB. You could buy an MSX2+ and have some extra memory built in, but you'll need to be experienced with soldering and stuff. Plus, the required memory ICs are not always easy to find.

By the way, check here for MSXes sorted by manufacturer. Sonys, Nationals and Panasonics are most easy to find in Japan.

I guess your best option is to go for an MSX2 (when your budget is < $100), like the Sony HB-F1XD. Worse yet, most Japanese MSX2s (maybe all?) have only 64kB RAM inside. Upgrading is like mandatory ;-)

By NWC

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NWC's picture

05-10-2005, 18:34

Wow, I didn't think they'd be THAT much more expensive. I guess that an MSX2 probably WOULD be my best option...

Is upgrading a lengthly process? Is it similar to modern PCs or is the process a bit more involved? If I purchased the A1MkII (according to the site you linked to, it indeed has 64kb or RAM [128kb or VRAM]), where would I get the RAM from?

By [D-Tail]

Ascended (8233)

[D-Tail]'s picture

05-10-2005, 18:56

Umm... to upgrade the RAM, you'd need soldering iron -- lots of it Tongue. Some soldering experience might help as well Wink. Furthermore, it's finding the right ICs. Don't know the exact types, they vary for the different MSX models. The MKII has no diskdrive, like Sonic_aka_T said before, you'd better spend your money on a model with diskdrive(s).