Overall Differences Between MSX Computers and other 8-Bit Computers

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By SkyeWelse

Champion (470)

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08-08-2012, 18:03

Hi Everyone,

This may seem kind of random, but I'm interested in finding out how the MSX community views the following 8-bit computers for a research project I'm working on. What are some of the most unique features or main differences between these and MSX computers? This can be both differences in hardware and software, pretty much whatever comes to mind. Smile For example, did they all use some version of Dos or Basic?

Also, if some of these computers do not really fit or belong in his grouping or category and you have another 8-bit computer, perhaps one that is more popular or more well known that you think should be mentioned instead, I'm all ears. Shocked! I've never owned any of these other 8-bit systems before... yet. Though I should have a PC-88 soon and I grew up using Tandy Computers in school.

I'm planning on researching this more, but I'm really interested in hearing this from the MSX communities point of view as a start.

MSX and Amiga Computers
MSX and Commodore 64 Computers
MSX and Spectrum Computers
MSX and Atari 8-Bit Computers
MSX and Amstrad Computers
MSX and PC-88 Computers
MSX and Apple II Computers
MSX and Tandy Computers

One question I have about Tandy Computers is that when I was growing up, I always thought that Tandy Computers and IBM computers were basically the same thing. But now that I've researched it more, it seems more the case that Tandy Computers were just IBM compatible computers while IBM was in the process of making their own. Did IBM have any specific 8-Bit computers manufactured by IBM worth mentioning?

Thanks very much for your time!

-Thomas

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By cklayman

Champion (297)

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08-08-2012, 18:27

Ever since I decided to restore my MSX collection I have essentially had the same question. It is easier and cheaper for me to focus on Apple II, Commodore and Spectrum but they are not quite the same as MSX. In particular there is abundant documentation for Apple and Commodore but they used a different CPU (6502) while MSX used Z80. Since the CPU is different all the code is different as well. Another major difference is the ability to expand MSX computers. MSX has a very wide range of compatible hardware made by the major Japanese manufacturers. See the ultimate MSX FAQ list for details. I do not think that Apple II had anything comparable.

By MsxKun

Paladin (899)

MsxKun's picture

08-08-2012, 18:50

SkyeWelse wrote:

MSX and Amiga Computers
-Thomas

Amiga weren't 8-bits, but 16.

By MsxKun

Paladin (899)

MsxKun's picture

08-08-2012, 18:53

The most important diference (appart of the big expandability) is the army of cute japanese game cartridges. THAT feeling.

By SkyeWelse

Champion (470)

SkyeWelse's picture

08-08-2012, 19:01

Good things so far. The computer processors being different are good to know. It would be interesting to see which ones used the same and which ones also used a Zilog Z80. And thank you for pointing out that Amiga is a 16 bit system and not 8 bit. I may need to scratch that off my list unfortunately. I was hoping to include it since it was also a popular computer sold around the same time period. We'll see though, I may be able to make it work still. Any other popular 8-bit computer suggestions?

-Thomas

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5470)

mars2000you's picture

08-08-2012, 19:06

Don't forget that MSXturboR is an hybrid 8bit/16bit computer. So it could be interesting to compare it with Amiga.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9760)

wolf_'s picture

08-08-2012, 19:12

Sound and video.. that's where important differences are.

By cklayman

Champion (297)

cklayman's picture

08-08-2012, 19:15

Oh, I forgot to say something important about expandability. According to one book I just read MSX was not viewed by the Japanese manufacturers as yet another home computer. They were trying to build a system that would (in the near future) serve as a hub for your home, controlling all electronics and electrical devices. This may be a stretch but imagine issuing BASIC instructions for your dishwasher, then using the same computer to close your garage door and then starting to play the next movie for you. I am not aware of any such plans by Apple or Commodore in the early days.

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5470)

mars2000you's picture

08-08-2012, 19:23

Indeed, Kay Nishi had many original ideas many years before other OS creators, with the exception of Bill Gates, his partner in the development of the first MSX system. Both had a long term approach, but Bill Gates preferred to follow the MS-DOS way, actually very close to the MSX-DOS way (just compare MS-DOS 6 with MSX-DOS 2).

By SkyeWelse

Champion (470)

SkyeWelse's picture

08-08-2012, 19:28

cklayman wrote:

Oh, I forgot to say something important about expandability. According to one book I just read MSX was not viewed by the Japanese manufacturers as yet another home computer. They were trying to build a system that would (in the near future) serve as a hub for your home, controlling all electronics and electrical devices. This may be a stretch but imagine issuing BASIC instructions for your dishwasher, then using the same computer to close your garage door and then starting to play the next movie for you. I am not aware of any such plans by Apple or Commodore in the early days.

Wow! This is information is very impressive to learn about. Any chance you could provide the source for this? I wish I could unveil more about the project I'm working on, but it's simply too early in this stage. But this information is pretty much worth it's weight in gold to me right about now. : ) Thank you very much!

And yes sounds is a very important note to mention as well, the PSG and SCC seems to be very significant about the MSX hardware. Was PSG used in any other computer?

-Thomas

By SkyeWelse

Champion (470)

SkyeWelse's picture

08-08-2012, 19:34

mars2000you wrote:

Indeed, Kay Nishi had many original ideas many years before other OS creators, with the exception of Bill Gates, his partner in the development of the first MSX system. Both had a long term approach, but Bill Gates preferred to follow the MS-DOS way, actually very close to the MSX-DOS way (just compare MS-DOS 6 with MSX-DOS 2).

Great! I do plan on mentioning some information between Kazukiho Nishi and Bill Gates, about their partnership and and the deferring directions concerning the future of MSX. I've been reading quite a bit about the history so far.

Would it be accurate to state that Bill Gates decided to instead invest his business into IBM right after abandoning MSX? Or if that is incorrect, what was the next computer model he decided to choose as the next standard?

-Thomas

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