Panasonic MSX 2 FS-A1

By Nick_Arrow

Supporter (3)

Nick_Arrow's picture

20-07-2018, 12:26

Is the Panasonic MSX 2 FS-A1 the best MSX2 computer I can find?
What I know this computer is japanese. Is there any other MSX2 computer
who is almost identical but released in Europe?

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By Meits

Scribe (5116)

Meits's picture

20-07-2018, 12:56

I wouldn't want it as my only MSX2 since it only has 64kB of RAM. I'm quite a bit of an anti-fan of that machine's PSU as well.

By Nick_Arrow

Supporter (3)

Nick_Arrow's picture

20-07-2018, 13:55

Ok. Thanks for your opinion! What do you prefer in MSX2 way?

By gdx

Prophet (2270)

gdx's picture

20-07-2018, 15:05

FS-A1 is a simple MSX2 with the minimal configuration except for the VRAM.

The good points:
- Compact unit.
- We can found it for low price.
- We can found several upgrades.
- RGB output.

The bad points:
- 64kB RAM only.
- The unit is a little too light.
- Big PSU with a specific cable too short.
- Firmware is awkward.
- The keys of the keyboard are a little too soft.
- The flap of the cartridge slot is impractical and breaks easily. (Many people have lost it.)

By Meits

Scribe (5116)

Meits's picture

20-07-2018, 16:19

The only MSX2 machines I've had were Sony HB-F700P, Philips VG-8235 and Philips NMS-8250.

The Sony I've had most of. They all died at around the same age some seven years ago. Except for that they were the greatest MSX2 machines I personally remember. Good audio, great video (no vertical bars), 256kB RAM, nice keyboard. If the units I had just didn't all die on me I'd still have some. And if I still had some and weren't using mass storage, they'd all have fast diskroms (the originals are tiresome slow).

The 8235 of Philips I don't remember a lot of. Was before 1990. Nice shape, funny keyboard. It's just that the original diskdrive is just 360K.

If you're not into audio, the 8250(8255 and 8280 as well) might be the MSX2 I've had longest and with the least defects. Just lately the front of almost every unit breaks due to age. Apart from that they're sturdy beasts. It's just that they suck at audio and the do have vertical bars in their rgb outbut. Can be obfuscated a bit, but still.

The aboves (sony 700 and almost every philips) were the main lines in The Netherlands. That's why most people from here (NL) have most/longest experience with those machines. The NMS8250s I still have are modded like crazy to get rid of (most of) the designflaws.

By Philip

Champion (363)

Philip's picture

20-07-2018, 19:06

The best Philips is probably the nms8245. No audio bugs like the 8250, no memory mapper bugs like the 8235/00, 720k drive unlike the 8230/8235.
But the 8250 is probably the best Philips if you are into modding hardware. There is lots of room inside to install all kind of mods. It just take a lot of screwing to take it apart Smile

By RetroTechie

Paragon (1460)

RetroTechie's picture

20-07-2018, 22:09

Welcome here, Nick_Arrow! Smile2

If you're looking for a basic floppy-less MSX2 released in Europe, check the Philips NMS 8220. I tend to regard it as an NMS 8245 with the floppy drive ripped out & stuffed into a VG 8020 case + power supply. The Sony HB-F9P (or -S) is another option.

Between those two, the Sony has the better keyboard and more RAM. I like the color scheme/design of the 8220 better, but dislike the VG 8020-style cartridge slots. The HB-F9P power supply (fully linear) tends to run hotter than the 8220's one which includes a switcher on the 5V line. Btw the 8220's internal RAM is almost trivial to expand from 64 -> 128KB.

So that's mostly a matter of preference. Or what you find for sale / pricing. There are other basic, floppy-less MSX2's out there. But these tend to be more rare & thus more expensive. Most (European) MSX2's with floppy drive follow the separate keyboard / system unit design like used for Philips 8250/55/80 and Sony HB-F700.

By PAC

Guardian (4862)

PAC's picture

21-07-2018, 00:48

Nick_Arrow wrote:

Is the Panasonic MSX 2 FS-A1 the best MSX2 computer I can find?
What I know this computer is japanese. Is there any other MSX2 computer
who is almost identical but released in Europe?

As has been pointed out above, normally these simple MSX2 computers were not very useful due to their limited specs (low RAM and lack of FDD) but fortunately nowadays with mass storage devices like MegaFlashROM SCC + SD, Carnivore, etc these MSX2 are reviving and are perfectly usable. You can even save some money because they are normally cheaper and invest it later in a mass storage device (with RAM expansion included of course! Wink ).

By gdx

Prophet (2270)

gdx's picture

21-07-2018, 02:32

A simple 2x slot expander also can advantageously replace mass storage devices like MegaFlashROM SCC + SD, Carnivore, etc.

My FS-A1 can already do a lot of things without slot expander by using only an old disk interface (a patched Novaxis or a Sunrise CF) and a Musical Memory Mapper.

The main thing to do to be quiet is to remove the firmware.

By Nick_Arrow

Supporter (3)

Nick_Arrow's picture

21-07-2018, 10:45

Wooow! Thanks for the support everybody! It´s really nice to read!

I may have find a NMS 8250 which what I have heard is good for gaming.
But it bothers me it's not good when it comes to audio.
Audio is a pretty important thing for me.

Thanks!!

By syn

Paragon (1872)

syn's picture

21-07-2018, 14:45

I think the FS-A1 looks really nice and I want one of the models sometimes.

My MSX profile