Useful upgrades for MSX1 and casual user

By CRG

Supporter (7)

CRG's picture

28-01-2019, 10:23

All I want to do with my MSX is play a few games, run a few demos and maybe some other apps but all I have at present is my cassette deck for loading software and I'm sure you can appreciate this doesn't exactly make things easy.

I've had a quick look at various options and as I see it there are a few possibilities.

- MSX2Cas application. Not so much an upgrade but I was having a play with this last night. I cannot get the MSX to load anything though. I was trying to use the original cassette deck cable (white end) but perhaps I need to make a new cable as per the instructions on the site. I can do this no problem so if I can find the 8 pin connector for the MSX I may as well give it a go.
- Floppy drive cartridge. This may be a good option as I could get a usb floppy emulator (like my gotek on my Amiga) and use that to load disk images. Or if I connected a 3.5" floppy drive (got a few of them lying around) how do I go about writing the disk images to the floppy? Is there an application for windows that does it?
- SD cartridge. From what I can tell this allows me to mount the SD card as a hard drive but I'm a bit lost as to if this is suitable for an MSX1. I think with the MSX1 I need to use an old FAT12 file system but with a maximum drive size of 16mb it might be a bit pointless.

Other upgrades
- memory expansion / memory mapper. Do these work on the MSX1 and if so are they worth it? From what I have read the Z80 cannot address more than 64kb memory in the MSX1 so as my HX-10 is 64k is there any point to this?
- YM2413 cartridge. I think this would be a cool upgrade to have just to play with but is there much MSX1 software that makes use of it.

Are there any guides for a new user to explain the various upgrade routes and how to implement them?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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By gdx

Prophet (2476)

gdx's picture

28-01-2019, 10:36

CRG wrote:

- SD cartridge. From what I can tell this allows me to mount the SD card as a hard drive but I'm a bit lost as to if this is suitable for an MSX1. I think with the MSX1 I need to use an old FAT12 file system but with a maximum drive size of 16mb it might be a bit pointless.

This is the easier solution if you have a MSX alone. Take an SD cartridge with memory mapper and Nextor inside. FAT12 is 32MB max but Nextor can drive FAT16 disks.

By konamiman

Paladin (981)

konamiman's picture

28-01-2019, 10:53

Beware: Nextor can handle FAT16 volumes but only when booting in "normal" mode, and for this it needs 128K of mapped RAM. If you don't have it (which is the case of most MSX1 computers), Nextor will boot in MSX-DOS 1 mode, and then only FAT12 (up to 16MB per volume) can be used. So if you go for the SD cartridge, make sure to get it with memory mapper.

By Parn

Champion (326)

Parn's picture

28-01-2019, 11:23

Also, YM2413 is not very useful for MSX1 as the huge majority of MSX1 software doesn't make use of it. You can listen to music typed in MSX-BASIC, though, and if you manage to run DOS with mapper you can also listen to VGM files that make use of it.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7794)

Grauw's picture

28-01-2019, 11:40

gdx wrote:
CRG wrote:

- SD cartridge. From what I can tell this allows me to mount the SD card as a hard drive but I'm a bit lost as to if this is suitable for an MSX1. I think with the MSX1 I need to use an old FAT12 file system but with a maximum drive size of 16mb it might be a bit pointless.

This is the easier solution if you have a MSX alone. Take an SD cartridge with memory mapper and Nextor inside. FAT12 is 32MB max but Nextor can drive FAT16 disks.

I second that! Definitely the no. 1 recommended upgrade. The MegaFlashROM SCC+ SD with 512K memory option is a good choice, works very well on MSX1, although Multi Mente doesn’t work on MSX1 so you have to do stuff from the command line or install SofaRun (probably a good idea!). I also heard good things about Carnivore2. They can run disk images as well so no need for a disk drive or Gotek. And the memory mapper in these works on MSX1.

By CRG

Supporter (7)

CRG's picture

28-01-2019, 11:49

I've been looking around this morning and found 8bits4ever.net

The likes of their SD-512 cartridge looks good and also the Carnivore2 but to be honest this may be a bit over my price range. Of course both these items are out of stock but I've messaged them to see if the SD-512 will be back in stock.

Are there any other sites that sell these or similar carts?

By Grauw

Enlighted (7794)

Grauw's picture

28-01-2019, 12:09

You won’t find it much cheaper than SD-512, but I think the MegaFlashROM SCC+ SD 512K and Carnivore2 offer more value for money. The MegaROM loading support is really something that’ll be useful, you can run any cartridge game on it basically, and I don’t think the SD-512 has that (it’s just basic Nextor + SD + 512K memory). For me my MFR is my most used MSX extension, an easy all-in-one upgrade to specs similar to the 1chipMSX (not including graphics of course).

Links to shops selling hardware:
https://www.msxcartridgeshop.com/
https://www.8bits4ever.net/
http://www.ebsoft.fr/shop/
http://www.tecnobytes.com.br/

By CASDuino

Expert (84)

CASDuino's picture

28-01-2019, 15:18

Cheap and very useful little tool for the MSX is the CASDuino.
It's very simply a replacement for a cassette player that plays CAS files off SD cards. Because it has the REM/Motor Control support it works perfectly with the MSX. It also has adjustable baud rates so it will play them faster than a normal tape player.

You can get them from my shop here or there are other places selling clones of the original hardware.

By CRG

Supporter (7)

CRG's picture

28-01-2019, 17:17

CASDuino wrote:

Cheap and very useful little tool for the MSX is the CASDuino.
It's very simply a replacement for a cassette player that plays CAS files off SD cards. Because it has the REM/Motor Control support it works perfectly with the MSX. It also has adjustable baud rates so it will play them faster than a normal tape player.

You can get them from my shop here or there are other places selling clones of the original hardware.

Hmmmm, this may be a good place to start to get a feel for the system again before jumping into the expensive carts.

Couple of questions though

1. Does it only support CAS files?
2. How easy is it to *cough* find *cough* said CAS files?

By Wlcracks

Master (227)

Wlcracks's picture

28-01-2019, 18:23

expensive, no way the carts are worth every penny!

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