What I think an MSX 3 Should be ?

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By lezanderson

Resident (36)

lezanderson's picture

07-03-2015, 11:44

What Spec should an MSX 3 Have ... ??

Here's my thoughts just for the hell of it !

Twin Z80 CPUs a normal Z80 plus say a Z180 or even eZ80

Twin video processors perhaps two V9958s one superimposed on the other to give great graphics

Several sound Chips, ? AY-3-8910 + YM3812 etc

Lots of RAM / ROM

SD or CF Card interface

IDE PATA port for Hard-Drive

PS/2 mouse and keyboard

RS232, Ethernet and other Serial ports

Printer Parallel port for compatibility

No surface mounty ICs.. just use DIP or PLCC thru Hole to give a Retro 80's feel !

Several modes of operation:

MSX 1 & 2 mode :Z80 master CPU running at 3.58 MHz , Z180 is slave CPU

MSX Turbo R Mode : Z80 Master Running at 28.64 MHz, Z180 Slave

MSX 3 Mode : Z180 running at 64MHz is Master CPU , Z80 running at 28.64MHz is Slave CPU

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By hbarcellos

Hero (559)

hbarcellos's picture

07-03-2015, 12:06

Hmmm, let me guess:

*Processor

32-bit 12.5 MHz RISC CPU (ARM60)
Custom Math co-processor (It does not use the stock ARM FPA unit.)
32 kB SRAM

*Display

Resolution 640×480 (interpolated), 320×240 (actual) 60 Hz for NTSC version, and 768×576 (interpolated), 384×288 (actual) 50 Hz for PAL version with either 16 bit palettized color (from 24 bits) or 24 bit truecolor.[19]
Two accelerated video co-processors capable of producing 9–16 million pixels per second (36–64 megapix/s interpolated), distorted, scaled, rotated and texture mapped.

*System board

50 MB/s bus speed (synchronous 32-bit @12.5 MHz bus)
36 DMA channels
2 MB of main RAM
1 MB of VRAM
2 expansion ports

*Sound

16-bit stereo sound
44.1 kHz sound sampling rate
Supports Dolby Surround sound
Custom 20-bit Digital signal processor (DSP) – 20 bit accumulator with 16-bit parameter registers for extended precision

*Media

1.44mb Floppy
300 kB/s data transfer CD-ROM drive with 32 kB RAM buffer
Multitasking 32-bit operating system

PS/2 mouse & keyboard

Tongue

By Lord_Zett

Paladin (807)

Lord_Zett's picture

07-03-2015, 14:06

none. there will not be a msx3.

By syn

Paragon (1911)

syn's picture

07-03-2015, 14:55

I'd like something small-sized like a arduino or altera de0 nano etc.., would be fun. Faster/better but 100% compatible with everything.

Specs: upgraded/improved on a max spec'ed turbo r, 100% backward compatible. (obviously you cant fit this in an arduino sized board but one can dream right? Smile )

By default has HDMI, usb and sd card reader. User can add whatever more he/she wants.

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3002)

sd_snatcher's picture

07-03-2015, 15:10

I sense a strong smell of gasoline. I'm outa here! Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By hbarcellos

Hero (559)

hbarcellos's picture

07-03-2015, 15:19

from Wikipedia: MSX is the name of a standardized home computer architecture, first announced by Microsoft.

Here's what MSX3 looks like:
Standardized home computer, with Microsoft operating system, early 90's.

By flyguille

Prophet (3029)

flyguille's picture

07-03-2015, 19:26

a MSX3 must have, a multi-core z80 cpu with dedicated caches for each core, with the gluelogic for handling the caches the way that it understand when to cache when not, when it caches runs each core up to 50mhz, on I/O delays to wait for vdp, etc. That on reset, it will behave as a single normal low speed z80 cpu, dip 20x2 package (PCB format), holding a bigass 110K LE fpga IC, and related buffering and DC regulators.

The final customer, only needs to unplug its Z80A from the socket, and plug it, without any original MSX2 PCB modification.

That from the point of view of the software, the main z80 be capable by some mechanism to setup the PC register of the others cpu independently, and a control to turn it on/off (maybe just controlling its /WAIT signal.

So, is give to the apps, and OS like symbios, to activate others cores and runs services in parallel, if programming in object oriented way, is easy to have several threads of execution, I thinks symbios is already structural prepared for something like multi-core.

In game development, one thread can do music, other can do vdp output, like software sprite render, other can do game logic, so dividin it in several threads will be great, if multicore is not detected, the game can run all task sequentially with the standard z80, so any app can be prepared without damaging the compatibility with legacy msx.

About video capabilities, well, 9958 and 9990 both, are already enough for the "msx software level" that we are normally developing. Is not posible more resolution / colors, if the cpu can't handle, so the CPU improvement needs to be the flagship of any development.

About sound, that it got the usual opll & psg chips, and some pcm like turboR, then an mp3 player, no wave player, but mp3, if mp3 multichannel (several mp3 at the same times and mixing with mix volume control), better.

But anyway, any improvement in the audio or video, must be rooted with a increase power from the cpu, if not, it is all useless.

By jimmys_top

Supporter (10)

jimmys_top's picture

07-03-2015, 23:00

hbarcellos wrote:

Hmmm, let me guess:

*Processor

32-bit 12.5 MHz RISC CPU (ARM60)
Custom Math co-processor (It does not use the stock ARM FPA unit.)
32 kB SRAM

*Display

Resolution 640×480 (interpolated), 320×240 (actual) 60 Hz for NTSC version, and 768×576 (interpolated), 384×288 (actual) 50 Hz for PAL version with either 16 bit palettized color (from 24 bits) or 24 bit truecolor.[19]
Two accelerated video co-processors capable of producing 9–16 million pixels per second (36–64 megapix/s interpolated), distorted, scaled, rotated and texture mapped.

*System board

50 MB/s bus speed (synchronous 32-bit @12.5 MHz bus)
36 DMA channels
2 MB of main RAM
1 MB of VRAM
2 expansion ports

*Sound

16-bit stereo sound
44.1 kHz sound sampling rate
Supports Dolby Surround sound
Custom 20-bit Digital signal processor (DSP) – 20 bit accumulator with 16-bit parameter registers for extended precision

*Media

1.44mb Floppy
300 kB/s data transfer CD-ROM drive with 32 kB RAM buffer
Multitasking 32-bit operating system

PS/2 mouse & keyboard

Tongue

@hbarcellos

I think you've just described the 3DO's hardware Smile

By Grauw

Enlighted (8031)

Grauw's picture

07-03-2015, 23:51

flyguille wrote:

About video capabilities, well, 9958 and 9990 both, are already enough for the "msx software level" that we are normally developing. Is not posible more resolution / colors, if the cpu can't handle, so the CPU improvement needs to be the flagship of any development.

In the contrary, I think a V9990 (and V9958 for compatibility) is all you need for an MSX3, well, at least from a games programming perspective. If nearly everything is hardware-accelerated, the CPU doesn’t have much work left to do. Okay, maybe a 7, 10 or 20 MHz Z80 would be nice as well. In my opinion, the speed of the turboR and V9990 remains largely untapped in today’s software, so I see no need to go beyond that.

By RetroTechie

Paragon (1536)

RetroTechie's picture

08-03-2015, 00:49

Grauw wrote:

In my opinion, the speed of the turboR and V9990 remains largely untapped in today’s software, so I see no need to go beyond that.

That's mostly a chicken-and-egg problem. With a hyper-speed Z80, big/fast RAM, and V9958 or V9990 on steroids, you could:

  • Create a modern, multitasking OS.
  • Create a nice GUI to go with that.
  • Decode GIFs / JPEGs / PNGs, extract archives etc, in near-realtime.
  • Play some common video formats.

Since most of that software would need to be written from scratch, one might as well start with popular / low-cost / existing hardware. My current favorite here is the Raspberry Pi 2, which software-wise already has most of what you'd want.

To run existing MSX software on 'bare metal', I prefer an all-programmable machine, that shares IO / storage / peripherals with other retro computers. Enter an FPGA board like the Mist board, Arcade Replay, Speccy2010 or similar. No harm in developing more/bigger/faster anything on that - as long as focus is on improving compatibility.

For 'heavy' development tasks, modern PC games etc, I have my quad-core, x86 compatible mini ITX box. On the go, I have my smartphone.

Between those options, I don't see what an 'uber-MSX' (like some of what's suggested above) would bring to the table. And thus not ANY point in wasting time to develop that.

(posted using my Raspberry Pi Model A Smile2 )

By flyguille

Prophet (3029)

flyguille's picture

08-03-2015, 00:52

Grauw wrote:
flyguille wrote:

About video capabilities, well, 9958 and 9990 both, are already enough for the "msx software level" that we are normally developing. Is not posible more resolution / colors, if the cpu can't handle, so the CPU improvement needs to be the flagship of any development.

In the contrary, I think a V9990 (and V9958 for compatibility) is all you need for an MSX3, well, at least from a games programming perspective. If nearly everything is hardware-accelerated, the CPU doesn’t have much work left to do. Okay, maybe a 7, 10 or 20 MHz Z80 would be nice as well. In my opinion, the speed of the turboR and V9990 remains largely untapped in today’s software, so I see no need to go beyond that.

But a turboR is quite hard to find / buy, and you can't rely on that everybody in the scene have one, plus no remplacements if anything goes wrong. R800 / s1990 are impossible chips.

But everybody seems to have some MSX2 or MSX2+, or atleast theses are cheaper and handy, most of these have regular z80 chips, some socketed, some not, but are atleast dip 20x2. On the other hand, not to count, that a turboR is like a blackbox about schematics, and chips datasheet, not easy to upgrade it internals, only through external bus expansions.

So, I won't bet for a turboR, but we know what it have at programming level, it can be a z80 with the extra set that R800 have, plus more if wanted.

Plus, doing a super z80 multicore, direct upgrade dip 20x2 pcb opens a market for other platforms aswell.

And yes, the full v9990 power was not used, but, not all can be resolved with vdp acceleration, fast main cpu is required if games with more action is wanted, or better symbios capabilities.

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