What I think an MSX 3 Should be ?

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By fernando.collazo.5682

Master (239)

fernando.collazo.5682's picture

10-03-2015, 05:16

MSX3 should be:

Processor: R800 or compatible 14Mhz + DMA channels
Ram: 1Mb linear fast ram (16Mb expansible)
Video: V9990(512kb)+V9958(128Kb)
Sound: PSG+OPL4(with some form of OPLL compatibility) + SCC (optional) + TurboR PCM + Midi
Storage: FDD 1.44 Mb + IDE Fat32 native + CD/DVDROM
Expansion: 4 slots (8bit) + 4 slots(16bit)
Conections: Serial 115kbps + Parallel + Ethernet 100Mbit + PS/2 keyboard/mouse
ROM: Symbos + some estructured programing language

Hannibal Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By Jupp3

Resident (41)

Jupp3's picture

10-03-2015, 09:29

sd_snatcher wrote:

- Franky only had support from the maker. No demos or games were ever made for it

Franky was created with one specific goal in mind (afaik), being able to run SMS games on MSX. It does do exactly that. In a way, I'd put it in same category as emulators, and I wouldn't expect them to do anything else than emulate the target system.

In addition (iirc) QBIQS and Goonies 'r' Good Enough support it. Although on MSX2 (and beyond), it looks better using the "native" modes Smile

Quote:

- PlaySoniq sits in the same category as Franky. AFAIK, nobody ever used the built-in SID

SID chip is used by SID player by Nyyrikki, although I guess that goes to the "1st party support" category, as it was bundled with other software that came with it.

In addition to that, MSX Synth supports it aswell.

So 2 games supporting Franky, and 2 programs supporting Playsoniq's SID. Considering the general decline in developer activity since more active years, I wouldn't call that too bad.

Quote:

But hardware without software is useless.

Unless you're interested in running SMS games (or just need a cart with LOTS of ram & SCC), you should avoid both Franky & Playsoniq, that's how I see it.
I'd call you mad if you bought one expecting huge explosion of MSX software using Sega AV chip instead of built-in MSX one :-)

Of course it might enable some "interesting" designs, such as 2 (or 1) player game with 2 separate displays (unless it's impossible, I don't know)

By gdx

Prophet (3045)

gdx's picture

10-03-2015, 10:19

sd_snatcher wrote:

- Franky only had support from the maker. No demos or games were ever made for it

I made a SG-1000 loader that supports Franky (Playsoniq and Music Memory Mapper). Grauw made a VGM player that supports same cartridges. Maybe other softs will be developed.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

10-03-2015, 10:46

In my opinion an MSX3 should keep as much as possible the MSX essence inside but powered, basically a real Zilog Z80 core (not emulated) and the usage of FPGA technology only where necessary e.g. lack of real chips like VDP and so on. Yes, maybe is stupid but for me that is an MSX other combinations are not.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

10-03-2015, 11:17

fernando.collazo.5682 wrote:

MSX3 should be:

Processor: R800 or compatible 14Mhz + DMA channels
Ram: 1Mb linear fast ram (16Mb expansible)
Video: V9990(512kb)+V9958(128Kb)
Sound: PSG+OPL4(with some form of OPLL compatibility) + SCC (optional) + TurboR PCM + Midi
Storage: FDD 1.44 Mb + IDE Fat32 native + CD/DVDROM
Expansion: 4 slots (8bit) + 4 slots(16bit)
Conections: Serial 115kbps + Parallel + Ethernet 100Mbit + PS/2 keyboard/mouse
ROM: Symbos + some estructured programing language

Hannibal Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

It always amuses me to read this kind of especifications for what a future MSX computer should be.

You just throw a mix of random chip names and software functionality without regards to whether what you said makes any sense and without paying attention to deeper and more important details.

14MHz? 1MB? V9990? OPL4? FAT32? 8 slots? SymbOS? SymbOS???
How's that an MSX?

Please stop.

By konamiman

Paragon (1044)

konamiman's picture

10-03-2015, 11:53

My dear, I'm glad that you asked me. Because I have a clear idea of what an MSX3 should be and more importantly, what it should not be. 100% subjective and many of you will disagree, but that's what this forum is for anyway! Warning: potentially boring peroration ahead

First of all, let's take a step back and ask ourselves why we like our MSXes. For me there are two quite apparent reasons: nostalgy and fun. Nostalgy for a time in which most of us were kids and we got introduced in the world of computers with slow and underpowered but fascinating 8 bit machines. And with "fun" I don't (only) mean playing games; I rather mean that it's very easy to develop awesome stuff with an MSX computer, both for software enthousiasts and for hardware frankensteins.

With this in mind, how should an MSX3 be?

1. It should look like an MSX computer

Okay, this is not realistic, but let me dream: an MSX3 should not be a PC-like or 1Chip-MSX-like box to which you attach a USB keyboard. It should be a beautiful machine, with integrated keyboard, that reminds the original 1980s machines. Call me crazy, but if this condition is not met I don't feel like I am really using a MSX, but rather an emulator (emulators are very valuable tools but we are speaking about the real thing here!)

Don't get me wrong, I sincerely applaud initiatives like the 1Chip-MSX or modular MSXes; but if I can choose I prefer a more classic-MSX-like casing.

2. It should put fun before power

Sure, we all expect an MSX3 to improve the specifications of the existing MSX standard. But it should do so in a reasonable way, so that the aforementioned fun is not lost and the resulting machine is still simple enough for someone to be able to casually develop something for it. A multi-core hyperthreaded processor, GBs of RAM, 3D accelerated graphics? No thanks. We already have modern PCs and game consoles for that. Gimme some power but don't spoil the fun!

3. It should be fully customizable

In the software part, make all system ROMs rewritable. All. Of. Them. Just provide a "factory reset" switch to restore everything to its default state in case I mess things up, and let the fun start again!

In the hardware part, keep the slots system that has allowed MSX to become the legendary system it is (epic music here), but give me also some USB ports so that hardware makers have an alternative to crafting new full-fledged cartridges.

4. It should be fully compatible with at least MSX2+

Do I need to add this one? Turbo-R compatibility could be a discussion thread in itself, but you get the point.

So... the specs!

Brace yourselves as here comes my dream MSX3:

  • MSX-like casing
  • Z380. It is a fully Z80 compatible 32 bit processor. It has a huge addressing space so that we could do fun things like mapping the entire slots space or the VRAM to linear memory, while maintaining the old slots and VRAM access system.
  • CPU speed selector with a minimum of three levels: Z80-like, R800-like, and "full throttle".
  • V9958 with DMA access in addition to ports based access, + V9990.
  • PSG + OPLL + OPL4 + PCM with microphone for the sound.
  • 1GB RAM. And perhaps it's too much.
  • A handful of USB ports. Add support for USB keyboards (I prefer the integrated keyboard but it can be useful nonetheless!)
  • Ethernet port with TCP/IP handled by hardware and support for SSL.
  • WiFi, same as above.
  • SD slot for storage. There are SD cards up to 128GB nowadays... and if you really need more, attach a USB hard disk!
  • Two expansion slots. I don't see the point on having more given the specs and the USB ports.
  • No floppy disk drive... but you can attach one via USB!
  • Cassette interface, either integrated or as an option via USB.

Add a DOS/Nextor-like operating system with FAT32 and custom device drivers support, an optional SymbOS-like graphics environment... and I think that that's it: Konamiman's approved MSX3.

Let the discussion continue, this is a very interesting topic!

By fernando.collazo.5682

Master (239)

fernando.collazo.5682's picture

10-03-2015, 13:01

@JaviLM - This is my MSX3 not yours! Since its launch, MSX standard always be expansible with new VDPs, sound chips, memory expansions and so on. None of specs I've put makes it less MSX than a turboR with MsxView wich is totally useless.
Probally you are purist and for you a real Msx is Msx1, who knows...
BTW this thread is for dreamers and if you don't like it, just pass away!

By flyguille

Prophet (3029)

flyguille's picture

10-03-2015, 14:10

I agree that must looks like a MSX, and with todays 3d printers it is somehow realistic.
I agree that must be modular, that is the spirit of msx!, so it must have a bus expansor onboard, 4 cartridge slots is ok, no more because it will looks like a PC.
I agree that it must have ONBOARD or atlease must have place for, v9990 and v9958. Now the probles is if it will have single video output (I thinks as each chip can have different synchorinsm fase/freq, will be hard to mix both rgb signals) or separate video output. Will be all a challenge to have single video output.

I don't agree about that must be a real z80, the cpu is well know, there is no new corners to discover from it, and the real chips probably will be not available too much in the future. Plus we will be stuck with that. So, a big ass FPGA as the core must be the path to follow.

Sound chips, better the real ones, but as option, because those are not easy to find.

By Jupp3

Resident (41)

Jupp3's picture

10-03-2015, 14:32

konamiman wrote:

Okay, this is not realistic, but let me dream: an MSX3 should not be a PC-like or 1Chip-MSX-like box to which you attach a USB keyboard. It should be a beautiful machine, with integrated keyboard, that reminds the original 1980s machines. Call me crazy, but if this condition is not met I don't feel like I am really using a MSX

I guess you already figured out (as you said "not realistic") what's the problem with that approach?

The price.

...but of course there are ways around that. And best of all, it wouldn't offer authentic-like feeling at all.

It would offer authentic feeling.

Like Phoenix did with Amiga 1000, simply create a new motherboard for an existing model. Case? Just remove old motherboard & screw new one in. Keyboard? Just plug the old one in.

Of course this would be more problematic than with Amiga, simply because there are way more models available, and people would definitely argue which one is "The Authentic One", and project would become more and more expensive, the more models it would actually support.

Something that:
-Is common enough (plenty available, and no-one would get too mad, if you "butcher" one for MSX3, even if keeping old parts was recommended)
-Suitable form factor (this is where arguments begin)

If I would have to name one model right now, that would probably be Panasonic A1.

Not saying this would be the best way / sensible, just mentioning for the sake of completeness, as it's already been done on Amiga side :)

By seanyoung

Resident (53)

seanyoung's picture

10-03-2015, 16:59

There is a Z80 compatible CPU which is much faster, the KL5C80A12.
http://pdf1.alldatasheet.com/datasheet-pdf/view/91806/ETC/KL...

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