One Chip MSX1 at PLD World 2004 - First report

by snout on 30-10-2004, 00:46
Topic: MSX Revival
Languages:

As we had already announced several times, ASCII and MSX Association held a demonstration and lecture on the upcoming One Chip MSX1 computer at PLD World 2004 yesterday. In a report on ASCII24 we can find an extensive review of the demonstration and lecture, revealing several interesting new facts.

First of all: the One Chip MSX1 is going to be commercially produced. If all goes well the first One Chip MSX1 computers will become available in March 2005. Second, the board contains 2 cartridge slots (unlike several people expected), making it a fully MSX standards compliant device. More than enough reasons to have a closer look at the article:

The lecture was given by Mr. Hidekatsu Yokoi, member of the board of directors of MSX Association, and Mr. Eiichi Sato, editor in chief of ASCII's IT department, including the recently released ASCII MSX Magazines. It explained the history of the MSX Revival so far, mentioning the official MSX Emulator MSXPLAYer was the result of the combined efforts of many MSX Hobbyists from all over the world, and the success of the MSX Magazines and the sold-out Game Readers. The success of these steps of the MSX Revival made it possible to take the next step in the MSX Revival: recreating MSX itself.

The One Chip MSX, which was demonstrated at PLD World, contains 32MB SDRAM, 1MB SRAM, FlashROM, a SD card slot, 2 cartridge slots, 2 MSX Joystick ports, 2 USB ports, VGA and SVHS video outputs and a stereo audio-connector. A keyboard can be connected through a standard PS/2 port. Using VHDL on a Cyclone EP1C12Q240C8 FPGA chip, the entire MSX1 standard is perfectly emulated. This prototype may however differ from the final production version.

Mr. Yokoi and Mr. Sato continued talking about the FPGA possibilities of this device. Thanks to the FPGA structure, the One Chip MSX1 can easily be upgraded to be fully MSX2 compatible in the future. At the moment the chip is already partly MSX2 compatible. However, the production version of the One Chip MSX1 also allows the end-user to alter the VHDL code, thus designing a new MSX computer. This way it is, for instance, possible to allow a double amount of sprites to be displayed on one line, or to add more colors, or even to let the MSX write data directly to VRAM. The best thing is yet to come: The software for improving the VHDL code for the One Chip MSX, Quartus 2 is free of charge.

Apart from being marketed as a great, fun and cheap home computer or gaming device, Mr. Yokoi also thinks the One Chip MSX1 can be used by student engineers, allowing them to learn to understand the structure of hardware in a very simple way. Although the price and time of release of the One Chip MSX1 are currently undecided, ASCII and MSX Association aim at a release in March 2005.

The entire (Japanese) article on the lecture and demonstration can be found over here. It contains several high-resolution pictures of the current One Chip prototype. We will -of course- keep you posted on any other new information concerning the One Chip MSX project.

Relevant link: One Chip MSX1 at PLD World - ASCII24 report

Comments (47)

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

wolf_'s picture

30-10-2004, 01:20

Am I the only one who sees radical changes here? Smile

By Sonic_aka_T

Enlighted (4130)

Sonic_aka_T's picture

30-10-2004, 01:26

WTF?!?!?!?! This so qualifies as cool!

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

30-10-2004, 01:29

I'm speechless...

This is too good to be true!!!

Even I as an MSX Revival optimist could not have imagined this!

*INCREDIBLE*

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5513)

mars2000you's picture

30-10-2004, 02:08

That's indeed big news !

This will not only attract a new generation to MSX, but it opens the way to a future MSX 3 (or 4 .... flyguille ?) by keeping alive the MSX spirit of freedom and creativity !

Smile Smile Smile

By Sonic_aka_T

Enlighted (4130)

Sonic_aka_T's picture

30-10-2004, 02:17

Dang! I can't get over how great this thing is!

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

wolf_'s picture

30-10-2004, 02:17

oooooooh toob.. must you really share this private detail with us, at *this* hour?

^_^

By karloch

Prophet (2066)

karloch's picture

30-10-2004, 02:26

Indeed, this is too good to be true. If all of this come to reality, we will be living in something like a dream. And if this come to reality I hope that MSX Associaton thinks about MSX users in the whole world, not just Japan.

By snout

Ascended (15187)

snout's picture

30-10-2004, 02:35

Guess what the first thing is you see at the ASCII24 frontpage. Indeed. MSX! :)

By jpgrobler

Master (155)

jpgrobler's picture

30-10-2004, 06:56

Looks great!!
A few questions?
RAM: how is it mapped? Can multiple mappers and mapper types be configured?
USB: What can it do? When will I have it on my 8250?
Sound: Any other emulated than psg?
FPGA: Will it be possible to emulate most msx devices in the single fpga (eg. msx2, mapper, msx music, scc, ide, etc all at onc?)
How much will it cost?
Where can I place a order?

By snout

Ascended (15187)

snout's picture

30-10-2004, 08:28

jpgrobler: I think you're going too quick now. Yesterday the One Chip MSX1 has been officially announced for the very first time. We're nowhere near actually ordering the device yet, or knowing total in-depth details. I'm sure information on this will come available sooner or later though. Just keep an eye on the MRC frontpage and you'll be the first to know all about it! ^_^

By sunrise

Paragon (1091)

sunrise's picture

30-10-2004, 08:33

Surprisingly two cartridgeslots , since I remember in 2001 that during the lecture of Nishi there were doubts about the continuing use and availability of the slotcomponent.
I would have used Compact flash instead of SD , since this is cheaper and there are more extentions available if you want at least profit from the extentions of the pocket /pc extra´s.
But since the use of a second cartridgeslot it seems also that that idea is deserted ....
I am still interested in the type of SDRAM , it is unfortunately not quite visible

By Latok

msx guru (3686)

Latok's picture

30-10-2004, 10:32

So it IS going to happen? ...............snif.............. /me happy ^_^

By Abi

Hero (595)

Abi's picture

30-10-2004, 10:50

Wow a dream comes to be real!!!
Awesome, i can not wait to get one Wink

By legacy

Hero (570)

legacy's picture

30-10-2004, 11:18

I can't wait.

By Henk

Expert (107)

Henk's picture

30-10-2004, 11:59

What to say... This is really great, but I have more questions right now then before Smile
I do wonder how much this baby would cost (or am I blind and didnt see it?).

By Ivan

Ascended (9115)

Ivan's picture

30-10-2004, 12:12

Is this MSX going to be sold in Europe?

Lets invite Konami to the party Wink

By chaos

Paladin (806)

chaos's picture

30-10-2004, 12:17

wow! cool!
A lot of questions raise. Guess we have to be patient.
But we can see the revival IS happening!

By Thom

Hero (583)

Thom's picture

30-10-2004, 12:30

This must be the most exciting MSX-related news in 20 years. Possibly ever.

By flyguille

Prophet (3029)

flyguille's picture

30-10-2004, 16:29

WOW that really is a dream coming!!!!!!!!

when the tech docs will be released???'?

now i have GOT a reason to speed up the MNBIOS develop... that was very quiet the last month.

By djh1697

Paragon (1409)

djh1697's picture

30-10-2004, 20:23

This is wonderful news, my guess is that Micro$oft will not allow MSX association to market the product outside of Japan, a great shame really.

Lets not get too excited, however, who knows what Sunrise might be able to pull off ?

By Sonic_aka_T

Enlighted (4130)

Sonic_aka_T's picture

30-10-2004, 20:37

Well, without the ROMs I guess Microsoft doesn't really have a say in this...

By snout

Ascended (15187)

snout's picture

30-10-2004, 20:59

djh: You may have missed the news about the MSX revival going global. Microsoft is no longer a problem. However, as the revival has taken several succesful steps in Japan already, the MSX Revival outside of Japan is still to take the first step (WOOMB.net). At the moment I don't know how and when these One Chip MSX1 computers will become available outside of Japan, but when you keep reading the MRC, you'll be the first to know :)

By GORIPON

Supporter (9)

GORIPON's picture

30-10-2004, 21:21

The English page of "Quartus II Web Edition" is here.
http://www.altera.com/products/software/products/quartus2web/sof-quarwebmain.html

By djh1697

Paragon (1409)

djh1697's picture

30-10-2004, 21:41

Apologies!!!

By DarQ

Paragon (1038)

DarQ's picture

31-10-2004, 04:02

and now im curious how many euro's i have to pay... and will it have an english manual too???

By NickEng

Supporter (16)

NickEng's picture

31-10-2004, 09:38

This is good news !

Lets hope they produce a few different cases so that you can pick the board, then pick a cases for it.. so you have a choice (standard mount points etc).

Also I would hope that that produce a nice MSX logo'ed keyboard, sure you could use a pc one, but lets have an offical one...

Also i hope its not a limited run of machines...

By Ivan

Ascended (9115)

Ivan's picture

31-10-2004, 10:59

I agree that a external MSX keyboard would be nice (necessary).

They have to decide a lot of things before they put this MSX on sale:

-The name of the thing (MSX OneChip?).
-The design/quality of the case.
-The accesories that accompany the computer; VGA lead? S-VHS lead? audio leads? USB leads? Multivoltage power supply adapter? external MSX keyboard? SD card?... and their quality.
-The contents and languages of the manual(s). Japanese only? General usage of the computer? Detailed instructions about VHDL? Detailed instructions about MSX-Basic/MSX-DOS set of commands?...
-The software (if any) that accompanies the computer; PC soft to alter the behaviour of the Altera chip? A cartridge with MSX soft to use immediatly with the computer?...
-The design of the package with all the components; OEM package (only an ugly cardboard box)? A nice box with inserts for each component?...
-The price (obviously it will depend on the above points).

By Sonic_aka_T

Enlighted (4130)

Sonic_aka_T's picture

31-10-2004, 12:38

About the keyboard, if a few of us put some money together I guess we could have a couple of keyboards made in China. They probably wouldn't be very good, but at least they could have an MSX logo and keys like SELECT, STOP, KANA, GRAPH etcetera... They would prolly be horrificly expensive tho, say 25 euros, but that's the price you pay for being a fan Wink

By djh1697

Paragon (1409)

djh1697's picture

31-10-2004, 13:01

I am sure that MSX Association would bring a suitable MSX keyboard out, maybe even a USB one too!

All wishful thinking, lets wait and see if anything happens, maybe year 2007, is my guess ?

By Sonic_aka_T

Enlighted (4130)

Sonic_aka_T's picture

31-10-2004, 13:49

Gee, I could've sworn I read March 2005 in that article... But hurray for your positive attitude!

By NickEng

Supporter (16)

NickEng's picture

31-10-2004, 14:11

With reguard to Ivans comments, see comments marked by an >>>:


I agree that a external MSX keyboard would be nice (necessary).

They have to decide a lot of things before they put this MSX on sale:

-The name of the thing (MSX OneChip?).
>>> I think that sounds kinda cool or MSX-FGPA, MSX-2005 ?

-The design/quality of the case.
>>> Important, but cost must be an issue

-The accesories that accompany the computer; VGA lead? S-VHS lead? audio leads? USB leads? Multivoltage power supply adapter? external MSX keyboard? SD card?... and their quality.
>>> All good points, VGA, S-VHS, Audio i guess could all be off the self items. or an optional pack
>>> But power and keyboard should be a pack in or an optional extra

-The contents and languages of the manual(s). Japanese only? General usage of the computer? Detailed instructions about VHDL? Detailed instructions about MSX-Basic/MSX-DOS set of commands?...
>>> Surely most of this still exists and could be a re-print...
>>> or made into PDFs for a small download fee
>>> Docs mush be in Japanese or English

-The software (if any) that accompanies the computer; PC soft to alter the behaviour of the Altera chip? A cartridge with MSX soft to use immediatly with the computer?...
>>> Make things like this an optional extra at a cost. Some people will not want to re-program the chiip.
>>> WWW distribution is cheap !In which case an English www site is required..

-The design of the package with all the components; OEM package (only an ugly cardboard box)? A nice box with inserts for each component?...
>>> Black or white box and a large MSX logo on it !

-The price (obviously it will depend on the above points).

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

31-10-2004, 15:42

Sonic, I think djh means he thinks it will take MSX Association 2 years to make a MSX keyboard to connect to the device.

Which, IMO, if they're planning this at all, would be a fairly long timeframe Tongue It's not like keyboards are very high-tech Wink

By snout

Ascended (15187)

snout's picture

31-10-2004, 16:14

My guess is that the ALT and Windows key of PS/2 and USB keyboard have already been re-mapped (and so have the F6 and higher function keys) to allow all MSX keyboard keys to function on the One Chip MSX. If this is the case, all we need is a keyboard with a different layout and 'print' on top. Nothing too fancy Wink

By Ivan

Ascended (9115)

Ivan's picture

31-10-2004, 17:17

I think that these accessories are a must:

A) The MSX One Chip in a quality case.
B) The S-VHS lead.
C) The multivoltage power adapter.
D) At least a multilanguage manual.

I would strongly recommend:
E) A keyboard.
F) Some soft to use with the MSX One Chip.

Reasons:

A) No comments.
B) Why the S-VHS lead and not the VGA lead? Just simply because in homes you can always find a TV (not sure for VGA monitors).
C) Absolutely necessary. Or do you want the end user saying "Shit! now I have to buy an adpater if I want to use the computer?" Nowadays all home electrical appliances come with multivoltage adapters (walkmans, portable CD players,..).
E) In English at least, apart from Japanese. Due to the popularity of MSX in The Netherlands, Spain and Brazil I would recommend the manual(s) translated into Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese.
E) If the buyer doesn't own a PC he/she won't be able to use the computer unless he/she gets a PC keyboard first.
F) Ok, we have A+B+C+D+E, but no soft in the package. More inconveniences for the end-user; he/she should download it from the Internet + buy an SD card.

By djh1697

Paragon (1409)

djh1697's picture

31-10-2004, 17:36

My comment about the keyboard was a cynical one, how long have the MSX associtaion been promising revival? a one chip MSX? Three years at least, I am not holding my breathe.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

31-10-2004, 19:19

@ Ivan: as you can see the device takes a normal 5V input. You can use any home-kitchen-garden adapter for it. It's useless added costs if you ask me.

@ djh1697: Being cynical is one thing, but exaggerating is another. There have not been made any promises that haven't been kept. There was an initial timeframe mentioned by Nishi in 2001, and according to that timeframe, the release date of March 2005 isn't that far off. It would suit you to be more accurate in your cynicism.

By snout

Ascended (15187)

snout's picture

31-10-2004, 20:34

Hey Ivan, then there's a lot of good news for you. If Bazix is to distribute the One Chip MSX outside of Japan the manual will most certainly be translated, at least to English. Second, as you can see in the newspost, a SVHS output is already there on the prototype. Looking at the MSX Game Reader I'm also quite sure the casing will be more than allright. So, the only points of doubt are the keyboard, the multivoltage power adapter (which it afaik already has, but I'm not 100% sure) and the software. I think MSX Association and ASCII have well thought about those two points as well.

By MissMSX

Supporter (10)

MissMSX's picture

01-11-2004, 22:21

Finally!!! <<(_|_))>>
I'm going to have sweet dreams tonight *^_^*

By Grauw

Ascended (8455)

Grauw's picture

01-11-2004, 23:49

Hey, uh, I wonder... What about that SVHS? It's useless to me, I don't have any device which can handle that. VGA is nice, but I want to connect my MSX to a TV-Monitor, not a PC-monitor (which I -big surprise- already use for my PC) (even though it /is/ a nice feature to have). And composite... well, that's just not an option in this day and age.

What I really wonder about is... What about RGB?

~Grauw

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

02-11-2004, 03:52

Well... My VCR, TV, turboR and PC all have S-Video (aka SVHS) output.
Since VGA is RGB, they could make it 15kHz or 31kHz selectable, or you could modify it yourself.

By GORIPON

Supporter (9)

GORIPON's picture

03-11-2004, 10:56

>and now im curious how many euro's i have to pay... and will it have an english manual too???
It seems that it is said that he wants to carry out it to the extent that I have a price dealt with at a bookstore.
(Expensive books are disliked by the bookstore in Japan)
It does not know whether an English manual is attached.

By GORIPON

Supporter (9)

GORIPON's picture

03-11-2004, 11:47

>The name of the thing (MSX OneChip?).
This is temporarily called "One Chip MSX".
The product name was not decided.
>The software (if any) that accompanies the computer; ...
It is heard that the source code of VHDL is attached.
>The price
It will become the price which a bookstore does not dislike as the point was written.

It is heard that nothing was almost decided but it.
In addition, this information is what was heard in "ALTERA PLD WORLD 2004", and is not formal.

By snout

Ascended (15187)

snout's picture

03-11-2004, 19:03

Thank you for all the extra information Goripon! Smile

By Samor

Paragon (2029)

Samor's picture

04-11-2004, 09:31

you can get a scart plug for tv's that dont have s-video to convert that to scart.

By djh1697

Paragon (1409)

djh1697's picture

08-11-2004, 23:02

looking closely at the picure there appears to be a 40-way IDC connector there, any ideas?

By Grauw

Ascended (8455)

Grauw's picture

09-11-2004, 13:18

B) Why the S-VHS lead and not the VGA lead? Just simply because in homes you can always find a TV (not sure for VGA monitors).

My TV doesn't have an SVHS connector... None of our TV's here at home do. I'm sure not that many in the Netherlands have. So it wouldn't be the most logical cable to package it with - SCART is the most common here. In Japan, of course, I believe it's a different story.

About modifying the VGA output - well there's two things that need to be modified, the horizontal sync and combining the H and V sync signals into a composite sync. Gigamix confirmed that this is an option, however it makes me wonder whether that would break VGA support? Would be a shame, it would be useful to be able to connect it to my VGA monitor on fairs. Samor: do they? How well is the image quality, and how expensive are those?

GORIPON: I was already wondering about the VHDL sourcecode - great to hear that.

I believe Nishi mentioned a price of about €100 in Tilburg (or was it ƒ100?). Anyways, my estimate would be something in the range of €100 - €200. Very affordable, if you ask me.

~Grauw

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

09-11-2004, 23:19

Grauw, as you can read in the gigamix report, the VGA connector supports 15kHz RGB too, so there you go Smile
Besides, as Samor said, you can get S-Video -> SCART adapters at almost any A/V store.