Sakhr AX-330
This page was last modified 23:18, 2 July 2021 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Gdx and Rderooy and others.

Contents

Description

Computer

Sakhr Computers was a Kuwaiti company (Al Alamiah co.) that was selling MSX computers imported from Japan in all of the Arab world. These MSX were localized by Al Alamiah and rebranded for the Arabic market.

The Sakhr AX-330 is a dual MSX1 computer / Nintendo console assembled in Taiwan. The MSX part is similar to the AX-230, manufactured by Sanyo. There are 2 versions of this machine, one with a MSX1 VDP, one with the MSX2 VDP.

There are two RESET keys on the top row of the keyboard: one to reset the MSX, and one to reset the Nintendo half of the machine.

After booting without pressing the CTRL key, the computer will be in Arabic mode. In this mode:

  • the combination of the GRAPH key with an alphabetic key will display an MSX-BASIC instruction on the screen
  • the extra STAR key can be used in a similar way to the GRAPH key
  • some combinations can produce accented characters instead of MSX-BASIC instructions
Brand Sakhr (Assembled in Taiwan)
Type AX-330
Year 1992-1996
Region Middle East
Original price
RAM 64kB in slot 0-2
VRAM 16kB
Media MSX cartridges, Famicom/NES cartridges
Video 1st version: TMS-9929A made in Philippines, 2nd version: Yamaha V9938 (MSX2 VDP!)
Audio PSG clone (1st version: OY-2-8910AC, 2nd version: File KC89C72)
Chipset NEC AW100
Keyboard layout QWERTY/Arabic
Extras support for NES cartrigdes, two reset buttons (MSX and NES), Arabic BASIC, firmware (Calendar, Graphics, Arabic Writer, English Writer, 15 educational games, 10 recreative games)
Emulation ROMs dumped except for the Games ROM - Probably the same Games ROM as in Sakhr AX-230 but it needs to be checked. See this thread for details

Firmware

This machine comes with an 'enhanced' version 1.01 of Arabic firmware, present on all Sakhr/Al Alamiah computers.

The firmware can be skipped by pressing CTRL key while booting and until you come on the MSX-BASIC screen. By doing that, the machine will be in International mode, the Arabic characters will not be available and also you get only one drive (the A: drive) if you have added external diskdrives.

This firmware adds Arabic characters, new MSX-BASIC instructions (see Arabic BASIC), 4 applications and 2 extra options for MSX software. You can choose them in the menu with the keys 1 to 6:

Options 1 to 4 remain unchanged on all Sakhr/Al Alamiah MSX1 computers.

You have on this machine a total of 30 programs: MSX-BASIC, 4 applications and 25 games.

If you press key 7 when you are in the menu, you will go to MSX-BASIC.

Going back to the menu is possible with CALL MENU or _MENU (don't use it if you are in International mode !). Note that in this case, you will go to the 'normal' Arabic firmware menu with only 5 options instead of 7.

Pictures

Computer

Sakhr AX-330
Sakhr AX-330 label
Sakhr AX-330 NES-on-a-chip
Sakhr AX-330 left side
Sakhr AX-330 back
Sakhr AX-330 right side
Sakhr AX-330 system board with MSX1 VDP
Sakhr AX-330 system board with MSX2 VDP

Firmware

Arabic firmware version 1.01
Arabic firmware 1.01 'enhanced' menu
Arabic firmware 1.01 Arabic Calendar
Arabic firmware 1.01 English Calendar
Arabic firmware Graphics
Arabic firmware Arabic Writer
Arabic firmware English Writer
Arabic firmware 1.01 Educational Games
Arabic firmware 1.01 Recreative Games
Arabic firmware 1.01 'normal' menu

Specifications

The AX-330 is a combo MSX1 and NES which uses the NEC AW100 as MSX "engine" and AY-3-8910 clones as PSG. There are at least two models of AX-330, the older one uses a MSX1 VDP, while the newer model, identified by AW331MB silk in its system board, uses the MSX2 VDP. Z80 of the 1st version is a Zilog Z840006PSC and the 2nd version is a Goldstar Z8400A PS. Besides, it is equipped with a UM6561BF, a NES-on-a-chip.

A small switch on the back of the unit allows to toggle between the MSX computer and the NES console.

The main RAM is present on slot 0-2, a configuration that can cause poorly written software to crash. Also, with this layout, the POKE-1,(15-PEEK(-1)\16)*17 trick to workaround buggy software that does not handle subslots properly will cause this machine to freeze.

Slot Map

(only the MSX part)

Slot 0-0 Slot 0-1 Slot 0-2 Slot 0-3 Slot 1 Slot 2 Slot 3
Page C000h~FFFFh 64kB
RAM
Cartridge
Slot
Games
ROM
Page 8000h~BFFFh Arabic
ROM
Page 4000h~7FFFh Main-ROM
Page 0000h~3FFFh

Connections

External Links