Sakhr AX-990
This page was last modified 15:25, 8 November 2020 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Rderooy and Gdx and others.




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-990 is a dual MSX1 computer/ Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) console assembled in Taiwan. The MSX part is similar to the AX-230, manufactured by Sanyo, but comes with the MSX2 VDP.

Brand Sakhr (Assembled in Taiwan)
Type AX-990
Year 1992
Region Middle East
Original price
RAM 64kB (? in slot 0-2)
Media MSX cartridges, Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) cartridges
Video Yamaha V9938 (MSX2 VDP!)
Audio PSG (YM2149 integrated in MSX-Engine S1985)
Chipset Yamaha S1985
Keyboard layout QWERTY/Arabic
Extras Arabic BASIC, Firmware (Calendar, Graphics, Arabic Writer, English Writer), educational and recreative games, support for Sega Mega Drive/Genesis cartridges
Emulation ROM dump needed. See this thread for details


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 commands (see Arabic BASIC) and many games or applications. Compared to the AX-230, AX-330 and AX-660, it does not have 30 programs when you take in account the 5 general options (including MSX-BASIC), but 50 programs as an additionnal intro menu proposes 20 extra programs and access to the 'traditional' menu with 4 applications and 2 extra options for MSX software. You can choose them in the 'old' menu with the keys 1 to 6.

The Calendar can also be used partially in English. Other 'normal' options are Graphics, a graphic tool in screen 2, and two Word Processors, Arabic Writer and English Writer. These options remain unchanged on all MSX1 Sakhr/Al Alamiah computers. Options 5 give access to educational games, option 6 to recreative 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.



Sakhr AX-990 right side
Sakhr AX-990
Sakhr AX-990 manuals
Sakhr AX-990 PCBs
Sakhr AX-990 underside


Arabic firmware version 1.01
Arabic firmware extra AX-990 intro menu
Arabic firmware 1.01 'enhanced' menu
Arabic Calendar
Arabic Writer
English Writer
English Calendar
Arabic firmware 1.01 option 5 submenu
Arabic firmware 1.01 option 6 submenu
Arabic firmware 1.01 'normal' menu


The AX-990 is a MSX1 with a Z80A from Zilog, a V9938 and an MSX-Engine S1985 from Yamaha. Besides, it is equipped with the components of a Sega Mega Drive/Genesis console (a second Z80A, 68000, etc).

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

The main RAM is probably 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 don't handle subslots properly will cause this machine to freeze.


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