Sony HB-F5
This page was last modified 15:26, 2 January 2023 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Gdx and Rderooy and others.
Sony HB-F5.png




The HB-F5 is the first MSX2 computer released by Sony, aimed at the Japanese market. There are two color varieties, either black or light grey.

Europe instead got the HB-F9 in light grey the next year, which looks externally very similar to the HB-F5, but uses an MSX-Engine, has more RAM and a totally different firmware.

The power button is on the left of the machine, the reset button is located below the cartridge slots.

Brand Sony
Model HB-F5
Year 1985-10
Region Japan
Launch price ¥84,800
RAM 64kB in slot 0-2
VRAM 128kB
Media MSX cartridges
Video Yamaha V9938
Audio PSG (YM2149)
Chipset none (separate IC's)
Keyboard layout QWERTY/JP50on + numeric keypad
Extras reset button, firmware (Personal Databank)
Emulation ROMs dumped and emulated


The machine comes with a built-in Personal Databank with saving on cassette tape, the HBI-55 data cartridge or an external disk drive.

The firmware is launched automatically when you boot the machine. Bypassing it on startup requires the user to press the DEL key during boot until a Beep sound.

This software has 6 options: Mode 40 or 80 columns, BASIC, Address, Schedule, Memo, Transfer (replaced by Copy when a HBI-55 cartridge is present).

The 3rd option (5th when there's a disk drive) of the Copy menu leads to the Erase Data screen.

When there's a HBI-55 cartridge, it is possible in MSX-BASIC to save little programs on the data cartridge and to load / run them from this cartridge, with the instructions SAVE"CAT:" and LOAD"CAT:".

From MSX-BASIC, you can go to the Personal Databank with CALL HITBIT or _HITBIT.

By comparison with the HB-101 and HB-201 MSX1 machines, the firmware has been improved to support a 80 column mode, integrate the extra BASIC instructions in the BASIC option and graphically give priority to disk drive over cassette.



Sony HB-F5 gray
Sony HB-F5 black
Sony HB-F5 manuals + cables
Sony HB-F5 left side
Sony HB-F5 mainboard
Sony HB-F5 box
Sony HB-F5 label
Sony HB-F5 back
Sony HB-F5 right side


Main menu without HBI-55
Main menu with HBI-55
Main menu if FDD (no HBI-55)
Main menu with FDD + HBI-55
Transfer (without FDD)
Copy (without FDD)
Transfer (with FDD)
Copy (with FDD)
Erase Data


The HB-F5 is a MSX2 with a Z80A from Sharp (LH0080A) or NEC (uPD780C) and a gate array from Sony (CX23044).

The Main-ROM is located in IC23 (label chip: M38256-92). The Sub-ROM and the firmware are located in IC25 (label chip: D27256D-3). If you want to remove the firmware you must replace the IC25 by an EEPROM 27C256 containing the Sub-ROM and the half remaining empty.

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

Slot 0-0 Slot 0-1 Slot 0-2 Slot 0-3 Slot 1 Slot 2 Slot 3
Page C000h~FFFFh 64kB
Slot 1
Slot 2
Page 8000h~BFFFh
Page 4000h~7FFFh Main-ROM Firmware
Page 0000h~3FFFh Sub-ROM


  • RF output
  • RGB21 output (not Scart)
  • Analog sound and video composite outputs (RCA)
  • Tape recorder connector
  • Centronics compatible Parallel port for a printer
  • 2 general connectors (joysticks, mouse, paddle controllers, ...)
  • 2 cartridge slots
  • 100V AC power socket


As it is conceived, this computer is compatible with the addition of a disk drive. Contrary to what happens when you add a disk drive to the HB-55 and HB-75 MSX1 machines, the firmware menu is no longer skipped and some functions of the integrated software have been modified to take the disk drive into account. The insertion of the HBI-55 cartridge in a free slot does not disable the disk drive.

External Links