Panasonic MSX Computers
- MSX 2
The Panasonic A1-FM is the same machine as the Panasonic A1-F but the A1-FM comes with a built in modem
This machine is equipped with the first iteration of the MSX-Engine Toshiba T9769, a VSLI chip that contains several of the MSX standard chips in one package:
- Toshiba TMPZ84C00A Z80 clone
- Toshiba T7766A PSG (AY-3-8910 compatible sound chip)
- Toshiba TMP82C55A Programmable Peripheral Interface chip (Intel 8255 clone)
- Various MSX/MSX2/MSX2+ glue circuits
The MSX2 Standard
The MSX2 Standard was introduced as successor to the MSX standard. The biggest improvement on the standard were the video capabilities of the system. Where the MSX-1 was quite capable with 16 colors and hardware sprites, it had some limitations. The graphics mode was pattern based, which meant that pixels were grouped by the 8, and each 8 pixels could only have one foreground and one background color. For games and pictures this meant that there was a color spill effect, colors bleeding over in unwanted areas.
The MSX2 introduced a new Video Display Processor, the V9938. This chip had the capacity to display 256 color simultanously, or have graphics modes with 16 colors out of a 512 color palette. It had true bitmapped graphics, that offered multiple in-memory pages for double buffering or vertical scrolling. The sprite system now supported multi-color sprites, and up to 8 sprites per scan-line. The Video RAM was defined to be at least 64KByte, but most systems came with 128KByte which was the maximum the V9938 supported.
The V9938 made it possible to create some great games. The most famous is the very first version of Konami's excellent game Metal Gear.
MSX I/O Ports
The follwing sections details the Standard MSX I/O ports that are available on every MSX.
The MSX Standard calls for all MSX computers to have a standard data-cassette port. This port transports the audio-in/out signals to and from the datarecorder and the computer has a relay-switch on board to turn the recorder on and off.
The MSX Cartridge system uses a 50-pin flat-edge connector to connect to the systems expansion bus. The cartridge slot maps into one of the main- or sub-slots.
MSX Cassette Pin Layout
MSX Cartridge Connector
MSX Joystick Connector