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Thread: FPGA based console: the MSX is reborn, who is next?

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    Default FPGA based console: the MSX is reborn, who is next?

    As of late, using FPGA chips to recreate classic consoles and computers at the circuit-level has been a very popular idea, as the end result would be an extremely accurate and efficient recreation of the original hardware that is just not possible with software based emulation. We have seen efforts to recreate the Atari 2600, Commodore 64, NES/Famicom, and MSX by using an FPGA. Well, it looks like one of these projects is actually going to see the light of day. The FPGA MSX is now available for pre-order. However, it won't actually go into production unless 5000 pre-orders are taken worldwide. This system is officially being created by ASCII of Japan, the original creators of the MSX.

    Things really get interesting when you compare the hardware used in the FPGA MSX and the hardware used in the FPGA NES. Both use exactly the same FPGA chip, A/V outputs, DB-9 controller ports, and even SD flash cards! So there is a chance that the FPGA NES could be ported to the FPGA MSX, and therefore we would have a system that could accurate emulate, at the circuit-level, both the MSX and the NES/Famicom! All using hardware that is about the size of a DVD movie case!

    Anyway, pre-orders are being taken for the FPGA MSX. If you want to see this project succeed, I suggest you place your pre-order now. Finally, note that I am not affiliated with any of these projects, I am just a fan that wants to see them succeed, as I like cool hardware You can find out more information about the FPGA MSX HERE.

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    drowning in medals Ed Oscuro's Avatar
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    Default Re: FPGA based console: the MSX is reborn, who is next?

    O:

    I'm gonna preorder this, damnit. Didn't care much about the Nex because I already have a NES - everybody does - but an MSX? That would be nice. It won't be MSX-2 compatible, will it? That's a damn shame since most all my MSX titles are of the 2 variety, but even so...good deal all around.

    ASCII rulez btw

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    My only MSX exposure is in the form of emulators on my N-gage, so as I was reading this I was getting excited. Till I saw the price.

    I like MSX, but at $400+ Au I suspect they will have trouble getting 5000 pre-orders..

    Oh, and ed:
    Bazix plans to release an MSX2 upgrade kit in the future.

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    drowning in medals Ed Oscuro's Avatar
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    Ah, thank you for doing my homework...for me My time at the computer's a bit limited, so I haven't checked the link out yet. Incredible news. I agree, $400 AU (whatever that is right now in USD) sounds steep, but I'll do it somehow. I must. The reliability and the relief on my nerves of using an actual MSX-2...

    Hmm, any news on a floppy drive, though? I'd like to play my (inferior) version of Undead Line on this.

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    Again, I am not affiliated with the MSX or NES project, but from what I can tell, the MSX project will definitely be adding support for MSX2. This requires recreating stuff at the circuit-level, but due to the magic of FPGA technology, users will easily be able to upgrade to MSX2 compatibility. Also, from what I understand, the 1C-MSX has two cart slots, so it will natively support carts, but it will also support running game images off of standard SD flash cards. The obvious benefit over disks is that everything is completely solid state, there are no moving parts that are proned to wearing down, and everything is very small and power efficient.

    The final product will come professionally sealed in a case, so you won't have a naked circuit board. Those pics are of the prototype.

    With regards to the cost of about $200 (USD), it is worth it for one reason: if Kevin decides to port his NES/Famicom project over to the 1C-MSX, then a defacto standard platform will be established for an FPGA-based retro-console. This entire thing is a chicken/egg kind of deal though. People won't develop for the FPGA-console unless everybody has one, but everybody won't buy one unless it supports their favorite consoles. If Kevin can be convinced to work with the 1C-MSX platform, then you can expect to see not just MSX1 and MSX2 compatibility, but also NES, Famicom, Atari 2600, Sega Master System, and all of the other 8-bit generation consoles.

    Again, there is no comparison to software based emulation. FPGA based circuit-level emulation is the future, but a standard FPGA-based console has to become widespread first. But just imagine the possibilities of combining all of your favorite 8-bit consoles into one console that supports all of the original peripherials and controllers and all of the games!

    If the 1C-MSX gets enough pre-orders, there may also be a portable version. Here are pictures of prototype casings for ASCII's FPGA console. Personally, they are a bit too "Japanese" for my tastes, but its what inside that counts. Note that some of the prototype cases are for a portable version that would be similar in size and shape to a Nintendo DS with one big screen as opposed to two small screens.

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    I'd be a lot more inclined to consider this if it had a S-video out included.

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    I checked out the pictures of the cases...hoo boy, that's just wrong. I'm seeing Sega Power Base and PV-1000 written ALL OVER those

    But as you say, Jagasian. Even if the system fails, I win because I get what I want, and I also get a rare system If the system doesn't fail, I win extra big because, well, I'd have an early unit. HAW

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    Quote Originally Posted by ddockery
    I'd be a lot more inclined to consider this if it had a S-video out included.
    Yeah, it sucks that the hardware has only high-end and low-end video formats. VGA is the highest quallity analog video standard, but few televisions support it. Meanwhile, RCA composite video is pretty low-end. The only thing worse than composite is RF, which is yucky. The highest-end format that most TVs support is S-video, but in the grand scheme of standards it is middle of the road as far as quality goes.

    However, it is important to consider the fact that the original NES and MSX did not have S-video. Hence you will have a system that has video quality identical tothe original system... unless your TV supports VGA, which will give you video quality better than the original system.

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    OK, I know crap-all about the MSX, but can't you get a real one for a fraction of that price? Am I missing something here?

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    Quote Originally Posted by anagrama
    OK, I know crap-all about the MSX, but can't you get a real one for a fraction of that price? Am I missing something here?
    Well, there's shipping, and for me to get a really *good* MSX-2...eh, it adds up, you'd be surprised. That's not all of it, though; I just want to keep the MSX standard alive if possible, keep the scene going, and have a machine I don't have to worry about QUITE so much when I'm using it. I'm also thinking it'll be configured for use in the US...

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