MSX2 VS Famcom

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Por eimaster

Master (226)

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15-10-2017, 03:47

Which is better in capabilities when compared against each other MSX2 machine or Famicom machine?

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Por wyrdwad

Paladin (827)

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15-10-2017, 06:30

Overall, probably the Famicom, though I think the MSX2 has a better color palette, and if you have a model with MSX-music, it has better audio capabilities too (and in general has better audio capabilities if you're playing, say, a Konami game with an SCC chip in it).

Boost that up to an MSX2+, and it's a closer race. And boost it up to turboR, and the MSX definitely wins.


Por ImATrackMan

Expert (87)

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15-10-2017, 06:52

Considering the Famicom had its fair share of audio expansions, I'd say the audio capabilities lean heavily in the Famicom's favor. From MSX2 onward though, the graphical capabilities blow the Famicom completely out of the water. and the ability to read from REAL floppy disks early on pushes the MSX way ahead.

Por gdx

Prophet (3427)

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15-10-2017, 09:42

Smaller MSX2 specifications

CPU is a Z80 at 3.57 Mhz
64kB of RAM
PSG: 3 voices (each can be tone or noise)
64kB kB of video RAM
Screen resolution: 512×212 max
Number of displayable color: 16
Color palette: 512 colors
32 sprites with 16 colors from 256 or 64 of 8×8 or 16×16 pixels (8 per line max)

NES specifications

CPU is a 6502 1.66 Mhz in PAL or 1.79 Mhz
2kB of RAM
PSG: 5 voices (2 tons, 1 noise, 1 PCM on 1 bit with frequency at 4.2~33.5 kHz, 1 with programable envelop)
2 kB of video RAM + 256 bytes
Screen resolution: 256×240 max
Number of displayable colors: 25
Color palette: 53 colors:
64 sprites of 8×8 or 8×16 pixels (8 per line max)
No keyboard

Some points are difficult to compare but almost everything seems worse on NES or equivalent. Only a few points are better.

Por wyrdwad

Paladin (827)

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15-10-2017, 10:18

Wow, I had no idea the MSX2 was that much more powerful! It's kind of sad that more MSX2 titles didn't take advantage of this, since for the most part, when you have a multi-platform game available on both the NES and the MSX2, the NES version tends to come across as technically superior. A lot of that is due to the lack of hardware scrolling in the MSX2 standard (wasn't added until MSX2+, I believe), but MSX2 games also seemed more prone to slowdown and sprite flickering -- compare the Castlevanias, for example. Visually, the two look pretty similar, with perhaps the slight edge going to the MSX2 version when examining screenshots -- but the NES version had scrolling, which the MSX2 version lacked, and the NES version was also much less prone to slowdown and flicker, and seemed to run faster in general (when Simon gets hit in the NES version, he flies backward pretty quickly, whereas in the MSX2 version, it's like he got knocked backward in slow motion!).

Note that I'm purely looking at the technical performance of the two games here -- I actually prefer Vampire Killer on the MSX2 to Castlevania on the NES by quite a bit, but that comes down more to the game design differences between them than anything else.


Por wolf_

Ambassador_ (9799)

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15-10-2017, 11:03

gdx wrote:

Number of displayable colors: 25

So, I kind of don't see the logic in here. To choose from 25 colours means you need at least 5 bits (per pixel? per tile?). Why not show 32 then?

Por bore

Expert (116)

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15-10-2017, 11:14

I wouldn't really say that MSX2 is much more powerful.
If you compare processing power the CPU frequency by itself doesn't say much when comparing different CPUs.
If the numbers at wikipedia are correct the MSX2 can process 0.517 MIPS while the PAL NES can process 0.714 MIPS.
The sprites are multicolor without having to resort to trickery too.

The things that the MSX2 have going for it compared to other 8-bit platforms are the large amounts of memory and the VDP.
If you are going to write a text editor the MSX2 will really have the advantage over the NES unless you put a lot of RAM in the NES cartridge.
MSX doesn't really seem designed for games.

Por Grauw

Ascended (8904)

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15-10-2017, 11:34

I think where MSX2 has the advantage is amount of palette colours, on par with e.g. the Sega MegaDrive, MSX2 makes for prettier pictures. Where the NES has the advantage is scroll registers (ever the MSX weakness).

Por gdx

Prophet (3427)

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15-10-2017, 11:53

Bore, what deceives you is that the NES has attracted a lot of talented developers and the cartridges often had an integrated extension. On MSX, developers took a long time to migrate to MSX2 and they favored floppy disks.
Only Konami has put an extension (SCC) a few MSX2 game cartridges. In addition, developers on NES had the freedom to directly access the hardware with all the tricks imaginable.

Por syn

Paragon (1949)

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15-10-2017, 12:16

wolf_ wrote:
gdx wrote:

Number of displayable colors: 25

So, I kind of don't see the logic in here. To choose from 25 colours means you need at least 5 bits (per pixel? per tile?). Why not show 32 then?

Por PingPong

Prophet (3513)

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15-10-2017, 12:50

about hw sprites , famicom is not so superior in terms of sprites .
msx sprites allow to a decent width (16px) nes ones are 8 pix wide. this forces the developer to pair sprites to have the 16 px size (the minimum decent width IMHO) so the apparent advantage that has nes in not getting multicolor restrictions is lost, at least for main or enemy charaters.
As usual it depends:
on msx2 a knife can be done with a single sprite because color restrictions are not a show stopper. NES needs to sprites -> so less flickering for msx2.
on nes, multicolor bullets with more color on scanline are probably doable in 8px with a single sprites. msx2 need two sprites. -> so less flickering for nes, or monochromatic/striped bullet.

background wise, msx2 will kick the NES ass easily. Plus one can use the blitter to achieve sw sprites without flicker and limitations on size/color.

the real problem on V9938 is the lack of horizontal hw scrolling, the sad heritage from the msx1 VDP.

CPU wise, the NES 6502 is not a powerful CPU, but it's clocked @ 1.7 Mhz. To be fair MSX2 need at least a 5Mhz z80.

disclaimer: I do not want to fire the usual flame, but the way both cpu uses the clock is different so comparing performances based on Mhz does not have much sense.
(hint: 6502 has two phase clock, z80 use a single clock source, that's the reason of a so high difference in clock speed)

a 6502 @ 1.76 is really a PUSHED 6502, as a 5-7 Mhz z80 is. (comparing the original chip speed)

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