CF-640 by 8bits4ever

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By Wild_Penguin

Hero (638)

Wild_Penguin's picture

12-07-2016, 19:16

meckert wrote:

When using a card like Sd512 or Cf640 will I be able to use sd/cf like a normal disk in MSX-DOS? Will disk games work, just by copying files to folders ?

Those interfaces will work like hard disks (AFAIK, haven't used / don't own either of those). Same goes for MegaFlashRomSCC+SD's SDcard -part, and many other devices.

About disk software: if the software consists of regular files, it is usually usable after copying to HD; sometimes there may even be a installation batch file. But if it is copy protected (which is a case for a lot of games), the intention was that you should boot from the floppy. Sometimes the files were just missing, but sometimes the disk was in a non-standard format - so you could not just do a disk copy. If the disk was formatted in a weird way, no .dsk file can represent it.

I think one way to think about this and (hopefully) remove some confusion, is thinking about the different standards that were available for MSX mass storage (this can be generalized to apply to other computer systems too):

  • Floppy interface
  • IDE interface
  • SCSI interface

Just like on a PC, an IDE or SCSI interface may have a hard drive, a CD-ROM or other optical media etc; SD-card and CF-card interfaces are actually adapters to IDE, and the MSX "sees" the card as a hard disk (it needs to be partitioned etc.). There are also floppy emulators, that take SD cards, or an USB2PC communication etc., and can use floppy images as floppies. In this case, MSX will see "real" floppies (oh, there's even NoWind interface, read abot it in the Wiki, but I don't think it is made/available anymore).

A Flash cartridge is used to install ROM images. MSX will see "real" cartridges in this case. A Flash cartridge may be flashed in such a way, that it will contain a read-only floppy image; but such an image can not contain all copy protected software, and can not be written to.

The main point is: if you run a piece of software without the real interface originally required for the software, will always be a hack. But even then there are differences in compatibility: running from DOS with some utility (loadrom.com etc. for ROM files or runit.com and similar for .DSK) is the least compatible way. Works 90% of the time, and will require a lot of RAM for .ROM files (you need some left after loading the ROM into RAM).

Flash cartridges are closest alternative to a real ROM cartridge. Even then there are corner cases when a flash cartridge might not work 100% identical to the real thing. There are flash cartridges that don't support all mappers, and/or don't have the SCC chip used by a lot of Konami games and some scene releases (MFRSCC+ is the most compatible and versatile). Even floppy emulators (that have a real floppy interface) might not be able to handle all copy protected software. Most copy-protected disk software has already been cracked and such versions may be available, somewhere. Many copy-protected games are still in standard format (just the data is not in regular DOS files), and as such can be copied to a .dsk file.

A word about DOS: DOS1 just boots from a disk (and requires no ROM). DOS2 requires a 64kb ROM (there are some cracked versions that load into RAM, but no one uses them AFAIK and there may be compatibility problems). IDE and SCSI interfaces usually (if not always) come with a DOS2 rom, so you are covered if you get one.

By mfeingol

Champion (290)

mfeingol's picture

12-07-2016, 19:17

meckert:

In some ways, you can treat an SD-512 like a giant floppy disk with subdirectories. There are files, and you can run them. If they worked when run from a floppy disk, they'll probably work when run from the SD card.

There are exceptions to this, particularly software that uses the memory mapper. E.g. I've had trouble using Loadrom to run megaroms with Nextor on the SD-512. But it works fine from a DOS/DOS2 floppy disk.

I like to use Sofarun as a launcher. Using that, you can generally execute .cas files and .dsk files from the SD-512 without major issues. Smaller rom files work fine as well, as Sofarun uses Loadrom to run them. To run megaroms, you may need to find cracked disk versions that will work with the particular memory layout. Testing in openMSX using an emulated MFR-SCC+SD first is a good bet.

By meckert

Rookie (18)

meckert's picture

13-07-2016, 07:23

Wow, guys thanks for detailed info ! As I said I'm new to MSX, but I have a large retro collection of various Amiga, C= 8 bit, Sinclair, Atari and consoles stuff, and each hardware comes with differend modern mass storage solutions. So not everything was clear to me, based on my previous experience Smile

By gdx

Enlighted (4498)

gdx's picture

03-01-2020, 15:14

What's version of EVA player we can use with this interface?

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