CX5M general questions

By ruthven

Supporter (11)

ruthven's picture

26-08-2010, 04:25

Greetings. I'm new to this forum and to MSX--well, "new" in that I've never owned one but I've emulated it to play games for years. I first discovered this system looking for early incarnations of classics I knew from NES (Castlevania, Gradius, Metal Gear, etc.). Over the years I've started building a vintage computer collection starting with the TI-99/4a, then C64, C128, A500, 130XE... always wanted an actual MSX but could never find an NTSC system...

Then just recently I learned of perhaps the only NTSC MSX variant--the CX5M, quite accidentally while browsing through synthesizer auctions. Incidentally I have an obsession with vintage synths, making this machine doubly interesting to me. So after hunting for a while I've finally found one, but unfortunately I'm thinking it must be PAL (coming from the U.K.). So I thought I'd ask some questions here just to be absolutely sure:

Do I need a PAL monitor/TV for a PAL system to display properly?...or can the system be placed into NTSC mode?--I read in an old post that certain Japanese games would automatically go into NTSC mode. And I also heard at one point that NTSC games would often display properly on PAL systems but not vice versa. Of course this may all be assuming you have a PAL monitor to go with your PAL system...

If that's the case then I guess I'll just have to keep waiting, but I have a few more general CX5M/MSX questions: I heard Yamaha put out a floppy disk drive for the CX5M but it's very rare--I've also heard that any MSX compatible disk drive will work with a CX5M--but then again, I've heard that the original model CX5M (SFG-01) can't use the drive (though I don't know if it just can't use the Yamaha drive specifically or any drive at all). So if anybody could clear this up for me I'd appreciate it! I'm hoping it can use a generic MSX drive as I'm unlikely to ever find a system with the Yamaha drive. Having a drive is essential to me for saving data, programs, games etc.

My final question is two part: is there much disk software (games, applications, utilities) available for MSX (that can feasibly be run on a 32K CX5M) and if there is, is it possible to recreate these disks from rom images I download? Seems a lot of the games I'm already familiar with were released primarily (if not exclusively) on cartridge--I wonder if there is a way to convert these images...

Thanks for reading.

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By kwilting

Expert (80)

kwilting's picture

26-08-2010, 12:48

Let's see. The CX5M has a connector for a monitor on the back so I assume you can use it on a regular old computermonitor. Haven't tried that yet. Mine is connected to an old televison. Maybe you can try one of your monitors that you use for your other old computers ?

The Yamaha Floppy disk system is pretty rare. You can use any external MSX floppy drive (with interfacecartridge) if you want to use it for the computer. External MSX Floppy drives can be found on Ebay but are a bit expensive. The orginal CX5M with the SFG-01 doesnt support the diskdrive when you use the internal Musicsoftware. But you can use it as a normal MSX computer. If you want to use it with the musicsoftware then you need to replace the SFG-01 by the SFG-05. You also need the newer Composer and synthesizer version because the first versions only support the data cartridge and a tape recorder.

The CX5M has a cartridge slot on top and a strange one on the back. If you can manage to get hold of the adapter you can use the one in the back as well. That is very handy if you want to use the diskdrive because then you need 2 slots: one for the drive and one for the music software. (or something else like a memory expansion cartridge).

A lot of the older MSX 1 software runs without any problems on the CX5M ROM images are a bit hard to run because the loaders work under MSX DOS 1 and together with the software you probably need 64Kb of memory. Trying to get diskversions of the ROM files is probably better for the CX5M. An easy solution is to buy a Philips or Sony 64Kb memory cartridge. They appear on Ebay. (about 20 dollars is a reasonable price). If you insert that in the CX5M than you can run any MSX 1 game you want.

By st1mpy

Paladin (779)

st1mpy's picture

26-08-2010, 14:37

I suspect some of the games you want to play are MSX2 games (not MSX1), so you will not be able to play them on CX5M. If you need a NTSC system, if I were you I would just get a MSX2 or MSX2+ machine with floppy drive built in from Japan.
Also, if you must own a Yamaha system, there were MSX2 machines released from Yamaha in Japan.

By Manuel

Ascended (17943)

Manuel's picture

26-08-2010, 19:14

Import any MSX from Japan indeed and you have an NTSC system. As st1mpy said: go for MSX2 or higher with built in disk drive.