All.In.One

All.In.One

by hamlet on 30-12-2019, 13:36
Topic: Hardware
Languages:

Spanish manufacturer 8bits4ever did a SX-1 AIO proof of concept!
They are working on the first prototype of an AIO (all in one) MSX machine.
But there is still a lot to do: Keyboard layout, main board and case but it seems they are on the right track. The goal is a MSX2+ machine with SD card reader, VGA/RGB out, two cartridge slots, etc.
ETA is summer 2020

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Comments (14)

By sdsnatcher73

Paladin (871)

sdsnatcher73's picture

30-12-2019, 17:05

Cool! More MSX machines!

By syn

Paragon (1949)

syn's picture

31-12-2019, 11:05

This is awesome and I will most likely buy this one

By DamnedAngel

Master (184)

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31-12-2019, 11:33

Nice and promising project!
Why not using, though, Trucco's SM-X as the platform for this? Double SCC, Opl3, Wi-fi, HDMI and maybe 3 slots would be very welcome in an all-in-one machine!

By hamlet

Scribe (3043)

hamlet's picture

31-12-2019, 11:53

A All-In-One device is a smart idea, especially for those with small spaces on the desktop. But I see the techniqs are all OCM based from 2005.
I also think the next step have to be:
a) use a bigger FPGA like Trucco's SMX to implement USB support and maybe Graphics9k into the machine. I'm ok with just one slot, if the machine itself provides the oportunity to upload new cores with different extensions.
b) produce a really cheap and small device, like Nishi's 2001 prophecy. Smile
Both in one or in separate projects? I do not mind.

Happy to see such an active developer like 8bits4ever!

By 8bits4ever

Resident (41)

8bits4ever's picture

01-01-2020, 11:45

DamnedAngel wrote:

Nice and promising project!
Why not using, though, Trucco's SM-X as the platform for this? Double SCC, Opl3, Wi-fi, HDMI and maybe 3 slots would be very welcome in an all-in-one machine!

That would be the logical thing to do but AFAIK, only the FPGA source code of Trucco's SM-X is available. There is no schematics or information about the actual hardware. We only know it uses a pre-assembled FPGA training board mounted onto a custom breakout board which has all the IO.

One other thing is, in order to use HDMI on a board you need to pay royalties.

hamlet wrote:

a) use a bigger FPGA like Trucco's SMX to implement USB support and maybe Graphics9k into the machine. I'm ok with just one slot, if the machine itself provides the oportunity to upload new cores with different extensions.
b) produce a really cheap and small device, like Nishi's 2001 prophecy. Smile
Both in one or in separate projects? I do not mind.

a) It would make a lot of sense to use a newer/bigger FPGA, but we would need a third party to port the existing code to the new board. Thats not trivial task. It would be possible to use Victor Trucco's work but as I said before, not all the information is available to recreate the SMX.

b) How cheap should this small device you say be?

By hamlet

Scribe (3043)

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01-01-2020, 11:59

Well, as you might know, I'm very happy with your products.
It does happen last week, when I read the story about Nishi's visit in Tillburg 2001. He spread his ideas of MSX machines in everyones pocket. so b) has come true with the SX1-mini.
The SX1-mini comes with all features a MSX should have, although I miss a implemented cartridgeslot. It is worth every penny. But go on further an have a look where the future may be, the next step might be a bigger FPGA.
A product that offers HDMI and a much needed USB support will certainly justify a higher price. At the moment, however, I see a muted note with the existing technology, which allows little growth.
Innovations, ideas like the AIO in the form factor combined with technical innovations would perhaps convince buyers to see an alternative in the emulator and also collectors to use another machine.

Summary

  • AIO Design, top quality keyboard
  • HDMI
  • full USB support for drives, pens, keyboard
  • different configurations of the FPGA with G9k, OPLL-OPL4, R800

This way AIO would be like AIO should be.

These are high goals, I am aware of that.
But these reasons are based on suggestions that I have been following for a long time.

  • When I look at the concerns, wishes and questions of newcomers, it turns around:
  • Which Flashrom should I buy?
  • Which Soundcartridge is necessary?
  • Which generation do I need?

Certainly not everything can be realized in the next generation, but a road map is given.
To go only with the OCM design will not bring many new buyers into your camp.

Have a nice 2020 and thank you for having an opend mind and keep on msxing!

By syn

Paragon (1949)

syn's picture

01-01-2020, 12:11

Indeed, the SX1-mini was almost perfect imo, only missing a cartridge port. I think I asked in one of the forum threads whether I can use the cartridge bay slot connector as a normal cart but I did not get an answer afaik

By hamlet

Scribe (3043)

hamlet's picture

01-01-2020, 12:25

You're able to connect 8bits4ever's cartridgeslot extension, sold separately.
I got one coming with the SX1, which should be working but did'nt tested it yet.

By syn

Paragon (1949)

syn's picture

01-01-2020, 12:39

Yeah thats what I mean with " cartridge bay slot connector", I meant there is a connector for the extention thingy,. but it would be great if we can for example connect a 4 slot expander to it directly or just one game or whatever

By 8bits4ever

Resident (41)

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01-01-2020, 15:44

syn wrote:

Yeah thats what I mean with " cartridge bay slot connector", I meant there is a connector for the extention thingy,. but it would be great if we can for example connect a 4 slot expander to it directly or just one game or whatever

Yes, you can connect the slot expander module we sell directly to the SX-1, but be aware you won't be able to plug cartridges which already expand the slot themselves (Carnivore2, MFR, SD Mapper, etc). Those cartridges need to be connected onto a primary slot to work properly.

hamlet wrote:

Summary

  • AIO Design, top quality keyboard
  • HDMI
  • full USB support for drives, pens, keyboard
  • different configurations of the FPGA with G9k, OPLL-OPL4, R800

This way AIO would be like AIO should be.

Completely agree with those specs and I would love to have a machine like that for myself, but as you said, implement all those characteristics is not an easy task. For example, there is no verily/VHDL implementation for the R800 and OPL4, and so I don't think those will ever come to happen in the near future. Also, in my experience, if you set goals too high the project might not come to realisation. I think the first step would be using a bigger FPGA that allows for future development. We've been looking into that road and it's certainly possible. Lets see what we can do about that.

Happy 2020!!!
Daniel

By smx

Resident (37)

smx's picture

03-01-2020, 11:06

Why not an USB interface to connect it to a real msx?

I think about something similar to C64USBKeyboard
It's cheap and easy to build.

In this way i could insert SX-1 in my damaged Philips VG8020 and resurrect it

By hamlet

Scribe (3043)

hamlet's picture

04-01-2020, 08:44

Since the platform does not only consist of one hardware type it is naturally very difficult to adapt individual keyboard adapters. There are ideas for some types, but there is still a lot of work to be done. An Arduino can be useful to read the matrix. But this should not be part of the SX1 or any other FPGA.

By Samor

Paragon (2046)

Samor's picture

04-01-2020, 17:58

It looks really nice, I do hope the final product will have a more game-friendly cursor layout though Smile
HDMI would be lovely, but if it's too difficult or expensive to implement VGA will still do.
Another thing that would be very welcome is if sound interference (noise) could be kept at a minimum.

I'd argue it's not a bad idea to stick close to the OCM design as it is well supported, and if there is an update or improvement a lot of devices can benefit. I know it's a relatively old hardware design but the implementation has really matured thanks to people like KdL.
VGA is sub-optimal with today's screens but a VGA to HDMI adapter is a good workaround. PS/2 keyboards are more of a problem as they are becoming less and less common but that's not an issue with this particular device.

By Chadwick

Supporter (13)

Chadwick's picture

04-02-2020, 19:52

I love projects like this and will definitely look into getting one. the old hardware won't last forever.