What should I do with my new Philips VG8235?

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Door CX5Mer

Champion (322)

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08-12-2014, 23:49

I recently had a successful auction for a Philips VG8235 MSX2 computer on eBay. It will arrive in a few days time from the Netherlands. This particular 8235 has already been refurbished and upgraded. The spec is now 256K RAM, 256K VRAM, and a double sided disk drive. It also has 64K ROM, which I'm not sure is an upgrade. I thought this model may come with Philips Designer on ROM. The seller has now told me this program isn't on ROM, but they may send me a copy if they can find it.

I have never owned an MSX2 computer before, because they weren't released in the UK where I lived and still do live. I had a Yamaha CX5M Music Computer. Before as well as after getting the Yamaha MSX computer, I regularly read the British magazines "MSX User" and "MSX Computing". I have recently been reading the Dutch "MSX Computer Magazine", because I learnt Dutch years ago and studied some more Dutch recently using the software XBMC. I have recently used openmsx on my Raspberry Pi, as well as on a desktop PC, though. I wonder what I should buy to help me get more from this particular MSX2 computer. I'm interested in creating graphic art, as well as programming and playing games.

I obviously need a way of transferring files across to my VG8235 from a PC. I want the cheapest way of doing this at the moment. I own a very old desktop PC which originally came with Windows Me and has a floppy drive built in, but this PC isn't working properly at the moment. The USB ports don't work, but the PS/2 ports do work, and the CD R/W drive which I fitted myself can no longer open or close itself. I'm not sure what else is wrong with it. I also own a more recent second hand desktop PC with Windows XP pre installed. I think the cheapest and easiest way to get MSX software onto floppy disks would be to use a USB floppy drive such as http://www.amazon.co.uk/Proxima-Direct%C2%AE-External-Portab... . I hope people on here can tell me whether or not that drive is suitable. AFAIK the disks should be formatted on the MSX computer itself, because of the book sectors. These will probably be HD disks, so they may need to have some tape put over one hole. It seems I need a cartridge holder to use the rear cartridge port, but I don't think this is included. There seems to be just the computer, the PSU, and a SCART cable.

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Van Grauw

Ascended (10025)

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08-12-2014, 23:51

You are absolutely correct Smile.

Van CX5Mer

Champion (322)

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08-12-2014, 23:53

Grauw wrote:

You are absolutely correct Smile.

I don't know what you mean. What am I absolutely correct about?

Van Grauw

Ascended (10025)

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09-12-2014, 00:14

Everything you said, re. formatting, tape on hole, etc. seems correct to me Smile. Have nothing to add.

Van CX5Mer

Champion (322)

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09-12-2014, 00:16

Will that particular USB disk drive work OK? Can you recommend any software for doing graphic art, and for programming?

Van Meits

Scribe (6438)

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09-12-2014, 00:43

256kB VRAM? Quite unique

Van CX5Mer

Champion (322)

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09-12-2014, 01:28

I didn't realise that was unusual. Is that good or bad? Will it cause any problems?

Van Poltergeist

Champion (276)

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09-12-2014, 06:35

I always thought the 9938 could handle a maximum of 192kB, so 256 kB is very unique. Almost all MSX2 computers only have 128kB VRAM. More VRAM should not be a problem, but you probably will not use it much...

Van Meits

Scribe (6438)

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09-12-2014, 09:06

It sais 256k ram on the casing of the vg 8235. Don't let the Philipses fool you. They added vram and ram on (almost) all their casings, but still had (only) 128 of each.

Van Manuel

Ascended (18093)

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09-12-2014, 10:05

Yes, this is most likely a misunderstanding. AFAIK the VDP doesn't support more than 192kB VRAM. And there is hardly any software supporting the 64kB extra VRAM on top of the usual 128kB.
So, I would be surprised if that 8235 has more than 128kB VRAM. But that's just fine Smile

64kB ROM is normal: 32kB BIOS+BASIC, 16kB diskROM, 16kB subROM (for MSX2 functionality).

Designer is on ROM in the 8220.

Cheapest way is to use floppies indeed with your old PC. (Note that I have a 2008 PC which runs a modern OS and still has a disk drive connector on the motherboard (and thus a drive built in for MSX usage)).

Your 8235 will not come with a separate PSU, because it's built in.

You don't need the cartridge holder to use the back-port, but it certainly helps to make the cartridge fit a bit more stable. (But I must admit I never really used a 8235 for a longer time than just testing whether it works.)

Van Grauw

Ascended (10025)

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09-12-2014, 11:29

CX5Mer wrote:

Will that particular USB disk drive work OK?

No way to tell, I don’t have one, let alone that particular model. I suspect it will. For that price, it’s hardly a loss if it doesn’t.

CX5Mer wrote:

Can you recommend any software for doing graphic art, and for programming?

For graphics, use AGE5. For Basic programming, Kun-Basic is pretty neat, very fast. For assembly programming, as a beginner I recommend WBASS2. Later you can move on to Gen80, Compass, or cross-compiling on the PC.

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