Sakhr AX-660
This page was last modified 23:18, 2 July 2021 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Gdx and Rderooy and others.

Contents

Description

Computer

Sakhr Computers was a Kuwaiti company (Al Alamiah co.) that was selling MSX computers imported from Japan in all of the Arab world. These MSX were localized by Al Alamiah and rebranded for the Arabic market.

The Sakhr AX-660 is a dual MSX1 computer/ Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) console assembled in Taiwan. The MSX part is similar to the AX-230, manufactured by Sanyo, but comes with the MSX2 VDP.

There are two RESET keys on the top row of the keyboard: one to reset the MSX, and one to reset the Sega half of the machine.

After booting without pressing the CTRL key, the computer will be in Arabic mode. In this mode:

  • the combination of the GRAPH key with an alphabetic key will display an MSX-BASIC instruction on the screen
  • the extra STAR key can be used in a similar way to the GRAPH key
  • some combinations can produce accented characters instead of MSX-BASIC instructions
Brand Sakhr (Assembled in Taiwan)
Model AX-660
Year 1992
Region Middle East
Launch price
RAM 64kB (? in slot 0-2)
VRAM 16kB
Media MSX cartridges, Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) cartridges
Video Yamaha V9938 (MSX2 VDP!)
Audio PSG (YM2149 integrated in MSX-Engine S1985)
Chipset Yamaha S1985
Keyboard layout QWERTY/Arabic
Extras support for Sega Mega Drive/Genesis cartridges, two reset buttons (MSX and Sega), Arabic BASIC, firmware (Calendar, Graphics, Arabic Writer, English Writer, 15 educational games, 10 recreative games)
Emulation ROM dump needed. See this thread for details

Firmware

This machine comes with an 'enhanced' version 1.01 of Arabic firmware, present on all Sakhr/Al Alamiah computers.

The firmware can be skipped by pressing CTRL key while booting and until you come on the MSX-BASIC screen. By doing that, the machine will be in International mode, the Arabic characters will not be available and also you get only one drive (the A: drive) if you have added external diskdrives.

This firmware adds Arabic characters, new MSX-BASIC instructions (see Arabic BASIC), 4 applications and 2 extra options for MSX software. You can choose them in the menu with the keys 1 to 6:

Options 1 to 4 remain unchanged on all Sakhr/Al Alamiah MSX1 computers.

You have on this machine a total of 30 programs: MSX-BASIC, 4 applications and 25 games.

If you press key 7 when you are in the menu, you will go to MSX-BASIC.

Going back to the menu is possible with CALL MENU or _MENU (don't use it if you are in International mode !). Note that in this case, you will go to the 'normal' Arabic firmware menu with only 5 options instead of 7.

Pictures

Computer

Sakhr AX-660
Sakhr AX-660 back (detail)
Sakhr AX-660 box
Sakhr AX-660 label
Sakhr AX-660 back
Sakhr AX-660 PCB
Sakhr AX-660 right side

Firmware

Arabic firmware version 1.01
Arabic firmware 1.01 'enhanced' menu
Arabic firmware 1.01 Arabic Calendar
Arabic firmware 1.01 English Calendar
Arabic firmware Graphics
Arabic firmware Arabic Writer
Arabic firmware English Writer
Arabic firmware 1.01 Educational Games
Arabic firmware 1.01 Recreative Games
Arabic firmware 1.01 'normal' menu

Specifications

The AX-660 is a MSX1 with a Z80A from Zilog, a V9938 and an MSX-Engine S1985 from Yamaha. Besides, it is equipped with the components of a Sega Mega Drive/Genesis console (a second Z80A, 68000, etc).

A small switch on the back of the unit allows to toggle between the MSX computer and the Sega console.

The main RAM is probably present on slot 0-2, a configuration that can cause poorly written software to crash. Also, with this layout, the POKE-1,(15-PEEK(-1)\16)*17 trick to workaround buggy software that does not handle subslots properly will cause this machine to freeze.

Connections