MSX Specifications

MSX (first generation)

The effect of attribute clash when using the 256×192 Highres mode of TMS9918.
Processor: Zilog Z80A running at 3.58 MHz
ROM: 32 KB
BIOS (16 KB)
MSX BASIC V1.0 (16 KB)
RAM: 8 KB minimum, most machines provided either 32 or 64 KB; machines with 128 KB exist
Video Display Processor: Texas Instruments TMS9918 family
Video RAM: 16 KB
Text modes: 40×24 and 32×24
Resolution: 256×192 (16 colours). In reality there are just 15 colour tints available, because, just like Sinclair Spectrum there are two codes for black. Unlike the Spectrum however, one of the blacks is actually “transparent”, so the MSX video picture could be overlaid on another video signal, for example one from a video disk.
Sprites: 32, 1 colour, max 4 per horizontal line
Sound chip: General Instrument AY-3-8910 (PSG)

MSX2
Processor: Zilog Z80A running at 3.58 MHz
ROM: 48 KB
BIOS + Extended BIOS (32 KB)
MSX BASIC V2.0 or V2.1 (16 KB)
DiskROM (16 KB) (optional, common)
MSX-Audio BIOS (32 KB) (optional, no machines are known with this BIOS built in)
RAM: 64 KB minimum, commonly 128 KB in Europe, 64 KB on Japanese computers, machines with up to 512 KB were made
Memory mapped (4 MB/slot max) (optional)
Video Display Processor: Yamaha V9938 (a.k.a. MSX-Video) Supports all MSX video modes plus:
Increased video RAM: 128 KB (sometimes 64 or 192 KB)
New text mode: 80×24
New bitmapped video modes without the attribute clash of MSX 1
New resolutions: 512×212 (16 colours out of 512) and 256×212 (256 colours)
Increased number of, and more advanced sprites: 32, 16 colours, max 8 per horizontal line
Hardware acceleration for copy, line, fill, etc.
Interlacing to double vertical resolution
A vertical scroll register
Vertical and horizontal display offset register
Sound chip: Yamaha YM2149 (PSG)
Clock chip: Ricoh RP5C01 (or compatible)
3.5 in (89 mm) Floppy disk drive is common

MSX2+
MSX2+ computer: a Panasonic FS-A1WSX
Only officially released in Japan (available in Europe and Brazil via upgrades)
Processor: Zilog Z80 compatible running at 3.58 MHz (the MSX2+ models from Panasonic can be set to run on 5.37 MHz by software, but this is not part of the standard)
ROM: 64 KB
BIOS + Extended BIOS (32 KB)
MSX BASIC V3.0 (16 KB)
DiskROM (16 KB) (optional, very common)
Kun-BASIC (16 KB) (optional)
Kanji ROM (optional)
RAM: commonly 64 KB (on Japanese computers)
Memory mapped (4 MB/slot max)
Video Display Processor: Yamaha V9958 (aka MSX-Video) All of MSX2’s specifications plus:
The minimal video RAM is now 128 KB. Up to 192KB is supported.
a new 256×212 YJK video mode with 19268 simultaneous colors
a new 256×212 mixed-YJK/RGB video mode with 12499 simultaneous colors
a horizontal scroll register
Sound chip: Yamaha YM2149 (PSG)
Optional sound chip: Yamaha YM2413 (OPLL) (MSX-Music)
Clock chip RP5C01
3.5 in (89 mm) Floppy disk drive is very common

MSX turboR
Only released in Japan
Processor: R800 and Zilog Z80A compatible
R800 running at 7.16 MHz (instructions use about 4x less clock ticks than the Z80, so often quoted as 28.6 MHz when comparing with the Z80)
Zilog Z80A compatible (embedded in the T9769C MSX-Engine) running at 3.58 MHz for backward compatibility
ROM: 96 KB
BIOS + Extended BIOS (48 KB)
MSX BASIC V4.0 (16 KB)
DiskROM (16 KB)
Kun-BASIC (16 KB)
Kanji ROM (256 KB)
Firmware (4 MB)
RAM: 256 KB (FS-A1ST) or 512 KB (FS-A1GT)
Memory mapped (4 MB/slot max)
Additionally 16 KB (FS-A1ST) or 32 KB (FS-A1GT) of SRAM (battery-powered)
Video Display Processor: Yamaha V9958 (aka MSX-Video) so the same capabilities as MSX2+
Sound chip: Yamaha YM2149 (PSG)
Sound chip: Yamaha YM2413 (OPLL) (MSX-Music)
Sound chip: PCM
8-bit single channel (no DMA), 16 kHz max using BIOS routines.
Microphone built-in
Sound chip: MIDI in/out (FS-A1GT only)
Clock chip
3.5 in (89 mm) Floppy disk drive

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