What happened to all those MSX2INPC cards from Philips ?

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Paladin (864)

Portrait de WORP3

15-08-2011, 16:27

I can remember that Philips did create a PC card with a msx2 on it, but for some reason i'm not seeing them around anymore ?

See: http://msx.hcc.nl/archief/msx/foto09.html

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Par OeiOeiVogeltje

Paragon (1438)

Portrait de OeiOeiVogeltje

15-08-2011, 17:44

one was sold 2 years ago in Nijmegen

Par Jipe

Paragon (1624)

Portrait de Jipe

15-08-2011, 17:45

i have one with the bus connector 2 pins warm up
but never try to insert in a old PC computer because all solder are not in good condition

Par Repair-Bas

Paragon (1176)

Portrait de Repair-Bas

15-08-2011, 18:03

I have one, but never used it

Par Manuel

Ascended (19676)

Portrait de Manuel

15-08-2011, 22:18

It's hard to find a PC with an ISA bus to insert the card...


Enlighted (6976)

Portrait de ARTRAG

15-08-2011, 22:47

Nice hw.How does it work?

Par Poltergeist

Champion (280)

Portrait de Poltergeist

15-08-2011, 23:02

My father and I used to have one for demonstration purposes. It's basically an almost complete MSX2 computer, which can be inserted into a PC. You can connect a CGA monitor to it (which uses the same frequency as the MSX2), and loop the CGA image of the PC through it, so you need one monitor, or use one (for example VGA) monitor for the PC, and a CGA monitor for the card. It uses the PC-Keyboard, a diskdrive and the mouse, but not the memory and the harddrive of the PC. It was fun to have it, but a real MSX2 computer was much better to use: The keyboard support wasn't perfect, and it was not possible to do two things at the same time (one task on the PC, one on the MSX computer).

I don't think there were many made by the way: After the first batch there were talks about a second batch, but if memory serves me correctly, that second batch never happened.

Par sd_snatcher

Prophet (3675)

Portrait de sd_snatcher

16-08-2011, 01:20

Are there any dumps of the ROMs of this card? Because it's ROMs probably had to be modified for the keyboard/disk support. It would be interesting to study how they did it.

Also, are there any emulator that emulates this card?

Par Poltergeist

Champion (280)

Portrait de Poltergeist

16-08-2011, 07:04

Yes and yes:


(haven't tried them myself, though...)

Par Manuel

Ascended (19676)

Portrait de Manuel

16-08-2011, 20:03

BlueMSX doesn't emulate the card, it just emulates an MSX with the same ROMs and memory setup. I wonder who made those dumps, though!

Par Alex

Master (207)

Portrait de Alex

16-08-2011, 22:00

Are there any dumps of the ROMs of this card? Because it's ROMs probably had to be modified for the keyboard/disk support. It would be interesting to study how they did it.

Only the disk ROM was modified. The other ROMs not. The card itself contained a custom chip that interfaced between the MSX bus and the PC ISA bus and with a program running on the PC to communicate with that chip. That chip emulats amongst other the PPI-interface for the keyboard. The program running on the PC sets or resets the appropriate bits in the keymatrix registers in the chip and when the MSX reads a row from the keyboard through the PPI-interface, then that chip returns the appropriate value from the keymatrix registers maintained by the PC program.
The chip also contained a few ports for floppy emulation. The diskrom could write for example to some I/O port (or a memory-based port address, don't remember by heart), which would make that the chip would send an interrupt request to the PC, which then triggers a routine in the PC program to understand which sector that the MSX is trying to read or write and which is then mapped to the appropriate location in the diskimage file on the harddrive of the PC. So most part of the disk rom was very standard like on other MSX models. The only part that was special was the part to physically read or write the sector, because those routines did not have to communicate with one of the regular floppy controllers used in most MSX models but with this custom chip, that acted as gateway to the emulator program on the PC.

I figured this out because at one moment in time I wanted to write a fastcopy driver for the card. In order to learn how the floppy emulation worked, I disassembled the PC program and studied the code. Though, once I was done with that I eventually ran out of time to write the actual driver. I guess I did not consider it a high enough priority, given the fact that the people with the card have a PC anyway and can use some native PC program to copy their floppies. But it was very inspirational to study how Philips had made it work Smile

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