Sony HB-F5
This page was last modified 17:22, 3 November 2021 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Rderooy and Keith56 and others.
Sony HB-F5.png




The HB-F5 is the first MSX2 computer released by Sony, aimed at the Japanese market. There are two colour varieties, either black or light grey.

Europe instead got the HB-F9 in light grey the next year, which looks externally very similar to the HB-F5, but uses an MSX-Engine, has more RAM and a totally different firmware.

The power button is on the left of the machine, the reset button is located below the cartridge slots. This computer has a QWERTY Japanese keyboard with ANSI layout for kana characters.

Brand Sony
Model HB-F5
Year 1985-10
Region Japan
Launch price ¥84,800
RAM 64kB in slot 0-2
VRAM 128kB
Media MSX cartridges
Video Yamaha V9938
Audio PSG (YM2149)
Chipset none (separate IC's)
Keyboard layout QWERTY/JP50on + numeric keypad
Extras Personal Databank, reset button
Emulation ROMs dumped and emulated


The machine comes with a built-in Personal Databank with saving on cassette tape or the HBI-55 data cartridge.

The firmware is launched automatically when you boot the machine. Bypassing this software on startup requires the user to press the DEL key during boot until a Beep sound, or to insert a cartridge into one of the slots before switching on the computer.

This software has 6 options: Mode 40 or 80 columns, BASIC, Address, Schedule, Memo, Transfer (replaced by Copy when a HBI-55 cartridge is present).

When there's a HBI-55 cartridge, it is possible in MSX-BASIC to save little programs on the data cartridge and to load / run them from this cartridge, with the commands SAVE"CAT:" and LOAD"CAT:".

By comparison with the HB-55 and HB-75 MSX1 machines, the firmware has been improved to support the addition of a disk drive. Besides, from MSX-BASIC, you can go to the Personal Databank with CALL HITBIT or _HITBIT.



Sony HB-F5 black
Sony HB-F5 gray
Sony HB-F5 label
Sony HB-F5 left side
Sony HB-F5 back
Sony HB-F5 right side
Sony HB-F5 Mainboard


Sony Personal Databank HB-F5 without HBI-55 cartridge
Sony Personal Databank HB-F5 with HBI-55 cartridge
Sony Personal Databank HB-F5 with disk drive and without HBI-55 cartridge
Sony Personal Databank HB-F5 with HBI-55 cartridge and disk drive


The HB-F5 is a MSX2 with a Z80A from Sharp (LH0080A) or NEC (uPD780C) and a gate array from Sony (CX23044).

The Main-ROM is located in IC23 (label chip: M38256-92). The Sub-ROM and the firmware are located in IC25 (label chip: D27256D-3). If you want to remove the firmware you must replace the IC25 by an EEPROM 27C256 containing the Sub-ROM and the half remaining empty.

The main RAM is 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.

Slot Map

Slot 0-0 Slot 0-1 Slot 0-2 Slot 0-3 Slot 1 Slot 2 Slot 3
Page C000h~FFFFh 64kB
Slot 1
Slot 2
Page 8000h~BFFFh
Page 4000h~7FFFh Main-ROM Firmware
Page 0000h~3FFFh Sub-ROM


  • RF output
  • RGB21 output (not Scart)
  • Analog sound and video composite outputs (RCA)
  • Tape recorder connector
  • Centronics compatible Parallel port for a printer
  • 2 general connectors (joysticks, mouse, paddle controllers, ...)
  • 2 cartridge slots
  • 100V AC power socket


As it is conceived, this computer is compatible with the addition of a disk drive. Contrary to what happens when you add a disk drive to the HB-55 and HB-75 MSX1 machines, the firmware menu is no longer skipped and some functions of the integrated software have been modified to take the disk drive into account. The insertion of the HBI-55 cartridge in a free slot does not disable the disk drive.

External Links