VRoBIT - HC4001
STATE OF DEVELOPMENT: Trying to get more than 1000 users registered on the web and therefore interested in the project. If we do, we will move on to the PREORDER phase.
PROGRESS: 440/1000 registered users
Warning: Last items in stock!
It is a new retro-computer inspired by the legendary MSX computers, compatible with all its models in addition to being able to be with other retro-computers and consoles. This project was born in 2014 in order to create a new MSX to being known by the new audience the essence of computer science in the 80s and 90s, and its way of interacting with programming and the computer. Enjoying incredible improvements, gadgets, having fun learning, programming and playing are our main motivation. We want to make a VRoBIT to re-enjoy the purest computing that has ever existed. That where man and machine were one and communicated with the feel of the keys. Read on and discover everything that a VRoBIT can offer you!
299€ (TAXES Included)
We have worked hard to get an affordable price. Next we want you to understand what includes this price and we hope it seems more reasonable and justified. Keep in mind that we do not consider in the price anything related to the cost of the software offered with the machine or the assembly of it. The price is based only on the cost of everything necessary for its manufacture and sale. Our main motivation is to get the project to the market and to have as many people as possible. So, effectively, the responsibility is huge but it's worth it.
MSX, MSX2, MSX2+, MSXTR COMPATIBLE
The reason of being of the VRoBIT machine is to make to last in time the standard MSX at the same time to extend it and to give it new characteristics adapted to new time. The MSX was our first computer and we have a very special affection. For many years we have seen how many projects to improve the system have been forgotten or have been discarded. We wanted to take the evolutionary concept of the system from the software side, interacting with the hardware rather than the other way around. We wanted to give ourselves the opportunity to try out this new approach and we are very happy with the result.
As with the MSX, we put ourselves in the shoes of other users with the same nostalgia and appreciation for their machines of yesteryear as well as wanting to share this with the new generations. Being an emulation based system allows us to interpret other systems and interact with their hardware in real time. At the moment there is already a machine ZX48K, CPC464 and C64, although we would like to continue adding new machines such as NES, SNES, MegaDrive among others, with capacity to develop and access to all their cartridges.
1Gb RAM/VRAM Shared
The system has a shared memory system between RAM and VRAM. You are allowed to configure how much memory you want in each part. It depends on the use you want to give your machine. By default, the system is left with 512Mb of RAM and 512Mb of VRAM. It is the proportion that we consider most suitable for the majority of users.
64 bits - QUAD CORE 1’2Mhz
This power is enough to run applications designed exclusively for this computer. Our efforts are taking advantage of this power to the maximum and improving the software we offer to make it so.
4 x SLOTS FOR CARTRIDGES
50 pins fully compatible with the MSX standard and also gives us the opportunity to connect with other systems thanks to the ability to redefine its functionality. The access times are in real time and it is possible to access the MSX hardware (or other machine) as if the original machine were.
2 x GAME PORTS
DB9 ports (9 pins) configurable to be able to connect compatible devices: MSX / SPECTRUM / ATARI / AMSTRAD / C64 / GENESIS.
1 x IO EXTENSION (DB37)
Special and genuine VRoBIT port to connect devices of any type. Dota 32-bit connection and voltage lines + 12V, -12V, 5V and 3.3V with transfer speed adjustable up to 1.7Mhz.
4 x BUTTONS
It has four buttons: POWER ON / OFF, SLOT ON / OFF, RESET and PAUSE. With the POWER button, you can safely switch the equipment on and off. The SLOT button is very interesting because it allows us to insert or remove cartridges in hot with total safety of not damaging the hardware. The RESET button applies a hardware reset and PAUSE allows us to warn the system applications that we want to pause them.
8 x LEDS
Indicators led that allows us to observe the power status, whether we are in safe slot insertion mode, pause, whether the emulation is making use of the disk drive, the kana, the caps and with the ability to self-define for make another type of use or have other settings.
1 x ANALOG STEREO AUDIO OUTPUT (CARTRIDGE SOUND + VIRTUAL SOUND) + ANALOG VIDEO OUTPUT
We can enjoy all the real-time audio generated by the cartridges and be able to get a video output on a CRT television.
1 x HDMI STEREO AUDIO-VIDEO OUTPUT
HDMI connection to enjoy all kinds of resolutions and high definition modes.
2 x USB PORT
USB ports available for access to disk drives, joysticks, keyboards, mice or any other USB device compatible with the system.
1 x SD CARD UNIT
SD disk drive that allows us to add or extract files from the system while being able to update the operating system and its applications.
1 x 3’5mm STEREO OUTPUT
Enjoy a stereo Jack output to enjoy the actual audio of the cartridges, together or separately, to the emulated sound.
1 x 3’5mm MIC
16-bit audio capture port to digitize audio in real time. This allows us to use a cassette to load games.
1 x RJ45
Network connector to access a local network or Internet from our computer.
Wireless connection that will allow us to connect our VRoBIT to a local network and Internet from anywhere with this technology.
The ability to connect devices with this communication protocol for short distance that allows to connect robots, keyboards, game controllers, etc.
It includes a 12V / 10A power supply compatible with input from 100 to 240 Volts and 50 / 60Hz frequency. This power supply provides the power and safety required to work with a VRoBIT in different types of electrical networks worldwide.
We have invested a lot of time in getting a mechanical keyboard that would allow us to modify it with certain genuine features of the original MSX machines. Two-color keyboard, large cursors and special keys (GRAPH, CODE, SELECT)
Software layer that allows us to build all the applications of the system, interact with your hardware and offer a simple and pleasant interface of work.
DOS command console with the MSXDOS philosophy that uses much of its functionality including new features.
BASIC command console compatible with the MSXBASIC family and with new features and services.
Graphical interface of the operating system that gives visualization to the applications and facilitates the user-machine interaction within them
High-level, object-oriented native language with a syntax very similar to C / C++.
Preprocessors and converters from code to ASM language. Tools that allow you to work with the script language to generate assembler code. ASM compiler and linker. Libraries and adhoc classes to create applications and MSX, VRoBIT or other systems with easily.
Tool to work with the cartridge slots. Watch the content of them, download, debug, modify values, save and compare files, access ports, etc.
A tool that unifies all file extensions to easily play any type of file by linking to an application type. From this application we can reproduce virtual machines, music, watch graphs, etc.
Tracker style musical editor where we can work with real or virtualized machine chips (AY8910, YM2413, YM8950, SCC, SCC +, OPL4, etc.)
Graphic application for editing graphics in different formats MSX, V9990 or other systems in addition to truecolor.
VGS (Visual Game Studio)
With this tool you can create 2D and 3D games in a visual way. Programme with GL library that you can use using VRoBIT-SCRIPT.
Edit your text files, edit code, visualize it with syntax highlighting, display binary files in hexadecimal mode, compare files, etc. A whole set of tools to handle text files
Our machine can be connected via Wifi or Ethernet to a network. Have telnet, mail client, ftp, web browser, etc. in order to have online connectivity with your VRoBIT
The software of this machine is in continuous improvement and possible problems or failures are corrected as they are detected. VRoBIT has the ability to upgrade either via Online or through its SD unit.
We need at least 1000 interested in a VRoBIT. It is the minimum to be able to begin to manufacture (minimum orders, molds, etc) and get an affordable price like the one proposed. Therefore, the steps to follow before opening a preorder would be that at least, on the web, there would be those 1000 theoretical stakeholders. The preorder would do it for KickStarter for more transparency and tranquility of the majority of you. Therefore, it is important that people register on the web, because until we are not enough interested (at least 1000 registered) it does not make much sense to take the step of preorder. Therefore, if you are interested in this project and want to join it, please register and in this way we will also be able to warn you of the important decisions and events that are happening. Thank you!
You can find videos with features and functionalities in this computer going to our youtube channel.
*RCA INPUT. It is one of the things we are studying to be able to include in an HC-5001. The option to mix audio / video input.
Can I connect an original MSX keyboard?
If you can. At this time we have the driver and soon the adapter to connect external Philips keyboards of the NMS8250 / 8280. We can create more adapters and drivers but we need to go purchasing these devices to be able to do so.
Can I connect a USB keyboard?
Of course. The system detects it automatically.
Which language versions are available on the computer keyboard?
Although we are looking at the possibility of offering different language configurations, the only option by the moment is English. As soon as we know more about this, we will update this information on this same tab.
Can I read games from a floppy disk?
You can connect a USB floppy drive and the system detects it. At the moment, it works at a high level and we do not have a low level driver to access protected disks.
Can I load cassette games?
Yes, via the DIN adapter or via the computer's MIC port.
How do I connect the computer to a VGA?
You can purchase a compatible HDMI2VGA converter (coming soon on the web)
How can I use MIDI?
There is a MIDI adapter and also adapters to connect MSX musical keyboards like Toshiba, Yamaha or Philips (coming soon on the web)
Which sound-chips are emulated?
AY8910(PSG), SCC, SCC+, OPLL(MSX-Music/FMPAC), Music-Module(MSX-Audio), OPL3, OPL4, SID
FPGA or emulation?
Actually this question is strange in itself since the FPGA is also emulation, only from a hardware perspective, but emulation at the end. However many ask about whether or not there is some FPGA in the VRoBIT and the answer is, no. The VRoBIT HC4001 uses as its "FPGA" a RaspBerry Pi 3, implementing the entire emulation layer by software. Then there is another hardware layer tailored for the project, this layer allows you to connect cartridges and other real devices to the system. The software layer interacts to be able to act on this hardware layer in real time and to simulate what an "FPGA" would do. Therefore, it is not just emulation, here we interact with real hardware done purposely.
Does it include an MSX3?
The "MSX3" has not been officially defined by anyone yet. In a VRoBIT have invented some "extras" like the V9978 and the R8000 that are invented components for this hypothetical MSX3. The V9978 would be a video chip compatible with V9938 / V9958 and carrying additional things and the R8000 is an improved and compatible version of the R800. The "MSX3" configuration can be created and modified like any other configuration within a VRoBIT. A user can create his own machine and name it as he likes, associate the CPU, VDP, audio, RAM, etc. and then be able to use it in the games he wants or by default when starting the system or when he pleases specifying the name that has been given.
Alberto De Hoyo Nebot
Creator and Project Manager
Computer Engineer linked for many years to the MSX community. Winner of several MSXDev (with Monster Hunter and Pretty Kingdom). He learned computing with a Philips VG8020 and still learns from all those wonderful machines that very nice people built years ago.
He lives hidden in a cave, but occasionally he lets himself be seen. Electrons are his friends and his passion for this project is proving vital in order to get him through. His first computer was a Commodore 16.
Victor Martí Melchor
He also learned from the MSX and loves to program all sorts of things, especially applications and tools. Retailer and finder of the perfect code, is in charge of much of the software that is being developed in this project.
Tomás Marco Linares
Responsible for paperwork, purchasing, logistics, suppliers and looking for good prices in the middle of the world and also on the other side. He started his computer skills with a ZX Spectrum 48K.