Archive for Toshiba
The Toshiba MSX was first announced on the 27th of June 1983. It was then that the MSX standard was formally announced during a press-conference and when large Japanese firms declared their plans to introduce these machines.
Inspired by the success of VHS as a standard for video cassette recorders the name MSX was to standardized home computer architecture in a similar way. This was conceived by Kazuhiko Nishi in the 1980s, then Vice-president at Microsoft Japan and Director at ASCII Corporation.
Despite Microsoft’s involvement, MSX-based machines were seldom seen in the United States and Britain (although heavily advertised by Toshiba in the UK). At the time, most people seemed to agree MSX meant ‘MicroSoft eXtended’, referring to the built-in “Microsoft eXtended BASIC” (MSX-BASIC)
Nishi’s standard consisted primarily of several off-the-shelf parts; the main CPU was a 3.58 MHz Zilog Z80, the graphics chip a Texas Instruments TMS9918 with 16 KB (KiB) of dedicated VRAM, the sound and partial I/O support was provided by the AY-3-8910 chip manufactured by General Instrument (GI), and an Intel 8255 Programmable Peripheral Interface chip was used for the parallel I/O such as the keyboard.