I know the basic specs of a first-generation MSX compliant computer. What I'm looking for are some schematics on how to build one.

Something simple that, preferably, didn't use custom ICs that combined functions.

(For example, I think some manufacturers created custom ICs that combined the video/audio and even the CPU or glue logic. But, hopefully, at least one was made with discreet components? Well, that is, if you count the VDP and PSG as discreet.)

There are many variations of the MSX but I'm only interested in a minimal configuration:

  • Z80
  • TMS9918
  • AY-3-8912
  • 32-64K RAM
  • I/O

Please, no references to FPGA or CPLD.

Perhaps it's more complicated than I think? If so, please explain why. I do have basic electronic skills. I have built other SBC's, etc.

Also, I'm not currently interested in any MSX2 designs.

  • 1
    What sort of places have you looked so far? I just did a bit of googling and found several schematics or partial schematics (here for example), but have no idea if these are what you would want...
    – Andy
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 15:25
  • 1
    Heh. It's always more complicated than one thinks. Full micro designs are always a collection of hacks and trade-offs. It's the nature of the beast.
    – user12
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 15:26
  • 1
    If you need a compatible keyboard: retrobrewcomputers.org/forum/… Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 18:14

3 Answers 3


The Philips VG 8020 schematics suits your needs. It has no custom chips apart from 8255, AY-3-8912 and TMS9929. All the glue logic is composed of discrete TTL chips.


Artemisa is a very interesting open project: creating a first-generation MSX computer from scratch.

As the author say in the repository:

"This repository contains documentation and designs for a MSX computer that can be build using discrete components and original integrated circuits, codenamed Artemisa.

This is still work in progress, but you may find some specs and designs in this repository."

"Schematics, PCB designs and HDL simulations to build a 8-bits MSX computer"


Also, you can check the Colecovision; although marketed as a game console, it has the same electronics as a MSX computer.

  • 2
    It has a different sound chip. While they are similar, it isn't within "spec".
    – cbmeeks
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 19:24

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