Author Topic: FM Towns Marty Disassembly  (Read 30074 times)

Online Lawrence

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FM Towns Marty Disassembly
« on: July 31, 2006, 09:20:42 am »
The FM Towns was a 386-based computer from Fujitsu, one of the many computers that tried and failed to supplant the PC during Japan's bubble era.  It was never popular, despite some really exceptional game releases, with stores at the time desperately unable to sell the machines despite advertising and promotional support from Fujitsu.

After the initial system was released, with its distinctive front-face flip-open CD drive, Fujitsu went on to release a desktop unit, and then two console-ized versions, in an attempt to capture more marketshare.  It never caught on.  Ads in magazines were reprinted in the West, and we could see how Fujitsu's attempt to market the system as an edutainment system was doomed to fail like all the others.

In any case, here's a Marty2, identical to a Marty but for a faster CPU and a darker shell (grey instead of beige).


Design-wise the system resembles a PC Engine Duo, with the drive on the wrong side.  Sony's PS3 also reminds me a lot of this system.


With the cover removed, the first things you see are the CD drive on the left, floppy and power supply on the right.


With the peripherals and PSU removed, this is the shielding.  There's approximately four thousand screws holding this thing on, which account for roughly 20% of the system's weight.  And it ain't light.


This is the main PCB.  It's just like a non-expandable PC, with a 386 CPU, lots of RAM, a keyboard and mouse port, two joystick ports, A/V and Svideo out the back, and PCMCIA on the right.


I dunno what this thing is, or whether it's in the first Marty.  It could be a clock speedup mod, or simply an after-the-fact fix of some kind.


Another shot of the motherboard.


A quality floppy-drive repair job.  The old rubber belts tend to turn into tar, much like in a Famicom disk drive.  An elastic is a perfect short-term fix.

Offline Midori

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« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2006, 01:07:21 am »
Oh' I've been wanting to take a closer look on one of these :-) Is the NFG guy on the shell there in reality or is it "photoshoped" to that picture? Are these hard to come by in japan or are they a common sight?

Offline Endymion

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« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2006, 04:08:14 am »
That's his custom watermark so folks can't steal the image and claim it as their own work.

But looks like you forgot to add our little friend to the other images Lawrence. ;)

Offline kendrick

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« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2006, 04:21:50 am »
So was this thing essentially a PC in a pretty case, or were there customized games on CD that one could boot the console with? I imagine that if the latter is true, this thing is a sort of a spiritual predecessor of the Xbox (what with its X86 architecture and lack of expansion capability.) The PCMCIA slot is a neat feature, though.

-KKC, who now wants one for no discernible reason.

EDIT - Never mind, found a FAQ. So this thing had self-booting games, and more porn than a Dutchman. I can't decide if that's cool or not. :)
« Last Edit: August 01, 2006, 04:24:16 am by kendrick »

Offline FM-77

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« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2006, 04:54:55 am »
Another fantastic device with a handful of titles that I just gotta have. Are the FM Towns systems expensive?

Thanks for another very interesting topic, just like the X-1 and PC-FX ones.

Edit: According to this site, the Marty 2 was actually 486DX based. That's pretty interesting.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2006, 05:01:19 am by Seldane »

Offline atom

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« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2006, 05:59:00 am »
Lawrence, did the US version look the same? I swear I've seen this little guy somewhere.
forgive my broked english, for I am an AMERICAN

Online Lawrence

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« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2006, 10:24:49 am »
Quote
That's his custom watermark so folks can't steal the image and claim it as their own work.

But looks like you forgot to add our little friend to the other images Lawrence.
I didn't put it in the rest, didn't think anyone would be interested in them over the first.  =)

Quote
Lawrence, did the US version look the same? I swear I've seen this little guy somewhere.
There is no US version of this console.

Quote
Are the FM Towns systems expensive?
No, but the games sure as fuck are.  Flying Shark sold a few days ago on Yahoo for over $200,  Splatterhouse regularly clears $130, and only the common stuff is affordable.  I got lucky and found a Raiden Densetsu (the best pre-PSX Raiden port) for five bucks in a bin of junk, and paid $20 for Image Fight, which is lower than the norm.    Some FMTowns games like Tetsujin Oh (Truxton 2) hover around $100, but in many cases the games are arcade perfect, pixel for pixel.  It's quite amazing.

Quote
According to this site, the Marty 2 was actually 486DX based.
That may be true, I don't know for sure.  The CPU has no identifying marks that would clear that up...  It doesn't look any different than the 286 in the Teradrive to my untrained eye.  FWIW, Assembler's site is rife with errors, I'd seek other proof before believing a lot of claims on that site.

Quote
So was this thing essentially a PC in a pretty case, or were there customized games on CD that one could boot the console with? I imagine that if the latter is true, this thing is a sort of a spiritual predecessor of the Xbox
You answered your own question, but I'll go on a bit more about it for everyone else...   It was, essentially, a console with a 80x86 CPU and some custom bits.  It was functionally identical to the FMTowns computers, except that it had no RGB port, instead offering A/V and Svideo.  Games that would normally run in 31kHz (VGA) mode were interlaced, games that were interlaced looked the same.

It really IS a kind of spiritual predecessor to the Xbox, isn't it?  It wasn't as much a PC as Sharp's PC88/98 hardware, but it was similar enough that a lot of titles were ported across.

As a general rule the FMTowns versions of software are better than the X68000 versions.  Viewpoint and Image Fight both look a lot better and run smoother on the Towns.
 
« Last Edit: August 01, 2006, 10:28:18 am by Lawrence »

Offline blackevilweredragon

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« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2006, 10:38:17 am »
I'm pretty good at identifying chips, if you can post some pics of the big major chips (or the one you know IS the CPU), I can identify what type it is (most of the time).

I'm trained to ID a chip just by it's numbers...

EDIT:  I see a chip with the AMD logo, try and get a shot of that one...
« Last Edit: August 01, 2006, 10:41:02 am by blackevilweredragon »

Online Lawrence

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« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2006, 11:26:17 am »
The AMD chip says, besides AMD, only the following:

DS39473A

and

D 25DHNF2

Pretty sure that's accurate, though I didn't re-open it to check, just read it off some pictures.

Offline blackevilweredragon

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« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2006, 11:43:47 am »
Quote
The AMD chip says, besides AMD, only the following:

DS39473A

and

D 25DHNF2

Pretty sure that's accurate, though I didn't re-open it to check, just read it off some pictures.
This is so weird, I literally can't identify those numbers at all, and I never have not been able to ID a chip.   :o

I'm 60% sure the AMD chip is the CPU, can't imagine what else it's function would be..  It's just that I seriously can't ID it's number..

But, if I had to take a wild guess, it would be 33MHz, 486, or a 73MHz (i seriously doubt this, I don't think they ever made a 486 at this clock speed) 486....

Online Lawrence

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« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2006, 12:26:54 pm »
It might be D5, not DS.  Have a look:


Offline blackevilweredragon

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« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2006, 12:48:32 pm »
Ok, after seeing an even closer pic, it IS the CPU..

That type of CPU is a 100-pin plastic QFP...

I think it is related to this, but as a 486..  (AMD never released a 486 100-pin plastic QFP for desktops, so this chip seems quite rare)..   http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/80386/AMD-NG...6SX-SXL-33.html

Offline blackevilweredragon

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« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2006, 03:54:00 pm »
You know, after seeing how this system is built, I'm gonna put that Genesis clone console on hold, and try and modify a small PC into a game console :P

I want to use a Celeron 533MHz system, and being I already have a case small enough and it has 2 USB ports on the front, this system is ALREADY set to be a game console..  one small problem, it's onboard graphics which has composite AND S-Video out, is a ATI Rage Pro..

Online Lawrence

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« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2006, 04:28:17 pm »
I had a real problem making my game-playing PC.  Even though I stuffed a HD, motherboard and PSU inside a joystick I still had trouble with the video.  The shitty onboard chip wouldn't scale the image in MAME, so I could only get postage-stamp games in the middle of the TV.

Offline Midori

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« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2006, 05:48:37 pm »
Can you install and run PC games on a FM towns Marty? Or does it only work with games designed for it?(unless you install linux) If I havn't missunderstood anything the OS on the system is based on DOS, although that doesn't necessarily make it work with PC DOS applications.

Online Lawrence

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« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2006, 05:50:59 pm »
It's not a PC, it just uses the same processor.  There's no compatibility for software, just a similar environment for developing.

Offline ido8bit

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« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2006, 08:04:11 pm »
It's an AMD 386SX with a different part number on it, probably 25MHz.  I've seen these in 25MHz, 33MHz and 40MHz.  I don't think AMD bothered with a 16MHz version.  IBM/Cyrix made 486SLC chips in the same package, but this isn't one of them.

It seems Japanese console/computer makers like their weird CPUs.  I've got an NEC PC98 laptop here which is based on a 386SL CPU.  It looks like no 386 CPU I've seen before.  It's got both Intel and PC98 logos on it.  If it was within in reach I'd post a pic.
 

Offline blackevilweredragon

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« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2006, 02:15:06 am »
Quote
It's an AMD 386SX with a different part number on it, probably 25MHz.  I've seen these in 25MHz, 33MHz and 40MHz.  I don't think AMD bothered with a 16MHz version.  IBM/Cyrix made 486SLC chips in the same package, but this isn't one of them.

It seems Japanese console/computer makers like their weird CPUs.  I've got an NEC PC98 laptop here which is based on a 386SL CPU.  It looks like no 386 CPU I've seen before.  It's got both Intel and PC98 logos on it.  If it was within in reach I'd post a pic.
It don't make sense why it would have a 386 CPU, and all websites on the net say 486...

Offline FM-77

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« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2006, 05:17:42 am »
Quote
But, if I had to take a wild guess, it would be 33MHz, 486, or a 73MHz (i seriously doubt this, I don't think they ever made a 486 at this clock speed) 486....
There's a Pentium CPU with the same socket as the 486 (designed to work on 486 DX motherboards) which runs at 73 MHz.

Offline blackevilweredragon

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« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2006, 05:19:52 am »
Quote
Quote
But, if I had to take a wild guess, it would be 33MHz, 486, or a 73MHz (i seriously doubt this, I don't think they ever made a 486 at this clock speed) 486....
There's a Pentium CPU with the same socket as the 486 (designed to work on 486 DX motherboards) which runs at 73 MHz.
A Pentium OverDrive?  I thought those were 75MHz...

I don't think the Marty 2 has an OverDrive (though most of them were designed by AMD)

Offline CFN

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« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2007, 08:45:16 am »
I just opened a Marty 1.

The CPU is an AMD marked
DS39473A
D 250HBR8

The OSC2 next to it is 32MHz. I guess the CPU it is running at 16MHz. I would very much like to know the OSC2 frequency in the Marty 2, as I am starting to suspect that it has the exact same spesification as Marty 1.

The motherboard looks the same to me, including the crazy wiring ("mod") you see in Lawrence's photos.

There is a MB40968V video DAC on board for s-video in case anyone wonders :-) Looking for the easiest way to get RGB from the Marty. Any info on the 80-pin expansion port would be great!
« Last Edit: August 13, 2007, 07:00:50 am by CFN »

Online Lawrence

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« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2007, 09:03:59 am »
There are two oscillators on the Marty2.  The one farther from the CPU is a 28.63636, and the other is completely unreadable in all my photos.  I can't tell if it's got goop on it or if it's been scratched off or what, but it's just a mess of pixels.  =/

Offline CFN

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« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2007, 09:31:01 am »
Quote
There are two oscillators on the Marty2.  The one farther from the CPU is a 28.63636, and the other is completely unreadable in all my photos.  I can't tell if it's got goop on it or if it's been scratched off or what, but it's just a mess of pixels.  =/
Yeah, that's OSC1. It is 28.63636 in Marty 1 as well. I guess it is for NTSC (3.57MHz x 8)...

The one that is unreadable is OSC2.

Offline CFN

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« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2007, 11:42:20 pm »
I just opened a Marty 2 as well.

Same CPU. OSC2 is 32.000 MHz. I would say Marty 1 and Marty 2 are exactly the same - except that Marty 2 has a darker shell of course...

Online Lawrence

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« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2007, 07:36:16 am »
Japanese wikipedia confirms that the model 2 Marty was just a colour change, similar to the PC Engine Duo R/RX.  It goes on to say the colour was changed when the price was dropped to 66,000円 (66,000 yen).  

Offline ken_cinder

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« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2007, 09:35:55 am »
I'd be more inclined to believe the Japanese wikipedia since that's where the console came from and was only released there, but English Wikipedia say's different. Which one is correct?

Wikipedia article states the Marty 2 had this over it's first revision.

1: Internet Connectivity
2: A faster 386 CPU, 25mhz over the 16mhz Marty CPU

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FM_Towns_Marty

Online Lawrence

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« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2007, 01:26:07 pm »
The English wikipedia does not say that any longer!

Offline CFN

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« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2007, 08:22:13 am »
Quote
The English wikipedia does not say that any longer!
Nice! Why not sync the release date in the english wikipedia (1991) with the Japanese wikipedia as well (1993) :-) I trust the Japanese wikipedia when it states that the Marty 1 was released in November 1993, and Marty 2 a year later.

That matches the datecodes on CPUs better too:
Marty 1 = D 250HBR8  (week 50, 1992)
Marty 2 = D 250HNF2  (week 50, 1992)
« Last Edit: August 15, 2007, 09:06:55 am by CFN »

Offline Akir

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« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2007, 09:27:22 am »
This information is directly from the English Wikipedia, for FM Towns Marty:

Quote
CPU: 32bit AMD 386 processor

CPU Speed: 16 MHz

Graphics:

    * Resolution: 352x232 up to 640x480
    * 32768 color palette - 256 onscreen

The Marty had only composive and S-video output, no other video connectors are possible. As some FM Towns games were VGA-only, the Marty had a 15kHz down-scan capability for displaying on a household TV screen.

Sound:

    * 6 channel FM
    * 8 channel PCM

RAM:

    * 2 MB

Data Storage:

    * CD-ROM, Single-speed (1x)
    * Internal 3.5" HD floppy drive

Multi-Purpose:

    * PCMCIA slot

Controllers:

    * 4-way D-pad, 2 fire buttons, select, and run
    * 2 standard controller ports
    * keyboard port

The controller connector is a DB9, referred to as an "Atari Type" in Japan because it's fundamentally the same connector as an Atari 2600. The Towns' Start and Select buttons are the equivalent of pressing right and left, or up and down at the same time.


Since the Marty2 is supposedly the same thing, but with a faster CPU, I'd assume that it's essentially the same chip that's been either overclocked (which is not that likely from a hardware design perspective) or been modified with a faster system clock (which I would assume would be as high as 32MHz. At least if I were that optimistic). Then again, if the research above proves to be true, then all this speculation shows that I've reached a moot point.
EDIT: Also, a lot of game softs at that time relied on the system clock for timing, which would make some games unplayable (either from playing too quickly, or simply crashing). Therefore, it's highly unlikely that it's a faster chip.

And Lawrence, I thought that the PC-88/99 series computer were made by NEC? Either way, Sharp's X68k is still more awesome in general. Hoorah for MC68000!


P.S.: Congrats, everyone: This page is now officially linked to by wikipedia.

P.P.S.: Apperantly, the Marty sold so badly, that it got a business/technology theory named after it, "Marty's Law"
« Last Edit: August 15, 2007, 09:37:14 am by Akir »

Offline ken_cinder

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« Reply #29 on: August 15, 2007, 09:35:23 am »
Psst, Akir....Lawrence made those edits. The things you see on the page that differ from what I stated, are his changes. As well as the link to here
« Last Edit: August 15, 2007, 09:44:35 am by IJTF_Cinder »

Offline Akir

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« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2007, 09:50:46 am »
So I've noticed. Just making observations that reinforce the conclusion.

Also, I've checked out emulators for this system, and apparently UNZ (AKA, うんず) works with Marty softs as well as the regular FM-TOWNS, although it doesn't seem to be 100% perfect. Zoom was offering their Genocide^2 game for free download for a while, though that appeared to have disappeared after they got their early games ported to Mobile phones. I don't think that the FM-TOWNS Marty had any piracy protection, so you should just be able to boot up anything that you put on CD.

Hey, there's no law against pirating games if there's no copyright for it in your area.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2007, 09:52:20 am by Akir »

Offline RobIvy64

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FM Towns Marty Disassembly
« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2007, 12:37:49 pm »
FYI the 386 divides the input clock internally by 2, so it seems like it is most likely operating on 16 MHz.
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Online Lawrence

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« Reply #32 on: August 16, 2007, 08:10:55 am »
Isn't the Marty drive a double-speed unit?  Wikipedia lists it as single, and the JP version doesn't mention it.

And wow, is the Console Database ever fucked up.  They still list the Marty 2 as a 486 unit, but go on to say  "CPU: Motorola 68030 32bit 386 processor running at 16MHz"

Motorola 68030 386!?  Bahaha, even in the wilds of the disinformed internet this one should have been caught.

Offline Stefan_L

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Re: FM Towns Marty Disassembly
« Reply #33 on: October 21, 2007, 05:23:04 am »
Looks like it has a YM3438 soundchip and not YM2612 as stated in wiki... although they are compatible in some way.

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Re: FM Towns Marty Disassembly
« Reply #34 on: December 28, 2007, 07:15:34 pm »
Same CPU. OSC2 is 32.000 MHz. I would say Marty 1 and Marty 2 are exactly the same - except that Marty 2 has a darker shell of course...

In developing Frog Feast, I came to the same conclusion based on the code running the same on each system. I was expecting the Marty 2 to be significantly faster, based on reading that it contained a 486.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2010, 09:05:36 am by cdoty »
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Offline saturndual32

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Re: FM Towns Marty Disassembly
« Reply #35 on: October 22, 2008, 03:44:21 pm »
I dont know much about hardware stuff, so excuse if this is a stupid question: can the 2 meg ram chip be desoldered and replaced with a 4 meg one, thus allowing me to play Samurai Spirits?

Offline atreyu187

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Re: FM Towns Marty Disassembly
« Reply #36 on: October 30, 2008, 09:33:57 am »
I have a broken Marty 2 and a buddy has a fully working Marty 1 and can tell you they are exactly the same inside without a difference except for the case. I just won a Car Marty off of Ebay. I will make a comparison once it arrives if I can find a suitable way to get it to display inside my house. If not I am sure something can be done as I miss my Marty and I hope I can use this as a temp replacement as I got it for only $30.99 pulled working from a car that was imported to the USA.

Offline RobIvy64

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Re: FM Towns Marty Disassembly
« Reply #37 on: January 02, 2012, 02:02:23 pm »
Bump.

Here is a glimpse of the FM-Towns II CX-20 and FM-Towns 2H motherboards. Note the CPU is socketed in the FMT1, and soldered in the FMT2.

FMTII


FMT

« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 02:06:33 pm by RobIvy64 »
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