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S > SPECTRAVIDEO  > SVI 738 - X'press   

SVI 738 - X'press

This computer was a MSX 1 computer equipped with V9938 Video chip, which was quite unusual. It was probably meant to become an MSX 2, thus first versions were prepared to hold a CLOCK-IC chip. Thanks to its V9938 it could display 80-column text.

It was called SPECTRAVIDEO XPRESS because it was delivered with a bag to easily carry it around in. The XPRESS designation was also used in a MSX 2 and PC hybrid (X'PRESS 16, for 16-bits) SPECTRAVIDEO computers. This machine is in fact pretty much a "MSX 1.5". Converting it into an MSX2 machine is not difficult at all and as a result many MSX hobbyists have done it. For example in Finland, when it came out many people converted it simply because there were no MSX2 machines widely available in the country. The main selling point was the ability to show 80-column text even on normal TV's without problems, you just had to adjust the colors a bit. It was also very well priced and had much better specs than the other machines in it's price range.

But the SVI 738 also has many quality problems like all SVI machines. The keyboard is just as bad as in the 328 and 728 computers. The original disk drive is noisy, unreliable and only single sided. The screw holes are not in standard locations, but other ways it can be replaced with standard DD disk drive. The first versions of disk ROM could not format 720KB "PC-disks" but reading works. Almost all MSX2 and up computers had internal disk drive, and it’s also possible to use external disk controllers with this machine. Disk expansion port for external drive has however nonstandard DB25 connector, just as the RS-232 connector (DB9 female).

The machine also suffers from the same problems (won't work at all or bad sound) as the earlier 728 model with Konami's SCC-sound chip games.


Contributors : Taneli Lukka, Nyyrikki

Please consider donating your old computer / videogame system to or one of our partners from anywhere in the world (Europe, America, Asia, etc.).


P.-S.: What''s harder to find is a TV with a composite port to connect it to. And more specifically supports the low resolution.

Friday 29th May 2020
Niels Roskam (Australia)

Just last year I brought my 35 year old Spectravideo 738 X''Press from my parents attic to my home in Australia. Still in its original ''laptop'' bag, books, orginal floppies for CPM, MSXDOS, etc. Surprisingly it booted up without problem after all those years. I don''t think they make technology like it anymore.

Friday 29th May 2020
Niels Roskam (Australia)

I’am searching for a Spectravideo svi-738 Xpress, who have onze for sale?

Thursday 10th January 2019
Jan Nadorp (Nederland)


NAME  SVI 738 - X'press
MANUFACTURER  Spectravideo
TYPE  Home Computer
ORIGIN  Hong Kong
YEAR  1986
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  MSX Basic (Microsoft Extended)
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke keyboard
CPU  Zilog Z80A
SPEED  3.58 MHz
RAM  64 KB (up to 144 KB)
ROM  64 KB (32 KB BIOS/Basic, 16 KB RS232 BIOS, 16 KB DISK ROM)
TEXT MODES  40 x 24 / 32 x 24 / 80 x 24 (only for MSXDOS)
GRAPHIC MODES  256 x 192 / 64 x 48 dots
SOUND  AY-3-8910 chipset, three channels, 8 octaves
I/O PORTS  Joystick (2), ROM Cardridge, Tape recorder, Monitor, Centronics, Expansion port, Mono sound output, Keyboard, Floppy, RS232
BUILT IN MEDIA  Internal 3.5'' disk drive
POWER SUPPLY  External power supply unit
PRICE  £400

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