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Sega Saturn

The Sega Saturn was released on November 22nd 1994, in Japan: 170,000 machines were sold the first day. At one time, the Sega Saturn had obtained second place in the console wars, placing it above Nintendo's SNES. But the Saturn was losing power because of the newcomer Sony's Playstation.

The Sega Saturn was originally designed to be the ultimate 2D Console, but was refitted to have better 3D capabilities, as words about the Sony Playstation were spread and then rushed to the market, which let to very few games being available, when the Sega Saturn started.

The Saturn's inner design with two CPUs and 6 other processors made it hard to get the maximum power out of the Console, since parallel design was too complex for many games developers - and still is. Saturn soon started losing out to Playstation. The main disadvantage of the Sega Sturn compared to Playstation was the lack of hardware-aided transparency. Later games like Burning Rangers used software emulation to offer transparency effects.

In May 1995, Sega launched the Saturn in the U.S a full 6 months ahead of schedule; in the States, only a small amount of success was enjoyed. In 1996, a peripheral called the Sega NetLink (a 28.8 kbps[?] modem) was released for the Saturn. It was meant to save the console, but backfired because it was more of a hassle than anything else. Today, the Sega Saturn is considered a failure by many in the industry, but its continued success in Japan should be noted.

It was later superseeded by the Sega Dreamcast, which was also a failure, despite it featured great technically abilities.



  • 2x 28.6MHz, 50-MIPS SH2 32-bit RISC processors
  • SH1 32-bit RISC processor (controlling the CD-ROM)
  • Custom VDP 1 32-bit video display processor
  • Custom VDP 2 32-bit video display processor
  • Custom Saturn Control Unit (SCU)
  • Motorola 68EC000 sound processor
  • Yamaha FH1 DSP sound processor


  • 2MB (16 Megabits) RAM
  • 1.54MB (12 Megabits) video RAM
  • 540KB (4 Megabits) audio RAM
  • 540KB (4 Megabits) CD-ROM cache
  • 32KB nonvolatile RAM (battery backup)


  • 22.6MHz Yamaha FH1 24-bit digital signal processor
  • 11.3MHz Motorola 68EC000 sound processor
  • 32 PCM (pulse-code modulation) channels
  • 8 FM channels
  • 44.1KHz sampling rate


  • VDP 1 32-bit video display processor
  • Sprite, polygon, and geometry engine
  • Dual 256KB frame buffers for rotation and scaling effects
  • Texture mapping
  • Gouraud shading
  • 512KB cache for textures
  • VDP 2 32-bit background and scroll plane video display processor
  • Background engine
  • Five simultaneous scrolling backgrounds
  • Two simultaneous rotating playfields
  • 200,000 texture-mapped polygons per second
  • 500,000 flat-shaded polygons per second
  • 60 frames of animation per second
  • 24-bit true-color graphics
  • 16.7 million colors
  • 352 x 240, 640 x 240, and 704 x 480 resolution


  • Double-Speed CD-ROM
  • 320KB per second transfer speed
  • Audio CD compatible
  • [[CD+G]] compatible
  • CD+EG compatible
  • CD single (8cm CD) compatible
  • Video CD (required optional MPEG add-on) , Photo CD[?], Electronic Books, digital karaoke (optional)
  • 512KB memory cartridges for game save (optional)


  • High-speed serial communications port
  • Internal 32-bit expansion port
  • Internal multi-AV port for video CD (MPEG) adapter
  • Composite video/stereo (standard)
  • NTSC/PAL RF (optional)
  • S-Video compatible (optional)
  • RGB compatible (optional)
  • HDTV compatible (optional)
  • Analog control pad


  • AC120 volts; 60Hz (US)
  • AC240 volts; 50Hz (EU)
  • AC100 volts; 60Hz (JP)


  • 25W

DIMENSIONS (US/European model)

  • Width: 260 mm (10.2 in)
  • Length: 230 mm (9.0 in)
  • Height: 83 mm (3.2 in)

There were several models of the Saturn. The first Model was a bit clumsy and superseded by Model 2. In Japan there was a special white edition of the Model 2.


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