Sega Saturn

From Sega Retro

Sega Saturn logo USA.png
Fast facts on Sega Saturn
Manufacturer: Sega
Variants: Sega Titan Video
Add-ons: Backup Memory, PriFun, Video CD Card, Extended RAM Cartridge, ROM Cartridge
Main processor: Hitachi SH-2
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Saturn
¥80,800 ?
Sega Saturn
$399.99[1] ?
Sega Saturn
Sega Saturn
Sega Saturn
DM 699[4]
Sega Saturn
Sega Saturn
$? ?
Sega Saturn
R$800.00 ?
Sega Saturn
? ?
Sega Saturn
₩550,000 SPC-ST

The Sega Saturn (セガサターン), is a video game console manufactured by Sega and was the successor to the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis (as opposed to add-ons such as the Sega 32X and Mega-CD). Initially released in 1994, the Saturn was a 32-bit compact disc-based system, and was a key player in what is now widely known as the fifth generation of video game consoles. The Saturn was first released on November 22, 1994 in Japan, May 11, 1995 in North America, and July 8, 1995 in Europe.

Depending on where you live, the Saturn could be described as either Sega's most successful console of all time (Japan) or one of their biggest commercial failures (North America). Despite being powerful for its time, its complex hardware and inability to meet rapidly evolving consumer expectations and demands put it in a distant third place in the Western world, but a combination of 2D sprite games, 3D arcade ports and strong marketing campaigns made the Saturn the most successful Sega console in Japan. Estimates for the total number of Saturns sold worldwide range from 9.5 million to 17 million.[7]

The Saturn's main competitors were Sony's PlayStation released just a week after the Saturn in Japan, and the Nintendo 64 from September 1996. Its arcade counterpart was the Sega Titan Video (ST-V) system. It was succeeded by the Sega Dreamcast in late 1998.


The Sega Saturn is the successor to the Mega Drive, though as a video game system it is almost entirely different. It is a "32-bit" console, marketed in such a way that it appeared to be an evolution of the "16-bit" era of video gaming dominated by the Mega Drive and Super NES (which in turn succeeded the "8-bit" Master System and NES, respectively).

This description, however, was initially fabricated - Sega of Japan originally claimed the Saturn was a "64-bit" consoleMedia:SegaSaturn94JPCatalog.pdf[8] and some within Sega even chose to call it an "128-bit" machine,[9] a number arrived at by cumulating processors rather than simply picking the main CPU. Alternatively some areas of Sega simply went down the "multi-processor" route, refusing to get drawn into the perceived differences between 32-bit and 64-bit.[10] This was incidentally the last video game generation where these so-called "bit wars" were considered to matter.

The system uses CD-ROMs as its primary choice of media. Though it contains a cartridge slot, this is not used for games, but rather backup memory or RAM cartridges. The former was to extend the space for save games beyond that of the Saturn's internal memory, while the latter was used to augment the Saturn's limited memory and to avoid long CD load times.

The Saturn has two controller ports, and the standard Saturn controller builds on that seen in the six button Sega Mega Drive controller. It adds two shoulder buttons, first seen on the Super NES controller, bringing the amount of buttons up to nine. The 3D Control Pad, released later with NiGHTS into Dreams, would supply the console with an analogue stick and analogue shoulder buttons, the latter later being used in the Sega Dreamcast before being adopted by Nintendo and Microsoft for their GameCube and Xbox consoles, respectively.

The Sega Saturn hardware combined features from several Sega arcade systems.[11] It has a multi-processor system, like arcade machines. Its geometry engine consists of three DSP math processors, two inside both Hitachi SH-2 CPU and one inside the SCU, which were all intended to be programmed in parallel using complex assembly language, similar to how Sega programmed 3D arcade games at the time.

The VDP1 was based on the Sega Model series, with a quad polygon engine based on the Model 1, along with the Model 2's texture mapping capability. The VDP1 is capable of drawing more polygons than the Model 1, but less than the Model 2. The Saturn was also influenced by the Sega Model 1's use of a separate graphics processor for the 2D backgrounds (based on the Sega System 24). The quad polygons are drawn with edge anti‑aliasing (for smoother edges), forward texture mapping (a form of perspective correction), bilinear approximation (reduces texture warping), and medium polygon accuracy (resulting in seamless polygons).[12]

The Saturn's VDP2 was based on Sega System 32 technology (an evolution of Super Scaler technology), used for both 2D backgrounds and 3D planes; the latter can be manipulated as polygon objects. The VDP2's tiled infinite plane engine uses tilemap compression and a form of scanline/tiled rendering to draw large, detailed, 3D texture-mapped infinite planes (for things such as grounds, seas, walls, ceilings, skies, etc.), with perspective correction and a virtually unlimited draw distance (and capable of effects such as transparency, parallax scrolling, reflective water surfaces, fog/misting,[13] fire, and heat haze), at a very high tile fillrate for its time.

The VDP2 draws 3D infinite planes as large as 4096×4096 pixels at 30 FPS, equivalent to a fillrate of over 500 MPixels/s, significantly larger than what any console or PC hardware were capable of with polygons at the time. It requires 1 million texture-mapped polygons/sec, with 500 pixels per polygon, to draw a texture-mapped 4096×4096 infinite plane at 30 FPS; the Dreamcast was the first home system capable of doing this with polygons, as it was the first home system that exceeded 500 MPixels/s polygon fillrate (using tiled rendering).

The Saturn was known for its difficult 3D development environment (especially for third-party developers), including its complex parallel processing hardware architecture, requiring familiarity with assembly language, lack of an operating system, and initial lack of C language support, useful development tools and graphics software libraries. Sega eventually provided DTS support for these features in late 1995. However, the C language development tools were not very well optimized for Saturn hardware, only tapping into a fraction of the Saturn's power, compared to assembly language which could tap into most of the Saturn's power. For example, the libraries did not use the SCU DSP, nor were they well-optimized for a multi-core CPU setup.[14] Some of the advanced techniques used by Sega's first-party AM studios did not become available until the introduction of SGL (Saturn Graphics Library).[15]

Only a handful of developers were able to squeeze most of the power out of the second SH-2 CPU, and even fewer utilized the SCU DSP, as its assembly code was more complex than the SH-2. Assembly language was often used by Japanese and British developers, but rarely used by American developers who preferred C language.[16] The VDP1 rendered quadrilateral polygons, which, despite being used by the most powerful gaming system at the time (Sega Model 2 arcade system), did not become industry standard for 3D graphics, compared to the more widely used triangle polygons.

The VDP2's tiled infinite plane engine, which could draw large 3D infinite planes with a much higher draw distance, texture details and fillrate than polygons at the time, was unfamiliar to most developers who relied on polygons to construct 3D planes. Sega's first-party 3D games often utilized both CPU, the DSP, and/or both VDP, but the hardware's complexity and difficult 3D development environment led to most third-party developers only utilizing a single CPU and the VDP1, just a portion of the Saturn's power, for 3D games. This was also partly due to the advanced techniques used by Sega's first-party studios being unavailable to third-party developers until the introduction of SGL.[15] While the VDP2 was under-utilized for 3D games, it was frequently used for 2D games, where the VDP1 draws sprites and the VDP2 draws scrolling backgrounds.


Main article: Sega Saturn consoles.

There are a variety of Sega Saturn models of different shapes and colours, as well as novelty units, such as the Game & Car Navi HiSaturn. Differences between systems are not as drastic as seen with the Sega Mega Drive - the same basic feature set and component designs were used throughout the console's lifespan in all regions.


First seen on launch day in Japan (1994-11-22), the HST-3200 (later revised and released as the HST-3210, although the differences aside from a BIOS update are not fully understood), commonly referred to as the "grey Saturn" (although during development it had a metallic finish), was the basis for all Sega Saturns released between the Japanese launch and early 1996. These Saturns use blue "oval" buttons, mounted to black plastic at the front of the unit, and have both "power" and "access" LEDs similar to the Sega Mega-CD.

The Saturn saw variants produced by Hitachi and Victor as the HiSaturn and V-Saturn respectively, though aside from altered BIOSes and aesthetics (and bundles/pricing) these do not deviate much from the Sega designs. Novelty value sees these models worth slightly more in pre-owned markets - fewer were produced than the Sega models, but compatibility rates are much the same.

Overseas versions are physically identical (save for region encoding), but use black plastic throughout.


Released in March 1996, the HST-3220 stands as the only significant change to the Saturn's design, although functionality wise, the only feature omitted is the "access" LED seen in previous models. Reportedly the change in colour scheme was made to appeal to younger and female demographics.[17]

These "white" Saturns likely cost less to produce (they were certainly sold for a lot less in Japan), but from a user perspective the change is largely negligible - the console is roughly the same size and has no problems running any Saturn software. White Saturns opt for grey "circle" power and reset buttons and a pink "open" button for lifting the lid.

It is rumoured, though not proven, that the HST-3220 has a faster disc reading time than its earlier counterparts, meaning quicker loading screens in games.

When brought overseas the console continued to be shipped only in black, although the North American and European models have different coloured buttons. In 1998 Sega started releasing special versions of these consoles with semi-transparent plastic under the "This is cool" brand - only 30,000 units were produced. Again aside from aesthetic differences the consoles are interchangeable.

Some of the Japanese colour designs were also brought to Brazil.

Technical specifications




  • SCU math coprocessor: Geometry DSP @ 14.31818 MHz, 32‑bit fixed‑point instructionsMedia:ST-097-R5-072694.pdf[33]Media:ST-097-R5-072694.pdf[64]Media:ST-TECH.pdf[65]
    • Parallel units: 32/48-bit ALU (arithmetic logic unit), 48/64‑bit Multiplier, 32-bit instruction decoder
  • Buses:Media:ST-097-R5-072694.pdf[64]Media:ST-TECH.pdf[66]
    • Internal: 4 parallel buses, 32-bit per bus, 128-bit overall bus width, 3 buses at 14.31818 MHz, 1 bus at 28.63636 MHz
    • External: 32-bit, 28.63636 MHz
  • Cache RAM: 2 KB (1 KB data, 1 KB program)Media:ST-103-R1-040194.pdf[67]
  • Instructions: 6 parallel instructions/cycle (one instruction per unit/bus),Media:ST-TECH.pdf[34] 85.90908 MIPS (6 MIPS/MHz)
    • Fixed-point operations: 28.63636 MOPS (million operations per second), 2 MOPS/MHz (2 parallel operations/cycle)
  • Capabilities: Matrix and vector calculations, 3D point transformations, lighting calculations, fixed-point calculations,Media:ST-TECH.pdf[65] faster than SH-2,Media:ST-TECH.pdf[68] can use DMA to directly fetch and store vertex data, floating-point operations, geometry transformations, voxel rendering acceleration, fast coordinate transformations, lighting computations,[69] transparency calculations[14]
  • Notes: Can only be programmed with assembly language, more difficult to program than SH-2Media:ST-TECH.pdf[65]
Main article: VDP1 (Saturn).
Main article: VDP2 (Saturn).


The Saturn supported the following display resolutions:Media:ST-103-R1-040194.pdf[116]

  • 320×224 (Lo‑Res)
  • 320×240 (Lo‑Res)
  • 320×256 (Lo-Res, PAL)
  • 352×224 (Lo‑Res)
  • 352×240 (Lo‑Res)
  • 352×256 (PAL)
  • 640×224
  • 640×240
  • 640×256 (PAL)
  • 704×224
  • 704×240
  • 704×256 (PAL)
  • 320×448
  • 320×512 (PAL)
  • 320×480
  • 352×448
  • 320×480
  • 352×512 (PAL)
  • 640×448 (Hi‑Res)
  • 640×480 (Hi‑Res)
  • 640×512 (Hi‑Res, PAL)
  • 704×448 (Hi‑Res)
  • 704×480 (Hi‑Res)
  • 704×512 (Hi‑Res, PAL)


Main article: Saturn Custom Sound Processor.



System RAM buses, all connected through the SCU:Media:ST-103-R1-040194.pdf[32]Media:13-APR-94.pdf[61]Media:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf[26]

  • System bus (32‑bit, 28.63636 MHz)
    • SH2 (×2), SCU, SMPC <–> Work RAM (2× SDRAM, 2× FPM DRAM), battery backup SRAM
  • Video sub‑system buses (80-bit, 28.63636 MHz)Media:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf[42]
    • SCU <–> VDP1, VDP2 (16-bit)
    • VDP1 <–> Texture cache VRAM (SDRAM, 16-bit)
    • VDP1 <–> Framebuffer 0 VRAM (SDRAM, 16-bit)
    • VDP1 <–> Framebuffer 1 VRAM (SDRAM, 16-bit)
    • VDP2 <–> Background cache VRAM (2× SDRAM, 32-bit)Media:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf[43]
  • Sound sub‑system bus — SCU, 68EC000, SCSP <‑> Sound RAM (FPM DRAM) (16-bit, 28.63636 MHz)
  • CD‑ROM sub‑system bus — SCU, SH1 <‑> CD‑ROM cache/buffer RAM (FPM DRAM) (16-bit, 28.63636 MHz)



Main article: List of Sega Saturn accessories.
  • Two 16‑bit bidirectional parallel I/O ports
  • High-speed serial communications port (Both SH2 SCI channels and SCSP MIDI)
  • Cartridge connector
  • Internal expansion port for video decoder card
  • Composite video/stereo (JP Part No: HSS-0106)
  • NTSC/PAL RF (US Part No.: MK-80116, JP Part No.: HSS-0110)
  • S-Video compatible (JP Part No.: HSS-0105)
  • RGB compatible (JP Part No.: HSS-0109)
  • EDTV compatible (optional)


Main article: List of Sega Saturn accessories.

Power source

  • AC120 volts; 60 Hz (US)
  • AC240 volts; 50 Hz (EU)
  • AC200 volts; 60 Hz (JP)
  • 4 volt lithium battery to power non-volatile RAM and SMPC internal real-time clock
  • Power Consumption: 25 W

Dimensions (US/European model)

  • Width: 260 mm (10.2 in)
  • Length: 230 mm (9.0 in)
  • Height: 89 mm (3.2 in)


BIOS Revisions
BIOS Version Machine Download
1.00 Sega Saturn (Japan) 1.00 (Asian Saturn) (info) (444 kB)
1.00a Sega Saturn (NA & EU) 1.00a (NA & EU Saturn) (info) (444 kB)
1.003 Sega Saturn Devkit (Japan) 1.003 (Asian Devkit) (info) (441 kB)
1.01 Sega Saturn (Japan), HiSaturn (Japan), V-Saturn (Japan) 1.01 (Asian Saturn) (info) (438 kB)
1.01 (Asian HiSaturn) (info) (438 kB)
1.01 (Asian V-Saturn) (info) (438 kB)
1.01a Sega Saturn (NA & EU) 1.01a (NA & EU Saturn) (info) (444 kB)
1.02 HiSaturn (Japan) 1.02 (JP HiSaturn) (info) (423 kB)
1.03 HiSaturn Navi (Japan) 1.03 (JP HiSaturn Navi) (info) (423 kB)


See VDP1 Errata

VDP1 transparency rendering quirk causes strips of pixels to be rewritten to framebuffer for 2-point (scaled) and 4-point (quadrangle) "sprites", applying the transparency effect multiple times. Rarely seen in commercial games (e.g. Robotica explosions), later titles implemented software transparency to correctly render transparent polygons (e.g. Dural in Virtua Fighter Kids).

The VDP1 supports per-pixel transparency between different polygons/sprites in the VDP1 framebuffer, or between VDP1 and VDP2 layers, but not both at the same time, with the VDP2's transparency overriding the VDP1's transparency. There are several ways to overcome this issue. The most common method used by Saturn games is to fake transparency with dithering, using a mesh that gets blended by a television's Composite or S-Video cable. Another method is using a VDP2 bitmap layer as an additional transparent framebuffer, copying transparent assets from the VDP1 framebuffer to a VDP2 bitmap framebuffer layer (e.g. the transparent polygons in Burning Rangers). Another method is software transparency, programming the CPU with software code.

Technical comparison

Main article: Sega Saturn/Hardware comparison.


Main article: History of the Sega Saturn.

Game packaging

Japanese packaging

Japanese Saturn software usually came packaged in standard jewel cases, much like music CDs. They also came with spinecards - three-fold pieces of light cardboard that hug the spine of the jewel case. These are very valuable for collectors who wish to claim a game is "complete". The spinecard also indicates that the CD is for use with a Sega Saturn console - specifically Japanese NTSC systems. There were also jewel case quad CD cases, and a variant of the single case which was slightly thicker and VERY hard to replace.

Most of the time the spinecard will have a gold and black background with the Japanese Saturn logo and lettering printed vertically. Saturn collection games will have red and white spinecard with white lettering, the Saturn Collection logo under that, and the 2,800 yen price featured prominently. Manual is included with the cover seen through the front of the jewel case. The left side of the manual will usually have a bar similar in design to the spinecard. The Japanese SEGA rating, if there is one, will be included on the manual front (usually on one of the corners). There is also the insert on the back which may feature artwork or screenshots from the game. A black bar on the bottom of the insert contains information much like the spinecard, licensing information, et cetera.

The Japanese packaging was adopted in smaller Asian markets such as South Korea and China.

North American packaging

Sega of America adopted very simple packaging in the beginning, the likes of which hadn't been seen since the Sega Master System.

The US used much larger jewel cases identical to the US Sega Mega-CD jewel cases, since many of these were in fact leftover Sega CD jewel cases. The US case has a white spine containing a 30 degree stripe pattern in gray, with white outlined lettering displaying the words "Sega Saturn". Oddly some US packaging seems to have taken a step backwards in terms of aesthetics - with minimal front artwork almost akin to the Sega Master System.

There are many flaws with the US packaging:

  • Their sheer size made them more vulnerable to cracking.
  • The mechanism that keeps the cover closed wears out quickly if the cover is opened and closed too much
  • There is too much empty space inside the case. If the CD ever came off the case's spindle on its own (caused by rough handling of the case), the CD ends up being tossed around the inside of the case, causing either huge amount of scratches on the disc from careful handling of the case or shattering the disc from continued rough handling of the case.

European packaging

European cases come in two variants, both designed and engineered by Sega. One has a strong plastic design similar to the cases used with the Mega Drive and Master System (but taller, thinner and slightly more secure). The other feels far cheaper, being literally two pieces of plastic held together by a cardboard cover. Though the former was more preferred by the consumer, the latter was more common as it was cheaper to produce.

Both European cases has a solid black spine, with white lettering displaying the words "Sega Saturn". The manual slides in the case just like a normal jewel case and there is a back insert with information about the game. Like the American cases they are still too big and can lead to discs moving about and becoming scratched, though this may be to compensate for large multi-language manuals.

Some European boxes were wrapped in a transparent plastic shell after manufacture for extra security.

Brazillian packaging

Brazilian games were packaged in cardboard boxes, with a CD sleeve inside to keep the disc secure.


The Saturn is notoriously hard to emulate due to its complex architecture (dual processors, etc.), but three notable emulators do exist:

  • SSF is a highly compatible emulator, which is in continual development by a single developer.
  • GiriGiri was initially based on an abandoned emulator by Sega themselves, and was considered the best until development ceased and SSF overtook it.
  • Yabause is an open-source effort to create a Saturn emulator.

Software that plays files in the Saturn Sound Format, which stores audio ripped from games, does so through emulation of the audio-related code only.


List of games

Main article: List of Saturn games.

Launch titles


North America



Magazine articles

Main article: Sega Saturn/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Print advertisements

SegaVisions US 24.pdfSegaVisions US 24.pdf

Print advert in

Sega Visions (US) #24: "May 1995" (1995-xx-xx)

GamePlayers US 0811.pdfGamePlayers US 0811.pdf

Print advert in

Game Players (US) Vol. 8 No. 11 "November 1995" (1995-xx-xx)

EGM US 077.pdfEGM US 077.pdf

Print advert in

Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #77: "December 1995" (1995-xx-xx)

NextGeneration US 18.pdfNextGeneration US 18.pdf

Print advert in

Next Generation (US) #18: "June 1996" (1996-05-21)
also published in:

  • GamePro (US) #93: "June 1996" (1996-xx-xx)[134]

PlayerOne FR 057.pdf

Print advert in

Player One (FR) #57: "Octobre 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
also published in:

  • CD Consoles (FR) #11: "Novembre 1995" (1995-xx-xx)[135]

CDConsoles FR 12.pdfCDConsoles FR 12.pdf

Print advert in

CD Consoles (FR) #12: "Décembre 1995" (1995-xx-xx)

HobbyConsolas ES 046.pdfHobbyConsolas ES 046.pdfHobbyConsolas ES 046.pdfHobbyConsolas ES 046.pdfHobbyConsolas ES 046.pdfHobbyConsolas ES 046.pdf

Print advert in

Hobby Consolas (ES) #46: "Julio 1995" (1995-xx-xx)

Hyper AU 021.pdf

Print advert in

Hyper (AU) #21: "August 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
also published in:

  • Hyper (AU) #20: "July 1995" (1995-xx-xx)[136]


Television advertisements


External links

  • Dave's Sega Saturn Page - Famous fansite that was extremely popular during the Saturn's heyday (no longer updated).


  1. MOPS (million operations per second)
  2. 1 operation per cycle[30]
  3. 39 cycles per divide[31]
  4. 2x SH-2 MULT: 57.27272 MOPS (million operations per second)Media:SH7604 Hardware Manual.pdf[52]
    2x SH-2 DIVU: 1.468531 MOPS (39 cycles per divide)[53]
    SCU DSP: 28.63636 MOPS (add and multiply per cycle)
  5. 2x SH-2: 57,272,720 adds/sec (1 cycle per multiply)Media:SH7604 Hardware Manual.pdf[52]
    SCU DSP: 14,318,180 multiplies/sec (1 cycle per multiply)
  6. 2x SH-2: 57,272,720 multiplies/sec (1 cycle per multiply)Media:SH7604 Hardware Manual.pdf[54]
    SCU DSP: 14,318,180 multiplies/sec (1 cycle per multiply)
  7. 2x CPU: 3,579,545 divides/sec (16 cycles per 16-bit divide)[31]
    2x DIVU: 1,468,531 divides/sec (39 cycles per divide)[53]
  8. 2x SH-2 MULT: 57.27272 MOPS (million operations per second)Media:SH7604 Hardware Manual.pdf[52]
    2x SH-2 DIVU: 1.468531 MOPS (39 cycles per divide)[53]
    SCU DSP: 28.63636 MOPS (add and multiply per cycle)
  9. Transformation (21 adds/multiplies),Media:ST-240-A-SP1-052295.pdf[55] projection (4 adds/multiplies)[56] and perspective division (1 divide)[57] per vertex:
    • 894,886 vertices/sec: 894,886 SCU DSP transformations (14 cycles per transform,Media:ST-240-A-SP1-052295.pdf[55] 2 cycles per projection), 894,886 SH-2 DIVU divisions (1 divide per vertex)
    • 573,644 vertices/sec: 14,341,100 SH-2 MULT DSP transform/projection operations (25 cycles per vertex), 573,644 SH-2 DIVU divisions (1 divide per vertex)
    • 1,011,294 vertices/sec: 41,463,054 SH-2 transform/projection/divide cycles (41 cycles per vertex)
  10. 8 vertices per cube (6 quad polygons)Media:ST-237-R1-051795.pdf[58]
  11. 8 transformations (168 adds/multiplies), 6 surface normals (72 multiplies, 36 adds),[59] 6 light sources (72 adds/multiplies),[60] 8 projections (32 adds/multiplies) and 8 perspective divisions (24 divides)[56] per cube with 8 vertices and 6 quad polygons:
    • 52,640 cubes/sec: 52,640 SCU DSP cubes (112 transform cycles, 72 surface normal cycles, 72 light source cycles,[60] 16 projection cycles), 1,263,360 SH-2 DIVU divisions (24 divides per cube)
    • 8548 cubes/sec: 2,940,512 SH-2 MULT DSP transform/projection operations (347 cycles per cube), 205,152 SH-2 DIVU divisions (24 divides per cube)
    • 72,614 cubes/sec: 52,862,992 SH-2 transform/projection/divide cycles (728 cycles per cube)
  12. 8 transformations (168 adds/multiplies), 8 surface normals (96 multiplies, 48 adds), 8 light sources (96 adds/multiplies), 8 projections (32 adds/multiplies) and 8 perspective divisions (24 divides) per cube with 8 vertices and 6 quad polygons:
    • 44,744 cubes/sec: 44,744 SCU DSP cubes (112 transform cycles, 96 surface normal cycles, 96 light source cycles, 16 projection cycles), 1,073,856 SH-2 DIVU divisions (24 divides per cube)
    • 16,444 cubes/sec: 7,235,360 SH-2 MULT DSP transform/projection operations (440 cycles per cube), 394,675 SH-2 DIVU divisions (8 divides per cube)
    • 58,942 cubes/sec: 48,568,208 SH-2 transform/projection/divide cycles (824 cycles per cube)
  13. VDP1: 28.63636–35.6465 MPixels/s
    VDP2: 14.31818–114.54544 MPixels/s
  14. VDP1: 28.63636–35.6465 MPixels/s
    VDP2: 125.82912–534.77376 MPixels/s
  15. 57.27272 MB/s per bus
  16. 28.63636 MHz texture cache, 28.63636 MHz draw/render framebuffer, 28.63636 MHz display/erase framebufferMedia:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf[46]
  17. 1 cycle per pixelMedia:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf[44]Media:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf[89]Media:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf[45]
  18. 28.63636 MPixels/s draw, 14.418 MPixels/s erase/writeMedia:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf[90]Media:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf[91]
  19. 164,576 Gouraud-shaded 10×10 polygons/sec: 57.27272 million parallel bus cycles/sec, 248 cycles overhead per polygon (16 cycles command table fetch,Media:TUTORIAL.pdf[92] 232 cycles Gouraud shading),Media:TUTORIAL.pdf[93] 348 cycles per polygon (100 cycles drawing per 100-pixel polygon)[94]
  20. Takes six times longer when using VDP1's RGB mode.Media:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf[75] When using VDP2 palette mode, the VDP1 draws shadowed/translucent objects at full speed.
  21. Drawing process is asynchronous,Media:TUTORIAL.pdf[92] commands/textures read from texture cache and pixels/texels written to rendering framebuffer in parallel (57.27272 million parallel bus cycles/sec),Media:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf[95] 148 textured 504×255 polygons/sec (386,905 parallel cycles per polygon), 136,363 textured 10×10 polygons/sec (420 parallel cycles per polygon), 189,644 textured 8×8 polygons/sec (302 parallel cycles per polygon)Media:TUTORIAL.pdf[93]
  22. 57.27272 million parallel bus cycles/sec, 147 textured 504×255 polygons/sec (387,137 parallel cycles per polygon), 87,841 textured 10×10 polygons/sec (652 parallel cycles per polygon)Media:TUTORIAL.pdf[93][94]
  23. Flat shading: 16 cycles per polygon in 28.63636 MHz texture cache,Media:TUTORIAL.pdf[92] 1 cycle per pixel in 28.63636 MHz framebuffer
  24. 57.27272 million parallel bus cycles/sec, 248 cycles overhead per polygon (16 cycles command table fetch,Media:TUTORIAL.pdf[92] 232 cycles Gouraud shading),Media:TUTORIAL.pdf[93] 32 cycles drawing per 32-pixel polygon[94]
  25. 57.27272 million parallel bus cycles/sec, 171 parallel cycles per polygonMedia:TUTORIAL.pdf[93]
  26. 200,000 texture-mapped polygons/sec,[96][51] 57.27272 million parallel bus cycles/sec, 285 parallel cycles per polygonMedia:TUTORIAL.pdf[93]
  27. 57.27272 million parallel bus cycles/sec, 403 parallel cycles per polygonMedia:TUTORIAL.pdf[93][94]
  28. 28.4375 MHz per core
  29. 2 cycles per pixel (8 cycles per 4 pixels)Media:ST-TECH.pdf[113]Media:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf[114]
  30. 1 pixel per cycle (4 pixels per 4 cycles)Media:ST-TECH.pdf[113]Media:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf[114]
  31. 2 pixels per cycle (4 pixels per 2 cycles)Media:ST-TECH.pdf[113]Media:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf[114]
  32. 4 pixels per cycleMedia:ST-TECH.pdf[113]Media:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf[114]
  33. 2 cycles per pixel (8 cycles per 4 pixels)Media:ST-TECH.pdf[113]Media:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf[114]
  34. 4096×4096 texel texture, 1024×1024 texel texture, 30 frames per second[115]
  35. 1024×1024 to 2048×2048 pixel tilemaps
  36. 4x 128×128 tilesMedia:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf[105]
  37. 2048×2048 to 4096×4096 texel textures
  38. 28.63636 MHz, 34 nsMedia:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf[117][118][119]
  39. 22.222222 MHz, 45 ns cycles, 70 ns accessMedia:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf[120][121][122]
  40. SDRAM, 80-bit, 28.63636 MHz
  41. 16‑bit, 34 nsMedia:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf[117][118][119]
  42. 32‑bit, 34 nsMedia:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf[123][119]
  43. 32‑bit, 34 nsMedia:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf[123][119]
  44. FPM DRAM, 16‑bit, 20 MHz, 50 ns cycles, 70 ns accessMedia:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf[124][125]
  45. FPM DRAM, 16‑bit, 20 MHz, 50 ns cycles, 80 ns accessMedia:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf[126][122]
  46. NVRAM, 8‑bit, 10 MHz, 100 nsMedia:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf[127][128]
  47. MROM/EPROM, 16‑bit, 10 MHz[35][129]
  48. FPM DRAM, 16-bit, 22.222222 MHz, 45 ns cycles, 70 ns access[130][131]
  49. FPM DRAM, 16-bit, 25 MHz, 40 ns cycles, 60 ns accessMedia:13-APR-94.pdf[61][132][133]
  50. 7 buses, 144-bit bus width
  51. 32‑bit, 28.63636 MHz
  52. 114.54544 MB/s SDRAM, 88.888888 MB/s FPM DRAM
  53. 8‑bit, 10 MHz
  54. SDRAM, 4 buses, 80-bit bus width, 28.63636 MHz
  55. 114.54544 MB/s framebuffers, 57.27272 MB/s texture cache, 48-bit bus width
  56. 32-bit bus width
  57. 57.0 57.1 FPM DRAM, 16‑bit, 20 MHz
  58. 114.54544 MB/s per SH2
  59. 32‑bit, 20 MHz
  60. 171.81816 MB/s for 3 buses, 114.54544 MB/s for 1 bus
  61. 2 MB/s RAM, 5 MB/s ROM
  62. 16‑bit, 11.29 MHz
  63. 24‑bit, 22.58 MHz
  64. 171.81816 MB/s VDP1, 114.54544 MB/s VDP2 color RAM
  65. 16‑bit, 10 MHz
  66. FPM DRAM, 16-bit, 22.222222 MHz
  67. FPM DRAM, 16-bit, 25 MHz


  1. 1.0 1.1 File:CVG UK 164.pdf, page 7
  2. File:CVG UK 165.pdf, page 30
  3. File:ConsolesMicro FR 01.pdf, page 13
  4. File:SegaMagazin DE 21.pdf, page 6
  5. File:HobbyConsolas ES 050.pdf, page 26
  6. File:HobbyConsolas ES 046.pdf, page 28
  7. History of the Sega Saturn/Decline and legacy
  8. File:SegaSaturn94JPCatalog.pdf
  9. File:Edge UK 024.pdf, page 9
  10. File:Hyper AU 003.pdf, page 8
  11. Technology That Defines the Next Generation: The Sega Saturn White Paper
  12. 12.0 12.1 Sega Saturn 3D Capabilities
  13. File:SSM UK 24.pdf, page 25
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Pure Entertainment Interview
  15. 15.0 15.1 Jason Gosling (Core Design) Interview (Edge)
  16. 16.0 16.1 File:Edge UK 030.pdf, page 99
  17. File:MAXIMUM UK 06.pdf, page 127
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 Sega Saturn hardware notes (2004-04-27)
  19. 19.0 19.1 File:Hitachi SuperH Programming Manual.pdf
  20. File:SH7604 Hardware Manual.pdf
  21. File:SH-2A.pdf, page 2
  22. SH7040, SH7041, SH7042, SH7043, SH7044, SH7045, Renesas
  23. File:Hitachi SuperH Programming Manual.pdf, page 390
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 File:SH7604 Hardware Manual.pdf, page 3
  25. File:SH7604 Hardware Manual.pdf, page 219
  26. 26.00 26.01 26.02 26.03 26.04 26.05 26.06 26.07 26.08 26.09 26.10 26.11 26.12 26.13 File:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf
  27. 27.0 27.1 File:SH7604 Hardware Manual.pdf, page 22
  28. File:ST-103-R1-040194.pdf, page 23
  29. 29.0 29.1 File:SH7604 Hardware Manual.pdf, page 303
  30. File:Hitachi SuperH Programming Manual.pdf, page 31
  31. 31.0 31.1 File:Hitachi SuperH Programming Manual.pdf, page 155
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 32.5 32.6 32.7 File:ST-103-R1-040194.pdf
  33. 33.0 33.1 File:ST-097-R5-072694.pdf
  34. 34.0 34.1 File:ST-TECH.pdf, page 157
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 35.4 35.5 35.6 35.7 Sega Saturn (MAME)
  36. 36.0 36.1 File:HD40491 datasheet.pdf
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 File:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf, page 12
  38. 38.0 38.1 File:ST-077-R2-052594.pdf
  39. 39.0 39.1 File:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf, page 42
  40. 40.0 40.1 Sega Saturn FAQ (January 8, 2000)
  41. Obsolete Microprocessors
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 42.3 42.4 File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 File:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 44.4 44.5 44.6 File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 52
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 64
  46. 46.0 46.1 File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 6
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 File:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf, page 24
  48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 STV VDP2 (MAME)
  49. 49.0 49.1 File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 18
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 50.3 STV VDP1 (MAME)
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 51.3 51.4 51.5 51.6 File:NextGeneration US 24.pdf, page 64
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 File:SH7604 Hardware Manual.pdf, page 51
  53. 53.0 53.1 53.2 File:Hitachi SuperH Programming Manual.pdf, page 308
  54. File:SH7604 Hardware Manual.pdf, page 36
  55. 55.0 55.1 File:ST-240-A-SP1-052295.pdf, page 8
  56. 56.0 56.1 Design of Digital Systems and Devices (page 97)
  57. 3D Polygon Rendering Pipeline (page 50)
  58. File:ST-237-R1-051795.pdf, page 51
  59. Design of Digital Systems and Devices (page 95)
  60. 60.0 60.1 Sega DTS, March 1996, DSP Demo
  61. 61.0 61.1 61.2 61.3 File:13-APR-94.pdf, page 8
  62. 62.0 62.1 62.2 File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 40
  63. File:ST-103-R1-040194.pdf, page 17
  64. 64.0 64.1 File:ST-097-R5-072694.pdf, page 93
  65. 65.0 65.1 65.2 File:ST-TECH.pdf, page 149
  66. File:ST-TECH.pdf, page 152
  67. File:ST-103-R1-040194.pdf, page 25
  68. File:ST-TECH.pdf, page 163
  69. The State of Sega Saturn Homebrew
  70. File:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf, page 34
  71. File:TUTORIAL.pdf, page 11
  72. 72.0 72.1 72.2 File:ST-TECH.pdf, page 147
  73. File:ST-TECH.pdf, page 135
  74. File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 34
  75. 75.0 75.1 75.2 75.3 File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 110
  76. File:ST-238-R1-051795.pdf
  77. 77.0 77.1 File:ST-238-R1-051795.pdf, page 232
  78. ST-013-R3-061694.pdf
  79. File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 24
  80. 80.0 80.1 File:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf, page 177
  81. File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 149
  82. Sega Saturn Tech Specs
  83. Sega System 24 Hardware Notes (2013-06-16)
  84. File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 119
  85. File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 29
  86. File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 81
  87. 87.0 87.1 File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 75
  88. File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 39
  89. File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 35
  90. File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 65
  91. File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 61
  92. 92.0 92.1 92.2 92.3 File:TUTORIAL.pdf, page 15
  93. 93.0 93.1 93.2 93.3 93.4 93.5 93.6 File:TUTORIAL.pdf, page 8
  94. 94.0 94.1 94.2 94.3 94.4 Saturn VDP1 hardware notes (2003-05-17)
  95. File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 44
  96. 96.0 96.1 File:SegaVisions US 24.pdf, page 14
  97. File:ST-013-R3-061694.pdf, page 41
  98. File:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf, page 38
  99. File:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf, page 163
  100. Sonic R
  101. 101.0 101.1 File:TUTORIAL.pdf, page 223
  102. 102.0 102.1 File:ST-TECH.pdf, page 165
  103. 103.0 103.1 Mass Destruction, developer note
  104. 104.0 104.1 Sega DTS, March 1996, Coefficient Table Madness Demo
  105. 105.0 105.1 105.2 File:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf, page 132
  106. 106.0 106.1 File:13-APR-94.pdf, page 12
  107. Sega DTS, March 1996, Dual Rotating Background Demos
  108. File:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf, page 23
  109. File:13-APR-94.pdf, page 28
  110. File:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf, page 54
  111. File:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf, page 79
  112. File:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf, page 360
  113. 113.0 113.1 113.2 113.3 113.4 File:ST-TECH.pdf, page 142
  114. 114.0 114.1 114.2 114.3 114.4 File:ST-058-R2-060194.pdf, page 49
  115. Sega Saturn interesting finds
  116. File:ST-103-R1-040194.pdf, page 39
  117. 117.0 117.1 File:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf, page 26
  118. 118.0 118.1 File:HM5241605 datasheet.pdf
  119. 119.0 119.1 119.2 119.3 File:UPD4504161 datasheet.pdf
  120. File:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf, page 51
  121. File:TC514260B datasheet.pdf
  122. 122.0 122.1 File:HM514260 datasheet.pdf
  123. 123.0 123.1 File:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf, page 37
  124. File:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf, page 46
  125. File:HM514270D datasheet.pdf
  126. File:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf, page 55
  127. File:Sega Service Manual - Sega Saturn (PAL) - 013-1 - June 1995.pdf, page 32
  128. File:SRM20256L datasheet.pdf
  129. File:TC574200D datasheet.pdf
  130. 「セガサターン拡張RAMカートリッジ 回路図」
  131. File:HM514260C datasheet.pdf
  132. Sega Saturn Memory Cartridge Interface
  133. File:KM48C2100A datasheet.pdf
  134. File:GamePro US 093.pdf, page 22
  135. File:CDConsoles FR 11.pdf, page 89
  136. File:Hyper AU 022.pdf, page 11
Sega Home Video Game Systems
83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11
SG-1000 SG-1000 II Mega Drive Mega Drive II
SC-3000 Mega-CD Mega-CD II Genesis 3
Sega Mark III 32X Dreamcast
Master System Master System II
AI Computer Game Gear
Pico Beena
Sega Saturn Hardware
 Saturn Variations   Sega Saturn consoles (HiSaturn, V-Saturn, etc.) | North America | Europe | Brazil | Asia

HiSaturn Navi | SunSeibu SGX | Sega Titan Video

 Console Add-ons   Backup Memory | Sega PriFun | Video CD Card | Extended RAM Cartridge | ROM Cartridge
Game Controllers   Standard gamepad | 3D Control Pad | Arcade Racer Joystick | Infrared Control Pad | Sega Mission Stick | Shuttle Mouse | Twin Stick | Virtua Gun | Virtua Stick | Virtua Stick Pro
Online Services/Add-ons   NetLink Internet Modem (NetLink Keyboard | NetLink Keyboard Adapter | NetLink Mouse) | Saturn Modem (Floppy Drive | Keyboard)
Connector Cables   21 Pin RGB Cable | Monaural AV Cable | RF Unit | Stereo AV Cable | S-Video Cable | Taisen Cable
Development Hardware Programming Box | Sound Box | E7000 | CartDev | SNASM2 | Saturn Address Checker | PSY-Q Development System
Misc. Hardware   6 Player Adaptor‎ | Action Replay | Action Replay Plus | Pro Action Replay | SBom Multitap‎ | S-S Promoter
Other Articles Hardware Comparison | History (Development | Release | Decline and Legacy) | List of Games (A-M) | List of Games (N-Z)