Sega Saturn consoles

From Sega Retro

There exist various Sega Saturn models, which differ from each other to varying degrees.

Perhaps the most well-known difference is that between “Model 1” and “Model 2” Saturns, which are easily distinguishable through the differing designs of their Power and Reset buttons—oval in the former, round in the latter—and also differ internally, chiefly in having different types of CD cable, which can complicate efforts to install a modchip. Moreover, within the broad categories of Model 1 or 2, several types of motherboard exist, with different arrangements of components and paths.

All Sega Saturns are either NTSC or PAL. Within these categories, US and Canadian (NTSC) Saturns are identical, as are European and Australian (PAL) models. There was no SECAM Saturn: the ‘SECAM’ models released in France were simply PAL models with a bundled PAL-to-SECAM converter.

The model number is printed on the information label on the rear of the console.


Grey Japanese Saturn

The original Japanese Saturn model is grey in color—excepting the cartridge slot flap and the front, which are black—and came in a box labeled HST-0001. It has three blue buttons (Power, Open, and Reset), a drive access LED, and a non-notched power cord. All models sport the oval buttons characteristic of older “Model 1” Saturns. Production was later ended in favor of the white Saturn.

Reference Designation Bios Date Price Notes
HST-0001 Saturn console gray HST-3200 / HST-3210 1.00/1.01 22-11-1994 44,800¥
HST-0004 Saturn console gray HST-3210 1.01 16-06-1995(?) 44,800¥
HST-0005 Saturn HST-3210 1.01 16-06-1995 34,800¥ 1,000,000th Campaign Box + Virtua Fighter Remix.
Saturn, JP (HST-001)
Saturn JP Box TopBottom HST-0001.jpg
Saturn JP Box Back HST-0001.jpgSaturn JP Box Left HST-0001.jpgSega Saturn model HST-0001.jpgSaturn JP Box Right HST-0001.jpg
Saturn JP Box TopBottom HST-0001.jpg
SegaSaturn HST-0001.jpg
Saturn, JP (HST-004)
Sega Saturn model HST-0004.jpg
Saturn, JP (HST-005)
Sega Saturn model HST-0005 box.jpg

White Japanese Saturn

‘White’ Saturns are no more white in reality than Dreamcasts are: both are, in fact, a very light gray. There are two models of white Saturn. The first is based off the first generation Saturn with purple oval buttons, and the second is the traditional second generation model with round grey Power and Reset buttons, a pink Open button, and no drive Access LED. The systems came packed with a matching white controller with multi-colored buttons, similar to a Super Famicom controller except only the bottom row buttons are colored: green, yellow, and blue respectively; the upper buttons are grey, as is the cartridge slot flap. It is also rumored(?) that the white Saturn may have a slightly faster CD access time.

Reference Designation Bios Date Price Notes
HST-0014 Saturn console white - HST-3220 1.01 22-03-96 20,000¥ Some were bundled with Virtua Fighter 2.
HST-0017 Christmas Nights Campaign Box - HST-3220 1.01 22-11-96 20,000¥ Same console as HST-0004 (accessories: HSS-0119 and HSS-0102.
HST-0019 Saturn console white - HST-3220 1.01 10-07-97 20,000¥ In March, some were bundled as a Toys 'R' Us edition with a Sonic stencil
Saturn, JP (HST-0014)
Sega saturn white HST-0014 BOX.jpg
Saturn, JP (HST-0014)
Sega saturn white HST-0014 VF.jpg
Saturn, JP (HST-0017)
Sega saturn white HST-0017 BOX.png
Saturn, JP (HST-0019)
Saturn JP Box Back HST-0019.jpgNospine-small.pngSega saturn white HST-0019 box.jpg
Saturn, JP (HST-0019)
Saturn JP Box Back HST-0019 ToysRUs.jpgNospine-small.pngSega saturn white HST-0019 TOYSRUS box.jpg

Skeleton Saturn

The two ‘Skeleton Saturns’ were the final models to be produced in Japan (and hence the world), and they were the only non-standard models brought to other regions(?). They are a valuable collector’s item, being quite rare. The unique feature that provides their name are their see-through body and matching controllers. Other than that, they’re basically identical to the second version of the white Saturn. The exception is that both may have compatibility problems with the games Space Harrier, Metal Slug, and Outrun; however, some users have reported that their skeleton Saturn works with their copy of a particular game, so it may be that only certain consoles and/or games (or the combination thereof) were affected by this issue.[1]


  • HST-0020/HST-0021: These two models were both translucent smoky grey, with “This is Cool” printed on the CD drive lid and the controllers. The second model, HST-021, was the only one released outside of Japan. Approximately 30,000 units for Japan and 50,000 for the US were produced. HST-0021 was released in Japan on 4 April 1998 retailing at ¥20,000.
  • HST-0022: This model was a promotional tie-in with ASCII's popular Derby Stallion horse racing simulation franchise; it came with stickers for the game and says something about the game on the box. The console differs in the hue of its transparent case and also does not have the line “This is Cool” printed anywhere on it. Approximately 20,000 were produced for Japan and mass exported to the other regions. After supplies of the skeleton Saturn previously being limited, this was quickly bought in bulk by exporters and for a time was easier to find outside Japan than inside. This model was released in Japan on 25 March 1999 retailing at ¥20,000.
Reference Designation Bios Date Price
HST-0020 Skeleton Campaign Console 1.01 1998 Free?
HST-0021 Skeleton console - HST-3220 1.01 04-04-1998 20,000¥ / $200 (USA)
HST-0022 Skeleton / derby stallion - HST-3220 1.01 25-03-1999 20,000¥
Saturn, JP (HST-0020)
Sega Saturn HST-0020 box.jpg
Saturn, JP (HST-0021)
Saturn JP Box Top HST-0021.jpg
Saturn JP Box Back HST-0021.jpgSaturn JP Box Spine HST-0021.jpgSega Saturn HST-0021 box.jpgSaturn JP Box Spine2 HST-0021.jpg
Saturn JP Box Bottom HST-0021.jpg
Saturn, JP (HST-0022)
Saturn JP Box Back HST-0022.jpgNospine-small.pngSega Saturn HST-0022 box.jpg


Sega licensed the rights to produce Saturns to some of their hardware partners. One was Hitachi, who provided the CPUs and several other chips. The Hi-Saturn is yet another early style Saturn but with the MPEG decompression hardware built in, and Hi-Saturn printed on the CD drive lid. It's manufactured by Hitachi, and was supposed to cost less than a White Saturn with an optional MPEG card added in.

The unit is a dark charcoal color. It's not as black in color as the US Saturn but pretty close. Also, the buttons on it are circular, not oval, like subsequent Saturn units. The buttons are a khaki looking color. The machine has a very drab feel to it. The box it comes in is very plain looking almost all black with a light gray/white border and golden letters.

The start up screen is different as well. Instead of a bunch of pieces forming together, the word Hi-Saturn shoots out from the middle of the screen and then flips around 'till it's readable and then it flashes on screen like other Saturns do.

Controllers have the same color layout as the unit. The buttons are khaki and a gloomy looking blueish/gray. The controllers say Hitachi on them.


  • MMP-1 / MMP-1C: These models are based on the first major Saturn model, with oval buttons and Drive Access LED.
  • MMP-11: This model is based on the second major Saturn model, with round buttons instead.
  • MMP-1000NV: Known as the Game & Car Navi Hi-Saturn (ゲーム&カーナビ ハイサターン), this model is much different from all other Saturn models, both in design and funcionality. It has a lower, more square profile, and an add-on LCD monitor for playing games on. The system is completely flat on top and lacks the bulge of the CD drive. The system also had a GPS receiver sold separately (with only Japanese regional software being available). 2000 units were produced by Hitachi each month, while the LCD screens had a run of 1000 per month.
Reference Designation Bios Date Price Notes
MMP-1 Hi-Saturn model 1 1.01 01-04-1995 64,800¥
MMP-1-C Hi-Saturn MMP-1 1,000,000th Campaign Box + Virtua Fighter Remix 1.01 16-06-1995 54,800¥
MMP-11 Hi-Saturn model 2 1.02 1996
MMP-1000NV Game & Car Navi Hi-Saturn 1.01 06-12-95 150,000¥ Flier (cover, inlay)
HiSaturn, JP (MMP-1)
Sega Saturn model MMP-1 box.jpg
HiSaturn, JP (MMP-1-C)
Sega Saturn model MMP-1-C box.jpg
HiSaturn, JP (MMP-11)
Sega Saturn model MMP-11 box.jpg
HiSaturn, JP (MMP-1000NV)
Sega Saturn model MMP-1000NV box.jpg

JVC/Victor V-Saturn

JVC-Victor also produced their own version of the Saturn hardware called the V-Saturn. There are two versions of this system. The casing is similar to that of any standard Saturn. The colors are different, as is the machine's circuitry, and "V-Saturn" is printed on top of the machine. The boot-up sequence on a V-Saturn has the polygons form a V-Saturn logo instead of the SegaSaturn logo, of course. The boot-up screen on the second one shows "Ver. 1.01" just as it does on white Saturns have been seen to do.


  • RG-JX1: This model is based on the first major Saturn model, with Drive Access LED and oval buttons (one blue, the other grey to match the Access button) and is two toned gray with black as bottom second tone.
  • RG-JX2: This model is based on the second major Saturn model, with blue round buttons, a red Access button and is two toned gray with darker gray as bottom color. From inspecting the later version, it is identical in every way to the Sega machine aside from color and markings, to the point one can suspect both are made by the same people, or at minimum are made out of exactly the same parts (all the plastic moldings are identical etc.).
Reference Designation Bios Date Price Notes
RG-JX1-L V-Saturn RG-JX1 1.00/1.01 22-11-1994 44,800¥ Equivalent to HST-0001
RG-JX1-S V-Saturn RG-JX1 1.00/1.01 16-06-1995 34,800¥ Equivalent to HST-0004
RG-JX1-LC V-Saturn RG-JX1 1,000,000th Campaign Box + Virtua Fighter Remix 1.01 16-06-1995 Equivalent to HST-0005
RG-JX2 V-Saturn RG-JX2 1.01 07-06-1996 Equivalent to HST-0014
RG-JX2-B V-Saturn RG-JX2 BattleBa Campaign Console 1.01 06-12-1996
RG-JX2-C V-Saturn RG-JX2 Christmas Nights Campaign 1.01 11-1996 Equivalent to HST-0017
V-Saturn, JP (RG-JX1-L)
VSaturn JP Box Back RGJX1 L.jpgNospine-small.pngSega Saturn model RG-JX1-L box.jpg
V-Saturn, JP (RG-JX1-S)
Sega Saturn model RG-JX1-S box.jpg
V-Saturn, JP (RG-JX1-LC)
VSaturn JP Box Back RGJX1 LC.jpgNospine-small.pngSega Saturn model RG-JX1-LC box.jpg
V-Saturn, JP (RG-JX2)
Sega Saturn model RG-JX2.jpg
V-Saturn, JP (RG-JX2-B)
Sega Saturn model RG-JX2-B.jpg
V-Saturn, JP (RG-JX2-C)
Sega Saturn model RG-JX2-C.jpg

South Korea

It seems that in 1996, while LG was distributing the 3DO in Korea and Nintendo was distributed by Hyundai, Samsung (who previously distributed both the Master System and Mega Drive) distributed the Saturn. It was made only for South Korea. The Japanese language option was removed from the setup screen on some models, though there wasn't a Korean option added in compensation, and there aren't any apparent changes to the bootup menus either. They also use the North American region code. Samsung later released a conversion kit for Japanese games.

The hardware seems to be an interesting mix of both new and old model Saturn systems from Sega and licenses JVC + Hitachi. Shares its outer design with the first major Saturn model (oval-buttons and shell), combined with the smaller and newer mainboard which normally comes with a round-buttoned shell.

Some more interesting notes about this system:

  • The reset switch is very short, and intended for use with a small sub-PCB immediately underneath mounted to the top of the shell. There is only 1 of 2 mounting holes for this PCB to attach to, however, and there's no evidence the single mount was ever used. There's also no sign of an extension rod which could reach the actual reset switch on the mainboard, some 5cm away. This system has no reset button!
  • The power switch is mounted on two tall plastic legs on the bottom of the shell. All other oval button models have the power switch mounted directly underneath the button on the top of the shell, and round-button models have a power switch attached to a metal riser platform, not plastic legs.
  • The CD mechanism has two small bundles of wires in addition to the data ribbon, which is unusual: all the newer mainboards had only one bundle, so again there's a weird combination here.
  • The oval button system has always had two LED indicators on the top of the shell: One for power, one for drive-activity. This unit is no different, except it is! The top of the shell has a rectangular indentation for the LED to be inserted (Again on a small sub-PCB that isn't present in this model) and no acrylic riser to focus the mainboard-mounted LED through the panel hole, some 5cm away. This system has no power light!
  • Even though there's a hole for the activity light, there is no activity LED on either a sub-PCB or on the mainboard. There's an Activity label in both English + Korean but there's no Drive Access LED.

Additional info can be found here.

SamsungSaturn, KR
SamsungSaturn KR Box Top.jpg
SamsungSaturn KR Box Left.jpgSamsungSaturn KR Box Front.jpgSamsungSaturn KR Box Right.jpg
SamsungSaturn KR Box Bottom.jpg


Dumping here for the future.

Box Name Date & Price Console Label Hardware Software Documentation

Saturn UK Box Front DaytonaUSA.jpg

Sega Saturn $695 (1996)[1]

Saturn2 AU Box Front SegaFlashVol2.jpg

Sega Saturn (>=1996
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
  1. File:Hyper AU 030.pdf, page 12