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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.

Japan

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)
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SegaSaturnJPManual.pdf
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Saturn, JP (HST-004)
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Saturn, JP (HST-005)
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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-0014.
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)
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Saturn, JP (HST-0014)
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Saturn, JP (HST-0017)
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Saturn, JP (HST-0019)
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Saturn, JP (HST-0019)
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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]

Models:

  • 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)
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Saturn, JP (HST-0021)
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Saturn, JP (HST-0022)
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Hi-Saturn

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.

Models:

  • 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)
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HiSaturn, JP (MMP-1-C)
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HiSaturn, JP (MMP-11)
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HiSaturn, JP (MMP-1000NV)
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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.

Models:

  • 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 Vatlva 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
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V-Saturn, JP (RG-JX1-S)
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V-Saturn, JP (RG-JX1-LC)
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V-Saturn, JP (RG-JX2)
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V-Saturn, JP (RG-JX2-B)
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V-Saturn, JP (RG-JX2-C)
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South Korea

Samsung Saturn

In 1995, 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 released as the Samsung Saturn (삼성새턴) in September 2 1995 and was made only for South Korea. The console uses region code 2 (Asia) and the bios is v1.02a. The bios is unique in that it disables the Japanese language option when the console is set to the default region 2 code (it reappears if the region code is set to anything other than region 2). There was no Korean language option added. The bootup sequence and main menu are identical to the American and PAL version. All Samsung Saturns are part of the VA1 hardware generation. It's power supply is unique in that it is capable of handling 110v-220v. This is because South Korea was in the process of converting it's power grid from 110v to 220v, so most South Korean retro game consoles come with a multi-voltage power supply.

There are 4 different model numbers of the Samsung Saturn (SPC-SATURN, SPC-SATURN II, SPC-ST, SPC-ST2), although the consoles themselves are identical. The model number only indicates whether the console was packaged with a game or a Saturn region converter cartridges (this can be seen in old magazine advertisements). SPC-SATURN and SPC-SATURN II were the initial released models. SPC-ST and SPC-ST2 were later released models and both came with a ST-KEY region converter cartridge (hence the model name), with SPC-ST2 also including 1 game.

It is compatible with all Samsung Saturn games as well as all Korean Sega Saturn games (non-Samsung branded). There are also a few Japanese, Asian and American games that were also coded for region 2, which will play on Samsung Saturn without the need for a region converter cartridge.

The Samsung Saturn was released on November 10th 1995. Launch games included Daytona USA, Panzer Dragoon, Virtua Fighter Remix and Worldwide Soccer: Sega International Victory Goal Edition.

Initially retailing for up to ₩550,000 the Samsung Saturn was a commercial failure due to the high price and limited number of available games. Most people instead imported the cheaper Japanese consoles.

By February 1997, Samsung completely exited the gaming business due to the failure of the Samsung Saturn and the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Models:

  • SPC-SATURN/SPC-SATURN II: These two models were the initial releases.
  • SPC-ST/SPC-ST2: These two models were the late releases. SPC-ST included a region converter cartridge, while SPC-ST2 included a region converter cartridge and 1 game.
Reference Designation Bios Date Price Notes
SPC-SATURN Samsung Saturn console 1.02a 11/10/1995 ₩550,000
SPC-SATURN II Samsung Saturn console 1.02a 1995 ?
SPC-ST Samsung Saturn console 1.02a ? ? included 1 game
SPC-ST2 Samsung Saturn console 1.02a ? ? included region converter cartridge and 1 game
SamsungSaturn, KR
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Sega Saturn

In September 1997, Kama Entertainment (카마 엔터테인먼트) distributed the model 2 Sega Saturn in South Korea. It looks similar to the North American model 2 console but has the Japanese-style Sega Saturn logo, has a 220v power supply, and uses region code 1 (Japan) and v1.01 bios. It was released at a cheaper price of ₩349,000. It has the standard Sega Saturn branding (세가새턴) instead of Samsung Saturn (삼성새턴). Kama Entertainment and Wooyoung System also distributed a handful of games under the Sega Saturn branding. Some consoles were also bundled with Sega Rally or Virtua Cop 2.

Reference Designation Bios Date Price Notes
MK-80226-08 Sega Saturn console - MK-80200A-08 1.01 September 1997 ₩349,000
Saturn, KR
Saturn KR Box Back Kama.jpgNospine-small.pngSaturn KR Box Front Kama.jpg
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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 | Twin Advanced ROM System
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)