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This page details the hardware specs of the Sega Saturn video game console.

Technical SpecificationsEdit

ProcessorsEdit

  • Main CPU: 2× Hitachi SH-2 @ 28.63636 MHz
    • Configuration: Master/Slave
    • 2x CPU cores: 32‑bit RISC instructions/registers, 74.454536 MIPS (37.227268 MIPS each, 1.3 MIPS per MHz), up to 4 instructions/cycle (2 instructions/cycle per SH-2)
    • 2x DMA units: 2x DMAC (Direct Memory Access Controller), parallel processing
    • 4x internal fixed‑point math processors: 2x MULT multiplier DSP, 2x DIVU division units, parallel processing
      • 2x MULT multiplier DSP: 57.27272 MOPS fixed-point math (28.63636 MOPS per SH-2)
      • 2x DIVU division units: 16/32/64-bit division, 1,468,531 divides/sec
    • Bus width: 64‑bit (2× 32‑bit) internal, 32‑bit external
    • Word length: 32-bit


  • System coprocesor: Custom Saturn Control Unit (SCU), with DSP for geometry processing and DMA controller for system control
    • System control processor: 32‑bit fixed‑point registers/instructions, interrupt controller, DMA controller, 3 DMA channels
    • Math coprocessor: Geometry DSP @ 14.31818 MHz, 32‑bit fixed‑point instructions, 6 parallel instructions per cycle, 85.90908 MIPS (6 MIPS per MHz)


  • CD‑ROM CPU: Hitachi SH-1 32‑bit RISC processor @ 20 MHz (20 MIPS) (controlling the CD‑ROM)
    • Contains internal DAC and internal math processor
    • Bus width: 32‑bit internal, 16‑bit external


  • Microcontroller: Hitachi HD404920[38] (4‑bit MCU) "System Manager & Peripheral Control" (SMPC) @ 4 MHz
    • RTC: 1 MHz (real‑time clock)
    • Instruction set: 4‑bit instructions, 890 ns per instruction, 1.123595 MIPS
    • Bus width: 10‑bit internal, 8‑bit external


  • Optional MPEG Video CD Card:
    • MPEG Video decoder: Sega P/N 315-5765 (Hitachi HD814101FE)
    • MPEG Audio decoder: Hitachi HD814102F


  • Sound processor: Yamaha SCSP (Saturn Custom Sound Processor) YMF292
    • Sound DSP: Yamaha FH1 DSP (Digital Signal Processor) @ 22.58 MHz (24‑bit, 128‑step, 4 parallel instructions)
    • Bus width: 24‑bit internal, 16‑bit external


  • Sound CPU: Motorola 68EC000 (16/32‑bit CISC) sound processor @ 11.29 MHz (1.97575 MIPS)
    • Bus width: 16‑bit internal, 16‑bit external


Video Processors:

  • Sega/Hitachi VDP1 @ 28.63636 MHz: Handles sprite/texture and polygon drawing
    • Bus width: 48‑bit (3x 16‑bit)
    • Word length: 16-bit
  • Sega/Yamaha VDP2 @ 28.63636 MHz: Backgrounds, scrolling, handles background, scroll and 3D rotation planes
    • Bus width: 32‑bit
    • Word length: 32-bit
  • Sony CXA1645M RGB‑Composite Video Encoder

GraphicsEdit

  • Graphics pipeline:
    • 3 DSP geometry processors: 2× SH-2 DSP, SCU DSP
    • 2 VDP rendering processors: VDP1 for sprites/textures/polygons, VDP2 for planes/backgrounds/textures


  • Video clock rate: 28.63636 MHz MHz (NTSC), 28.4375 MHz (PAL)
    • NTSC dot clock: 7.15909 MHz (lo-res), 14.31818 MHz (hi-res)
    • PAL dot clock: 7.109375 MHz (lo-res), 14.21875 MHz (hi-res)


  • Display resolutions: 320×224 to 704×480
    • NTSC overscan resolution: 453×263 (lo-res), 907×263 (hi-res)
    • PAL overscan resolution: 454×313 (lo-res), 908×313 (hi-res)


  • Refresh rate: 30–60 Hz (NTSC), 25–50 Hz (PAL)
    • Maximum frame rate: 60 FPS (NTSC), 50 FPS (PAL)


  • Color depth: 15-bit RGB to 32‑bit RGBA (24‑bit color with 8‑bit alpha transparency)
    • Color palette: 16,777,216 (VDP2), 32,768 (VDP1)
    • Colors on screen: 256 to 16,777,216 (VDP2), 256 to 32,768 (VDP1)
    • VDP2 colors per background: 16 colors (4-bit) to 16,777,216 colors (24-bit)
    • VDP1 colors per sprite/polygon: 16 colors (4-bit) to 32,768 colors (15-bit)
    • CLUT: Virtually unlimited number of CLUTs


  • DSP geometry processing: 188 MIPS (million instructions per second)
    • Fixed-point operations: 114 MOPS (million operations per second)
    • Additions: 85 million adds/sec
    • Multiplications: 85 million multiplies/sec
    • 16-bit divisions: 5 million divides/sec


  • Geometry calculations: 114 MOPS fixed-point calculations
    • Vertex transformations: 2,400,000 vertices/sec
    • Polygon transformations: 1,800,000 polygons/sec
    • T&L flat lighting: 800,000 polygons/sec
    • T&L Gouraud lighting: 700,000 polygons/sec


  • Transmission bus bandwidth: 143 MB/s
    • DSP–VDP transmission bus: 114.54544 MB/s
    • VDP1–VDP2 transmission bus: 28.63636 MB/s


  • Fillrate:
    • Bitmap/Framebuffer fillrate: 26–28 MPixels/s (24-bit color), 82–85 MPixels/s (15-bit color), 143–150 MPixels/s (8-bit color), 250–264 MPixels/s (4-bit color)
    • Tile fillrate: 280–570 MPixels/s


  • Optional MPEG Video CD Card: 704×480 resolution, 30 frames/sec, 16‑bit audio with 44.1 kHz sampling, up to 72 minutes on one CD


SCU DSP

  • SCU math coprocessor: Geometry DSP @ 14.31818 MHz, 32‑bit fixed‑point instructions
    • Parallel units: 32/48-bit ALU (arithmetic logic unit), 48/64‑bit Multiplier, 32-bit instruction decoder
  • Buses:
    • 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)
  • Instructions: 6 parallel instructions/cycle (one instruction per unit/bus), 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, faster than SH-2, can use DMA to directly fetch and store vertex data, floating-point operations, geometry transformations, voxel rendering acceleration, fast coordinate transformations, lighting computations, transparency calculations
  • Notes: Can only be programmed with assembly language, more difficult to program than SH-2


VDP1

  • VDP1 @ 28.63636 MHz: Handles sprite/texture and polygon drawing, color calculation and shading, geometry
    • Versions: Sega 315‑5883 (Hitachi HD64440) Video Display Processor 1 (VDP1), Sega 315‑5689 VDP1
    • Adjustable video clock rate: 28.63636 MHz or 26.8465875 MHz (NTSC), 28.4375 MHz or 26.8426 MHz (PAL)
    • Parallel data bus structure: 3 parallel data buses (dual framebuffers, texture cache), 48-bit data bus width (16-bit per bus), 171.8184 MB/s bandwidth
    • Parallel data bus cycles: 85.90908 million bus cycles/sec
  • Color palette: 32,768 colors (15-bit RGB) to 16,777,216 (24-bit VDP2 CRAM palette, accessible by VDP1)
    • Colors on screen: 32,768 colors (15-bit RGB) to 1,048,576 colors (15-bit RGB, 32 transparency levels using VDP2 palette)
    • Colors per pixel: 32,768 colors (16bpp, 15-bit RGB), 256 colors (8bpp, 8-bit palette)
  • Features: Alpha blending, clipping, luminance, shadows, transparency (3 alpha levels, or 32 alpha levels using VDP2 palette), per-pixel transparency
    • Polygon capabilities: Texture mapping, lighting, shading, wire‑frame, flat shading, Gouraud shading, 15-bit color Gouraud shading, 15-bit colored lighting, quad polygons, edge anti‑aliasing, forward texture mapping (form of perspective correction), bilinear approximation (reduces texture warping), medium polygon accuracy (seamless polygons)
  • Framebuffer capabilities: Double buffering, dual 256 KB framebuffers, rotation & scaling, VDP1 framebuffer can be rotated as bitmap layer by VDP2
    • Framebuffer resolution: 512×256, 512×512, 1024×256
    • Overscan resolution: 1708×263 (NTSC), 1820×313 (PAL), 852×525 (31KC), 848×562 (HDTV)
  • Sprite/Texture capabilities: Rotation & scaling, flipping, distortion, warping, vertical and horizontal line scrolling, virtually unlimited color lookup tables, System 24/32 sprite rendering system
    • Sprite/Texture size: 8×1 to 504×255 texels
    • Colors per sprite/texture in Lo-Res: 16, 64, 128, 256, and 32,768
    • Colors per sprite/texture in Hi-Res: 16, 64, 128, and 256
    • Maximum texels per scanline: 1812 (NTSC), 1820 (PAL)
    • Maximum sprites/textures per scanline: 226 (NTSC), 227 (PAL)
  • Texture cache VRAM: 512 KB
    • Sprite/Polygon size: 32 bytes (flat shading), 40 bytes (Gouraud shading), 64–96 bytes (shadows), 72–104 bytes (shadows, Gouraud shading)
    • Texture size: 4 bytes (8×1 texels, 16 colors) to 251.02 KB (504×255 texels, 32,758 colors)
    • Maximum sprites per frame: 16,383 (virtually unlimited), 13,106 (Gouraud shading), 5461–8191 (shadows)
    • Maximum polygons per frame: 16,384 (flat shading), 16,383 (texture mapping), 13,107 (Gouraud shading), 13,106 (texture mapping, Gouraud shading), 8192 (shadows), 8191 (texture mapping, shadows), 7281 (texture mapping, shadows, Gouraud shading)
  • Framebuffer fillrate: 28.63636 MPixels/s (16bpp), 35.6465 MPixels/s (8bpp)
    • Gouraud shading: 28 MPixels/s (512×512 polygons), 16 MPixels/s (10×10 polygons)
    • Shadows/Translucency: 28 MPixels/s (VDP2 palette), 5 MPixels/s (RGB)
  • Texture fillrate: 19 MTexels/s (504×255 textures), 14 MTexels/s (10×10 textures), 12 MTexels/s (8×8 textures)
    • Gouraud shading: 19 MTexels/s (504×255 textures), 9 MTexels/s (10×10 textures)
  • Polygon rendering performance: Lighting
    • 800,000 polygons/s: Flat shading, 32-pixel polygons
    • 500,000 polygons/s: Flat shading, 50-pixel polygons
    • 200,000 polygons/s: Gouraud shading, 32-pixel polygons
  • Texture mapping performance: Lighting
    • 300,000 polygons/s: 32-texel textures
    • 200,000 polygons/s: 70-texel textures
    • 140,000 polygons/s: Gouraud shading, 32-texel textures


VDP2

  • VDP2 @ 57.27272 MHz: Handles background, scroll and 3D rotation planes
    • Versions: Sega 315‑5890 (Yamaha) Video Display Processor 2 (VDP2), Yamaha 315‑5690 VDP2
    • Video clock rate: 26.8426–28.63636 MHz (NTSC), 26.6564–28.4375 MHz (PAL)
    • Memory clock rate: 53.6852–57.27272 MHz (NTSC), 53.3128–56.875 MHz (PAL)
  • VDP2 cores: 4 parallel cores (17 units), 28.63636 MHz per core
    • Bus control
    • H/V counter & timing generator
    • Scroll picture block: 8 units (Normal picture coordinate calculation, Rotation picture coordinate calculation, Pattern name control, Window control, Character control, Line picture control, VRAM control, Dot data control)
    • Video process: 7 units (Color offset & shadow, Output data control, Color computing control, Color RAM, Priority control, Color RAM control, Sprite control)
  • Features: Transparency (32 levels of transparency, can also be applied to VDP1 polygons/sprites), shadowing, 2 windows for special calculations, matrix calculations, multi-texturing, bump mapping, color gradients
    • 3D infinite planes: Can be manipulated as large polygon objects, with perspective transformation and rotation. Can have curved surface and bumps, and be used for grounds, walls, ceilings, seas, skies, etc.
    • Visual effects: Water, fire, fog, heat haze, misting, reflective water surfaces
  • Rotation picture coordinate calculation: Geometry processing unit within Scroll picture block, rotation and transformation of 3D planes, manipulates 3D planes as very large polygons, 24-bit fixed-point operations, 28.63636 MOPS (million operations per second)
  • Planes: 7 layers, 2–6 simultaneous layers (1–4 scrolling 2D backgrounds, 1–2 rotating 3D playfields, 1 back screen)
    • 2D scrolling backgrounds: Scrolling, parallax scrolling, single-axis 2D rotation
      • NBG0: 16–16,777,216 colors, tilemap (1024×1024 to 2048×2048) or bitmap (512×256 to 1024×512), column/row/line scrolling, scaling
      • NBG1: 16–32,768 colors, tilemap (1024×1024 to 2048×2048) or bitmap (512×256 to 1024×512), column/row/line scrolling, scaling
      • NBG2/NBG3: 16–256 colors, tilemap (1024×1024 to 2048×2048)
    • 3D rotating playfields: Scrolling, scaling, dual-axis 3D rotation, three-axis 3D rotation, 3D infinite ground planes, perspective correct 3D rotation, can be manipulated as large polygon objects, perspective transformation, can have curved surface and bumps
      • RBG0: 16–16,777,216 colors, tilemap (2048×2048 to 4096×4096) or bitmap (512×256 to 512×512)
      • RBG1: 16–16,777,216 colors, tilemap (2048×2048 to 4096×4096)
    • Back screen: 1 plain background, 1 to 240 colors (1 color/scanline)
  • Tile capabilities: 8×8 and 16×16 tile sizes, scroll plane up to 8192×8192 pixels, rotating 3D infinite planes up to 4096×4096 pixels each, tile compression, tile-based texture compression, tiled rendering, virtually unlimited draw distance
  • Bitmap capabilities: Bitmap layers can be used as additional framebuffer (with full transparency), displays VDP1 framebuffer as additional bitmap layer, can rotate VDP1 framebuffer
  • Color palette: 16,777,216 colors (24-bit), 32,768 colors (15-bit), 65,536 colors (15-bit with transparency)
    • Colors per plane: 16,777,216 colors (3 planes, Lo-Res), 32,768 colors (4 planes), 16–256 colors (6 planes)
  • Bitmap fillrate:
    • 2D scrolling planes: 26.8426–229.09088 MPixels/s
      • 16,777,216 colors on screen: 26.8426–28.63636 MPixels/s
      • 32,768 colors per plane: 53.6852–57.27272 MPixels/s
      • 256 colors per plane: 107.3704–114.54544 MPixels/s
      • 16 colors per plane: 214.7408–229.09088 MPixels/s
    • 3D rotation planes: 26.8426–28.63636 MPixels/s
  • Tile fillrate: 251.65824–534.77376 MPixels/s
    • 2D scrolling planes: 251.65824–503.31648 MPixels/s
      • Tile fillrate: 3,932,160 tiles/sec, 65,536 tiles per frame
    • 3D rotating playfields: 251.65824–503.31648 MPixels/s
      • Effective polygon fillrate: 1 million texture-mapped polygons/sec (500-texel polygons)

ResolutionsEdit

Progressive

  • 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)


Interlaced

  • 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)

SoundEdit

  • SCSP @ 22.58 MHz:
    • Audio channels: 32
    • Sound formats: PCM, FM, MIDI, LFO
    • PCM sampling: 16‑bit and 8‑bit audio depth, 44.1 kHz sampling sate (CD quality), up to 32 PCM channels
    • FM synthesis: 1–4 operators per FM channel, up to 32 FM channels (1‑operator) or 8 FM channels (4‑operator)
    • LFO waveforms: 4 waveform types (Sawtooth, rectangular, triangular, white noise), up to 32 LFO channels
  • CD‑DA: 1 streaming CD‑DA channel (16‑bit PCM, 44.1 kHz) from CD
  • Stereo audio output

MemoryEdit

  • Total memory: 5–11 MB (5152 KB system, 39,408 bytes cache, 512–5120 KB cartridge, 1 MB card)
    • RAM: 4.549–10.049 MB (4640 KB system, 18,928 bytes cache, 512–5120 KB optional cartridge, 512 KB optional card)
    • ROM: 532–3092 KB (512 KB system, 20 KB cache, 2 MB optional cartridge, 512 KB optional card)


  • System RAM: 4.53125 MB (4640 KB)
    • 2 MB Work RAM
      • 1 MB High Work SDRAM
      • 1 MB Low Work FPM DRAM
    • 1.5 MB VRAM
      • 512 KB VDP1 texture cache VRAM
      • 512 KB (2× 256 KB) VDP1 dual framebuffers
      • 512 KB (512 KB) VDP2 background cache VRAM (tiled texture compression up to 17 MB)
    • 512 KB Sound RAM
    • 512 KB CD‑ROM sub‑system buffer data cache
    • 32 KB battery backup SRAM
  • System ROM: 512 KB BIOS
  • Internal processor cache: 39,408 bytes (38.484375 KB)
    • SH2: 8 KB cache (4 KB per SH2)
    • SH1: 4 KB cache
    • SCU DSP: 2 KB RAM cache (1 KB program, 1 KB data)
    • SMPC: 20,976 bytes (496 bytes 4‑bit RAM, 20 KB 10‑bit ROM)
    • VDP2: 4 KB on‑chip color RAM


  • Optional cartridge: 512 KB to 4.5 MB
    • RAM cartridge: 512 KB to 4.5 MB
      • Extended RAM Cartridge: 1 MB or 4 MB Work RAM
      • Saturn Backup Memory: 512 KB battery backup
      • Pro Action Replay: 512 KB battery backup
      • Action Replay Plus: 4.5 MB
        • 4 MB Work RAM
        • 512 KB battery backup
    • Saturn ROM Cartridge: 2 MB (The King of Fighters '95)


  • Optional MPEG Video CD Card: 1 MB (512 KB FPM RAM buffer, 512 KB MROM program)


Configuration
System RAM buses, all connected through the SCU:

  • System bus
    • SH2 (×2), SCU, SMPC <–> Work RAM, battery backup SRAM
  • Video sub‑system buses
    • SCU <–> VDP1, VDP2
    • VDP1 <–> Texture cache VRAM
    • VDP1 <–> Framebuffer 0 VRAM
    • VDP1 <–> Framebuffer 1 VRAM
    • VDP2 <–> Background cache VRAM
  • Sound sub‑system bus — SCU, 68EC000, SCSP <‑> Sound RAM
  • CD‑ROM sub‑system bus — SCU, SH1 <‑> CD‑ROM cache/buffer RAM


Bandwidth

  • System RAM bandwidth: 480 MB/s[fn 61]
    • System bus RAM: 114.54544 MB/s[fn 41]
      • Work RAM: 114.54544 MB/s
      • Battery backup SRAM: 10 MB/s
    • VRAM: 286.3636 MB/s
      • VDP1: 171.81816 MB/s
      • VDP2: 114.54544 MB/s (tiled texture compression up to 534 MB/s)
    • Sound RAM: 40 MB/s
    • CD‑ROM cache/buffer: 40 MB/s
  • Internal processor bandwidth:
    • SH2 cache: 229 MB/s
    • SH1 cache: 80 MB/s
    • SCU DSP RAM cache: 286 MB/s
    • SMPC: 7 MB/s
    • 68EC000: 22 MB/s
    • SCSP: 67 MB/s
    • VDP: 286.3636 MB/s
  • System ROM bandwidth: 20 MB/s
  • Optional cartridge RAM bandwidth: 44 MB/s to 50 MB/s

StorageEdit

  • Saturn double-speed CD-ROM drive
    • Storage capacity: 680 MB
    • Data transfer rate: 320 KB/s
    • Access time: Under 360 ms
    • Compatibiity: CD‑ROM, Audio CD, CD+G, CD+EG, CD Single (8cm)
    • Optional: Video CD, Photo CD, Digital Karaoke, E-book
  • Cartridge slot: Extended RAM Cartridge, Saturn ROM Cartridge

Input/OutputEdit

  • 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)

Power SourceEdit

  • AC110 volts; 60 Hz (US)
  • AC240 volts; 50 Hz (EU)
  • AC100 volts; 60 Hz (JP)
  • AC240 volts; 60 Hz (AS)
  • AC220 volts; 60 Hz (KR)
  • 4 volt lithium battery to power non-volatile RAM and SMPC internal real-time clock
  • Power Consumption: 25 W

External LinksEdit

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