Dreamcast Technical Pages
Thursday, January 22nd, 1998
Project X Details Starting To Emerge
The new super console, that is being developed by some ex-Atari employees, is starting to show its colors. It is shaping up to be quite a beast, with a reported four separate processors and will also include 16 MBytes of RAM. The number of processors should be of no concern that the machine will be difficult to program for, since just as much development effort has gone into the development tools as has gone into the chipset. Console manufactures of the world, take notes, as these guys know what they are doing. One of the most important aspects to leak out concerning this new wonder machine is that it will come standard with a modem. There is no question that this is a necessity in the console market of today, with the rise of the internet for multiplayer gaming. There has been talk that the Saturn 2 might not come with a modem, due to SEGA strongest market being Japan and the internet is not the force there as it is in other parts of the world. This might be the case, but if SEGA wants to have a presence again in the North American market, they better include a modem as standard on the Saturn 2.
Tuesday, January 20th, 1998
Model 3 Step 2's CPU vs Saturn 2's CPU
603ev SH-4
Manufacturer: Motorola Hitachi
Clock Speed: 166 MHz 200 MHz
Integer Performance: 234 mips 360 mips
Floating Point Multiply: 166 mflops 800 mflops
Total FPU Performance: 332 mflops 1400 mflops
Instruction Cache: 16 KBytes 8 KBytes
Data Cache: 16 KBytes 16 KBytes
Data Bus Size: 64 bits 64 bits
As you can see from the above listing, the processor to be used in the Saturn 2 is more powerful than the processor used in the latest revision of the Model 3 hardware which is called Model 3 - Step 2. The reason the SH-4 is quite a bit more powerful then the 603ev in integer calculations is realized partly by the greater clock rate of the SH-4 but also because there are two integer units on the SH-4 and only one on the 603ev.  Note that the SH-4 can calculate two integer instructions at the same time only if they belong to different groups. More information is available on this in the CPU section under the 'Superscaler' heading. 

Now when it comes to doing floating point, the SH-4 is 4 to 5 times more powerful than the 603ev. Comparing matrix math multiplication, the SH-4 can do 800 million per second compared with the 603ev's 166 million per second. When it comes to executing the MAC (multiply and accumulate) instruction that both these processors support and that is so important in graphics transformations, the SH-4 can do 1400 million per second while the 603ev can do 332 million per second. Note that the multiply and the accumulate are treated as separate operations when these high figures are quoted even though it is a single instruction. 

The SH-4 blows away the 603ev in the Model 3 - Step 2, but this does not guarantee that the Saturn 2 is more powerful than the Model 3 - Step 2. The graphics subsystem of the Model 3 boards assists the main CPU in doing polygon calculations so that the main CPU is free to do other things. Even with this extra help that the Model 3 receives from its graphics subsystem, the Saturn 2 is probably still more powerful at polygon calculations due to the incredible power of the matrix math unit of the SH-4. Also note that the number of polygons in a scene is only part the equation that adds to the visual quality of a scene. The Model 3's rendering engine which is based on a graphics chipset from Lockheed Martin is unsurpassed in its field and it will be interesting to see if the Highlander graphics chip can compare to this chipset in areas like texture quality, and edge anti-aliasing.
Saturday, January 17th, 1998
Grandia for Saturn 2?
UGP Online has speculated that Grandia might be converted to the Saturn 2. As most people have noticed the current Saturn has not fared so well in North America in the past year with most retailers having dropped the machine. If a conversion of Grandia was decided on for the current Saturn it would arrive in mid to late 1998, since the conversion would take a long time considering the huge amount of Japanese dialog in the game. The game would arrive to a scene where most retailers would not be inclined to carry it, because they do not carry any Saturn hardware. The console market in past has shown that a system does well in terms of software sales only if it is accompanied by a lot of hardware sales. Even though Grandia would probably sell well to the current installed base of 1.8 million Saturn owners, most retailers would most likely still not carry the game. Now considering the Saturn 2 will be introduced in early 1999 and followed by brisk sales, it would make sense to offer a excellent RPG like Grandia for the Saturn 2 in the North American market. Retailers would carry it and it would also encourage sales of the Saturn 2.
Monday, January 12th, 1998
Daytona USA 2 and SEGA Rally 2 for Saturn 2
In what can only be considered great news by all racing fans everywhere is the news that 2 new racing games are currently being designed in SEGA's AM labs. Daytona USA which is considered one of the most enjoyable racing games of all time is to have a sequel released this year in the arcades running on no less than Model 3 hardware. Arcade owners everywhere must be smiling as the original Daytona game made them a lot of money; continues to do so with units still available in many arcades and enjoys more popularity than SEGA's latest racer, Super GT. Expect the same breathtaking visuals we have seen so far in Super GT to be found in Daytona USA 2. SEGA Rally 2 which is not as far along in development as Daytona USA 2, but is due to be released in arcades this year also running on Model 3 hardware. The timing of both these games could not be better as they will arrive in the arcade scene just before SEGA releases its next console the Saturn 2. It has been reported that the Saturn 2 will be released in Japan in late 1998 with a early 1999 introduction in North America. We can expect both Daytona USA 2 and SEGA Rally 2 to be showing up on the new super console at it's introduction or soon after. Let us hope that SEGA can replicate the Model 3 graphics quality for a perfect home experience and also provide what Namco does for it homes conversions which is adding extra features, like extra tracks for example.
Thursday, January 8th, 1998
Saturn 2 Introduction to be at Tokyo Game Show?
The date for the Tokyo Game Show is now known. Mark your Calendars! March 20th to the 22nd is when the Tokyo Game Show is to take place. 71 days from now. It has been reported elsewhere that Sega and Microsoft are the main sponsors for this show. Microsoft is rumored to be providing the Operating System for the Saturn 2 in the form of Windows CE. Click on the button in the left hand margin titled 'OS' to get details on Windows CE. There are all indications that with the demise of the Saturn, Sega needs to have a new console in the marketplace as soon as possible which means that 1998 is when the Saturn 2 console will be introduced. The Tokyo Game Show would be the most opportune time for Sega to show off  its new gaming technology in Japan followed by a North American introduction at E3 which follows after the Tokyo Game Show.
Monday, January 5th, 1998
19 Known Developers
Under the title "1998: A New Hope", last Friday SaturnWorld  indicated that there are now 19 known developers for the Saturn 2. Here is a quote: "On the Katana front, things are looking very, very good. There are currently 19 known developers on board for the Katana, and quite a few of their titles are going to be launch games in late 1998. We're not going to say who they are quite yet, but SaturnWorld's going to let you know soon." We here at Saturn 2 Technical Pages will let you know now which game developers are developing for the Saturn 2. Just click on the button in the left hand margin labeled 'games' and you will see our list of games being developed. This information comes largely from past posts on SaturnWorld's site.
Friday, January 2nd, 1998
Project X Backer: Philips?
Project X is the new super console that is being developed by a company called VM Labs and this console has been in development for the past two years by quite a few people who use to work at Atari. This new system will compete directly with the Saturn 2 and Playstation 2. It was reported in early November 1997 that Project X was receiving 'major backing from a company the size of Sony'. There are at most about a dozen companies in the world the size of Sony in the electronics field.  According to Forbes 500, Sony's revenue is $47 billion US (1996 revenue) and Philips Electronics is $40 billion US (1996 revenue). It was rumored about a month ago that Motorola is the financial backer behind Project X, but now the latest information indicates that Philips is the financial backer. Details concerning this new console will be released at this month's Consumer Electronics Show (CES). What can this all mean for the Saturn 2's success? Hopefully the Saturn 2 will be more powerful due to the SH-4 processor but there are indications that this Project X console will be extremely powerful. Time will tell.