Megadrive vs Snes Hardware

Ask anything your want about Megadrive/Genesis programming.

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Megadrive vs Snes Hardware

Post by mickagame » Fri Aug 11, 2023 7:00 am

I don't know very much about the snes Hardware.
The Sega marketing was focus on the capability for Megadrive hardware to run fast games like Sonic.
Does exist a specific technical feature that make the différence with snes or it could be possible to do these games on s'est?

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Re: Megadrive vs Snes Hardware

Post by haroldoop » Fri Aug 11, 2023 9:28 am

Well while the MD CPU has twice the clock of the SNES one, the SNES CPU instructions take two times less clock cycles to perform the same instructions, which kinda evens things up from that angle. What really makes the MD faster is the data bus; while both use 16 bits CPU, the MD has a 16 bit data bus, while the SNES has a 8 bit data bus, meaning that, if you're pumping huge amounts of data from one place to another, the MD will be twice faster.

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Re: Megadrive vs Snes Hardware

Post by iNCEPTIONAL » Sat Aug 26, 2023 8:48 pm

Here's what I think in terms of where each system has an actual meaningful advantage over the other in real games you sit there and play rather than specs on bits of paper:

Genesis almost always has a higher horizontal resolution, which usually means more view of the level ahead; can have more sprites at 16x16 size or above on a horizontal line before flicker, which more often than not results in more enemies on-screen in beat 'em ups for example; can show more animation frames without needing to resort to forced blank (the black bars that you see at the top and/or bottom of the screen in some games); the faster CPU means avoiding slowdown is easier, especially in intense actions games with loads of stuff on-screen; it's actually pretty good for some basic 3D too; and the FM audio gives everything a bit of an old-school arcade sound.

SNES almost always has more colours on-screen (sometimes way more), so things just tend to look more aesthetically pleasing; can do proper multi-coloured semi-transparency effects, which is great for things like water, smoke, clouds, energy beams, ghosts, etc, and again just looks nicer than dithering, flickering sprites, or simple palette swaps; typically has more overlapping background layers for full parallax before needing to using row/line scrolling (which it can also do as standard); you're more likely to see a transparent HUD displayed over the game view on SNES rather than the HUD on an opaque bar on Genesis; can easily use Mode 7 background rotation and scaling [plus HDMA] for the kind of pseudo 3D effects you see on the likes of the track in F-Zero; you get to see more little extra visual effects like mosaicing and colour window/shape masks in a load of games; and the PCM audio tends to give everything a bit more of a typical "movie" sound.

Basically, SNES games typically tend to just look prettier visually while Genesis often have a bit more going on and almost always a larger screen view, and Genesis games tend to sound more arcadey/actiony while SNES games tend to sound more orchestrated/cinematic. That's just a totally end user view of things from my perspective rather than some talk of random bits and bytes and hardware chips and VRAM and MHz, etc.

But, on that Sega marketing that gave us the infamous "Blast Processing" term, I will just post this:

And on Sonic, which Sega used in their infamous "Blast Processing" ad as a demonstration of something that supposedly the Genesis could do specifically due its "Blast Processing", which the "slow" SNES simply didn't have, I will post this:

It's also a little funny they used Sonic vs Super Mario Kart in that infamous ad, especially considering F-Zero was literally a day-one launch title on SNES (and running in SlowROM at 2.68MHz and 75% of the full CPU speed no less):

And, just to balance that out, after Nintendo going on about how amazing Star Fox was because of the cutting edge Super FX enhancement chip that allowed all those stunning 3D polygonal visuals (for the time), I will post this:

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