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An artist's rendition of Nintendo's new Super Famicom / S-NES CD-ROM

At the Winter Consumer Electronics Show Nintendo quietly sent out a press release on it's upcoming Super Nintendo CD-ROM drive. This announcement revealed, at leas! partially, what kind ot unit Nintendo is planning on bringing out.
From the sketchy specifications, the Nintendo CD-ROM appears to be capable of doing many of the same tricks thai Sega's Mega CD-ROM unit can do. All lor a price thai is almost half of what Sega's unit is selling for in Japan


Sega has gone to great extremes to include a state-of-the-art co-processor into their unit. This 16 bit chip runs at a very fast 12.5 MHz and can also do biaxial scaling, rotation, zoom and fade. Full motion video (at least 1/2 screen) has already been demonstrated. Nintendo does not give a lot of information about it's co-processor other than the fact that it will allow full screen full motion video. Whether it will run fester (it can't run any slower!) and help cure the problem of slow-down and flicker has not been revealed.


Sega's Mega CD-ROM comes with 6 Megabit of RAM. Nintendo claims that their unit will have 8 Megabit. While larger, this is mainly a numbers game as both can more than handle any type of game information.


Both systems are utilizing the current state-of-the-art in CD-ROM drives. Access speeds are virtually identical but what Nintendo is not saying is how reliable their drive will be. Sega has gone to great measures to get a drive which will be error free over a very long period of time and this adds to the expense of the unit.


CD-I is rapidly becoming the CD standard for interactive video. Nintendo is working with Phillips in creating a special CD-ROM XA 'bridge format' and this will allow the Super Nintendo CD games to play on the Phillips CD-I hardware.


The Super NES CD-ROM will be the same size as the Super Nintendo game system (9.5" deep, 7.9" wide and 2.9" high). It will connect to the EXT port on the bottom of the Super NES, and il will take on the stacked appearance as Sega's system/CD-ROM drive. With the units stacked on lop of each other, the Nintendo CD-ROM will not have a lower price 'flip-up' cover as found on the NEC CD-ROM. The access door will be motor driven, like Sega's unit. Like the NEC CD-ROM, the Nintendo unit will require a System Cartridge which contains the RAM, ROM and their graphics co-processor. This System cartridge will plug into the cartridge slot on the Super NES.

The CD-ROM will connect to the Super Nintendo through the port on the bottom of the Super NES.


The biggest surprise is the price. Nintendo claims that their CD-ROM unit and System Cartridge will cost only $200. The Sega CD-ROM is currently selling for $380 in Japan.


Sega originally hinted that their unit will be available this Summer. Now, they are stating some time in the second half. Nintendo states January 1993, but sources are saying they will push it up to September 1992!

Star Trek: The Next Generation by Spectrum HoloByte will be one of the first Super NES CD-ROM games!

Spec. Nintendo Sega
Memory-RAM 8 MBit 6 MBit
Sub-memory 1 MBit 1 MBit
System ROM 2 MBit 1 MBit
Access Time (Min) 0.75 Sec 0.8 Sec.
Access Time (Max) 1.30 Sec. 1.4 Sec.
Co-processor Yes Yes
Scaling, Rotation Unspecified Yes
Motion Video Yes Yes
CD-I Compatible Yes No
Cost $200 $380 (Japan)
Available Jan. '93 2-nd Half '92

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