THE WORLD OF THE SNES #2

Editor's note: Those of you who wonder why there's (again) an article about the SNES on this magazine should know that the SNES uses a 65816 processor. This processor is the big brother of our Atari 8-bit CPU (6502). The Turbo-816 expansion (for the Atari 8-bit) also uses a 65816.

"Super Nintendo's World"

By The Unknown Base


This time, I have more specific information about this great 16-bit console.First of all, let's look at the inside of an European (PAL) console. There we can see:

printed on the circuit board:
'(c)1992 Nintendo SNSP-CPU-01'

the main chips:

- Nintendo S-SMP chip from Sony
  (c) Nintendo '89 Japan

This is the Sound-CPU-IC: a single chip
in which are integrated a CPU (Sony SPC7000 series CMOS 8-bit CPU core.
minimum command execution time: 1.953 us / 2.048 Mhz when active), IPL ROM (64 byte), 64 Kbyte RAM memory (external? 32 Kbyte useable for music) space, I/O ports (SCPU Interface I/O ports 8 bit * 4, Universal I/O ports 8 bit * 2) and timers (8 bit timer + 4 bit counter) * 3 sets.
Often uses 16-bit samples as input with 32 Khz frequency (output seems to be 4-bit ADPCM sound * 8 tones simultaneous).

- Nintendo S-DSP chip from Sony
 (c) Sony '89

This is the Digital Signal Processor.
Reproduces tone quality data in RAM.
Posesses various functions for the
purpose of musical expression.

- Nintendo S-ENC chip

- 2 * 32 Kbyte RAM chips
  (62256-10 Korea)

- Nintendo S-PPU1
- Nintendo S-PPU2 (B)

I think those two PPU's are picture/pixel processing units. They include the screen manipulation (like 3D: rotation/enlargement/reduction etc.).

- Nintendo S-WRAM

I think this includes the video-RAM, OAM (Object Attribute Memory) and the CGRAM (Color Generator RAM).

- Nintendo S-CPU (A)

This is the G65SC816 Central Processing
Unit (the brains of the SNES) which can
handle 8 and 16 bit operations.

Now we know a little bit more about the inside of the Snes. Let's look at some games using special chips on cart (some of them are still in development):

Games using a DSP-chip on cart (some of them use the same sort of DSP-chip, like DSP1 !):

- Super Mario Kart (0.5 Mbyte DSP1)
- Pilot Wings (0.5 Mbyte DSP2)
- F1 Exhaust Heat 2 (1 Mbyte DSP3 8Mhz)
- Super Airdiver (0.5 Mbyte DSP1)
- Suzuka 8 Hours (1 Mbyte DSP1)
- Armoured Calvary Bottoms (1 Mbyte)
- Ace Wonerae (1 Mbyte)

SFX-chip
--------
Invented by: Jez San, boss of Argonaut company of the FX-chip: Argonaut.
The FX-chip is a co-processor with a speed of 10.5 Mhz, a display rate of up to 30 frames a second (performing like a 286 or 386 pc).

Games using the SFX-chip are:

- Starfox (USA)/Starwing (Europe):
space flight game from Nintendo (a 'simple' test game, using only 1 pin of the FX-chip!)

- FX Trax (USA):
racing game from Nintendo.

- Power Slide (USA):
racing game from Elite.

- Transformers (USA):
is likely to be the best videogame of 1994 ! Programmed by Argonaut (who can push the FX-chip to it's limit !).

Such as you can see, we have something to look out for, nintendo-freaks !!!!

Many Atari + Super NES greetinx from

The Unknown Base


Editor's note: Wow, a game using only one pin of an fx chip! That's really amazing. Which one is it? The VCC or the GROUND pin?