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Close up of the front of the unit
|Manufacturer||Amstrad (licensed by Sega)|
|Type||Video game console / Personal computer|
|Generation||Fourth generation (16-bit era)|
|Operating system||MS-DOS 5.0 with Amstrad Desktop|
|CPU||32-bit Intel 80386SX @ 25 MHz |
Motorola 68000 @ 7.14 MHz
|Memory||1MB SIMM RAM (expandable to 16MB)|
|Storage||40MB Hard Drive, 3.5" Floppy Disk|
|Graphics||SVGA Graphics with 256KB RAM|
|Dimensions||325 mm(w) x 78 mm(h) x 292 mm(d)|
The Mega PC is a computer manufactured and released by Amstrad in 1993 under licence from Sega. It was similar but unrelated to the Sega TeraDrive. It is a standard Amstrad PC with Sega Mega Drive hardware bundled inside, the system was wired to share the dual-sync monitor and speakers with the Mega Drive on a separate circuit board.
A computer is a machine that can be instructed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically via computer programming. Modern computers have the ability to follow generalized sets of operations, called programs. These programs enable computers to perform an extremely wide range of tasks. A "complete" computer including the hardware, the operating system, and peripheral equipment required and used for "full" operation can be referred to as a computer system. This term may as well be used for a group of computers that are connected and work together, in particular a computer network or computer cluster.
Amstrad is a British electronics company. As of 2006, Amstrad's main business is manufacturing Sky UK interactive boxes.
Sega Games Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational video game developer and publisher headquartered in Tokyo. Its international branches, Sega of America and Sega Europe, are respectively headquartered in Irvine, California and London. Sega's arcade division, once part of Sega Corporation, has existed as Sega Interactive Co., Ltd., also a Sega Holdings subsidiary, since 2015.
Initially released in PAL areas such as Europe and Australia in 1993,its success was short-lived due to its high price of £999.99 (later reduced to £599) and a CPU that was outdated by the time of its release. It was slightly easier to acquire an Amstrad Mega PC than the Sega TeraDrive system due to higher manufacturing volumes. Both systems have become collector's items.
Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.
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In general, the Mega PC was seen as a better-built device than Sega's TeraDrive, as the unit was more robust and had more efficient air circulation.The Mega PC was IBM-compatible and had a Mega Drive ISA card, a Mega Drive Controller, Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Joystick and Internal Speakers.
The machine shipped with 1MB of RAM, provided by 4× 256KB 30-pin SIMM sticks. This was expandable to 16MB by using 4× 4MB memory modules.
A SIMM, or single in-line memory module, is a type of memory module containing random-access memory used in computers from the early 1980s to the late 1990s. It differs from a dual in-line memory module (DIMM), the most predominant form of memory module today, in that the contacts on a SIMM are redundant on both sides of the module. SIMMs were standardised under the JEDEC JESD-21C standard.
Although it boasted a higher specification than the Sega TeraDrive (having more RAM and a faster processor), the specification of the Mega PC's CPU was a generation old. The newer Intel 80486 was on the market and the first Pentium processors were released the same year as the Mega PC. The system was unable to act as a Software Development Kit due to its inability to simultaneously use the PC and the Mega Drive hardware. A cover on the front of the unit prevented the insertion of a Mega Drive game cartridge while using the PC hardware.
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The machine's rear houses multiple I/O ports. These include two serial ports, a 25-pin parallel port, a VGA port with combined signals for a standard VGA monitor and sound (Amstrad monitor only), a speaker/headphone jack, and a 15 pin game port for a joystick.
In computing, a serial port is a serial communication interface through which information transfers in or out one bit at a time. Throughout most of the history of personal computers, data was transferred through serial ports to devices such as modems, terminals, and various peripherals.
A parallel port is a type of interface found on computers for connecting peripherals. The name refers to the way the data is sent; parallel ports send multiple bits of data at once, in parallel communication, as opposed to serial interfaces that send bits one at a time. To do this, parallel ports require multiple data lines in their cables and port connectors, and tend to be larger than contemporary serial ports which only require one data line.
The game port, originally introduced on the Game Control Adapter, is a device port that was found on IBM PC compatible and other computer systems throughout the 1980s and 1990s. It was the traditional connector for joystick input, and occasionally MIDI devices, until replaced by USB in the 21st century.
The motherboard includes a 16 bit ISA slot connected to a riser card, providing a total of two 16 bit ISA slots. One of these slots is populated with an ISA card, which provides connections for sound at the rear of the machine and a connection for the Mega Drive cartridge at the front. The other slot was left free for expansion (such as the addition of a modem or Network Interface Card).
The Sega TeraDrive includes stereo RCA jacks and composite NTSC video output for connection to a TV, whereas the Mega PC lacks this feature, but could be connected to a PAL TV through SCART. kHz RGB it works fine when connected to a TV using SCART. When using the PC hardware, only a Multisync or VGA monitor can be used, as the unit outputs video at 31 kHz.Outputs from both the PC and Mega Drive units are available from a shared VGA connector, but since video output from the Mega Drive is still 15
The system shipped with an Amstrad branded controller that is internally identical to Sega's, allowing the controllers to be used on either system.
Amstrad bundled several peripherals with its Mega PC, including:
Amstrad advertised a second system as the successor to the Mega PC named the Amstrad Mega Plus. This boasted slightly higher specifications, with the processor upgraded to a Cyrix Cx486SLC running at 33 MHz and a RAM upgrade of 4× 1MB SIMM modules (4MB). This was never released.
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