List of Sega arcade system boards

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The following is a list of arcade system boards released by Sega . For games running on these system boards, see List of Sega arcade games.

Arcade game Coin-operated entertainment machine

An arcade game or coin-op game is a coin-operated entertainment machine typically installed in public businesses such as restaurants, bars and amusement arcades. Most arcade games are video games, pinball machines, electro-mechanical games, redemption games or merchandisers. While exact dates are debated, the golden age of arcade video games is usually defined as a period beginning sometime in the late 1970s and ending sometime in the mid-1980s. Excluding a brief resurgence in the early 1990s, the arcade industry subsequently declined in the Western hemisphere as competing home video game consoles such as the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox increased in their graphics and game-play capability and decreased in cost. The eastern hemisphere retains a strong arcade industry.

An arcade system board is a dedicated computer system created for the purpose of running video arcade games. Arcade system boards typically consist of a main system board with any number of supporting boards.

Sega Japanese video game developer and publisher and subsidiary of Sega Sammy Holdings

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. since 2015. Both companies are subsidiaries of Sega Holdings Co., Ltd., which is in turn a part of Sega Sammy Holdings.


Sega VIC Dual

Sega released the Sega VIC Dual arcade system board in 1977 as one of the first systems to use the Zilog Z80 microprocessor. Some of the games on the system include Depthcharge (1977), Frogs (1978), Heiankyo Alien (1979), Head On (1979), Carnival (1980), and Samurai (1980). [1]

Zilog Z80 8-bit microprocessor

The Z80 is an 8-bit microprocessor introduced by Zilog as the startup company's first product. The Z80 was conceived by Federico Faggin in late 1974 and developed by him and his 11 employees starting in early 1975. The first working samples were delivered in March 1976, and it was officially introduced on the market in July 1976. With the revenue from the Z80, the company built its own chip factories and grew to over a thousand employees over the following two years.

Microprocessor computer processor contained on an integrated-circuit chip

A microprocessor is a computer processor that incorporates the functions of a central processing unit on a single integrated circuit (IC), or at most a few integrated circuits. The microprocessor is a multipurpose, clock driven, register based, digital integrated circuit that accepts binary data as input, processes it according to instructions stored in its memory and provides results as output. Microprocessors contain both combinational logic and sequential digital logic. Microprocessors operate on numbers and symbols represented in the binary number system.

Depthcharge is a single-player arcade game released in 1977 by Gremlin Industries for the Sega VIC Dual system board. Taito licensed the game and released it as Sub Hunter in Japan. The game, which uses a black-and-white CRT display, presents the player with a cut-away view of a section of ocean, on the surface of which is a destroyer with submarines passing beneath it. The player drops depth charges to destroy the submarines and moves the ship back and forth in order to avoid the submarines' mines. Up to four submarines may be present at any given time, each of which bears a score for destroying it that increases with its depth.

Central processing unit Electronic circuitry within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetic, logical, control and input/output (I/O) operations specified by the instructions

A central processing unit (CPU), also called a central processor or main processor, is the electronic circuitry within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetic, logic, controlling, and input/output (I/O) operations specified by the instructions. The computer industry has used the term "central processing unit" at least since the early 1960s. Traditionally, the term "CPU" refers to a processor, more specifically to its processing unit and control unit (CU), distinguishing these core elements of a computer from external components such as main memory and I/O circuitry.

In computer architecture, 8-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are 8 bits wide. Also, 8-bit CPU and ALU architectures are those that are based on registers, address buses, or data buses of that size. 8-bit is also a generation of microcomputers in which 8-bit microprocessors were the norm.

Sega Z80

Sega Z80 is an arcade system board that is named after the Zilog Z80 processor it uses as its main CPU. It released in 1980, with games such as Moon Cresta , [5] using a modified version of the Namco Galaxian system board.[ citation needed ] In 1981, Jump Bug added parallax scrolling [6] and replaced the sound chip.[ citation needed ] In 1982, Super Locomotive replaced the Namco Galaxian hardware with more advanced custom Sega hardware, [5] including sound and graphics chips that would later be used in the System 1/2/16 and Sega Space Harrier boards.

<i>Moon Cresta</i> 1980 video game

Moon Cresta (ムーンクレスタ) is a fixed shooter arcade game released in 1980 by Nichibutsu. It was licensed to Centuri which released it in arcades as Eagle. Incentive Software published ports of Moon Cresta for the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Dragon 32, and ZX Spectrum.

The Namco Galaxian was an 8-bit arcade game system board, which was first used by Namco for Galaxian in 1979; it was the first board from the company to use the Zilog Z80 microprocessor. It used specialized graphics hardware supporting RGB color, multi-colored sprites and tilemap backgrounds. Its introduction of colorful tilemap graphics distinguished it from the Taito 8080 monochrome framebuffer system of Space Invaders. Namco Galaxian also introduced a sprite line buffer system, which was adopted by later systems such as the Namco Pac-Man, Midway's Tron hardware and Sega Z80.

<i>Jump Bug</i> 1981 video game

Jump Bug is a scrolling platform shooter developed by Alpha Denshi under contract for Hoei/Coreland, and published in arcades by Sega in Japan and Rock-Ola in North America in 1981. It was the first platform game to include smooth horizontal and vertical scrolling.


In computer architecture, 16-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are 16 bits wide. Also, 16-bit CPU and ALU architectures are those that are based on registers, address buses, or data buses of that size. 16-bit microcomputers are computers in which 16-bit microprocessors were the norm.

Instructions per second (IPS) is a measure of a computer's processor speed. For CISC computers different instructions take different amounts of time, so the value measured depends on the instruction mix; even for comparing processors in the same family the IPS measurement can be problematic. Many reported IPS values have represented "peak" execution rates on artificial instruction sequences with few branches and no cache contention, whereas realistic workloads typically lead to significantly lower IPS values. Memory hierarchy also greatly affects processor performance, an issue barely considered in IPS calculations. Because of these problems, synthetic benchmarks such as Dhrystone are now generally used to estimate computer performance in commonly used applications, and raw IPS has fallen into disuse.

Sound card internal computer expansion card that facilitates the input and output of audio signals

A sound card is an internal expansion card that provides input and output of audio signals to and from a computer under control of computer programs. The term sound card is also applied to external audio interfaces used for professional audio applications.

Jump Bug added the following upgrades in 1981:

Super Locomotive included the following upgrades/modifications in 1982:

Bank Panic included the following upgrades/modifications in 1984:

Sega G80

Sega G80 is an arcade system board released by Sega in 1981. The G80 was released in both raster and vector versions of the hardware.

G80 specifications

VCO Object

VCO Object, [14] also known as Sega Z80-3D system,[ citation needed ] was released by Sega in 1981. It was the first system specifically designed for pseudo-3D sprite-scaling graphics, using analog scaling. It was used for the third-person racing video game Turbo (1981), the stereoscopic 3D shooter game SubRoc-3D (1982), and the third-person rail shooter Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom (1982). [14] SubRoc-3D also introduced an active shutter 3D system, jointly developed by Sega with Matsushita (now Panasonic). [15]


Sega Zaxxon

The Sega Zaxxon hardware was released by Sega in 1982 as the first system dedicated to producing isometric graphics, first used for the isometric shooter Zaxxon (1982). It was also used for several other games, including the isometric platformer Congo Bongo (1983).


Congo Bongo added the following specifications in 1983:

Sega Laserdisc

The Sega Laserdisc hardware was released by Sega in 1983 as the first system dedicated to producing laserdisc video games. The first game to use it was Astron Belt (1983) and the last one to use it was the holographic game Time Traveler (1991).[ citation needed ]


Sega System series

Sega System 1

Sega System 1 is a type of arcade hardware used in various Sega arcade machines from 1983 until 1987. For most of its run it coexisted with Sega System 2 (1985–1988) and as a result had many similar features (the only major difference being that System 2 had two separate circuit boards instead of one). In its four-year span it was used in some 20 different arcade games, including Choplifter , Flicky , Pitfall II: Lost Caverns , Wonder Boy , and Wonder Boy in Monster Land . System 2 is an updated version of the System 1.

System 1 specifications

Sega System 16

The Sega System 16 is an early 16-bit arcade system board released by Sega in 1985. [23] Over its lifespan, roughly forty games were released on this hardware, making it one of Sega's most successful arcade platforms. It was produced in three variants, the System 16A, System 16B, and System 16C. The System 16C was developed for the 2008 remake of Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa for the PlayStation 2, and only received a limited release on real hardware. Some games released using this hardware include: Shinobi , Golden Axe , Altered Beast , and Dynamite Düx .

In order to prevent piracy, as well as illegal bootleg games, many System 16 boards used an encryption system. A Hitachi FD1094 chip, containing the main CPU as well as the decryption key, was used in place of a regular CPU.

The System 16's pairing of a Motorola 68000 CPU and a Zilog Z80 coprocessor would prove to be a popular and durable arcade hardware configuration well into the 1990s. Capcom's CPS-1 and CPS-2 boards were built on a similar foundation, as was SNK's Neo Geo hardware. Sega would later use the 68000/Z80 combination to power its Genesis/Mega Drive home console.

System 16 specifications

System 16B specifications

System 16B included the following upgrades in 1986:

System 16C specifications

System 16C included the following upgrades over the System 16B: [33]

  • Main RAM: 288 KB (256 KB work RAM, 16 KB I/O, 16 KB NVRAM)
  • Video RAM: 97 KB, including 84 KB SRAM (4 KB sprites, 4 KB color, 64 KB tiles, 4 KB text, 8 KB line buffers)
  • Sound RAM: 2 KB SRAM

Sega System 24

The Sega System 24 is an arcade system board released by Sega in 1988. It was produced for coin-operated video arcade machines until 1996. Some games released using this hardware include: Bonanza Bros. , Hot Rod , and Gain Ground .

Sega System 24 specifications

The System 24 used two Motorola 68000 processors at 10 MHz. One was for input/output, while the other was used by the game. The board holds 1360 kB of RAM and 256 kB of ROM. It was the first Sega arcade system that required a medium resolution arcade monitor. The color palette is 4352 on screen selectable from 32,768, [34] or with shadow & highlight, 16,384[ citation needed ] on screen selectable from 98,304. [30] The system could support up to 2048 sprites on-screen at once.

Sound was driven by a YM2151 at 4 MHz; it was capable of delivering 8 channels of FM sound in addition to a DAC used for sound effects and sampling. Early System 24s loaded their program from floppy disks. Games could also use hardware ROM boards to store games. No matter which storage device was used, a special security chip was required for each game an operator wanted to play. [34]

Sega System 18

The Sega System 18 is an arcade system board released by Sega in 1989. System 18 had a very short run of games but most boards on this hardware were JAMMA standard. Most of these games also have the "suicide battery" as associated with Sega's System 16 hardware. It also contained the VDP used by the Sega Genesis.[ citation needed ]

System 18 specifications

  • Main CPU: Motorola 68000 @ 10 MHz [38] (16-bit & 32-bit instructions @ 1.75 MIPS) [2]
  • Sound CPU: Zilog Z80 @ 8 MHz [38] (8-bit & 16-bit instructions @ 1.16 MIPS) [2]
  • Sound chip: 2 × Yamaha YM3438 @ 8 MHz + Ricoh RF5c68 @ 10 MHz (8-channel PCM chip, remarked as Sega Custom 315)
  • Graphics chips: Sega System 16B chipset, Yamaha YM7101 VDP [ citation needed ]
  • Display resolution: 320 × 224
  • Color palette: 98,304 [30]
  • Colors on screen: 4096 (unique colors) [38] to 8384 (with shadow & highlight)[ citation needed ]
  • Board composition: Main board + ROM board
  • Graphical capabilities: 128 sprites on screen at one time, 4 tile layers, 1 text layer, 1 sprite layer with hardware sprite zooming, translucent shadows, [38] sprites of any height and length, row & column scrolling [31]


Kyugo is an arcade system board released in 1984, co-developed with Japanese company Kyugo.[ citation needed ] It was used for three Sega games: Flashgal and Repulse in 1985, and Legend in 1986. [39] It was also used by several other companies from 1984 to 1987.[ citation needed ]

Kyugo specifications

Super Scaler series

Sega Space Harrier

Sega Space Harrier, also known as Sega Hang-On, is an early 16-bit system released in 1985, originally designed for the racing game Hang-On and third-person rail shooter Space Harrier (1985). It was also used for the racing game Enduro Racer (1986). This was the first in Sega's Super Scaler series of pseudo-3D arcade hardware. At the time of its release, this was the most powerful game system. [40]

The pseudo-3D sprite/tile scaling in Sega's Super Scaler arcade games were handled in a similar manner to textures in later texture-mapped polygonal 3D games of the 1990s. [41] Designed by Sega AM2's Yu Suzuki, he stated that his "designs were always 3D from the beginning. All the calculations in the system were 3D, even from Hang-On. I calculated the position, scale, and zoom rate in 3D and converted it backwards to 2D. So I was always thinking in 3D." [42]


Sega OutRun

Sega OutRun is a 16-bit arcade system released in 1986 for the driving game Out Run (1986). It was also used for Super Hang-On (1987) and Turbo Outrun (1989). It is the second in Sega's Super Scaler series of pseudo-3D arcade hardware.


Sega X Board

The Sega X Board is an arcade system board released by Sega in 1987. As the third in Sega's Super Scaler series of arcade hardware, it was noteworthy for its sprite manipulation capabilities, which allowed it to create high quality pseudo-3D visuals. This trend would continue with the Y Board and the System 32, before the Model 1 made true 3D arcade games more financially affordable.

X Board specifications

Super Monaco GP (1989) added the following upgrades:[ citation needed ]

  • Additional boards: Network Board, Sound Board, Motor Board
  • Additional CPU: 2× Zilog Z80 @ 8 MHz (2.32 MIPS)
  • Additional sound CPU: Zilog Z80 @ 4 MHz (0.58 MIPS)
  • Additional sound chip: SegaPCM @ 4 MHz[ citation needed ] (additional 16 PCM channels, [44] totalling 32 PCM channels)
  • Sound output: 4-channel surround sound [ citation needed ]

Sega Y Board

The Sega Y Board is an arcade system board released by Sega in 1988. Like the X Board before it, the Y Board was known for its pseudo-3D sprite manipulation capabilities, handled by Sega's custom Super Scaler chipset.

Y Board specifications

Sega Mega series

Sega Mega-Tech

The Sega Mega-Tech is an arcade system developed by Sega Europe in 1988. It is based on the Mega Drive/Genesis video game console hardware, and more or less identical. [55] Its operation ability is similar to Nintendo's PlayChoice-10, where the credits bought give the user a playable time period rather than lives (usually 1 minute per credit), and can switch between games during playtime.

A few things were omitted, such as the expansion hardware allowing for the Sega CD or Sega 32X as these were not developed at this point, so would not likely be offered as an arcade expansion. The PCB for the Mega-Tech also includes the ability to display to a second monitor, which contains a list of the games installed in the machine and also displays instructions for controlling the game, 1 or 2 player information, and a short synopsis of each game. The second monitor also displays the time left for playing.

Since the machine is basically a Mega Drive with timer control for arcade operations, porting games to the Mega-Tech was an easy task and so many games were released, most of them popular titles such as Streets Of Rage , Revenge Of Shinobi , Golden Axe , Sonic The Hedgehog , and Space Harrier 2 . The ability was also added for the machine to play Sega Master System titles, though fewer Master System titles were ported than Mega Drive titles. These include the original Shinobi , Outrun and After Burner . [56]

The Sega Mega-Tech was released in Europe, Australia, and Asia (including Japan[ citation needed ]), but not in North America.

Sega Mega-Play

The Sega Mega-Tech system was soon replaced by its successor, the Mega-Play, a JAMMA-compatible system that used Mega Drive/Genesis software on proprietary boards. [55] This system utilized only 4 carts instead of 8. This version also utilizes traditional arcade operations, in which credits bought are used to buy lives instead. [57]

Like the Mega-Tech, The Sega Mega-Play was released in Europe, Australia, and Asia (including Japan [ citation needed ]), but not in North America.

Sega System 14 / C / C-2

Sega's System 14, also known as System C and System C-2, is a Jamma PCB used in arcade games, introduced in 1989. This hardware is based closely on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis hardware, with the main CPU, sound processor and graphics processor being the same, [58] but with the addition of the Altera EPM5032[ citation needed ] and Sega 315-5242 color encoder[ citation needed ] increasing the color palette. The CPU clock speed is slightly faster (8.94  MHz instead of 7.67 MHz), there is no Z80, and the sound chip is driven by the CPU. The DAC is also replaced by the NEC µPD7759, the same as the System 16 hardware. 17 known games were created for the System C-2 hardware.


Sega System 32

System 32 is an arcade platform released by Sega in 1990. It succeeded the Y Board and System 24, combining features from both. It used a NEC V60 processor at 16.10795 MHz, supporting 32-bit fixed-point instructions as well as 32-bit and 64-bit floating-point instructions. It used a new custom Sega graphics chipset combining the Y Board's pseudo-3D Super Scaler capabilities with the System 24's sprite rendering system. Notable titles included Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder , Rad Mobile , OutRunners , and SegaSonic the Hedgehog .

There was another version of the System 32 hardware, called System Multi 32 or System 32 Multi, released in 1992. This was similar to the original, but had a dual monitor display, a new NEC V70 processor at 20 MHz, a new Sega MultiPCM sound chip, more RAM, and other improvements. This was the last of Sega's Super Scaler series of pseudo-3D arcade system boards.

System 32 specifications

System Multi 32 specifications

Sega System Multi 32 included the following upgrades in 1992:

Sega Model series

Sega Model 1

The Sega Model 1 is an arcade system board released by Sega in 1992. It was Sega's first polygonal 3D hardware. The first game for the system, Virtua Racing , was designed to test the viability of the platform and was never intended to be released commercially, but it was such a success internally that Sega did so anyway.

However, the high cost of the Model 1 system meant only six games were ever developed for it, among them the popular fighting game Virtua Fighter . Like the previous Super Scaler pseudo-3D arcade boards, the Model 1 3D arcade board was designed by Sega AM2's Yu Suzuki. [42]

Model 1 specifications

Sega Model 2

The Sega Model 2 is an arcade system board released by Sega in 1993. Like the Model 1, it was developed in cooperation with Martin Marietta, and is a further advancement of the earlier Model 1 system. The most noticeable improvement was texture mapping, which enabled polygons to be painted with bitmap images, as opposed to the limited monotone flat shading that Model 1 supported. The Model 2 also introduced the use of texture filtering and texture anti-aliasing. [75]

Designed by Sega AM2's Yu Suzuki, he stated that the Model 2's texture mapping chip originated "from military equipment from Lockheed Martin, which was formerly General Electric Aerial & Space's textural mapping technology. It cost $2 million to use the chip. It was part of flight-simulation equipment that cost $32 million. I asked how much it would cost to buy just the chip and they came back with $2 million. And I had to take that chip and convert it for video game use, and make the technology available for the consumer at 5,000 yen ($50)" ($89 in 2019) per machine. He said "it was tough but we were able to make it for 5,000 yen. Nobody at Sega believed me when I said I wanted to purchase this technology for our games." There were also issues working on the new CPU, [42] the Intel i960-KB, which had just released in 1993. [76] Suzuki stated that when working "on a brand new CPU, the debugger doesn't exist yet. The latest hardware doesn't work because it's full of bugs. And even if a debugger exists, the debugger itself is full of bugs. So, I had to debug the debugger. And of course with new hardware there's no library or system, so I had to create all of that, as well. It was a brutal cycle." [42]

Despite its high pricetag, the Model 2 platform was very successful, and in early 1996 Sega began licensing the board to its competitors. [77] The Model 2 featured some of the highest grossing arcade games of all time: Daytona USA , [78] Virtua Fighter 2 , [77] Virtual On: Cyber Troopers , The House of the Dead , [79] and Dead or Alive . [77]

Model 2 has four different varieties: Model 2 (1993), [78] Model 2A-CRX [80] (1994), [81] Model 2B-CRX [82] (1994) [83] and Model 2C-CRX (1996). [84] While Model 2 and 2A-CRX use a custom DSP with internal code for the geometrizer, 2B-CRX and 2C-CRX use well documented DSPs and upload the geometrizer code at startup to the DSP. This, combined with the fact that some games were available for both 2A-CRX and 2B-CRX, led to the reverse engineering of the Model 2 and Model 2A-CRX DSPs.

Model 2 specifications

Main CPU (central processing unit)
GPU (graphics processing unit) video hardware
Audio hardware
RAM (random access memory)

Total RAM: 9776 KB (Model 2/2A-CRX), or 18,388 KB (Model 2B/2C-CRX)

Graphical capabilities

Sega Model 3

The Sega Model 3 is an arcade system board released by Sega in 1996. It was the culmination of Sega's partnership with Lockheed Martin, using the company's Real3D division to design the graphical hardware. It was first unveiled at the 1996 AOU show. [94] Upon release, the Model 3 was easily the most powerful arcade system board in existence, [95] capable of over one million quad polygons per second and over two million triangular polygons per second. [96] The hardware went through several "steppings," which increased the clock speed of the CPU and the speed of the 3D engine, as well as minor changes to the board architecture.[ citation needed ] Step 1.0 and Step 1.5 released in 1996, [96] [97] Step 2.0 in 1997, [98] and Step 2.1 in 1998. [99]

Well known Model 3 games include Virtua Fighter 3 (1996), [100] Sega Super GT (1996), Harley-Davidson & L.A. Riders (1997), Sega Bass Fishing (1997), Daytona USA 2 (1998), Sega Rally 2 (1998), and The Ocean Hunter (1998), although the latter is considered amongst the rarest of the conventionally released Model 3 titles. By 2000, the Sega Model 2 & 3 had sold over 200,000 arcade systems worldwide. [101]

Model 3 specifications

RAM: 33,321  KB

Sega ST-V

Sega ST-V PCB Sega ST-V Dynamite Deka PCB 20100324.jpg

ST-V (Sega Titan Video game system) is an arcade system board released by Sega in 1994. [113] Departing from their usual process of building custom arcade hardware, Sega's ST-V is essentially identical to the Sega Saturn home console system. The only differences are the sound hardware and the ST-V's greater amount of onboard VRAM. [114] The ST-V could use either ROM cartridges or CD-ROMs to store games. [115] Being derived from the Saturn hardware, the ST-V was presumably named after the moon Titan, a satellite of Saturn.

Games released for the ST-V include Virtua Fighter Remix , [116] Die Hard Arcade , [117] Baku Baku Animal , [117] Golden Axe: The Duel and Final Fight Revenge . The shared hardware between Saturn and ST-V allowed for very accurate ports for the Saturn console.

ST-V specifications

Sega NAOMI series


The NAOMI (New Arcade Operation Machine Idea) is the successor to the Sega Model 3. Sega first demonstrated NAOMI publicly at the 1998 Amusement Machine Show (an annual trade show hosted in Tokyo by the Japan Amusement Machinery Manufacturers Association). After the show, Sega released the first NAOMI title to the Japanese market: The House of the Dead 2 .

NAOMI uses some of the same electronic components as Sega's Dreamcast home game console: Hitachi SH-4 CPU, PowerVR Series 2 GPU (PVR2DC), and Yamaha AICA Super Intelligent Sound Processor based sound system. However, NAOMI has twice as much system memory, twice as much video memory, and four times as much sound memory.

Multiple NAOMI boards can be clustered to improve graphics performance and to support multiple-monitor output. A special game cabinet for the NAOMI, NAOMI Universal Cabinet, houses up to sixteen boards for this purpose. Multiple-board variants are referred to as NAOMI Multiboard hardware, which debuted in 1999. [126]

Sega's NAOMI Satellite Terminal Hardware infrastructure enabled developers to make games with multiple control terminals, so several people could sit and play a game that has one large screen. The Satellite Terminal Hardware links up to 10 NAOMI boards. [127] Multi-terminal systems like this made use of Memory Card Reader and Dispenser (MCRD) technology. Derby Owners Club (2000) and World Club Champion Football (2002) are two applications of these technologies.

Some NAOMI titles read game data from a GD-ROM optical disc, which is also the Dreamcast's software medium. Game data can also be stored in a 168-megabyte bank of solid-state ROM. GD-ROM support requires a specialized DIMM board in addition to the GD-ROM drive. When the NAOMI powers-on, it copies data from the comparatively slow GD-ROM to the faster DIMM memory. Thereafter, the game executes entirely in RAM.

Some titles can be loaded up using a netboot Dimm which makes it easier to distribute games over to Naomi & Naomi 2 systems. It required a Windows computer to transfer over the game. Recently, the Raspberry Pi could also be used with the net dimm with PiForceTools. After the game has been received from the local network it will be loaded into ram which it would be run from.

Unlike Sega's previous arcade platforms (and most other arcade platforms in the industry), NAOMI is widely licensed for use by other game publishers. Among the licensees were Nintendo (which only licensed one game, Rhythm Tengoku: HD Remixed Edition), Bandai Namco Games, Capcom, Sammy Corporation, and Tecmo. Some of the games developed by licensees were Mazan, Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (Capcom 2000), Rhythm Tengoku (Nintendo 2007), Dead or Alive 2 (Tecmo 1999) and Guilty Gear XX (Sammy 2002). Sammy developed a derivative platform, the Atomiswave, which has interchangeable game cartridges.

The last NAOMI titles were released in 2008 and 2009: Sega's Melty Blood: Actress Again and Subtle Style's Akatsuki Blitzkampf Ausf. Achse , as well as Sega's Radirgy Noa respectively.

NAOMI specifications

NAOMI Multiboard specifications

Sega NAOMI Multiboard included the following upgrades in 1999: [126]

  • CPU: 2× to 16× Hitachi SH-4 @ 200 MHz
    • Performance: 720 to 5760 MIPS, 2.8 to 22.4 GFLOPS
  • GPU: 2× to 16× NEC-VideoLogic PowerVR 2 (PVR2DC/CLX2) @ 100 MHz
  • Sound engine: 2× to 16× Yamaha AICA Super Intelligent Sound Processor @ 45 MHz
    • Internal CPU: 2× to 16× 32-bit ARM7 RISC CPU @ 45 MHz
    • CPU performance: 80 to 640 MIPS
    • PCM/ADPCM: 128 to 1024 channels
  • RAM: 112 to 896 MB
    • Main RAM: 64 to 512 MB
    • VRAM: 32 to 256 MB
    • Sound memory: 16 to 128 MB
  • Storage media:
    • ROM boards: 344 to 2752 MB
    • Disc storage: 2 to 16 GD-ROM drives
  • Display resolution: 3-monitor widescreen VGA, [126] 960×240 to 2400×608 pixels, progressive scan
  • Polygon performance: 14 to 112 million textured polygons/sec (with lighting and trilinear filtering), or 20 to 160 million polygons/sec
  • Rendering fillrate: 1 to 8 billion pixels/sec (with transparent polygons), 6.4 to 51.2 billion pixels/sec (with opaque polygons)
  • Texture fillrate: 200 million to 1.6 billion texels/sec

Sega Hikaru

An evolution of the NAOMI hardware with superior graphics capabilities, the Hikaru was used for a handful of deluxe dedicated-cabinet games, beginning with 1999's Brave Fire Fighters, in which the flame and water effects were largely a showpiece for the hardware. The Hikaru hardware was the first arcade platform capable of effective Phong shading.

According to Sega in 1999: "Brave Firefighters utilizes a slightly modified Naomi Hardware system called Hikaru. Hikaru incorporates a custom Sega graphics chip and possesses larger memory capacity than standard Naomi systems. "These modifications were necessary because in Brave Firefighters, our engineers were faced with the daunting challenge of creating 3d images of flames and sprayed water," stated Sega's Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Barbara Joyiens. "If you stop and think about it, both have an almost infinite number of shapes, sizes, colors, levels of opaqueness, shadings and shadows. And, when you combine the two by simulating the spraying of water on a flame, you create an entirely different set of challenges for our game designers and engineers to overcome; challenges that would be extremely difficult, if not impossible to overcome utilizing existing 3D computers. Hikaru has the horsepower to handle these demanding graphic challenges with clarity, depth and precision." [139] In addition, the Hikaru also uses two Hitachi SH-4 CPU's, two Yamaha AICA sound engines, [140] a Motorola 68000 network CPU, and two PowerVR2 GPU's.[ citation needed ] [141]

Since it was comparatively expensive to produce, and most games did not necessarily need Hikaru's extended graphics capabilities, Sega soon abandoned the system in favor of continued NAOMI and NAOMI 2 development.

Hikaru specifications

Sega NAOMI 2

In 2000, Sega debuted the NAOMI 2 arcade system board at JAMMA, an upgrade and a sequel of the original NAOMI with better graphics capability.

NAOMI 2's graphics-assembly contains two PowerVR CLX2 GPUs, a PowerVR Elan chip for geometry transformation and lighting effects, and 2X the graphics memory for each CLX2 chip. (Each CLX2 has its own 32MB bank, as the CLX2s cannot share graphics RAM). Due to architectural similarities and a "bypass" feature in the Elan device, the NAOMI 2 is also able to play NAOMI games (except for The House of the Dead 2 ) without modification. [142] [143] [144]

With the NAOMI 2, Sega brought back the GD-ROM drive. For both NAOMI and NAOMI 2, the GD-ROM setup was offered as an optional combination of daughterboard expansion known as the DIMM Board, and the GD-ROM drive itself. The DIMM board contained enough RAM to allow an entire game to be loaded into memory at start up, allowing the drive to shut down after the game has loaded. This heavily reduces load times during the game, and saves on drive wear and tear.


Logo Triforce arcade.svg

The Triforce is an arcade system board developed jointly by Namco, Sega, and Nintendo, with the first games appearing in 2002. The name "Triforce" is a reference to Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series of games, and symbolized the three companies' involvement in the project. The system hardware is based on the Nintendo GameCube with several differences, like provisions for add-ons such as Sega's GD-ROM system and upgradeable RAM modules. The Triforce was initially believed to have twice as much 1T-SRAM as the Nintendo GameCube (48MB instead of 24MB), but this was disproven by a teardown analysis of a Triforce board. [145]

A few versions of the Triforce exist. The first two are the Type-1 and Type-3 units, the former using an external DIMM board (same as used on the Naomi and Naomi 2) while the latter integrates this component inside the metal casing. A custom Namco version exists which only accepts custom NAND Flash based cartridges, which has a different Media board and supposedly different baseboard. [146] These boards use the same metal case design as the Type-3 Triforce.

Since 2012, amateur applications have been released for the Nintendo Wii that enable this GameCube-derived console to run Mario Kart Arcade GP , Mario Kart Arcade GP 2, F-Zero AX and Virtua Striker 4 Ver.2006. Triforce can be emulated in software by Dolphin.

Triforce specifications

Sega Chihiro

The Sega Chihiro system is a Sega arcade system board based on the architecture of the Xbox. The 733 MHz Intel Pentium III CPU and the Nvidia XChip graphics processor are common to both, but the Chihiro has a different MCPX chip with unique bootloader keys. The main system memory, at 128 MB, is twice that of a retail Xbox. In addition to this memory, the Chihiro also has additional RAM used for media storage - this was initially 512 MB but is upgradable to 1 GB. When the system is booted, the required files are copied from the GD-ROM to the RAM on the media board.

Because the Chihiro and Xbox share the same hardware architecture, porting from the Chihiro is theoretically easier than porting from a different arcade platform. In practice, there are a number of challenges - the first being that the half-size main memory restricts the size of the working set and the second being that fetching assets from Xbox DVD drive is orders of magnitude slower than fetching them from the 512MB/1GB of RAM on the media board. These challenges are not insurmountable, though - for example, the Xbox release of OutRun 2 was able to retain the look and feel of the original arcade version.

Chihiro specifications

Sega Lindbergh

The Sega Lindbergh arcade system board is an embedded PC running MontaVista Linux (the Lindbergh Blue system used Windows Embedded instead). Sega had initially planned to use Microsoft's Xbox 360 as the basis for the arcade board, but instead opted for an architecture based on standard PC hardware.

According to Sega-AM2 president Hiroshi Kataoka, porting Lindbergh titles (such as Virtua Fighter 5 ) to Sony's PlayStation 3 was generally easier than porting to Xbox 360, because the Lindbergh and PS3 use a GPU designed by the same company, Nvidia. [150]

Lindbergh specifications

The Sega Lindbergh standard universal sit-down cabinet uses a 1360 × 768 WXGA LCD display.

Aside from the standard Lindbergh system (Lindbergh Yellow), Sega developed a Lindbergh Red which includes the GeForce 7600gs and Lindbergh Blue system, which have different specifications. Some late Lindbergh Yellow games used a GeForce 7800 which the operator would need to install into the system replacing the original GeForce 6 series card.

The Lindbergh has been superseded by the Ring series (RingEdge and RingWide), so there will be no new arcade games developed for this system. The last game to run on Lindbergh was MJ4 Evolution. [152]

Sega Europa-R

The Sega Europa-R is an arcade system board developed by Sega Amusements Europe.

Sega chose a PC-based design for this arcade board. This arcade board currently only runs two games, Sega Rally 3 and Race Driver: GRID (Stylized as simply GRID).

Europa-R specifications

Sega Ring series

The Ring series of arcade machines are also based on PC architecture. Initially announced models include RingEdge and RingWide. The 2 pieces of hardware have Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 2009 as their operating system, mainly so other third-party companies would find it easier to produce games for the system.


The RingEdge is the main console of the Ring Series. It has better graphics and larger storage than the RingWide. It sports a better graphics card than the Lindbergh system, allowing for a higher performance graphically, all while costing less to produce. The use of an Intel Pentium Dual-Core (1.8 GHz per core) processor delivers better performance than Lindbergh's Pentium 4 (3.0 GHz) processor. A solid-state drive greatly reduces wear-and-tear due to a lack of moving parts, and also has much higher transfer rates than a hard disk drive, leading to better performance and loading times. The Ringedge also supports 3D game capability.

RingEdge specifications



The RingWide is more basic than the RingEdge, and only has 8 GB (CompactFlash) of storage, while RingEdge has four times larger storage (because of the use of the RAM Drive and SSD). The RingWide will be used to run games that are less graphics-intensive and that require less high-end specifications in order to cut down costs. Sega also appears poised to be designing a streaming hybrid for use with household TVs, similar to OnLive from the system's hardware as evident from this patent issued by them on November 17, 2009. [154]

RingWide specifications

RingEdge 2

The successor to RingEdge, RingEdge 2 unlike Sega's Naomi 2, is not designed to be a more powerful version of the original RingEdge board, it is simply a redesign based on newer hardware since the hardware of the original RingEdge board was going end of life. Games designed for the original RingEdge as well as the RingEdge 2 are completely interchangeable however they might have slightly better frame rates on the newer RingEdge 2 board due to some better specifications in some cases.

RingEdge 2 specifications

Sega Nu

Released in November 2013, Nu is based on a mid-range PC running Windows Embedded 8.

Nu specifications


Released in 2018, ALLS UX (Amusement Linkage Live System) is based on a high-end PC running Windows 10 IOT.

ALLS UX specifications

Technical details

The "suicide battery" (System 18, System 16 and others) generally refers to an arrangement by which encryption keys or other vital data are stored in SRAM powered by a battery. When the battery dies, the PCB is rendered permanently inoperable, in the sense that there is no way to reprogram the RAM from within the PCB itself — hence the term "suicide". This can be considered a form of planned obsolescence, as the PCB is rendered useless, and the owner will have to buy a new PCB or arcade machine. Though, as the lifespan of the battery (15 to 30 years) exceeds by far the expected commercial use of a game before being replaced by a new one (a few months or years); the use of suicide batteries was more likely a form of anti-piracy protection that was supposed to prevent the game from being copied during its commercial use, as the RAM could not be desoldered, dumped and copied as easily as ROMs traditionally are. This effectively resulted in bootlegs and conversions of battery-protected games not appear until the late 2010's.

See also

Related Research Articles

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X68000 Japanese home computer created by Sharp Corporation

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PC Engine SuperGrafx video game console from NEC

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The Atomiswave is a custom arcade system board and cabinet from Sammy Corporation. It is based on Sega's NAOMI system board. The Atomiswave uses interchangeable game cartridges and the cabinet's control panel can be easily switched out with different control sets, including dual joysticks, dual lightguns and a steering wheel.

The CP System II or CPS-2 is an arcade system board that Capcom first used in 1993 for Super Street Fighter II. It was the successor to their previous CP System and Capcom Power System Changer arcade hardware and was succeeded by the CP System III hardware in 1996, of which the CPS-2 would outlive by over four years. The arcade system had new releases for it until the end of 2003, ending with Hyper Street Fighter II.

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The Namco System 11 is an arcade system board released by Namco in 1994. The actual hardware is based on Sony's PlayStation home console, and thus many games were ported to that console. The major difference between the two is that the System 11 used surface-mounted ROM chips to store the game data, whereas the PlayStation used CD-ROM. This meant that all System 11 games were unique to the particular system board, and could not be swapped out with another game.

The Namco System 12 is an arcade system board released by Namco in late 1996. In hardware, it is an upgrade from Sony's PlayStation-based System 11, the MIPS R3000A microprocessor is 50% faster, and the C76 sound processor is replaced by the H8/3002. Like the System 11, the System 12 used surface-mounted ROM chips, meaning the boards were unique to each game. It was developed in cooperation with Sony Computer Entertainment.

Namco System 1 arcade system board

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Namco System 2 arcade system board

The Namco System 2 is a 16-bit arcade system board that was first used by Namco in December 1987, and a major enhancement for their earlier Namco System 1 arcade system board ; it was later succeeded by the 3D Namco System 21 "Polygonizer" arcade system board, in 1988.

The Namco System 86 is an 8-bit arcade system board which was first used by Namco in 1986; it was the first board from that company to use a Yamaha YM2151 FM sound chip, and was succeeded by the more powerful Namco System 1 arcade system board when the company went 16-bit in 1987.

The Namco Pac-Man was an 8-bit arcade game system board that was first used by Namco in 1980; the second and third games to run on it, Rally-X and New Rally-X, were modified to support a larger color palette and scrolling. Three unauthorized Pac-Man sequels were later developed by Bally Midway, Namco's old US distributor, on this board between 1981 and 1983 - and after Namco ended its partnership with Bally Midway after the release of Pac-Land in 1984, it developed Jump Shot and Shoot the Bull on it, in the following year.

The Namco Pole Position was an arcade system board, which was first used by Namco in 1982 for the Pole Position arcade games; it was one of the first system boards to utilize stereo and quadraphonic sound, and used NVRAM to save its high scores after a machine was turned off. It was also the first arcade system to use 16-bit microprocessors, with two Zilog Z8002 processors. It was the most powerful and expensive arcade system upon release, costing $4200. The hardware is capable of pseudo-3D, sprite-scaling.

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PlayStation 2 technical specifications

The PlayStation 2 technical specifications describe the various components of the PlayStation 2 (PS2) video game console.

PlayStation technical specifications

The PlayStation technical specifications describe the various components of the original PlayStation video game console.


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