List of Super NES enhancement chips

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Super FX chip in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island SuperFX GSU-2-SP1 chip.jpg
Super FX chip in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island

The list of Super NES enhancement chips demonstrates the overall design plan for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, whereby the console's hardware designers had made it easy to interface special coprocessor chips to the console. This standardized selection of chips was available to increase system performance and features for each game cartridge. As increasingly superior chips became available throughout the SNES's retail market years, this strategy originally provided a cheaper and more versatile way of maintaining the system's market lifespan when compared to Nintendo's option of having included a much more expensive CPU or a more obsolete stock chipset.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System home video game console developed by Nintendo and first released in 1990 in Japan

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), also known as the Super NES or Super Nintendo, is a 16-bit home video game console developed by Nintendo that was released in 1990 in Japan and South Korea, 1991 in North America, 1992 in Europe and Australasia (Oceania), and 1993 in South America. In Japan, the system is called the Super Famicom (SFC). In South Korea, it is known as the Super Comboy and was distributed by Hyundai Electronics. The system was released in Brazil on August 30, 1993, by Playtronic. Although each version is essentially the same, several forms of regional lockout prevent the different versions from being compatible with one another.

Coprocessor

A coprocessor is a computer processor used to supplement the functions of the primary processor. Operations performed by the coprocessor may be floating point arithmetic, graphics, signal processing, string processing, cryptography or I/O interfacing with peripheral devices. By offloading processor-intensive tasks from the main processor, coprocessors can accelerate system performance. Coprocessors allow a line of computers to be customized, so that customers who do not need the extra performance do not need to pay for it.

Contents

As a result, various enhancement chips were integrated into the cartridges of select game titles. The presence of an enhancement chip is most often indicated by 16 additional pins on either side of the original pins, 8 to each side. [1]

Super FX

Super FX-rendered polygon graphics in Star Fox SNES Star Fox.png
Super FX-rendered polygon graphics in Star Fox

The Super FX chip is a 16-bit supplemental RISC CPU developed by Argonaut Games that was included in certain game cartridges to perform functions that the main CPU can not feasibly do. [2] It is typically programmed to act as a graphics accelerator chip that draws polygons to a frame buffer in the RAM sitting adjacent to it.

Argonaut Games British video game developer, founded in 1982 and liquidated in late 2004, with the company ceasing to exist in early 2007

Argonaut Games was a British video game developer, founded in 1982 and liquidated in late 2004, with the company ceasing to exist in early 2007. It was most notable for the development of the Super NES video game Star Fox and its supporting Super FX hardware.

In addition to rendering polygons, the chip can assist the SNES with advanced 2D effects. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island uses the Super FX 2 for sprite scaling, rotation, and stretching; screen warping; and rendering huge boss characters that take up much of the screen.

This chip went through at least four revisions, first starting out as a surface mounted chip labeled "MARIO CHIP 1" (Mathematical, Argonaut, Rotation & I/O) in the earliest Star Fox cartridges, commonly called the Super FX. The following year, some boards were providing an epoxy version of it, and later a first revision came out under the label "GSU-1". Both versions are clocked with a 21 MHz signal, but an internal clock speed divider halves it to 10.5 MHz on the MARIO CHIP 1. The GSU-1 however runs at the full 21 MHz. Both the MARIO CHIP 1 and the GSU-1 can support a maximum ROM size of 8 Mbits. Later on, the design was revised to become the GSU-2, which is still 16-bit, but unlike the earlier Super FX chips, this version can support a ROM size greater than 8 MBit. The final known revision is the GSU-2-SP1. All versions of the Super FX chip are functionally compatible in terms of their instruction set. The differences arise in how they are packaged, their pinout, their maximum supported ROM size, and their internal clock speed. [3]

Surface-mount technology method for producing electronic circuits

Surface-mount technology (SMT) is a method for producing electronic circuits in which the components are mounted or placed directly onto the surface of printed circuit boards (PCBs). An electronic device so made is called a surface-mount device (SMD). In industry, it has largely replaced the through-hole technology construction method of fitting components with wire leads into holes in the circuit board. Both technologies can be used on the same board, with the through-hole technology used for components not suitable for surface mounting such as large transformers and heat-sinked power semiconductors.

MARIO CHIP 1 COB.jpg
MARIO CHIP 1.jpg
GSU-1.jpg
GSU-2.jpg
GSU-2-SP1.jpg
Variants of the Super FX chip sorted chronologically

Cx4

The Cx4 coprocessor chip in Mega Man X2. Cx4.jpg
The Cx4 coprocessor chip in Mega Man X2 .

The Cx4 chip is a math coprocessor that was used by Capcom and produced by Hitachi (now Renesas) to perform general trigonometric calculations for wireframe effects, sprite positioning and rotation. It is known for its role in mapping and transforming wireframes in Capcom's second and third Mega Man X series games. [2] It is based on the Hitachi HG51B169 DSP.

Capcom Japanese developer and publisher of video games

Capcom Co., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer and publisher known for creating numerous multi-million selling game franchises, including Street Fighter, Mega Man, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Monster Hunter and Ace Attorney as well as games based on Disney animated properties. Established in 1979, it has become an international enterprise with subsidiaries in North America, Europe, and Japan.

Hitachi Japanese multinational engineering and electronics company

Hitachi, Ltd. is a Japanese multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan. It is the parent company of the Hitachi Group and forms part of the DKB Group of companies. Hitachi is a highly diversified company that operates eleven business segments: Information & Telecommunication Systems, Social Infrastructure, High Functional Materials & Components, Financial Services, Power Systems, Electronic Systems & Equipment, Automotive Systems, Railway & Urban Systems, Digital Media & Consumer Products, Construction Machinery and Other Components & Systems.

Trigonometry In geometry, study of the relationship between angles and lengths

Trigonometry is a branch of mathematics that studies relationships between side lengths and angles of triangles. The field emerged in the Hellenistic world during the 3rd century BC from applications of geometry to astronomical studies. In particular, 3rd-century astronomers first noted that the ratio of the lengths of two sides of a right-angled triangle depends only on one acute angle of the triangle. These dependencies are now called trigonometric functions.

CX4 wireframe test screen C4 Solids Demo.png
CX4 wireframe test screen

A Cx4 self-test screen can be accessed by holding the 'B' button on the second controller upon system start-up in both Mega Man X2 and Mega Man X3 . [4] In both the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube versions of Mega Man X Collection , this self-test screen is still accessible in Mega Man X2 (although differently accessed due to the remapped controller configuration), but not in Mega Man X3, because Mega Man X Collection features the 32-bit CD version of the game and not the SNES version.

DSP

DSP-1 chip in Pilotwings Nintendo DSP-1 chip.jpg
DSP-1 chip in Pilotwings

This series of fixed-point digital signal processor chips allowed for fast vector-based calculations, bitmap conversions, both 2D and 3D coordinate transformations, and other functions. [5] Four revisions of the chip exist, each physically identical but with different microcode. The DSP-1 version, including the later 1A die shrink and 1B bug fix revisions, was most often used; the DSP-2, DSP-3, and DSP-4 were used in only one title each. [6] All of them are based on the NEC µPD77C25 CPU.

DSP-1

The DSP-1 is the most varied and widely used of the SNES DSPs, appearing in over 15 separate titles. It is used as a math coprocessor in games such as Super Mario Kart and Pilotwings that require more advanced Mode 7 scaling and rotation. It also provides fast support for the floating point and trigonometric calculations needed by 3D math algorithms. The later DSP-1A and DSP-1B serve the same purpose as the DSP-1. The DSP-1A is a die shrink of the DSP-1, and the DSP-1B also corrects several bugs. [7] The DSP-1B introduced a bug in the Pilotwings demo due to the game code not being updated to reflect the timing differences of the chip revisions. [8]

DSP-2

The DSP-2 can only be found in the SNES port of Dungeon Master . Its primary purpose is to convert Atari ST bitmap image data into the SNES bitplane format. It also provides dynamic scaling capability and transparency effects.

DSP-3

DSP-3 is an assistant chip, used in only one game for the Japanese Super Famicom, a turn-based strategy game titled SD Gundam GX. The chip assists with tasks like calculating the next AI move, Shannon-Fano bitstream decompression, and bitplane conversion of graphics.

DSP-4

DSP-4 is used in only one game cartridge, Top Gear 3000 . It primarily assists with drawing the race track, especially during the times that the track branches into multiple paths.

Sharp LR35902

The hardware inside the Super Game Boy peripheral include a Sharp LR35902 [9] [10] core identical to the CPU in the handheld Game Boy [11] . Because the Super NES is not powerful enough for software emulation of the Game Boy, the hardware for the entire handheld is inside of the cartridge. [12]

MX15001TFC

This chip was made by MegaChips exclusively for Nintendo Power cartridges for the Super Famicom. The cartridges are equipped with flash ROMs instead of mask ROMs, and were designed to hold games downloaded for a fee from specialized kiosks in Japan. The chip manages communication with the kiosks to download ROM images, and provides an initial menu to select which of the downloaded games would be played. Some titles were produced both in cartridge and download form, while others were download only. The service was closed on February 8, 2007. [13]

OBC-1

OBC-1 is a sprite manipulation chip used exclusively in the Super Scope game Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge , the sequel to Battle Clash . [2]

Rockwell RC2324DPL

The Rockwell RC96V24DP is a low power, V.22 bis 2400 bps data/fax modem data pump in a single VLSI package [14] , used in the XBAND cartridge [15] .

S-DD1

S-DD1 chip in Star Ocean S-DD1.JPG
S-DD1 chip in Star Ocean

The S-DD1 chip is an ASIC decompressor made by Nintendo for use in some Super Nintendo Entertainment System Game Paks. [2] Designed to handle data compressed by ABS Lossless Entropy Algorithm, a form of arithmetic coding developed by Ricoh, its use is necessary in games where massive amounts of sprite data are compressed with a total design limit of 32-megabits. This data is decompressed dynamically by the S-DD1 and given directly to the picture processing unit.

The S-DD1 mediates between the Super NES's Ricoh 5A22 CPU and the game's ROM via two buses. However, the controlling 5A22 processor may still request normal, uncompressed data from the game's ROM even if the S-DD1 is already busy with a decompression operation. This form of parallelism allows sprite data to be decompressed while other types of data are quickly passed to the main CPU.

Star Ocean and Street Fighter Alpha 2 are the only games that use this chip. Emulation of the S-DD1 initially proved to be difficult, requiring "graphics packs" to be provided for the affected titles, until the compression algorithm was identified. [16] [17]

S-RTC

S-RTC is a real-time clock chip used in one game, Daikaijuu Monogatari II . [2]

SA1

SA1 chip SA1 01.jpg
SA1 chip

The Super Accelerator 1 (SA1) chip is used in 34 SNES games, including the popular Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars . [18]

Similar to the 5A22 CPU in the SNES console, the SA1 contains a processor core based on the 65C816 with several programmable timers. [2] The SA1 does not function as a slave CPU for the 5A22; both can interrupt each other independently.

The SA1 also features a range of enhancements over the standard 65C816:

Brazilian ROM hacker Vitor Vilela has created a ROM patch for Gradius 3 that shifts some work from the Super Famicom/Super Nintendo CPU onto the SA-1 co-processor. This has resulted in a version of the game without the infamous slowdown, even in the notorious bubble level (Stage 2). [19]

SPC7110

A data decompression chip designed by Epson, used in three games by Hudson. Tengai Makyou Zero also contains a real-time clock chip accessed via the SPC7110. [2]

ST

ST010 chip in Exhaust Heat II ST010 01.jpg
ST010 chip in Exhaust Heat II

The ST series of chips are used by SETA Corporation to enhance AI functionality.

ST010

Used for general functions and handling the AI of opponent cars in F1 ROC II: Race of Champions . Contains a NEC µPD96050 CPU. [7] [20]

ST011

ST011 is used for AI functionality in the shogi board game Hayazashi Nidan Morita Shogi . It also uses a NEC µPD96050. [12]

ST018

ST018 is used for AI functionality in Hayazashi Nidan Morita Shogi 2 . It is a 21.47 MHz, 32-bit ARMv3 processor. [7]

List of Super NES games that use enhancement chips

TitleChipYearDeveloperPublisher
Mega Man X2 NA EU
Rockman X2JP
CX4 1994 Capcom Capcom (NA) (JP) (EU)
Mega Man X3 NA EU
Rockman X3JP
CX4 1995 Capcom, Minakuchi Engineering Capcom (NA) (JP)
Soukou Kihei Votoms: The Battling Road DSP-1 1993 Genki Takara (JP)
Bike Daisuki! Hashiriya Kon - Rider's Spirits DSP-1 1994 Genki NCS (JP)
Final Stretch DSP-1 1993 Genki LOZC (JP)
Lock On NA EU
Super Air DiverJP
DSP-1 1993 Copya System Vic Tokai (US) SunSoft (EU)
Michael Andretti's Indy Car Challenge DSP-1/1A 1994 Genki Bullet Proof Software (NA) (JP)
Pilotwings DSP-1/1B [note 1] [21] 1991 Nintendo EAD Nintendo (NA) (JP) (EU)
Shutokō Battle '94: Keichii Tsuchiya Drift KingDSP-1B 1994 Genki Bullet-Proof Software (JP)
Shutokō Battle 2: Drift King Keichii Tsuchiya & Masaaki Bandoh DSP-1B 1995 Genki Bullet-Proof Software (JP)
Suzuka 8 Hours DSP-1 1993 Arc System Works Namco (NA) (JP)
Super Air Diver 2 DSP-1 1995 Copya System Asmik (JP)
Super Bases Loaded 2 NA
Super 3D BaseballJP
Korean LeagueKR
DSP-1 1993 TOSE Jaleco (NA) (JP) (KR)
Super F1 Circus GaidenDSP-1 1995 Nichibutsu (JP)
Battle Racers DSP-1 1995 Banpresto Banpresto (JP)
Super Mario Kart DSP-1/1B 1992 Nintendo EAD Nintendo (NA) (JP) (EU)
Ace o Nerae! 3D Tennis DSP-1A 1993 Telenet Japan Telenet Japan (JP)
Ballz 3D DSP-1B 1994 PF Magic Accolade (NA)
Dungeon Master DSP-2 1992 FTL Games JVC Victor (NA) (JP) (EU)
SD Gundam GXDSP-3 1994 BEC Bandai (JP)
Top Gear 3000 NA EU

The Planet's Champ TG 3000 JP

DSP-4 1995 Gremlin Interactive Kemco (NA) (JP) (EU)
Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge OBC-1 1993 Intelligent Systems Nintendo (NA) (EU)
Asahi Shinbun Rensai: Katou Ichi-Ni-San Shougi: Shingiryuu SA1 1995 Varie Varie (JP)
Daisenryaku Expert WWII: War in Europe SA1 1996 SystemSoft Alpha ASCII Corporation (JP)
Derby Jockey 2 SA1 1995 Graphic Research Asmik (JP)
Dragon Ball Z: Hyper Dimension SA1 1996 TOSE Bandai (JP) (EU)
Habu Meijin no Omoshiro Shōgi SA1 1995 Access Tomy (JP)
Hayashi Kaihou Kudan no Igo Oodou SA1 1996 Ask Kodansha (JP)
Itoi Shigesato no Bass Tsuri No. 1 SA1 1997 Dice, HAL Laboratory Nintendo (JP)
J.League '96 Dream Stadium SA1 1996 Hudson Soft (JP)
Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius SA1 1995 Konami Konami (JP)
Jumpin' Derby SA1 1996 KID Naxat Soft (JP)
Kakinoki Shogi SA1 1995 Sakata SAS ASCII Corporation (JP)
Kirby Super Star NA JP

Kirby's Fun Pak EU

SA1 1996 HAL Laboratory Nintendo (NA) (JP) (EU)
Kirby's Dream Land 3 SA1 1997 HAL Laboratory Nintendo (NA) (JP)
Marvelous: Mouhitotsu no Takarajima SA1 1996 Nintendo R&D2 Nintendo (JP)
Masters New: Haruka Naru Augusta 3 SA1 1995 T&E Soft T&E Soft (JP)
Mini 4WD Shining Scorpion Let's & Go!! SA1 1996 KID ASCII Corporation (JP)
Pebble Beach no Hotou: New Tournament Edition SA1 1996 T&E Soft T&E Soft (JP)
Pachi-Slot Monogatari - PAL Kougyou Special SA1 [22] 1995 Nihon Soft System (JP)
PGA European Tour SA1 1996 Halestorm THQ / Black Pearl Software (NA) (EU)
PGA Tour 96 SA1 1995 Black Pearl Software Electronic Arts (NA) (EU)
Power Rangers Zeo: Battle Racers SA1 1996 Natsume Bandai (NA) (EU)
Pro Kishi Jinsei Simulation: Shōgi no Hanamichi SA1 1996 Access Atlus (JP)
Saikousoku Shikou Shougi Mahjong SA1 1995 Varie Varie (JP)
SD F-1 Grand Prix SA1 1995 Video System Video System (JP)
SD Gundam G NEXT SA1 1995 Japan Art Media Bandai (JP)
Shin Shogi Club SA1 1995 Hect (JP)
Shogi Saikyou SA1 1995 Magical Company (JP)
Shogi Saikyou 2 SA1 1996 Magical Company (JP)
Super Bomberman Panic Bomber World SA1 1995 Hudson Soft Hudson Soft (JP)
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars SA1 1996 Square Nintendo (NA) (JP)
Super Robot Taisen Gaiden: Masō Kishin - The Lord Of Elemental SA1 1996 Winkysoft Banpresto (JP)
Super Shougi 3: KitaiheiSA1 1995 I'Max (JP)
Taikyoku Igo: IdatenSA1 1995 Bullet Proof SoftwareBullet Proof Software (JP)
Takemiya Masaki Kudan no Igo TaishouSA1 1995 KSS (JP)
Star Ocean S-DD1 1996 tri-Ace Enix (JP)
Street Fighter Alpha 2 NA EU
Street Fighter Zero 2JP
S-DD1 1996 Capcom Capcom (NA) (JP) (EU)
Daikaijuu Monogatari II S-RTC 1996 AIM, Birthday Hudson Soft (JP)
Far East of Eden Zero (Tengai Makyou Zero)SPC7110 1995 Red Company Hudson Soft (JP)
Momotaro Dentetsu Happy SPC7110 1996 Make Software Hudson Soft (JP)
Super Power League 4 SPC7110 1996 Now Production Hudson Soft (JP)
F1 ROC II: Race of Champions NA
Exhaust Heat IIJP
ST010 1993 SETA Corporation SETA Corporation (NA) (JP)
Hayazashi Nidan Morita Shogi ST011 1993 Random House SETA Corporation (JP)
Hayazashi Nidan Morita Shogi 2 ST018 1995 Random House SETA Corporation (JP)
Star Fox NA JP
StarwingEU
Super FX GSU-1 1993 Nintendo EAD, Argonaut Nintendo (NA) (JP) (EU)
Stunt Race FX NA EU
Wild TraxJP
Super FX GSU-1 1994 Nintendo EAD, Argonaut Nintendo (NA) (JP) (EU)
Vortex Super FX GSU-1 1994 Argonaut Games Electro Brain (NA), Pack-In-Video (JP)
Dirt Racer Super FX GSU-1 1994 MotiveTime Elite Systems (EU)
Dirt Trax FX Super FX GSU-1 1995 Sculptured Software Acclaim Entertainment (NA)
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island NA EU

Super Mario: Yossy Island JP

Super FX GSU-2 1995 Nintendo EAD Nintendo (NA) (JP) (EU)
Doom Super FX GSU-2 1995 Sculptured Software Williams (NA), Imagineer (JP), Ocean (EU)
Winter Gold EU
FX SkiingNA (cancelled)
Super FX GSU-2 1997 Funcom Nintendo (EU)
  1. On cartridges with DSP-1B installed, the plane in attract mode will crash.

This list in ODS [23]

Cancelled games

TitleChipYearDeveloperPublisher
Star Fox 2 Super FX GSU-2- Nintendo EAD, Argonaut Games Nintendo
FX Fighter Super FX GSU-2- Argonaut Games GTE Entertainment (NA) (EU)
Comanche Super FX GSU-2- Nova Logic Nova Logic (NA)
PowerslideSuper FX GSU-1- Elite Systems Elite Systems (EU)

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See also