PAL Super Nintendo Teardown
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Background and Identification
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES or Super Nintendo) is a 16-bit game console developed by Nintendo. It was originally released in Japan with the name “Super Famicom” and came to Europe in 1992 and 1993 as the PAL Super Nintendo. These two releases share the same form factor with a gray plastic case and gray reset/power buttons. You can identify the PAL version by looking for the words “Super Nintendo Entertainment System” printed on the top of the device and the model number “SNSP-001A” on a sticker on the bottom.
The console has two controller ports on the front side. Nintendo shipped the machine with new controllers featuring two shoulder buttons and new “X” and “Y” buttons for your right hand. The console loads games via cartridges which you insert in a slot on the top of the device. Notable games for the SNES include Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Donkey Kong Country among many others.
The PAL Super Nintendo has a 16-bit processor running at 3.55 MHz. It has support for 8 channels of audio including simple audio samples. The graphics are handled by a custom picture processing unit (PPU) which allows for 128 sprites (moving graphics) to be shown on-screen at one time. The console can output RF modulated video, composite video, S-video, or RGB through Nintendo’s AV Multiout port on the back of the device.
- 16 bit
- Custom WDC 65C816 chip
- 3.55 MHz
- 128 KB
- 15-bit color
- Resolution between 256x240 and 512x480 (most games used the lower resolution because it resulted in less slowdown)
- 128 sprites on-screen (with a maximum of 32 sprites per scanline)
- Stereo audio
- 8 channels
- Support for 8-bit audio samples
- Between 2 Mbit and 48 Mbit of data