sega's use of the SH-4

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sega's use of the SH-4

Postby PowerPC300 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:02 am

when sega was developing the dreamcast, they had a choice, use a PPC 603e, or use an untested chip, the HITACHI SH4. sega chose the latter, because hitachi was a japanese company, and had close ties already by providing the SH2 for the saturn. the first use of the SH4 was the sega naomi arcade hardware, paired with a powervr2 GPU. 1999 would see the release of the dreamcast and hikaru (my 2nd favorite arcade board :D ) dreamcast is just a naomi with less ram, hikaru on the other hand is special, for the only time, the hikaru had 2 CPU's instead of one, and a custom GPU replaced the powervr GPU found on the naomi. however, the hikaru was too expensive to produce with all of it's custom parts, so the naomi 2 was developed, it was a downgrade, with just one CPU but had 2 powervr2's to make up for it. it also had the elan T&L chip, making it more powerful than the playstation 2. (sometimes i wonder why sega should have used the naomi 2's specs for the dreamcast instead of the naomi's) when the dreamcast was discontinued, sega had to get rid of their surplus of SH4's. sega then created the system SP or spider. it runs a custom version of linux and is paired with a powervr MBX+VGP, the same GPU as the iphone's GPU.
Sega has made interesting hardware back in those days, the model 1, naomi, and don't forget the all custom hikaru!
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Re: sega's use of the SH-4

Postby MetalliC » Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:00 am

I can't say Sega really was developing Dreamcast/NAOMI platform, they was more like customer in restaurant, where actual chief/cooks was 3DFX who developed 'Dural' PPC603e+Voodoo3 hardware, and Hitachi+ImgTec+NEC who developed 'Katana' SH4+PVR2 hardware.

in the same time Sega (as far as I know) itself was developing Hikaru (codename 'Samurai'), custom and expensive arcade platform, spiritual successor of Sega Model 3.

in about 2nd half of 1998, right after NAOMI and Japanese Dreamcast release, ImgTec started work on next generation of Dreamcast/NAOMI hardware, with ELAN T&L chip and 2x PowerVR2 GPUs, which was released 2001 in arcades as Naomi 2.
however, I'm personally sure it was initially planned for home market, as Dreamcast 2.
its also not correct to say "Naomi2 was downgrade of Hikaru", as it have nothing with it, and I think N2 is more powerful than Hikaru in GPU part, but less powerful than Playstation2 GPU.

SystemSP was nothing new, but cost reduced NAOMI 1, where on single mobo was embedded: Flash ROM board, Network board (AMD AU1500 based), IO and CF interfaces. JVS MCU and interface was removed.

in about mid-2000x, SI Electronics Ltd (Sammy subsidiary at the time, who also developed Atomiswave, and in late 2000x System Board Y2) developed 'Aurora' hardware, which was based on single chip, which included SH4 and PowerVR MBX+VGP, and used Linux as core OS.
but it seems was never released, at least we haven't seen any released games which uses such hardware.

as for SH4 CPUs - Sega used them in all kinds of IO boards: NAOMI/Triforce/Chihiro DIMM board, hopper controllers, camera image recognition boards, JVS IO board for some Lindbergh games, etc.
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Re: sega's use of the SH-4

Postby PowerPC300 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:54 pm

the hikaru can do phong shading, the PS2 and naomi 2 could not, it could do more than the dreamcast, how could it not be more powerful than the PS2?
Sega has made interesting hardware back in those days, the model 1, naomi, and don't forget the all custom hikaru!
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Re: sega's use of the SH-4

Postby MetalliC » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:04 pm

you are talking about features, not power (performance).
for example: Dreamcast/NAOMI can do trilinear texture filtering and super-sampling, but they are soo slow, so was never used at practice for whole rendered scene. only small number of games uses these features, for very small number of objects onscreen, while the rest of scene rendered as usual.

yes, probably Hikaru had per-pixel lighting (i.e. phong), and presumable had 'cheap' or even 'free' trilinear filtering, but what was system performance at practice (fill rate, polygon rate, etc) ? we still don't know.

on other hand, PS2 has HUGE fill rate, which was used in many games for all kinds of impressive effects.
Dreamcast and Naomi 1/2 had ^^this not even near comparable to PS2, and I'm sure Hikaru too, and has significant less power in term of performance.
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Re: sega's use of the SH-4

Postby PowerPC300 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:54 am

Oh, sorry.
Sega has made interesting hardware back in those days, the model 1, naomi, and don't forget the all custom hikaru!
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