Sega Mega Drive
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Released by Sega in Japan in 1988, North America in 1989, and the PAL region in 1990. Mega Drive was the name used in Japan and Europe, while it was sold under the name Sega Genesis in North America, as Sega was unable to secure legal rights to the Mega Drive name in that region. The Mega Drive was Sega's fifth home console and the successor to the Sega Master System.
The Mega Drive was the first of the 16 bit machines to achieve notable market share in Europe and North America, but not in it’s native Japan, It was a direct competitor of the TurboGrafx-16 (which was released one year earlier in Japan under the name PC Engine, but at about the same time as the Genesis in North America) and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (which was released two years later). The Sega Mega Drive began production in Japan in 1988 and ended with the last new licensed game being released in 2002 in Brazil.
With over 29 million units sold, it became Sega's most successful console, due in part to the company's recognition that the machine needed a mascot to match the success of the Mario series.
Sonic the Hedgehog was a massive success in the US and Europe, and with Nintendo in no hurry to follow up it’s huge selling NES console, the Mega Drive began to rapidly erode Nintendo’s market lead in the US, and increase its already huge lead in the European market.
The Sega Mega Drive's CPU is a 16/32-bit Motorola 68000 which is a 32-bit microprocessor sitting on a 16-bit-wide data bus, similar to Intel's 16/32-bit 386SX.
The maximum addressable memory is 16 megabytes from the ROM to the RAM. The 68000 runs at 7.61 MHz in PAL consoles, 7.67 MHz in NTSC consoles. The Mega Drive also includes a Zilog Z80 as the sound CPU and to provide complete Master System compatibility with only a passive adapter. The Mega Drive has 64 KB of RAM.
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This exhibit has a reference ID of CH2201. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.
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