multiple cpu machines Re: rogues galleries

Jim Leonard trixter at
Wed Nov 29 17:32:19 CST 2006

arcarlini at wrote:
>>> How about the Sega MegaDrive/Genesis? That ran a 68000 and Z80.

There have been many multi-cpu consoles; the Sega Saturn had two Hitachi
RISC CPUs for core processing, plus a host of other stuff for CDROM,
display, sound... The PlayStation 2 is also dual-CPU.  The PlayStation 3
is a Cell monster, 7 cores you can play with, although I think that's
been discussed here already by Mr. Brutman.

My favorite was the Atari Jaguar, which had no less than:

- a 32-bit RISC GPU
- a 64-bit RISC "object processor"
- a 64-bit RISC blitter
- a 64-bit general purpose DSP for audio and other functions
- a 68000 for general-purpose helper functions

And to shuffle memory around, a 64-bit DRAM controller.

The Atari Jaguar *should* have been the most kick-ass console of its
generation (the blitter in particular was certainly the most powerful of
all the 5th-generation consoles).  But it was so complex that nobody
could figure out how to program it properly.  Coupled with legendary
Atari marketing fumbles, it died a quick death before a suitable "killer
app" could be developed for it.

Most coders unfamiliar with the system would treat the Jaguar as a
68000-based machine with a giant framebuffer, like an Atari ST on
steroids.  This was clearly not the best use of the machine.  One of the
more depressing examples of the system is a 3-D racing game with a
completely unplayable screen update rate of about 3 frames per second.
Not a typo.  3 frames per second.
Jim Leonard (trixter at  
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