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Sega Saturn Mini (Not What You're Thinking)?

sega saturn sega saturn classic gaming mini pc 5th gen 32-bit

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#1 00010000 OFFLINE  

00010000

    Chopper Commander

  • 143 posts

Posted Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:02 PM

  Now before I go any further, let me actually this:  I am NOT talking about a Saturn mini the way we have w/ PS1 Mini or SNES Mini.  I truly adore Sega's systems (except maybe the 32X, but even that has Tempo and Virtua Racing Deluxe) and think the Saturn's both a marvelous platform AND is finally starting to pick up some mass-market awareness....but I don't think a Saturn Mini would sell enough to justify the production costs.  Basically, knowing the Saturn itself only did about 9-10 million LTD, and knowing these Minis aren't selling anywhere near the volume of their original runs anyway...I just don't see a $100 Saturn Mini doing like 1 million (maybe more if lucky) would justify the costs.

 

  That having been said, I think there's room for Sega to do something genuinely interesting.  Let's be real here; these Minis have a pretty big deficit against mini-PCs; yeah the mini-PCs don't necessarily look all that good (Dreamcade Replay anyone?), but for the price of a PS1 Mini, w/ a Dreamcade you're at least getting a much better CPU and iGPU, so if you hack them, you can run games from later platforms relatively easily.

 

  However, mini-PCs are staunchly non-upgradable, aside from maybe expanding their internal storage.  Once you get them, you're stuck with what's there, and if you need more power, you'd either buy the latest mini-PC or just get a refurbished desktop PC (or if you're willing to splurge, build a gaming PC from the ground-up).  

 

  This is where I see Sega and whoever they partnered with, have a good opportunity.  They already have embraced porting lots of games on PC, and Steam support for MegaDrive is amazing.  They've embraced mods and the Workshop feature is a stroke of genius.  I honestly doubt they could do anything in a closed-off "Saturn Mini" that could approach that level of flexibility and reliability, without strong compromises.   

 

  So what I'm suggesting is that maybe Sega look into selling something like a mini-PC Saturn-inspired replica system case, have a populated motherboard with expandable RAM, CPU options, internal storage, a Saturn-style top loading disc drive (but obviously much faster than regular Saturn disc speed reads), maybe even pack in a Retro-Bit controller.  The user would have to supply their own CPU, RAM, extended storage etc. but it has the usual things onboard like ethernet port, USB ports, a microSD slot, SATA III connector, maybe even a PCIe port or two built on the underside (or a Thunderbolt port for external GPU hubs).  Maybe they can provide a few Saturn games pre-installed on internal NAND the user can then transfer to extended storage, and put a licensed version of something like Medafen on NOR Flash so it can execute from there effortlessly.

 

  Since the user is providing the big components (power supply, CPU, RAM, storage etc.) it'd essentially be like building a custom PC, but in a mini-PC form, targeted at Saturn fans whom, let's be honest, tend to already be more of the hardcore types and aren't probably shy about messing around w/ PCs given all the bs you had to do in the past to get stuff like Saturn and Model 3 running decently on systems of the past.  They could easily come in at a great BOM and still sell for say $99-$120 (if the controller would add too much, then make a version w/ a pack-in controller and one without).  That would mean a motherboard probably not spec'd for the most demanding i9s or Threadrippers, but those people are likely going to want to build something of a beast in a full-tower case.  I'm just talking something that can support the affordable x86/x86-64 CPUs of the moment, support maybe lithium li-on battery (bonus points for being rechargeable and playable w/o being plugged in, saving on yet another power plug if the user'd want), and most of all nailing the Saturn aesthetic and feel, at an affordable price to those looking to jump in on building say a low-or-mid-spec'd PC in a mini form factor (or add a eGPU through Thunderbolt or a PCIe GPU if they want more power, both of them would require their own power supply however).

 

 Really interested to hear what you guys think; mini-PCs are only going to become more prolific as time goes on, but there'll always be power players who want the advantages of customization desktop and even laptop PCs offer.  Something marrying them both, especially in a design inspired by a game console, could be a game-changer and it'd effectively be a perfect bridge between the mini consoles, mini PCs, and deskop or custom PCs.

 



#2 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

Pixelboy

    Quadrunner

  • 8,132 posts
  • Location:Montreal, Canada

Posted Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:27 PM

So what you're looking for is something similar to what was discussed in this thread?

http://atariage.com/...-to-run-saturn/

#3 00010000 OFFLINE  

00010000

    Chopper Commander

  • Topic Starter
  • 143 posts

Posted Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:45 PM

So what you're looking for is something similar to what was discussed in this thread?

http://atariage.com/...-to-run-saturn/

 

  Sort of, but with more expandability options in line with a desktop PC.  It'd be "mini" in being about the size of an actual Saturn, but the user could populate the board w/ whatever CPU, RAM amount, storage (HDD, SSD etc) of their choice, within reason.  Power supply too.

 

  The Odroid board's CPU can't be upgraded, so suppose you want to use it for multimedia instead of just gaming, it could be an issue.  Unless I'm underestimating it's multi-tasking abilities.  Things like RAM are soldered on, can't replace it.  I'm thinking this as something more for those into building their own PCs who want to try a low-end/mid-end desktop custom build (say w/ Ryzen 5 or an i3 8100) in a console form factor, and they get a few games and an emulator as a bonus.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: sega, saturn, sega saturn, classic gaming, mini pc, 5th gen, 32-bit

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