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Metal Ghost

8 Bit Console Comparison Chart

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Does anyone know of an 8 Bit Console Comparison chart that is technically oriented? I have attached an example of exactly what I'm looking for neeyik.info - Console Specifications.pdf.

 

The catalyst for my question stems from one of the countless, ahem, discussions, on a comparision of consoles (which sometimes devolve a bit). This got me to thinking about the whole subject. But nevertheless, I think having such a document in the form of the one I attached would be an invaluable resource for several reasons:

  • For historical purposes
    • When facts aren't documented, they have a tendencey to fluctuate over time, with the worst case being that some 'facts' then become incorrectly documented and are perpetuated. I'm sure that the more technically minded people have their facts straight, but perhaps not the populous here (me being in that latter group!) and that's where false/mis-information can be spread.
    • Put another way, without a 'fact sheet' that the community has vetted and agrees with, it's VERY easy for posts to simply state things as fact. That's fine when it comes to subjective questions, not so much when it comes to the technical merits of a console.

    [*]To help educate new comers into our hobby

    • Whether it's a person who remembers these consoles when they were new, or the 16 year old who has a penchant for classic gaming systems, as a community it would serve everybody's best interests to help make immersing others within our hobby as easy as possible. Often times a good gateway is a well laid out comparison sheet. This is true of many subjects, and I think it just so happens that this subject lends itself to such a format extremely well.
    • A good fact sheet would easily disseminate the quantitative facts that often times are the ones a newcomer may be thinking about. Even if these indivduals are not technical by nature, such information is often the 1st that people interested in gaming and consoles think about. Having such technical specifics laid out categorically is the best and easiest way to get information out to the general public in an easy to understand format.

    [*]To help promote development for the 8 Bit Consoles

    • Anyone actively developing homebrews are already going to be familiar with the inner working of their favored console. However, they may not be with other consoles of the same generation, which may be something that they would like to branch into someday.
    • More importantly, I'm thinking of the new guys (and gals!) who after seeing some specs may think 'Hey, I'd like to try this out!'.

In any event, just some thoughts. I did just see a nice comparison chart of 2nd generation consoles over at Wikipedia. I'm going to look at that more when I can. I wonder if we, as a community, couldn't improve upon that even more though. But before doing a lot on this, I wanted to get some thoughts from the community as well as to see if anything already existed.

 

Thanks all!

Edited by Metal Ghost

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I know there is some kind of comparison chart in the back of the book Gameplan. http://www.gameplan.de/gameplan_01.5_UK/index.php

I am now reading "The Video Gaming manual" there are also specs of consoles listed in the different chapters. This is also a great book for starters as there is some info about collecting videogames inside.

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Wikipedia has charts like this (Which I actually worked on making more accurate a few years ago). Not exactly the same, but it lists some tech details.

 

Wikipedia's generational articles really aren't bad and give a fair amount of background.

 

History_of_video_game_consoles_second_generation

 

History_of_video_game_consoles_third_generation

Edited by Lendorien

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Wikipedia has charts like this (Which I actually worked on making more accurate a few years ago). Not exactly the same, but it lists some tech details.

 

Wikipedia's generational articles really aren't bad and give a fair amount of background.

 

History_of_video_game_consoles_second_generation

 

History_of_video_game_consoles_third_generation

 

 

Yea, I saw those, and think they may very well serve as the best starting point for something more along these lines.

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These things are complicated. Any attempt to reduce a system's capabilities to a chart of simple specs just leads to a loss of precision, and leaves too much up to the imagination about how each machine actually works. Trying to compare different systems via charts like this is not effective.

 

Take RAM for example. Systems can use RAM in different ways, and due to differences in their design one system might need more RAM than another to do the same job. So comparing the RAM size without a deeper understanding of each machine is misleading.

It's somewhat interesting to read generic spec charts but it's a mistake to take them too seriously. People who understand opposing systems in detail get into neverending debates on which is superior at a given task. Reducing the machines to simplified specs isn't any more illuminating.

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These things are complicated. Any attempt to reduce a system's capabilities to a chart of simple specs just leads to a loss of precision, and leaves too much up to the imagination about how each machine actually works. Trying to compare different systems via charts like this is not effective.

 

Take RAM for example. Systems can use RAM in different ways, and due to differences in their design one system might need more RAM than another to do the same job. So comparing the RAM size without a deeper understanding of each machine is misleading.

It's somewhat interesting to read generic spec charts but it's a mistake to take them too seriously. People who understand opposing systems in detail get into neverending debates on which is superior at a given task. Reducing the machines to simplified specs isn't any more illuminating.

 

 

I would respectfully disagree.

 

Such a chart is not the end of the discussion. Far from it. And it isn't meant to boil the respective consoles down to "A is better than B".

 

However, there are certain factual specifications that in reality cannot be disputed. Console A has X amount of RAM. Console B has Y amount of RAM. Console A utilizes XXXX CPU. Console B utilizes YYYY CPU. Such things are indisputable, regardless of how such resources are used.

 

Yes, the end result is more than the sum of it's parts. The interactions of those parts and how they were designed to be utilized and what graphics they end up producing, etc., etc. cannot be boiled down to a spec chart. However, such a chart serves as a great foundation on which to build such discussions.

 

Also, please keep in mind what I felt was one of the 3 main drivers of such a document: to educate new entrants into the community. Individuals that may not even know what processor an NES utilizes and what processor an Atari 7800 utilizes.

 

Regardless, I have some great starting points now with some print resources I can attribute as sources as well as the Wiki chart (which by the way, Lendorien is leading a charge to update the Atari 7800 Wiki page....help out where you can!)

 

However any information that the community can provide would be greatly appreciated!

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These things are complicated. Any attempt to reduce a system's capabilities to a chart of simple specs just leads to a loss of precision, and leaves too much up to the imagination about how each machine actually works. Trying to compare different systems via charts like this is not effective.

 

Take RAM for example. Systems can use RAM in different ways, and due to differences in their design one system might need more RAM than another to do the same job. So comparing the RAM size without a deeper understanding of each machine is misleading.

It's somewhat interesting to read generic spec charts but it's a mistake to take them too seriously. People who understand opposing systems in detail get into neverending debates on which is superior at a given task. Reducing the machines to simplified specs isn't any more illuminating.

 

 

I would respectfully disagree.

 

Such a chart is not the end of the discussion. Far from it. And it isn't meant to boil the respective consoles down to "A is better than B".

 

However, there are certain factual specifications that in reality cannot be disputed. Console A has X amount of RAM. Console B has Y amount of RAM. Console A utilizes XXXX CPU. Console B utilizes YYYY CPU. Such things are indisputable, regardless of how such resources are used.

 

Yes, the end result is more than the sum of it's parts. The interactions of those parts and how they were designed to be utilized and what graphics they end up producing, etc., etc. cannot be boiled down to a spec chart. However, such a chart serves as a great foundation on which to build such discussions.

 

Also, please keep in mind what I felt was one of the 3 main drivers of such a document: to educate new entrants into the community. Individuals that may not even know what processor an NES utilizes and what processor an Atari 7800 utilizes.

 

Regardless, I have some great starting points now with some print resources I can attribute as sources as well as the Wiki chart (which by the way, Lendorien is leading a charge to update the Atari 7800 Wiki page....help out where you can!)

 

However any information that the community can provide would be greatly appreciated!

 

I think this would be a worthwhile effort, as long as there was a BIG disclaimer included for the benefit of newbees that said something explaining that the specifications are not necessarily indicative of the comparitive powers of each machine.

 

For example, and I think this is the point gdement was making, someone might compare the clock speeds of the Z80 and the 6502 and conclude that the Z80 was faster and more powerful, which is not the case when you understand how the two address ram.

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common misunderstandings:

 

-the CPU does not draw sprites and backgrounds onscreen.

 

-Gameplay speed and CPU speed are not the same thing.

 

-Not all games are well programmed. Not even games from popular companies like Capcom and Konami.

 

-CPU "bitness" is unimportant when determining CPU speed.

 

-The speed at which the CPU addresses external memory is more important than the Mhz speed.

 

-Using 32-bit values in places where only 16-bits are needed does not make you an "epic programmer."

 

-If you find an optimization on one CPU, don't expect it to work on another.

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