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Thread: Are Saturns still reliable?

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) zakthedodo's Avatar
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    Default Are Saturns still reliable?

    I've been thinking about adding a Saturn and getting into some games I missed out on, but I was just curious as all the Saturns are relatively old, and I certainly don't have the scratch for a new one, what's the one thing I should be aware of before purchasing a console?
    I'm not going to buy the cheapest one and hope for the best, I'll make a modest investment from a reputable seller, but it's optical media...
    What sort of repairs or refurbishing are likely regardless if it's in good condition.

    Curious to know from people who have owned the console awhile.
    What am I getting myself into?
    Last edited by zakthedodo; 09-26-2013 at 01:01 AM.

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    ServBot (Level 11) Edmond Dantes's Avatar
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    Just make sure the system is described as working before you get it.

    The one thing that might be an issue is I've heard the cartridge slots are notorious for going bad (apparently they were made on the cheap) so you might get one where the various ram carts some games require don't work, although there are ways to get around this with all games except King of Fighters 95 and X-Men vs. Street Fighter (whose ram carts have actual game data on them and thus are absolutely required).

    Other than that though... this is Sega we're talking about. They made quality stuff that usually held up pretty well if it wasn't abused. If we were talking Sony, I would worry, but it's Sega. You can use it as a doorstop and it will still work. Just don't abuse it.

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    Pretzel (Level 4) Gamevet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zakthedodo View Post
    I've been thinking about adding a Saturn and getting into some games I missed out on, but I was just curious as all the Saturns are relatively old, and I certainly don't have the scratch for a new one, what's the one thing I should be aware of before purchasing a console?
    I'm not going to buy the cheapest one and hope for the best, I'll make a modest investment from a reputable seller, but it's optical media...
    What sort of repairs or refurbishing are likely regardless if it's in good condition.

    Curious to know from people who have owned the console awhile.
    I have a launch Saturn from May of 1995. The only issue I've had with the console is the cartridge port. If the previous owner has used a ST-cart to play import games, the ST-cart's PCB pushes the pins back a bit on the cartridge port, because it is slightly larger than your standard memory cart. I've had countless times where I have had to re-insert the memory cart, because of the pins being slightly pushed back while using an ST-cart.

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) zakthedodo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    Other than that though... this is Sega we're talking about. They made quality stuff that usually held up pretty well if it wasn't abused. If we were talking Sony, I would worry, but it's Sega. You can use it as a doorstop and it will still work. Just don't abuse it.
    Good point.
    Sega build quality always was amazing.
    The consoles were built like tanks.

    That would be the cart slot for the memory?

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    Get a model 2 Saturn. Get one in nice cosmetic shape that has been tested. You shouldn't have problems, you might have to replace the internal battery but that is easy. Ive had a few saturn systems and the only ones that diddnt work were smashed or really damaged.

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) zakthedodo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bb_hood View Post
    Get a model 2 Saturn. Get one in nice cosmetic shape that has been tested. You shouldn't have problems, you might have to replace the internal battery but that is easy. Ive had a few saturn systems and the only ones that diddnt work were smashed or really damaged.
    Thanks for that. Good to know.
    So the MK0001 or MK0000A?
    In other words something manufactured in '96?
    Something about "Jumper Locations" being different? I have no idea what that means

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) zakthedodo's Avatar
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    Looks like I'm on the hook for about 100 bucks.
    Actually not so bad.

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    Alex (Level 15) InsaneDavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zakthedodo View Post
    Thanks for that. Good to know.
    So the MK0001 or MK0000A?
    In other words something manufactured in '96?
    Something about "Jumper Locations" being different? I have no idea what that means
    Easiest way to tell from a distance -
    Model 1: Oval buttons, disc access light.
    Model 2: Round buttons, no disc access light.

    As long as the cartridge slot works and the system has been used every now and then over the years, it should be fine. The "jumper location" thing is probably referring to the location of the connection points for a region switch, which varies between different models and board revisions.

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    Peach (Level 3) PreZZ's Avatar
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    Still have my launch model 1, and I even used the swap trick all these years to play panzer dragoon saga and a couple of japanese games, and it still runs perfectly!! for the swap trick you have to leave the door open and pull out the disc while its turning to swap with a backup, cant be good for the lens part!

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    Quote Originally Posted by zakthedodo View Post
    Thanks for that. Good to know.
    So the MK0001 or MK0000A?
    In other words something manufactured in '96?
    Something about "Jumper Locations" being different? I have no idea what that means
    Well, as long as you are not planning on having the system modded to play burned games, any model 2 system should do just fine. They are the models with the round buttons.
    If you think you might want to put a mod chip in the system at a later time, there are 4 different model 2 saturn boards, and some are easier to mod. I think 'jumper cable' has to do with the wire that is soldered to the saturn to power a mod chip.

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    Peach (Level 3)
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    There are different chips out there for different consoles, but chips for model 2s (round buttons) are most widely available. These things really are built like tanks. The only thing I'd recommend is to keep an Action Replay in the cart slot, and stay *far* away from GameSharks (they bend the pins the worst, since they're the most tight-fitting, too tight-fitting in fact). A modchip will further allow you to play burned games, which would majorly save on cash. US Saturn games are leaps and bounds more expensive than their Saturn counterparts. I personally collect JP RPGs but will play a burned copy of the US (or English-patched) version.

    Saturns are the tits when it comes to fighters and shmups, but if you're really into platformers, look at Astal and Rayman (which is the best version of Rayman); RPGs definitely have a look at Panzer Dragoon Saga (aka Azel: Panzel Dragoon), Dragon Force, and the Shining series.

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    Apple (Level 5) xelement5x's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PreZZ View Post
    Still have my launch model 1, and I even used the swap trick all these years to play panzer dragoon saga and a couple of japanese games, and it still runs perfectly!! for the swap trick you have to leave the door open and pull out the disc while its turning to swap with a backup, cant be good for the lens part!
    Yeah, I've had a Saturn since the late 90s as well that I used the swap method on for years and it still works fine. It's actually not the laser you need to worry about, it's the motor which powers the spindle to spin the disc. But as long as you don't disc swap like HULK I'm sure it'll continue to be fine.

    I'll also note the issue with cart slots. Many people say to use a Action Replay and never remove it, I'd just region mod the system and put an official RAM cart in there. If you're interested in the Saturn though, I'd try to look for a bundle with games if you're buying on ebay. You'll get the best bang for your buck that way.

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) Rickstilwell1's Avatar
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    My advice on buying a Saturn is to try and go on ebay and search by auctions: time ending soonest. Yesterday I scored a Saturn 1 that nobody else had bid on for only $55 + $20 shipping bundled with a controller, power cord, light gun and 11 game discs. It was only missing a video cable because the seller wanted to keep theirs for their other Saturn which wasn't a problem because I already had a spare 3rd party cheap composite cable from ebay.

    I keep my model 2 modchip + unibios Saturn at work where I work on making new progress in games during my off hours so this one is going to be for casually replaying games at home and letting my girlfriend get a taste of my hobby.

    Your idea of spending $100 seems a bit too much unless you want it to come with all kinds of accessories like the 3D controller or arcade stick and some games, or unless you want a complete in box system.
    [quote name='Shidou Mariya' date='Nov 17 2010, 10:05 PM' post='4889940']
    I'm a collector, but only to a certain extent.
    Not as extreme as Rickstilwell though.[/quote]


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    Insert Coin (Level 0) zakthedodo's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone.
    i really do appreciate the good advice.
    i don't think I'll be doing any modding, as the main reason is to get into some arcade style gaming, and the Saturn looks to be good at that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zakthedodo View Post
    Thanks everyone.
    i really do appreciate the good advice.
    i don't think I'll be doing any modding, as the main reason is to get into some arcade style gaming, and the Saturn looks to be good at that.
    You might wanna consider modding a system though. Its worth it. Mod chip is $30-40, pro action replay cart plus is $30-40. You can then burn and play any Japanese or US game. Totally worth it considering how expensive Saturn games are. Plus the mod chip is really easy to install.

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) DK1105's Avatar
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    I know my Saturn model 1 works great and I picked it up out of a nasty thrift store. Cleaned it up a bit and never have had a problem with it. it does need a new battery which it no big deal and just clips in and I haven't tested the cart slot but it looks brand new. I am getting an action replay cart soon so I really hope it works. Be warned though Saturn collecting is not the easiest thing in the world if you mostly get games out hunting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zakthedodo View Post
    Good point.
    Sega build quality always was amazing.
    The consoles were built like tanks.

    That would be the cart slot for the memory?
    I've had an SMS, a Saturn, and a Dreamcast fail on me as original owner. They're no Nintendo when it comes to building tanks. The Saturn actually failed the first night, the replacement still works to this day, though.

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    Pear (Level 6) Melf's Avatar
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    I've had multiple SNES consoles crap out on me, my Game Cube sometimes won't read discs, and my Wii's disc drive died just by the console being tipped over. It's all in the luck of the draw.

    I give the points to Sega though, because of the complete and utter piece of shit that is the NES toaster hardware. Undoubtedly the worst design in gaming history.

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    These are built like what everyone says a tank. I got two the first on Ebay the second I got it off some guy on Craigslist for 20. There was a switch on the side what he said might be for Imports. Well stupid me I figured it out after a bought a Japanese system to play Xmen vs Streetfighter. So if you have a way to mod it Id recommend it. Its great to know you don't have to pay a ton for NA games if you can it on an import. Not to mention games that were never released in NA like the Xmen Streetfighter game.
    Last edited by PizzaKat; 09-28-2013 at 10:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    The one thing that might be an issue is I've heard the cartridge slots are notorious for going bad (apparently they were made on the cheap) so you might get one where the various ram carts some games require don't work, although there are ways to get around this with all games except King of Fighters 95 and X-Men vs. Street Fighter (whose ram carts have actual game data on them and thus are absolutely required).
    King of Fighters 95 uses a ROM cartridge, hence data being permanent on the cartridge. I also believe you're thinking of Marvel Super Heroes which can optionally use the 1mb/4mb ram cartridges. A list concerning all entries of RAM/cartridge compatible games is here: http://www.satakore.com/cartridge.php

    Otherwise, it's true what you say about cartridge slots wearing out and there isn't much that can be done about it once they are toast as I've experienced. If you stick to first party Sega equipment/cartridges you should be fine, most problems begin when people use the Action Replays and 3rd party carts which are slightly wider and cause the slot to become loose and hard to read.

    Saturns are quite reliable systems, I've owned nearly a dozen and only one has had reading disc issues which I was able to repair. Mostly I've had Model 2 (round buttons) but even Model 1s (oval buttons, access light) are just as good.
    Whaddya mean invalid parameters?!

    9,000 gigs of ram and it still can't answer a simple question!

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