[Review] Terraonion MegaSD – FPGA cartridge Mega Drive that implements the complete hardware Sega CD

The Megas was acquired in Stone Age Gamer. It is a cartridge Mega Drive which has a Xilinx Spartan FPGA 6 and implements the complete hardware Sega CD. It also implements the expansion SVP chip Mega Drive, not used Virtua Racing, and the FM chip Japanese Master System. Thus, he is able to run the entire library of official games of the Sega CD, from the Mega Drive, and the Master System.

For those who have a Analogue Mega Sg, it performs SG-1000 games as well. For those with the 32X, it also runs the games that use this add-on and even the Sega CD games that use the 32X. Finally, he still has to support Save states the Mega Drive games, with 8 slots by game.

The ad MegaSD by Terraonion was made in June 2019, as noticiei here in Skooter Blog. In November he finally arrived in Stone Age Gamer, and well in week Black Friday, so I took to ensure my.

Motivation

Those who follow the Blog Skooter know I'm a fan of these cartridges FPGA. In the case of Mega Drive, I had the first Mega Everdrive in 2013 and have the Mega Everdrive X7 from 2018. For the Master System I have the first Master Everdrive from 2015 and also Master Everdrive X7 from 2019.

Have all these games consoles was a childhood dream of many people of my era, including my. It was an impossible dream in those days. And if we think of cartridges remains almost impossible, because some are very rare and expensive! But if the emulators made part of the dream in the years 90 to allow play all games, the Everdrive held the other party to allow play every game on the original console. FPGA cartridges do not come cheap. It is a still expensive technology. But cost less than a small collection of games in the most common cartridges, and less than a single cartridge of the rarest.

But what Megas You have the Everdrives the Krikzz has not? The main appeal and the great attraction Megas of course is the implementation of the Sega CD. I did not have a Sega CD in my childhood. Nor met anyone who had. Therefore, the day we arrived my Megas It was the first time I could play the Sega CD emulators without assistance.

The Megas also it has a feature that lets you run hacks which add CD audio in Mega Drive games. Five games have been released in the community format: Moonwalker, OutRun, Streets of Rage 2, Battles, and Y's.

Another advantage of Megas with respect to the Mega Everdrive X7 It was the implementation of the SVP chip expansion, allowing running Virtua Racing. But that advantage ended in early 2020, with implementation of the SVP in Mega Everdrive X7, as noticiei here in Skooter Blog.

Regarding savestates, as in Mega Everdrive X7, of the Megas also only work with Mega Drive games, but he has 8 slots, while Everdrive has only one.

The ability to play the Sega CD games without buying a Sega CD, burn CDs, etc. have convinced me. The Megas It went to my wishlist as soon as it was announced, but I was waiting his arrival in Stone Age Gamer and Black Friday to buy my.

Why buy Megas na Stone Age Gamer?

The Megas It is also for sale in website Terraonion. The cost is € 232,00 (Euros) and freight costs another € 18,00, totaling € 250,00. But I do not recommend that Brazilians buy direct from there, because the shipment is made from Andorra by DHL and the actual declared value. Give way, in Brazil will necessarily be charged 60% import tax plus shipping product, ICMS on all this and himself, and any fees DHL, so the price should be around € 500,00.

On the other hand, a Stone Age Gamer sends from the US. In the freight cheaper the product comes from Post and is rarely taxed. My packages were never. The cost of the Megas is US $ 269,99 (American dollars), but on Black Friday went for $ 245,00. Freight cheaper costs $ 17,99, but Black Friday went for $ 11,99.

The Megas It comes in a cardboard box. A Stone Age Gamer also offers a box bitbox, of plastic, with art by US $ 15,00 most. But she went on Black Friday for only $ 5,00 most. A bitbox box can also be purchased separately for $ 14,99. Note that to add the box bitbox does not remove the original box, in other words, comes two.

Not opted for microSD card, because it is cheaper to purchase them on AliExpress, as I did and I have shown here in Skooter Blog. additional, I asked only bitbox box, then my total order was for $ 261,99. As I had credit in the $ shop 15,00, promotions and cashback of previous orders, paguei U.S. $ 246,99. used my credit card Payoneer, also saving the IOF and spread.

Buying in Stone Age Gamer even won a package of free games, but remember to download it in the first 30 days after purchase, because the link expires.

Unboxing and Tests

As praxis, the Stone Age Gamer sent the request in a custom box, declared value of US $ 25,00, but with the invoice Full outside of the box. There is always a risk of it being examined, but it never happened. Check out the photos and video of the unboxing and testing of the Megas:

Both the bitbox box as the cardboard box of Terraonion has the same art. On the back has some product highlights, such as support for Sega CD ISOs / Mega CD, ROMs and Mega Drive, Master System, 32X, ISOs and Sega 32X CD. Recalling that the accessory 32X is necessary for the game 32X.

It is also highlighted the Master System FM Core, the space “Infinity” to save the games on the SD card, and implementation of all mappers and chips Save states. Everything is saved to the microSD card.

An instruction manual is also included in the package, and it is the same that is available in PDF on the site Terraonion.

The cartridge is the same format used on the cartridge Virtua Racing, which is somewhat higher than the traditional Mega Drive cartridges. This format was used because components Megas They would not fit in a traditional cartridge.

The cartridge following the American format, but also has the hole for travinha the Japanese Mega Drive, in other words, it works in any region. The translucent plastic allows you to see the internal components.

On the right side we have the slot for the microSD card and a button used to pause the Master System games. The button also serves to return to the menu when pressed for a few seconds.

In the back of the board we have the cartridge serial number, which is visible through the translucent plastic. This number is required to download the firmware, that is not publicly available. The download apparently only works on the cartridge itself to the number of registered series. It should be a measure to prevent the product to be easily copied.

As or microSD card was ready, soon left for the first test. Notice that, different SD2SNES Pro, the Megas read exFAT, so no need to format the card to use. The large capacity cards usually comes already formatted in exFAT.

My first tests were broadcast live on canal do Skooter Blog no YouTube. Check out:

In this first test course focused on the Sega CD games, What's the big news to me. The games tested were:

  • 0:05:09 Sonic CD (USA) – Sega CD
  • 0:31:00 After Burner III (USA) – Sega CD
  • 0:36:45 Final Fight CD (USA) – Sega CD
  • 0:45:25 Rastan – Master System – I have to test FM to MegaSD
  • 0:50:16 NBA Jam (USA) – Sega CD
  • 0:58:45 Night Trap (USA) – Sega CD
  • 1:13:10 Ecco the Dolphin (USA) – Sega CD

I had no problem with the Sega CD games, everything worked perfectly. Note that also tested the Rastan the Master System to see how was the core do chip FM da Yamaha. I did this test because the implementation of the Analogue Mega Sg still has bugs, manifested in this game, in the form of missing notes. The implementation of Megas proved quite better.

Recently It was finally made available the table of original FM chip instruments. It is something missing in all implementations, whose instruments were agreed “ear”. Get this table is complicated, once it is inside the chip, physically inaccessible, and need advanced equipment of X-ray to be read. Now that she was finally obtained, we hope that all FPGA implementations of this chip Earn upgrades that make them more faithful.

In a second live broadcast of focused tests on MD + games, are hacks where games Mega Drive received audio with CD quality, and no Virtua Racing, using chip SVP, Also implemented on the FPGA. Check out:

  • 00:01:04 MD+ OutRun – Mega Drive
  • 00:09:07 MD+ Streets of Rage 2 – Mega Drive
  • 00:38:12 Virtua Racing (USA) – Mega Drive
  • 01:10:18 Battle Squadron – Mega Drive
  • 01:14:18 H.E.R.O. (Japan) – SG-1000
  • 01:18:24 Earnest Evans (Japan) – Sega CD (Mega CD)

I took the opportunity to take a look also at H.E.R.O. do SG-1000, it worked perfectly well. But note that the SG-1000 games only work in Analogue Mega Sg, because the original Mega Drive does not implement the SG-1000 video modes.

And since then I've been knowing the Sega CD games library, it has enough interesting games. I've been doing live broadcasts from my first contact with many of these games, which may be conferred this playlist, that is constantly updated. Check out:

First Impressions & Reviews

My first impressions of Megas They were very positive. He reads the CUE + BIN format used by the group Redump. So just I needed to unpack the whole package microSD card, one set per folder, something easy to do at once with 7-Zip.

The navigation system has no secrets and is very intuitive. When you load a ROM or CD image is a screen with information about the game, as a subsystem, Island region, yes BIOS, cartridge or CD, number of CD or cartridge series, mapper, size of ROM, etc. It automatically identifies the mappers, it is not necessary to rename files, as jailbreak from the Mega Sg.

The Megas It supports all types of Save states used by the cartridges and the Sega CD, without using battery. When saving the game, information go directly to a file on the microSD card, with the name of the game, extension .SRM, BUP from inside dough.

Beyond the Save states Original own games, Mega Drive games also have the save state the menu within the game, with 8 slots. These are saved with the name of the game and the extension .sta, from inside STATES pasta. Note that this feature does not work for Sega CD games and Master System.

The menu within the game works by pressing the directional pad up and over the START, since this option is on. It works in Genesis and Sega CD games, but does not work with Master System games. It is possible to save the Mega Drive games, edit cheats, and return to the menu.

Speaking of cheats, andxiste this support for Mega Drive games, allowing you to enter codes to have infinite lives, invincibility, etc. as it was possible with accessories Game Genie and Pro Action Replay. I did not get to test this option yet, because it is not something that interests me a lot, but according to her works with manual cheats RAM also. The cheats are saved on the microSD card.

Should I use Megas especially with my Analogue Mega Sg, what's on TV in my room, a Sony XBR TV-4 k 55X905E HDR, but also tested the Megas to my Sega Genesis and in my Mega Drive III da Tec Toy, who are on a CRT TV. It worked perfectly in both all systems.

A feature on Mega Everdrive X7 and absent in Megas It is the option to return to the menu with the console RESET button. With this feature I could change the game in control Analogue Mega Sg, without going to the island. On Megas I need to necessarily access the menu within the game, but if it is a Master System game the only way to return to the menu is holding the cartridge button for a few seconds, or turn off and restart the console.

The Megas completely replaces the Mega Everdrive X7? Actually has a feature that Mega Everdrive X It has the most, that is player WAV files, GYM, e TFC. Otherwise, the Megas It takes wide margin due to the implementation of the Sega CD, do MD+, and multiple slots. The Krikzz is already working on a “Mega Everdrive Pro” to butt heads with the FPGA cartridge Terraonion. This competition has all the resources to bring more and more interesting.

Another important detail is that the Master Everdrive X7 It remains the only FPGA with cartridge menu within the game and Save states for Master System and SG-1000 games. This feature works in the original Master System and Analogue Mega Sg with use of the included adapter. Both Mega Everdrive X7 and Megas not support the feature. Maybe there is not much interest from developers implement it, since there are technical limitations to work in a real Mega Drive. If implemented, this feature would be unique to the Analogue Mega Sg.

Tracing

The package was sent in the form "First-Class Package Service International" and "Small Packets", whose code begins with LZ and ends with US.

Note that even though I have purchased Megas and the SD2SNES Pro with a few days apart and both in freight cheaper, the Megas It came as "Small Packets", more complete tracking and SD2SNES Pro It came with “International Letter”, quite incomplete tracking. But, the SD2SNES Pro We arrived before despite having been sent after.

These are the tracking information package, obtained in the USPS Web site:

January 13, 2020, 2:06 pm
Delivered
BRAZIL
Your item was delivered in BRAZIL at 2:06 pm on January 13, 2020.


January 8, 2020, 1:00 pm
Processed through Facility
CURITIBA, BRAZIL


January 8, 2020, 10:05 at the
Processed Through Facility
BRAZIL


December 7, 2019, 7:00 at the
Departed
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL


December 6, 2019, 9:03 pm
Departed
PANAMA CITY, PANAMA


December 6, 2019, 8:05 at the
Departed
CHICAGO, UNITED STATES


December 1, 2019, 5:46 pm
Arrived
CHICAGO, UNITED STATES


November 30, 2019, 7:39 pm
Processed Through Regional Facility
CHICAGO IL INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER


November 30, 2019, 3:29 pm
Departed Regional USPS Facility
CHICAGO IL INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER


November 30, 2019, 3:29 pm
Arrived at Regional Facility
CHICAGO IL INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER


November 30, 2019, 8:22 at the
Arrived at Regional USPS Facility
CHICAGO IL INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER


November 30, 2019, 12:31 at the
Departed Regional USPS Facility
WARRENDALE PA DISTRIBUTION CENTER


November 29, 2019, 8:59 pm
Arrived at Regional USPS Origin Facility
WARRENDALE PA DISTRIBUTION CENTER


November 29, 2019, 4:18 pm
USPS picked up item
SALEM, OH 44460


November 29, 2019, 2:28 pm
Shipping Label Created, USPS Awaiting Item
SALEM, OH 44460

These are the tracking information package, obtained on the site of the station:

13/01/2020
13:05
Delivered to the addressee object
13/01/2020
09:28
/ SP
Object out for delivery to the recipient
10/01/2020
09:04
INDAIATUBA / SP
Object forwarded
Treatment Unit in INDAIATUBA / SP for distribution Unit in [REMOVED] / SP
09/01/2020
19:01
CAJAMAR / SP
Object forwarded
Treatment Unit in CAJAMAR / SP for Treatment Unit in INDAIATUBA / SP
08/01/2020
13:24
CURITIBA / PR
Object forwarded
Distribution Unit in CURITIBA / PR for treatment plant in CAJAMAR / SP
08/01/2020
13:22
Customs supervision terminated
08/01/2020
10:21
Object received by the post Office of Brazil

Report document number for the supervision and delivery of your object. Click here My Imports

30/11/2019
19:39
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA /
Object forwarded
from country to UNITED STATES of AMERICA / countries in International treatment unit / BRInformar document number for the supervision and delivery of your object. Click here My Imports
29/11/2019
16:18
Object posted

Report document number for the supervision and delivery of your object. Click here My Imports

Table-Summary

Check out the table-summary of purchase:

Product Name: Megas
Name Original: Megas
Store: Stone Age Gamer
Value: US$ 250,00
Current value: US$ 284,99
Payment Method: Credit card Payoneer Mastercard
Shipping Type: Flat Rate (Basic Int’l – 14 to 45 Days)
Shipping Fee: US$ 11,99
Package Home Country: U.S.
Purchase Data: 27/11/2019
Submission Date: 29/11/2019
Data Delivery: 13/01/2019
Time in Transit: 45 days
Declared content: video game accessory
Type Marked Content: Merchandise
Declared Value: US$ 25,00
Taxed: Not
Taxable Value: -
Tax Value: -

Final Considerations

The Megas It is now the most advanced FPGA cartridge for the Mega Drive, or maybe the FPGA cartridge most advanced in any system, after all it implements the full Sega CD and this is no small thing. Note that the Sega CD is not only a CD player for the Mega Drive. It has additional hardware that makes the most powerful Mega Drive, and that all hardware is implemented in the FPGA Megas.

Of course, these features all has its price. FPGAs are still an expensive technology. They were designed for integrated circuit prototyping, and not for use in products targeted for the end user. Thus the Megas It is also one of the more expensive cartridges FPGA market.

Who is not interested in implementing Sega CD and already have a Mega Everdrive or some other simple flash cartridge does not necessarily need a Megas, after all the other extra features do not justify the exchange. The Mega Everdrive They are cheaper and should continue to serve very well who just want to run Mega Drive and Master System games.

I that, when I was a child, I dreamed to have a Sega CD but never had, I am very pleased to now have access to all these games, No Emulation. So for me to upgrade to Megas definitely worth it.

The impression I have is that retrogamer community is growing and becoming increasingly relevant. When I think I've done everything that had to be done in a classical system, as the Mega Drive, I end up being surprised again. É bom saber que tem tanta gente trabalhando para nos dar opções modernas para jogarmos esses jogos que fizeram parte de nossa infância. Agora só falta um 32X em FPGA. Talvez seja muita coisa para as FPGAs atuais, mas não tenho dúvidas que um dia ele virá

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.skooterblog.com/2020/02/04/review-terraonion-megasd-cartucho-fpga-para-mega-drive-que-implementa-o-hardware-completo-do-sega-cd/

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Congratulations on your purchase! Eu adquiri um também na semana passada, e tava quebrando cabeça pra usar um cartão de 128 GB, pois tive que tirar umas roms do SEGA CD, aí priorizei os americanos e deixei os japoneses que não foram lançados no ocidente, e mantive alguns europeus! Gostei muito do MEGA SD, mas não pretendo vender meu Mega x7, pois sempre é bom ficar com 2 caso dê pane em algum!

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