Hmmm this is apples and pears as Akira suggests...
I love them both, I have such fond memories of both, arguably, AMIGA should be changed as at the time there were only a handful of models available.
The Megadrive / Genesis was release 1989/90 for the US/European markets and all that were available for the home market in them days would of been
- A1000 (1985)
- A2000 (1987)
- A500/A500+ (1987/88 - 89)
- A3000 (1990)
the A600/A1200 wasn't released until 1992 so it wouldn't be fair to compare the MegaDrive on a technical level to anything AGA or anything else but an unexpanded Amiga.
so... technically although their based on the same CPU nothing more is comparable between the A500+ and the Megadrive / Genesis.
Graphically the MD is limited to a set screen mode, which is text-cell based, i cannot remember off the top of my head, but its quite clever way of using updating the screen to allow for more colours that actually can be produced in a single screen mode like that on the Amiga. however this means the megadrive is set to a specific screen mode the A500a has many screen modes from hires productivity to low res games. so its what you are gonna use it for.
some more MD Graphics info
- Graphics modes:
- 320 x 224 pixels, 512 colours (9 bit), 64 simultaneously, max. 80 to 90
- sprites (32x32 pixels), 2 scrolling playfields, 1 sprite plane (= 3 planes) FIXME
- 40 x 28 text mode
- Video RAM:
- 64 KB
- Color RAM:
- 64 x 9 kbit
Sound is another area of contention here, The A500 as we know, has 4 channels of 8bit stereo (processor assisted 14bit) the MD has one sound processing chip helped out by the Zilog80 co-processor, neither of which are really any good on their own but together they can be made to produce some quite good sounds.
The biggest letdown of the MD is the lack of memory with only 64k for on board registers it hardly had that much room to swing a cat, compared to the A500+ which could at the time have up to 2MB of ram (thats a 16mbit cartridge). (not including processor cards etc)
Personally i was a little letdown by the A500 sound coming from my 1040 ST, however in terms of performance it could produce effects and sounds that the MD is just not capable of, I will post some instances. but the biggest letdown is the fact the MD has such a limited memory, with more memory comes the ability to more and more effects.
MD Sound Info
- 4-channel Texas Instruments SN76489 (PSG (Programmable Sound Generator))
- 6-channel Yamaha YM-2612
- Sound RAM:
- 8 KB
- Signal/noise ratio:
- 14 dB
So what was better.... hmmmm...... well i fear it comes down to cost, the MD is in my book around 85% that of an A500 insofar as games are concerned.
so back in 1990, when everyone was excited, what would you choose?
the Amiga A500 for £359.90 or the Sleek Black SEGA MegaDrive £189.99
okay... you get a keyboard with the A500
I didn't choose.... I had both... yes i know.... greedy