Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island has the Super FX chip.

The list of Super NES enhancement chips demonstrates Nintendo hardware designers' plan to easily expand the Super Nintendo Entertainment System with special coprocessors. This standardized selection of chips was available to licensed developers, to increase system performance and features for each game cartridge. As increasingly superior chips became available throughout the Super NES's generation, this provided a cheaper and more versatile way of maintaining the system's market lifespan compared to Nintendo's option of using a much more expensive CPU, or an increasingly obsolete stock chipset, in the Super NES itself.

The presence of an enhancement chip is often indicated by 16 additional pins on either side of the original pins, 8 to each side.[1]

Super FX

Main article: Super FX

Super FX renders 3D polygons in Star Fox.

The Super FX chip is a 16-bit supplemental RISC CPU developed by Argonaut Software.[2] It is typically programmed to act as a graphics accelerator chip that draws polygons and advanced 2D effects to a frame buffer in the RAM sitting adjacent to it. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island uses the Super FX 2 for sprite scaling, rotation, and stretching.

This chip has at least four revisions, first as a surface mounted chip labeled "MARIO CHIP 1" (Mathematical, Argonaut, Rotation & I/O), commonly called the Super FX, in the earliest Star Fox (1993) cartridges. From 1994, some boards have an epoxy version, and later a first revision is labeled GSU-1. Both versions are clocked with a 21.47 MHz signal, but an internal clock speed divider halves it to 10.74 MHz on the MARIO CHIP 1. The GSU-1 however runs at the full 21.47 MHz. Both the MARIO CHIP 1 and the GSU-1 can support a maximum ROM size of 8 Mbits. The design was revised to the GSU-2, which is still 16-bit, but this version can support a ROM size greater than 8 Mbit. The final known revision is the GSU-2-SP1. All versions of the Super FX chip are functionally compatible in terms of their instruction set. The differences are in packaging, pinout, maximum supported ROM size, and internal clock speed.[3]

Variants of the Super FX chip sorted chronologically.


Mega Man X2 has the Cx4 coprocessor.

The Cx4 chip is a math coprocessor used by Capcom and produced by Hitachi (now Renesas) to perform general trigonometric calculations for wireframe effects, sprite positioning, and rotation. It maps and transforms wireframes in Capcom's second and third games of the Mega Man X series.[2] It is based on the Hitachi HG51B169 DSP and clocked at 20 MHz.[4] The name Cx4 stands for Capcom Consumer Custom Chip.[5]

CX4 wireframe test screen

A Cx4 self-test screen can be accessed by holding the 'B' button on the second controller upon system start-up in both Mega Man X2 and X3.[6]


Pilotwings has the DSP-1 chip.

This series of fixed-point digital signal processor chips provides fast vector-based calculations, bitmap conversions, 2D and 3D coordinate transformations, and other functions.[7] The chip has four revisions, each physically identical but with different microcode. The DSP-1 version, including the later 1A die shrink and 1B bug fix revisions, was most often used; the DSP-2, DSP-3, and DSP-4 were used in only one game each.[8] All of them are based on the NEC µPD77C25 CPU and clocked at 8 MHz.[4]


The DSP-1 is the most varied and widely used of the Super NES DSPs, in more than 15 separate games. It is used as a math coprocessor in games such as Super Mario Kart and Pilotwings that require more advanced Mode 7 scaling and rotation. It provides fast support for the floating-point and trigonometric calculations needed by 3D math algorithms. The later DSP-1A and DSP-1B serve the same purpose as the DSP-1. The DSP-1A is a die shrink of the DSP-1, and the DSP-1B corrects several bugs.[9] The DSP-1B introduced a bug in the Pilotwings demo due to the game code not being updated for the timing differences of the chip revisions.[10]


The DSP-2 is only in Dungeon Master. Its primary purpose is to convert Atari ST bitmap image data into the Super NES bitplane format. It also provides dynamic scaling capability and transparency effects.[11]


The DSP-3 is only in the turn-based strategy game SD Gundam GX for Super Famicom. It assists with tasks like calculating the next AI move, Shannon–Fano bitstream decompression, and bitplane conversion of graphics.[12]


The DSP-4 is used in only Top Gear 3000. It primarily assists with drawing the race track, especially during the times that the track branches into multiple paths.

Sharp LR35902

Main article: Super Game Boy

The hardware inside the Super Game Boy peripheral includes a Sharp SM83[13][14] core mostly identical to the CPU in the handheld Game Boy.[15] Because the Super NES is not powerful enough for software emulation of the Game Boy, the hardware for the entire handheld is inside of the cartridge.[16] Game Boy games however run approximately 2.4% faster than on an actual Game Boy due to a slightly higher clock speed.[17] The Super Game Boy 2, only released in Japan, fixes this.


Main article: Nintendo Power (cartridge)

This chip was made by MegaChips exclusively for Nintendo Power cartridges for the Super Famicom. The cartridges have flash ROMs instead of mask ROMs, to hold games downloaded for a fee at retail kiosks in Japan. The chip manages communication with the kiosks to download ROM images, and provides game selection menu. Some games were produced both in cartridge and download form, and others were download only. The service was closed in February 2007.[18]


OBC-1 is a sprite manipulation chip used exclusively in the Super Scope game Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge, the sequel to Battle Clash.[2]

Rockwell RC2324DPL

Main article: XBAND

The Rockwell RC96V24DP is a low power, V.22 bis 2400 bit/s data/fax modem data pump in a single VLSI package,[19] used in the XBAND cartridge.[20]


Star Ocean has the S-DD1 chip.
Street Fighter Alpha 2 has the S-DD1 Chip.

The S-DD1 chip is an ASIC decompressor made by Nintendo for use in some Super Nintendo Entertainment System Game Paks.[2] Designed to handle data compressed by the ABS Lossless Entropy Algorithm, a form of arithmetic coding developed by Ricoh, its use is necessary in games where massive amounts of sprite data are compressed with a total design limit of 32-megabits. This data is decompressed dynamically by the S-DD1 and given directly to the picture processing unit.

The S-DD1 mediates between the Super NES's Ricoh 5A22 CPU and the game's ROM via two buses. However, the controlling 5A22 processor may still request normal, uncompressed data from the game's ROM even if the S-DD1 is already busy with a decompression operation. This form of parallelism allows sprite data to be decompressed while other types of data are quickly passed to the main CPU.

Star Ocean and Street Fighter Alpha 2 are the only games that use this chip. Emulation of the S-DD1 was initially difficult, requiring "graphics packs" to be provided for the affected games, until the compression algorithm was identified.[21][22]


S-RTC is a real-time clock chip used in one game, Daikaijuu Monogatari II.[2]


SA1 chip

The Super Accelerator 1 (SA1) chip is used in 34[citation needed] Super NES games, including Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.[23]

Similar to the 5A22 CPU in the Super NES hardware, the SA1 contains a processor core based on the 65C816 with several programmable timers.[2] The SA1 does not function as a slave CPU for the 5A22; both can interrupt each other independently.

The SA1 also features a range of enhancements over the standard 65C816:


A data decompression chip designed by Epson, used in three games by Hudson. Tengai Makyou Zero also contains a real-time clock chip accessed via the SPC7110.[2]


Exhaust Heat II has the ST010 chip.

The ST series of chips are used by SETA Corporation to enhance AI.


Used for general functions and handling the AI of opponent cars in F1 ROC II: Race of Champions. It contains a NEC µPD96050 DSP,[9][24] clocked at 10Mhz.[4]


ST011 is used for AI functionality in the shogi board game Hayazashi Nidan Morita Shogi. It also uses a NEC µPD96050,[16] clocked at 15 Mhz.[4]


The ST018 is used for AI functionality in Hayazashi Nidan Morita Shogi 2. It is a 21.47 MHz, 32-bit ARMv3 processor.[9][25]

List of Super NES games with enhancement chips

Title Chip Year Developer Publisher
Mega Man X2 NA EU
Rockman X2 JP
CX4 1994 Capcom Capcom (NA) (JP) (EU)
Mega Man X3 NA EU
Rockman X3 JP
CX4 1995 Capcom, Minakuchi Engineering Capcom (NA) (JP)
Soukou Kihei Votoms: The Battling Road DSP-1 1993 Genki Takara (JP)
Bike Daisuki! Hashiriya Kon - Rider's Spirits DSP-1 1994 Genki NCS (JP)
Final Stretch DSP-1 1993 Genki LOZC (JP)
Lock On NA EU
Super Air Diver JP
DSP-1 1993 Copya System Vic Tokai (US) SunSoft (EU)
Michael Andretti's Indy Car Challenge DSP-1/1A 1994 Genki Bullet Proof Software (NA) (JP)
Pilotwings DSP-1/1B[note 1][26] 1991 Nintendo EAD Nintendo (NA) (JP) (EU)
Shutokō Battle '94: Keichii Tsuchiya Drift King DSP-1B 1994 Genki Bullet-Proof Software (JP)
Shutokō Battle 2: Drift King Keichii Tsuchiya & Masaaki Bandoh DSP-1B 1995 Genki Bullet-Proof Software (JP)
Suzuka 8 Hours DSP-1 1993 Arc System Works Namco (NA) (JP)
Super Air Diver 2 DSP-1 1995 Copya System Asmik (JP)
Super Bases Loaded 2 NA
Super 3D Baseball JP
Korean League KR
DSP-1 1993 TOSE Jaleco (NA) (JP) (KR)
Super F1 Circus Gaiden DSP-1 1995 Nichibutsu (JP)
Battle Racers DSP-1 1995 Banpresto Banpresto (JP)
Super Mario Kart DSP-1/1B 1992 Nintendo EAD Nintendo (NA) (JP) (EU)
Ace o Nerae! 3D Tennis DSP-1A 1993 Telenet Japan Telenet Japan (JP)
Ballz 3D DSP-1B 1994 PF.Magic Accolade (NA)
Dungeon Master DSP-2 1992 FTL Games JVC / Victor (NA) (JP) (EU)
SD Gundam GX DSP-3 1994 BEC Bandai (JP)
Top Gear 3000 NA EU

The Planet's Champ TG 3000 JP

DSP-4 1995 Gremlin Interactive Kemco (NA) (JP) (EU)
Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge OBC-1 1993 Intelligent Systems Nintendo (NA) (EU)
Asahi Shinbun Rensai: Katou Ichi-Ni-San Shougi: Shingiryuu SA1 1995 Varie Varie (JP)
Daisenryaku Expert WWII: War in Europe SA1 1996 SystemSoft Alpha ASCII Corporation (JP)
Derby Jockey 2 SA1 1995 Graphic Research Asmik (JP)
Dragon Ball Z: Hyper Dimension SA1 1996 TOSE Bandai (JP) (EU)
Habu Meijin no Omoshiro Shōgi SA1 1995 Access Tomy (JP)
Hayashi Kaihou Kudan no Igo Oodou SA1 1996 Ask Kodansha (JP)
Itoi Shigesato no Bass Tsuri No. 1 SA1 1997 Dice, HAL Laboratory Nintendo (JP)
J.League '96 Dream Stadium SA1 1996 Hudson Soft (JP)
Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius SA1 1995 Konami Konami (JP)
Jumpin' Derby SA1 1996 KID Naxat Soft (JP)
Kakinoki Shogi SA1 1995 Sakata SAS ASCII Corporation (JP)
Kirby Super Star NA

Hoshi No Kirby Super Deluxe JP

Kirby's Fun Pak EU

SA1 1996 HAL Laboratory Nintendo (NA) (JP) (EU)
Kirby's Dream Land 3 NA
Hoshi no Kirby 3 JP
SA1 1997 HAL Laboratory Nintendo (NA) (JP)
Marvelous: Mouhitotsu no Takarajima SA1 1996 Nintendo R&D2 Nintendo (JP)
Masters New: Haruka Naru Augusta 3 SA1 1995 T&E Soft T&E Soft (JP)
Mini 4WD Shining Scorpion Let's & Go!! SA1 1996 KID ASCII Corporation (JP)
Pebble Beach no Hotou: New Tournament Edition SA1 1996 T&E Soft T&E Soft (JP)
Pachi-Slot Monogatari - PAL Kougyou Special SA1[27] 1995 Nihon Soft System (JP)
PGA European Tour SA1 1996 Halestorm THQ / Black Pearl Software (NA) (EU)
PGA Tour 96 SA1 1995 Black Pearl Software Electronic Arts (NA) (EU)
Power Rangers Zeo: Battle Racers SA1 1996 Natsume Co., Ltd. Bandai (NA) (EU)
Pro Kishi Jinsei Simulation: Shōgi no Hanamichi SA1 1996 Access Atlus (JP)
Saikousoku Shikou Shougi Mahjong SA1 1995 Varie Varie (JP)
SD F-1 Grand Prix SA1 1995 Video System Video System (JP)
SD Gundam G NEXT SA1 1995 Japan Art Media Bandai (JP)
Shin Shogi Club SA1 1995 Hect (JP)
Shogi Saikyou SA1 1995 Magical Company (JP)
Shogi Saikyou 2 SA1 1996 Magical Company (JP)
Super Bomberman Panic Bomber World SA1 1995 Hudson Soft Hudson Soft (JP)
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars NA
Super Mario RPG JP
SA1 1996 Square Nintendo (NA) (JP)
Super Robot Taisen Gaiden: Masō Kishin - The Lord Of Elemental SA1 1996 Winkysoft Banpresto (JP)
Super Shougi 3: Kitaihei SA1 1995 I'Max (JP)
Taikyoku Igo: Idaten SA1 1995 Bullet Proof Software Bullet Proof Software (JP)
Takemiya Masaki Kudan no Igo Taishou SA1 1995 KSS (JP)
Star Ocean S-DD1 1996 tri-Ace Enix (JP)
Street Fighter Alpha 2 NA EU
Street Fighter Zero 2 JP
S-DD1 1996 Capcom Capcom (NA) (JP) (EU)
Daikaijuu Monogatari II S-RTC 1996 AIM, Birthday Hudson Soft (JP)
Far East of Eden Zero (Tengai Makyou Zero) SPC7110 1995 Red Company Hudson Soft (JP)
Momotaro Dentetsu Happy SPC7110 1996 Make Software Hudson Soft (JP)
Super Power League 4 SPC7110 1996 Now Production Hudson Soft (JP)
F1 ROC II: Race of Champions NA
Exhaust Heat II JP
ST010 1993 SETA Corporation SETA Corporation (NA) (JP)
Hayazashi Nidan Morita Shogi ST011 1993 Random House SETA Corporation (JP)
Hayazashi Nidan Morita Shogi 2 ST018 1995 Random House SETA Corporation (JP)
Star Fox NA JP
Starwing EU
Super FX GSU-1 1993 Nintendo EAD, Argonaut Software Nintendo (NA) (JP) (EU)
Stunt Race FX NA EU
Wild Trax JP
Super FX GSU-1 1994 Nintendo EAD, Argonaut Software Nintendo (NA) (JP) (EU)
Vortex Super FX GSU-1 1994 Argonaut Software Electro Brain (NA), Pack-In-Video (JP)
Dirt Racer Super FX GSU-1 1994 MotiveTime Elite Systems (EU)
Dirt Trax FX Super FX GSU-1 1995 Sculptured Software Acclaim Entertainment (NA)
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island NA EU

Super Mario: Yossy Island JP

Super FX GSU-2 1995 Nintendo EAD Nintendo (NA) (JP) (EU)
Doom Super FX GSU-2 1995 Sculptured Software Williams (NA), Imagineer (JP), Ocean (EU)
Winter Gold EU
FX SkiingNA (canceled)
Super FX GSU-2 1997 Funcom Nintendo (EU)

Canceled games

Title Chip Year Developer Publisher
Star Fox 2[note 2] Super FX GSU-1 - Nintendo EAD, Argonaut Software Nintendo
FX Fighter Super FX GSU-2 - Argonaut Software GTE Entertainment (NA) (EU)
Comanche Super FX GSU-2 - Nova Logic Nova Logic (NA)
Powerslide Super FX GSU-1 - Elite Systems Elite Systems (EU)
Transformers[29] Super FX GSU-1 - Argonaut Software
  1. ^ On cartridges with DSP-1B, the plane in attract mode crashes.
  2. ^ Star Fox 2 was eventually released in 2017 in the Super NES Classic Edition with Super FX GSU-1 emulation.[28]

See also


  1. ^ "Anomie's SNES Port Doc". Archived from the original on 2007-09-17. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Snes9x: The Portable Super Nintendo Entertainment System Emulator". Snes9x. v1.51. 2007-05-01. readme.txt. Retrieved 2023-06-23.
  3. ^ "The Super FX chip". MyPSP News. Archived from the original on 2008-07-24.
  4. ^ a b c d "SNES ST-0010, ST-0011 [NEC uPD96050] emulation". Forums. Retrieved 2020-07-17.
  5. ^ "CAPコブン on Twitter_ _SFC用ソフト「ロックマンX2」発売25周年おめでとう!! ところで本作に採用されたカプコン独自のDSPチップ『C×4』(シーフォー)って何の略なの? という長年の謎の答えを発掘してきました。『CAPCOM CONSUMER CUSTOM CHIP』の略だったらしい…". Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  6. ^ "CX4 test functions and source code contributors". Archived from the original on 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  7. ^ "Digital Signal Processing". Overload's Puzzle Sheet. 2006-05-29. Archived from the original on 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
  8. ^ Nach; Moe, Lord Nightmare. "SNES Add-on Chip information". Archived from the original on 2007-05-13. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
  9. ^ a b c Byuu (January 2022). "SNES Coprocessors — The Future Has Arrived". Archived from the original on 2012-03-07.
  10. ^ Turing, Foone. "Today's weird discovery: Pilotwings (1991) has a set of demos that play if you don't press any keys, and one of them acts differently depending on when your cartridge was made, basically. Does the plane crash or not?". Twitter. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  11. ^ Overload. "DSP2 Gamepaks". Archived from the original on 2021-10-09. Retrieved 2022-04-11.
  12. ^ Overload; The Dumper. "DSP3 Gamepaks". Archived from the original on 2021-10-09. Retrieved 2022-04-11.
  13. ^ "解体新書。初代Gbをバラしてみる。". Archived from the original on 2018-10-31. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  14. ^ "Game Boy (DMG) - Game Boy hardware database". Archived from the original on 2018-10-31. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  15. ^ "Inside the Super Gameboy SNES Adapter « insideGadgets". Archived from the original on 2018-10-31. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  16. ^ a b "ZSNES v1.51 Documentation". Archived from the original on 2009-04-20. Retrieved 2007-07-03.
  17. ^ Ridgely, Erin Elizabeth; Şengün, Sercan (2022), "New Super Mario Bros. Wii, An Analysis", Encyclopedia of Computer Graphics and Games, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 1–2, ISBN 978-3-319-08234-9, retrieved 2024-01-15
  18. ^ "Nintendo Power". Archived from the original on 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2007-07-03.
  19. ^ "RC2324DPL Datasheet (PDF) - List of Unclassifed Manufacturers". ALLDATASHEET.COM. Archived from the original on 23 March 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  20. ^ "X-Band". SNES Central. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  21. ^ "SNES9x Developers Journal (November 2000)". Archived from the original on 2014-09-08. Retrieved 2014-09-07.
  22. ^ "SNES9x Developers Journal (August 2003)". Archived from the original on 2015-02-20. Retrieved 2014-09-07.
  23. ^ "SA1 Demonstration Program". SNES Central. Archived from the original on 2011-10-04. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
  24. ^ "ST-0010". Overload's Puzzle Sheet. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-07-03.
  25. ^ Siliconinsider. "SETA ST018 VLSI (1994)". Twitter. Retrieved 18 April 2023.
  26. ^ "Pilotwings (Nintendo, 12/21/90) @ Magweasel". Archived from the original on 2017-04-01. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  27. ^ "Pachi-Slot Monogatari - PAL Kougyou Special (Nihon Soft System, 10/27/95)". Archived from the original on 2018-08-02. Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  28. ^ Linneman, John (September 27, 2017). "SNES mini teardown confirms recycled NES mini tech". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on September 28, 2017. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  29. ^ "The Making of: Vortex". Retro Gamer. No. 147. October 2015. pp. 38–41.