There are two main model versions of the Sega Saturn, plus multiple motherboard revisions. Luckily, all can use the same RGB SCART cable! Please scroll down for more information:
The Sega Saturn requires no modification to get RGB output, just an RGB SCART cable. WARNING: Please make sure to only buy cables from the trusted vendors below!!! Most Saturn cables are built wrong causing the issue described below. Stay away from all “cheap” cables…and that includes anything on Amazon that isn’t specifically listed here!
Sega Saturn RGB SCART cable – UK Seller– PAL users MUST select “sync on luma”, everyone else select “NTSC csync”
So far every plug & play HDMI solution I’ve seen for the Saturn are terrible, except one: The RAD2x cables:
RAD2x RGB-to-HDMI Cable: This is a zero-lag linedouber, built into a cable.
Component Video Cables (RGB Quality):
Retro Gaming Cables – Sega Saturn Component Video Cable
Incorrect Cable Warning:
Properly built Sega Saturn cables must have a 470 ohm resistor and 220uF capacitor on the csync line of each cable! Here’s an example of what happens on some model 2 Saturn’s when you don’t have the correct components; Notice all the weird horizontal artifacts! Click for full-sized:
There were two models of the Saturn released, each one having different motherboard revisions. The best way to tell the difference in models is the oval vs. round buttons and the “Sega” logo on the front (as shown in the picture below). Please click on the picture if you’d like a more detailed explanation, as well as some comparison pictures:
– If you have trouble with your existing RGB SCART cable, try adding a 220uF capacitor and a 470ohm resistor to the sync line on your RGB SCART cable. Alternatively, you can order a cable that uses luma as sync, but that might have compatibility issues with some setups.
– If you’re looking to buy a Saturn, I’ve consistently had better luck with Model 1 Saturn’s (all US NTSC, I haven’t tested PAL or NTSC-J), but I’ve only tried about a dozen. If you’re a die-hard Saturn fan, I suggest researching further to find out which motherboard revision of each region (NTSC or PAL) has the best video output for your solution.
– To be clear, there isn’t a “bad” version of the Saturn: All the ones I’ve tested output an excellent quality image, provided there’s nothing wrong with that individual system.
– If you’d like digital audio, you can try this TOSLINK mod: https://assemblergames.com/threads/saturn-dreamcast-toslink.57670/
If you’re a 16-bit gamer and have never used a Saturn, I did a small “1st impressions” review of it, but please remember the review is from the point of view of an “old fart gamer” who prefers 16-bit (and older) systems. If those style games aren’t your favorite, this isn’t for you: Saturn Review.