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SNK Neo Geo CDZ # 0013836

SNK Neo Geo CDZ # 0013836

The world of gaming is marked by constant evolution and innovation, with each era leaving behind its unique imprint. In the early 1990s, SNK introduced the Neo Geo CDZ, a gaming console that combined cutting-edge technology with the allure of luxury gaming. In this blog post, we’ll explore the Neo Geo CDZ, its significance in gaming history, and the legacy it has left behind.

The CDZ was released in 1996 as the Japanese market replacement for SNK’s previous efforts (the “front loader” and the “top loader”). The Neo Geo CD had met with limited success due to it being plagued by slow loading times that could vary from 30 to 60 seconds between levels, depending on the game. Although SNK’s American home entertainment division quickly acknowledged that the system simply wasn’t capable of competing with 3D-capable powerhouse systems of the day like Sega’s Saturn and Sony’s PlayStation, SNK corporate of Japan felt they could continue to maintain profitable sales in the Japanese home market by shortening the previous system’s load-times.

The Neo Geo CDZ: Marrying Technology and Luxury

Released as an upgraded version of the Neo Geo CD, the Neo Geo CDZ aimed to take the gaming experience to new heights. It wasn’t just a console; it was a symbol of exclusivity and an invitation to a world of high-quality gaming. With its sleek design and premium feel, the Neo Geo CDZ exuded luxury, appealing to gamers who sought the best of both worlds – top-notch gameplay and aesthetic elegance.

Technical Advancements and Performance

The Neo Geo CDZ was more than just a pretty face. It featured technical advancements that set it apart from its predecessors. With an improved loading speed and faster disc access times, the CDZ offered a smoother and more seamless gaming experience. The console’s capabilities allowed for enhanced graphics and sound, bringing arcade-quality gameplay to the comfort of your living room.

Expanding the Game Library

One of the highlights of the Neo Geo CDZ was its ability to play both CD-based and cartridge-based games. This versatility expanded the gaming library, offering players access to a wider range of titles. Players could enjoy classic Neo Geo arcade titles as well as exclusive CD releases, creating a comprehensive gaming ecosystem within a single console.

Luxury Meets Gameplay: The Experience

Playing on the Neo Geo CDZ was an experience that combined luxury with gameplay immersion. The console’s emphasis on quality visuals and sound ensured that players were fully immersed in the worlds of their favorite games. From intense fighting games to captivating side-scrolling adventures, the CDZ delivered a gaming encounter that felt like a true indulgence.

Collectors’ Dream and Nostalgic Reminiscence

For collectors and gaming enthusiasts, the Neo Geo CDZ holds a special place. Its limited availability and association with luxury gaming have made it a sought-after item for those passionate about preserving gaming history. Owning a Neo Geo CDZ is akin to holding a piece of the past, a tangible link to an era when gaming was both a technological marvel and an artistic expression.

Legacy and Influence

While the Neo Geo CDZ may not have achieved the widespread recognition of other gaming consoles of its time, its impact on gaming culture and technology is undeniable. The console’s dedication to quality, luxury, and innovation set a precedent for the industry. It inspired a generation of gamers and developers alike, contributing to the ongoing pursuit of gaming excellence.

The Neo Geo CDZ stands as a testament to the fusion of technology, luxury, and gaming. It represents an era when consoles were more than just machines; they were symbols of aspiration and indulgence. For those who had the privilege of experiencing its gameplay and owning its sleek design, the Neo Geo CDZ remains an emblem of an unforgettable gaming journey that continues to inspire and captivate to this day.

SNK NEO GEO CDZ #0013836
Neo Geo CDZ #0013836 private collection Cédric Walter –

Popular speculation suggests that SNK made several changes to the CD hardware to end up with the CDZ, most prominent is the rumor that they increased the CD-ROM drive speed from 1x to 2x. The truth of the matter is that the CDZ had a larger amount of cache. Though the CD-ROM motor in the CDZ may have been more efficient than the one in the original, it was still a 1x speed CD-ROM.

SNK NEO GEO CDZ #0013836
Neo Geo CDZ #0013836 private collection Cédric Walter –

The console had a design flaw which sometimes caused it to overheat after certain periods of time, breaking the console in the process and making it hard to repair. This was a result of a lack of ventilation in the cramped housing of the smaller unit and the inability to dissipate heat generated by the newer drive, which could damage the circuit board.

SNK NEO GEO CDZ #0013836
Neo Geo CDZ #0013836 private collection Cédric Walter –

CDZ availability

The CDZ was only officially sold in Japan during its production. However, its lack of a “region lock,” and the fact that it could play older CD software, made it a popular import item for enthusiasts in Europe and North America. Today they can be found sporadically on the internet, especially through auction sites such as eBay.

SNK NEO GEO CDZ #0013836
Neo Geo CDZ #0013836 private collection Cédric Walter –

Technical specifications

  • Main Processor: Motorola 68000 running at 12 MHz
    • Although the 68000 CPU was designed by Motorola, there were many other clones of this CPU found in the Neo Geo hardware. The most common CPU is the TMP68HC000 manufactured by Toshiba. This is essentially a Motorola 68000 clone.
  • Co-Processor: Zilog Z80 running at 4 MHz
  • Colors On Screen: 4,096
  • Colors Available: 65,536
  • Resolution: 304 x 224
  • Max Sprites: 380
  • Max Sprite Size: 16 x 512
  • Number of Planes: 3
SNK NEO GEO CDZ #0013836
Neo Geo CDZ #0013836 private collection Cédric Walter –

The system is also capable of reading Redbook standard compact disc audio.

SNK NEO GEO CDZ #0013836
Neo Geo CDZ #0013836 private collection Cédric Walter –

In addition to the multi-AV port all Neo Geo CD models had composite RCA A/V and S-Video out jacks on the rear of the console.

The CD system’s 58 Mbit / 7 MB of RAM was split accordingly:

SNK NEO GEO CDZ #0013836
Neo Geo CDZ #0013836 private collection Cédric Walter –
  • 68000 Program Memory: 2 MB
  • Fix Layer Memory: 128 KB
  • Graphics Memory: 4 MB
  • Sound Sample Memory: 1 MB
  • Z80 Program Memory: 64 kB
  • VRAM: 512Kb (For graphics attributes)
  • SRAM: 2 KB (For high scores / general save data)
SNK NEO GEO CDZ #0013836
Neo Geo CDZ #0013836 private collection Cédric Walter –

© Copyright Authors – Source : – Article under CC-BY-SA

SNK NEO GEO CDZ #0013836
Neo Geo CDZ #0013836 private collection Cédric Walter –

Bought on eBay with 21 CD games.

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