The Neo Geo CD was released shortly after its cartridge-based equivalent in an effort to reduce manufacturing costs. The system was originally priced at US$300 new. The unit's 1X CD-ROM drive was quite slow, making loading times very long with the system loading up to 56Mbits of data between loads. Neo Geo CD game prices were lowered to a reasonable $50 as opposed to the usual cost for MVS game cartridges, sometimes upwards of $300. The system could be used to play Audio CD's.
The Neo Geo CD comes with a control pad instead of the joystick that is in other Neo Geo systems. This made the controls more stiff and caused some difficulty in play if one was used to the joystick.
- Main Processor: Motorola 68000 running at 12 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
The system was also capable of Redbook audio as seen in many of the game's soundtracks. This is possibly the only advantage the CD system had over the cartridge system apart from the cheaper storage medium.
In addition to the multi-AV port (exact same one as used on the Sega Genesis model 1) all NGCD models had straight up composite RCA A/V and S-Video out jacks right on the rear of the console therefore eliminating the need for proprietary cables. The S-Video out on the console is highly recommended to use over the standard composite video. S-Video out cannot be achieved on the original NeoGeo AES system without hardware modification.
The CD system's 58Mbits / 7Mbytes of ram was split accordingly:
- 68000 Program Memory: 2Mbytes
- Fix Layer Memory: 128Kbyte
- Graphics Memory: 4Mbytes
- Sound Sample Memory: 1Mbytes
- Z80 Program Memory: 64Kbytes
- VRAM: 512Kb (For graphics attributes)
- SRAM: 2KB (For high scores / general save data)