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 Post subject: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer)...
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:19 pm 
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Posts: 220
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
My kids circa 2008 PC has recently stopped working (either the PS, MB or HD died, I am not sure). Given that they appeared to be gaming at 100% CPU, I think it's time for a new system.

Right now, I am thinking of buying:

i3-3220 cpu
ASUS P8H77-M/CSM mb
Seasonic G Series 450W ps
Powercolor Radeon HD 7850 860MHZ 2GB video card
Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1X8GB PCI-12800 DDR3-1600 1.5V CL9 memory
Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5in SATA3 MDX SSD
Windows 8 os

and reusing:
Anec Solo case
WD Caviar Blue 1 TB HDD
Pioneer 216D dvd drive

not sure of what cooler an fans to use?

This system will live in a common room, fairly close to others who are watching TV. So the room won't have super low ambient noise, but the TV watchers definitely don't want to hear the PC. The old system with an e5300, HD 4670 and caviar blue hDs was inaudible.

Looking at video cards, I was surprised to see the very high idle power draw of modern mid-range cards (I am not a gamer). Is there a better lower power alternative to the 7850 that will still allow them to play their games for the next 3 or 4 years with the new system? Is an i3-3220 enough for games? Is 450W enough power? Is that a reliable motherboard?

The parts listed above will cost about $800+tax, which is my maximum budget right now. I am not a tinkerer - I want to put it together, setup the OS, and then leave it alone for 4 years - reliability (in an unusually dusty environment) is important to me.

Thanks for any guidance.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:51 pm 
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The Xigmatek Gaia will cool a 3220 very well, its cheap and the low rpm 120mm fan is fairly quiet but like most 120mm fan heat pipe tower coolers, make sure your case has clearance, I think the Gaia is 160.5mm tall.

Your existing case fans should be fine, your computer should not need an incredible amount of air flow.

To me the Radeon 7790 has a unique configuration of max tdp, clock speed, number of graphics cores and reasonable price with the negative that it does need a PCIe 12v connector.

The 7850 is a more powerful card but the tdp is quite a bit higher, clock speeds are lower and price is higher.

I like to compare performance per watt rather than price so if you are looking at a tdp similar to an 7850, I think Nvidia has some good competition.

A 450 watt PSU is more than enough.

I'm going to try to run an i5 and a 7790 on 255 watts of power supply and expect I will rarely if ever exceed 200 watts.

Power supplies are most efficient near 50% load so the idea of a 255 watt power supply is to keep the idle load more like 20% load than 10% load on a 450 watt PSU.

I can say that the 450 watt PSU is a lot easier because my 255 needs the PCIe 12v cable added and some other work to be perfect for my needs. Understandably the PSU manufacturers don't make retail power supplies designed to cut it close on capacity so finding a lower wattage PSU with PCIe 12v connector for a powerful GPU is difficult.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:59 pm 
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Is it the original Solo or the Solo II? The former limits your graphic card length to 10.2".

Are the kids gaming at 1080p or something different? What types of games are they playing? That'll determine the gpu need. I'd stay away from the Powercolor passive for now - it needs a BIOS fix to get the idle clocks where they should be (and the idle power). Lots of quiet fanned cards out there and they all idle at ~10W or so.

cpu - you can get away with a dual core for many games. Sorta depends on the game and again the monitor resolution/gfx card. I'm limping along with a dual core now...but recommend a quad core i5 as some games will make use of the other cores, and even if they don't, it gives you the extra horsepower to run all the other background tasks (housekeeping, itunes, VOIP, etc) at the same time. As time goes on and more games migrate to DX11, more will use 4 cores.

PSU - worst case: You go with quad core i5 and a 130-140W GPU (HD 7850, GTX 660). Total stressed load power is in the 270W range. Probably <240W with intense gaming. G-450 would do. G-550 would give you a bit more leeway on fan profile/noise....and the 550 is cheaper with shipping at the moment at Newegg (ok, it's $10 more at newegg.ca).

cooler: The Thermalright True Spirit 120m is a feisty cooler. Just replace it's fan with a $10 Nexus.

mobo: that particular model number has mixed reviews at newegg. For $10 more, the ASUS P8Z77-M is highly rated and used quite a bit around here.

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

Support SPCR through these links: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2003 11:59 am
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Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Thanks for the help. I don't think they were gaming at 1080p, because they had a 4670, but I know that they would like to. The case is a first generation SOLO - I need to see if it will fit a current model Powercolor 7850 - thanks, I hadn't thought of that.

I will go quad core i5 and the MB you mentioned if I stay LGA1155... but I noticed today that NCIX has the latest gen Intel stuff. Should I consider an i5-4430 and an ASUS Z87M-PLUS mb? That would be about $120 over budget, but put them firmly into the latest generation. I don't think it is much more CPU power than LGA1155, and they won't need the huge boost in IGP, but the 10W lower idle power draw is appealing, along with the totally up to date connectivity on the motherboard. But I've never gone with the latest release before - how long does it usually take to shake out initial bugs/incompatibilities? Will the Powercolor 7850 drivers play nicely?

Also, It seems that I am clueless about power supply connectors and graphics cards. Are you saying that the G 450 will not work if I go to a 7790? Will the G450 work with the 7850? What about the G550? If not, which PSU?


Last edited by ist.martin on Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 11:23 am
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Location: Germany
For 1080p and not top of the notch games (or newer once with reduced settings) the following cards are suited, least powerful listed first:

-7750
-GT650
-7770
-GT650TI
-7790
-GT650TI Boost
-7850

Sweet spot regarding pricing seems to be a 7790 (at least over here).


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:04 am 
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ist.martin wrote:
Thanks for the help. I don't think they were gaming at 1080p, because they had a 4670, but I know that they would like to. The case is a first generation SOLO - I need to see if it will fit a current model Powercolor 7850 - thanks, I hadn't thought of that.

http://www.powercolor.com/us/products_f ... cification
Looks like only 8". Called me surprised. If you do opt for the passive, it's more likely than not that you'll need to strap a low rpm fan to it to control heat. The Solo isn't great for airflow. Also note the heatsink extends to the backside of the graphics card...so that may conflict with CPU cooler.

ist.martin wrote:
... but I noticed today that NCIX has the latest gen Intel stuff. Should I consider an i5-4430 and an ASUS Z87M-PLUS mb? how long does it usually take to shake out initial bugs/incompatibilities?

The Haswell stuff just intro'd this weekend. Figure 2-3 months before BIOS updates slow down and to determine whether any hardware bugs might surface. Also note, the Southbridge shipped now has a bug where USB3 connected devices may not wake from sleep. For example, if you have a doc on a thumb drive opened up and your PC goes into sleep mode....when the PC wakes up, it might not see the doc. You lose what you didn't save and you have to reopen the file and/or possibly remount the drive. The rev'd chip is supposed to be released end July and then the mobo mfgrs/retailers have to work through their inventory. I'm holding off on my build until ~Sept.

ist.martin wrote:
Also, It seems that I am clueless about power supply connectors and graphics cards. Are you saying that the G 450 will not work if I go to a 7790? Will the G450 work with the 7850? What about the G550? If not, which PSU?

The rule of thumb for gaming cards: <100W use PCIe power only. 100-175W needs a 6 or 8pin graphics power connector (sometimes call PEG connector), 175-250W uses two of these. Both the G450 and G 550 comes with two PEG connectors. Specifically, the 7790 and 7850 are less than 150W TDP and only have 1 PEG connector.

More on gaming at 1080p. The HD 7790/GTX 650 Ti (~$140 US) is as low as I would go. For a small bump in price ($10-40) you can get the 7850/650 Ti Boost and get a significant bump in fps. I also like the GTX 660 @ $200. It'll let them turn on more eye candy features. Also, a lot of models are reducing costs by lowering the amount of VRAM from 2 to 1GB. At 1080p, this is fine for most games. If they use texture packs for Skyrim, it'll bog down.

_________________
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

Support SPCR through these links: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:47 am 
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Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Thanks a lot CA_Steve. That is very helpful. It sounds like the Seasonic G450 is fine for any card I choose, and the Solo should be good too.

~ $200 card prices at NCIX, which should all be OK with a G450, but I'll need to get length specs for the SOLO:

GTX 660 2GB $210
7850 2GB $195
7790 2GB $180
650 Ti 2GB $170
7850 1GB $165
7790 1GB $150
650 TI 1GB $140

It appears to be about $30 extra to go from 1GB to 2GB. The kids seem to be clamouring for 2GB, but they haven't told me why.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:17 am 
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CA_Steve wrote:
Also note, the Southbridge shipped now has a bug where USB3 connected devices may not wake from sleep. For example, if you have a doc on a thumb drive opened up and your PC goes into sleep mode....when the PC wakes up, it might not see the doc. You lose what you didn't save and you have to reopen the file and/or possibly remount the drive. The rev'd chip is supposed to be released end July and then the mobo mfgrs/retailers have to work through their inventory. I'm holding off on my build until ~Sept.
The C2 might not be marketed though, seems intel and manufacturers are calling this a minior incovinience and not a real bug, given that there will be a reviesion on the chipset with C2, we might not see it on the boxes... only way to know will be CPUZ after you bought it.

Hardware.info Haswell has USB 3.0 issues with 14 out of 22 tested USB drives

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms | Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:42 am 
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2Gb VRAM is only useful when gaming at more than 1080p. The class of GPU we're talking about is hardly enough to power 1080p on full-full settings, so do not bother on upping the VRAM.

So imho i'd spend the 30$ to get a more powerful card instead of just more RAM. One exception: Your kids are going to have a new monitor with res >1080p in the next two or so years.

Regarding Haswell: To soon, not fitting your budget, might contain still undiscovered bugs.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:28 am 
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Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Pappnaas wrote:
2Gb VRAM is only useful when gaming at more than 1080p. The class of GPU we're talking about is hardly enough to power 1080p on full-full settings, so do not bother on upping the VRAM.

So imho i'd spend the 30$ to get a more powerful card instead of just more RAM. One exception: Your kids are going to have a new monitor with res >1080p in the next two or so years.

Regarding Haswell: To soon, not fitting your budget, might contain still undiscovered bugs.


Thanks for clearing that up. Actually, the monitor they use is one with 1920x1200 resolution. If they want to play native resolution on it, does the 2GB matter? Or do the games even scale to 1920x1200 in this day and age of 16:9? (Sorry, never being a gamer, I know nothing about this.)


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:46 am 
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ist.martin wrote:
Thanks for clearing that up. Actually, the monitor they use is one with 1920x1200 resolution. If they want to play native resolution on it, does the 2GB matter? Or do the games even scale to 1920x1200 in this day and age of 16:9? (Sorry, never being a gamer, I know nothing about this.)
I play at 2560x1440, thats almost twice the res of 1080p, and i dont use my 1.5gb on most games. That said there are some that like to load lots of textures like Skyrim, but the average game under 1920x1080 will be fine 1gb.

For me ill start looking for high memory cards once 4k monitors are with in my reach, which 4x 1080p, so you will need imo at least 3gb or more.

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms | Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:35 am 
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If you are willing to spend $200, then take a look at the Asus GTX 660 OC. It's the best deal at that price at NCIX. Note: While their website shows the device to be 10.2" long - I think they confused it with another Asus GTX 660 build. The 1020MHz GPU OC version is 8.5" long according to Asus. Probably worth double checking that the model number from Asus is what NCIX is actually providing...

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

Support SPCR through these links: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:11 am 
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I like the 7790 because the TDP is low, 85 watts.

The 650 ti boost seems to be the low end performance king but its got a 125 watt TDP I think.

Being very close in price, the 650 ti boost looks dominant but a lower TDP let's me get away with less PSU which I like.

Speaking of PCIe power, the threshold for using a PCIe 12v connector is 75 watts but using a card with a connector is probably a good idea because most of that 75+ watts will go through a nice low resistance cable instead of a motherboard trace.

I chose the 7790 for those reasons and in reviews it seems to give ~playable frame rates at 1080p for most titles. I'm not afraid to reduce the eye candy for performance so I think it will do well for me with low consumption.

Read reviews, do some shopping and look at road maps to see what is coming next, some times the perfect card is just around the corner and research can prevent a lot of buyers remorse.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:01 pm 
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This thread has been very helpful so far, I have learned from it. So I thought I'd ask for one more piece of advice.

(I managed to hold off building this over the summer in an attempt to force my kids outdoors more. It worked. Now time to get them their computer.)

I have decided on, from NCIX in Vancouver:

Antec Solo 1st gen (from old system)

Core i5 4570
Asus Z87M-Plus mb
Powercolor Radeon HD 7850 2GB video

Seasonic G Series 450W ps
Crucial M500 128GB SSD
Windows 8

The last thing I am wondering about is a CPU cooler? Anything available at NCIX for lowish price? Or do I need to order from elsewhere? They don't seem to have the variety of coolers that they have with other parts. The cooler mentioned earlier in this thread isn't one they stock.

Thanks.

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:16 pm 
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http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=64385 ... OLERMASTER

212 Evo. Everything else is out of stock or in another price dimension. Might be necessary to swap the fan, but i'd give stock fan a try first.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 7:06 am 
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Thanks. I've been wondering about that - starting with the stock cooler and going from there. Is it worthwhile, or even possible, to upgrade the fan on the stock cooler in order to improve acoustics?


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:37 am 
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I think Pappnaas meant for you to get the Coolermaster heatsink and try the fan that comes with it. If you don't like it's acoustics, then replace that fan. Don't bother with the stock Intel cooler.

Regarding the Asus mobo...The Intel C1 chipset at introduction had a bug in the USB3 controller, where devices sometimes aren't recognized when the PC returns from Sleep. The user fix is to dismount/remount the device for it to be recognized. Intel released the fixed C2 chipset to mobo mfgrs in end July. Some are starting to appear in retail now. But, it might be September until the old inventory is flushed. If, that "feature" doesn't bother you, then no worries.

If it does, then make sure NCIX is shipping the C2 stepping version of that motherboard. The Asus Part number will end in a "5" for C2 and "0" for C1.

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

Support SPCR through these links: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:40 am 
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ist.martin wrote:
Thanks. I've been wondering about that - starting with the stock cooler and going from there. Is it worthwhile, or even possible, to upgrade the fan on the stock cooler in order to improve acoustics?


I wouldn't. If you buy a different fan for stock cooler, you'll pretty soon will see that adding Nascar stickers to a 50 HP Chevvy won't make you win the race.

The base is simply not good enough. Starting with the stock fan from a 3rd party cooler is a different story.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on kids gaming PC (being built by a non-gamer).
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:54 am 
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Got it. Will pick up the 212 EVO. I just ordered everything.

Thanks for all the help.


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