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Old 12-13-2011, 03:57 AM   #16
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by betula View Post
Lord, I'm now frightened to death of messing up my machine! I presumed that I would get a bios update from Gigabyte and, indeed, found it there. Quite which of the myriad choices I should select was beyond me. And how to get it into a usb flash drive wasn't clear either. Is Qflash something in my existing Bios?
Yeah, there can be some fear factor with updating BIOSes. Its understandable, even if you havent seen years worth of 'dont upgrade your BIOS if you machine is working', 'I bricked my machine with a BIOS update' etc. warnings.

Its not that risky with newer methods like Q-flash. To use Qflash, what you do is downalod the new BIOS file, unzip it to a floppy disc/Hdd/USB flash drive. Reboot, then while the system is starting (POST) insert the floppy/USB flash drive, and hit the 'End' key (or enter the BIOSand hit F8). Then just follow the directions onscreen.

Gigabytes directions here-

faq.gigabyte.com/FileUpload/FAQ/1/308/file/flashbios_qflash.pdf

BTW, sorry, I should have checked harder earlier....there are 3 variants on your board GA-M57SLI-S4, rev1.0, rev1.1 and rev2.0. Make sure that you get the right BIOS, its possible that flashing a rev1.0 BIOS onto a rev2.0 board will kill it.

To check if you have a rev1.0, 1.1 or 2.0 board would probably require pulling the side off the case, then finding the (always tiny) writing saying 'rev 1.0'.

I cant see to find where that text would be on the GA-M57SLI-S4 though, and the pics I've seen online havent helped me find it. Hopefully you've still got the box somewhere it came in, its normally clearly marked there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by betula View Post
I then thought that doing something with VDPAU might be the answer after all. So I googled it and found that VDPAU needs X11 software. Synaptic Package manager indicates that I have X11 installed but not VDPAU - which is not in the repositories of Mepis.
OK, if your using Mepis then you probably wont get the 'Flash 10.2 Stage Video' version that supports VDPAU. If you want to setup VDPAU for watching videos offline it would still help, but if you only watch online videos then VDPAU will not help you now.

Still interested in setting up VDPAU?

I havent tried it with Mepis, and I'm not 100% sure about how the Mepis repos work.

With debian, you just add 'non-free' to the repos, get the nVidia closed drivers and other junk needed to run them (like nvidia kernel headers). Then you get the VDPAU packages (libvdpau1, nvidia-vdpau-driver, gstreamer0.10-plugins-really-bad). I also get mplayer/mplayer2 and a interface to suit (eg, kplayer with KDE, gnome-mplayer with gnome/xfce/lxde) as its far easier to get working with VDPAU than any other players IMO.

Once you have all the packages installed, open kplayer/gnome-mplayer (or whatever version you are using), go to the settings and change the video driver to 'VDPAU'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by betula View Post
Hope I'm not annoying anyone with very basic questions.
Not here, and its doubtful that anyone would be annoyed. Your questions might be basic but you can spell and punctuate, with the added bonus that you know how to ask a question well. I wish more more forum users had those skills.

Last edited by cascade9; 12-13-2011 at 04:04 AM.
 
Old 12-13-2011, 04:22 AM   #17
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You should never flash from Window$. Either use a method integrated into the BIOS (Q-flash, EZ-flash, etc) or a DOS boot disk (I usually boot freedos from UBCD and flash the BIOS from a USB stick).
 
Old 12-13-2011, 12:03 PM   #18
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Hi again,

Well, I've taken off both sides of my case and still can't see what version of my mobo I have. I don't really want to take the whole system to pieces at the moment; the box has long gone and though I have the original receipt there's little information on that. So I daren't risk flashing the bios.

Can say, now, that VDPAU wouldn't be much help to me as I only watch the sort of video that comes with a Youtube song: (I love Judy Collins and Judith Durham). And it does seem a lot of fiddle to install, too.

So, I'm back to replacing bits and there's plenty of guidance on this thread already on that. As I live in England the pricing structure will be quite different to yours, but with Christmas sales starting, the stuff shouldn't be too bad.

I'm going to close this thread now to give you all a rest. If I need more help a bit later I know I can always start another thread in LQ and this is a great comfort. Many, many thanks to everybody. I'm impressed with your knowledge and willingness to impart it.
 
Old 12-14-2011, 04:12 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by betula View Post
Well, I've taken off both sides of my case and still can't see what version of my mobo I have. I don't really want to take the whole system to pieces at the moment; the box has long gone and though I have the original receipt there's little information on that. So I daren't risk flashing the bios.
It might not be marked. I recall somebody bitching about some gigabyte boards from a few years ago having no 'rev' makings, this might be one of those boards.

A bit more looking at it seems that rev 1.0 and rev 1.1 use the same basic baord with the exact same BIOS. Its not that hard to pick between the rev 1.0/1.1 and rev 2.0 boards if you know what you are looking for.

Rev 1.0-

http://www.gigabyte.com/fileupload/p...2/2287/610.jpg

Rev 2.0-

http://www.gigabyte.com/fileupload/p...2/2539/725.jpg

The easiest place to see the difference between the boards is in the bottom left of those shots, near the battery- the giveaway is the swtich conenction headers/USB headers position. The rev 1.0/1.1 boards have the USB headers closer to the centre of the board, the rev 2.0 boards have the USB headers closer to the bottom and the edge.

But even with that info, you might not want to risk flashing your BIOS, which is understandable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by betula View Post
Can say, now, that VDPAU wouldn't be much help to me as I only watch the sort of video that comes with a Youtube song: (I love Judy Collins and Judith Durham). And it does seem a lot of fiddle to install, too.
Its not as bad as my post make it seem....well, not with debian anyway. Provided that you have the nVidia closed drivers install, you can do everything in 5 minutes with synpatic (and one poke at the mplayer settings)

I'd suprised that the mepis wiki has no mention of VDPAU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by betula View Post
So, I'm back to replacing bits and there's plenty of guidance on this thread already on that. As I live in England the pricing structure will be quite different to yours, but with Christmas sales starting, the stuff shouldn't be too bad.

I'm going to close this thread now to give you all a rest. If I need more help a bit later I know I can always start another thread in LQ and this is a great comfort. Many, many thanks to everybody. I'm impressed with your knowledge and willingness to impart it.
I'd watch those christmas sales- a lot of retailers use them to sell junk to people who know less than usual about computers. Lots of ancient hardware getting around, and if you were unlucky you could end up with a system with no real advantages over your current system.....

I know, you've already got suggestions for new hardware, and this is just my opinion (and it could be interesting to see what TobiSGD says about this).

I'd get a AMD CPU, as far as the cheaper CPUs go AMD rules price/performance. AMD also tends to be a lot easier upgrade in the future (if you had a 5 year old intel board, you can only get a 'budget' CPUs to suit, IF you can upgrade CPU at all).

I would also get a motherboard without video, and buy a cheap video card (nVidia G210 or AMD 5450, both about 20-25 quid), or use the 8500GT you already have.

So I would get a AM3+ board (it will run AM3 CPUs, and you will be able upgrade to a faster AM3+ 'bulldozer' CPU in the future).
Whatever CPU fits your budget (I'd suggest Phenom II X4 925-965, they are nicely priced and have a lot of power)
The newest AMD chipset without features you dont need (AMD 970 chipset). I'd suggest gigabyte, asus (prefered brands IMO) or even an asrock or biostar board.

Probably a new case and power supply as well, but dont try to skimp on the power supply- cheap and nasty power supplies are a major cause of computer problems in my expereince. Better to get a good brand power supply in the 500watt range (thats move than you would need) over some 700-1000watt 'yum-cha' power supply.

BTW, a great tool for finding the best prices on hardware in the UK is staticice-

http://www.staticice.co.uk/
 
Old 12-14-2011, 11:37 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
I'd watch those christmas sales- a lot of retailers use them to sell junk to people who know less than usual about computers. Lots of ancient hardware getting around, and if you were unlucky you could end up with a system with no real advantages over your current system.....
You are right, I will not tell names but I have seen some companies sell Pentium D and even Pentium 4 machines for cheap. That would really not be the ones you should buy.

Quote:
this is just my opinion (and it could be interesting to see what TobiSGD says about this).
I second your statement, when it goes to the low-end and mid-price region I would definitely go for AMD. For higher price regions the way to go is Intel, but it will cost far more. My personal opinion: Stay away from AMDs FX series and also the A8/A6 APUs. The further are a simple cheat, IMHO (how can they dare to call the FX8xxx a real eight core CPU, it simply isn't), the APUs use a different socket that is compatible only to the APUs and will , AFAIK, be replaced soon. So you don't have an upgrade path with those.

Quote:
I would also get a motherboard without video
Most cheaper boards tend to have onboard video nowadays, even in the midprice region they are quite common. I wouldn't consider that a show stopper.

Quote:
use the 8500GT you already have.
Exactly, should be more than sufficient for your needs.

Quote:
So I would get a AM3+ board
Yes.

Quote:
The newest AMD chipset without features you dont need (AMD 970 chipset
The 970 is a fine chipset, but may be you can get better prices for the older 880 chipset. Just keep in mind to get an AM3+ compatible board, there may be better CPUs than the FX series in future and AMD CPUs almost ever are somewhat backwards compatible (still running my AM3 Phenom on an AM2+ board, no time replace the hardware around Christmas time, all people want to buy computers).

Quote:
I'd suggest Phenom II X4 925-965
Warning, don't go for the 920 and 940, they are not AM3 CPUs, the others are fine, more power than you will need currently, I would think. If you want to go cheaper, but still powerful enough, go for the Athlon II X4 6xx series.

Quote:
dont try to skimp on the power supply- cheap and nasty power supplies are a major cause of computer problems in my expereince.
My experience also. I would never buy a cheapo PSU again. While the PSUs from the known brands are a little bit more expensive you will get better lifetime and better efficiency, which means that the system at whole will draw less power, especially when the machine isn't working hard. I would go even lower than cascade9, if you don't have a power-hungry videocard for gamers a 450W PSU from a good brand should be more than sufficient. I personally bought a BeQuiet System Power 550W for my machine (also still have to be built in) and my machine is far more power-hungry than yours should be. At my workplace I sometimes see customers that insist to have an 800W PSU in their office machine, which I would consider totally nonsense.

Last edited by TobiSGD; 12-14-2011 at 11:39 AM.
 
Old 12-15-2011, 03:43 AM   #21
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I dunno where you get all your knowledge from, guys, but I'm very pleased to have you around. I'll place the order, based on your latest information, and will let you know what I've decided on.

It might take a couple of days as I have a decorator around who's talking more than he's working and I feel I have to keep an eye on him. But I will do it and then let you know how the build goes. I'm looking forward to doing it now I know what to get.

Many thanks
 
Old 12-15-2011, 06:43 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
Stay away from AMDs FX series and also the A8/A6 APUs. The further are a simple cheat, IMHO (how can they dare to call the FX8xxx a real eight core CPU, it simply isn't), the APUs use a different socket that is compatible only to the APUs and will , AFAIK, be replaced soon. So you don't have an upgrade path with those.
Agreed, well, on the A6/A8 APUs.

On the FX (bulldozer) CPUs. I can see why AMD they call them 8 core, but I can I can understand why you would take that position. IMO they are best avoided for now because of cost, price/performance. I am really hoping that AMD can pick up the performance of the bulldozer series, with stepping updates, and/or software updates.

We NEED AMD, I dont want to have intel dominate x86/x86-64 CPUs. I'd still unimpressed that cyrix/VIA for all intents arent 'players' in x86 anymore.

Its already bad enough with all the hardware manufacturers who have disappeared.....Epox, Abit, Aopen, Soltek *sinff*. I could go on but then I'll get my keyboard wet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
Most cheaper boards tend to have onboard video nowadays, even in the midprice region they are quite common. I wouldn't consider that a show stopper.
Same here. I've just had far less toubles with boards without onboard video over the years, so I think that paying an extra few $$$ for a video card is worth it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
The 970 is a fine chipset, but may be you can get better prices for the older 880 chipset. Just keep in mind to get an AM3+ compatible board, there may be better CPUs than the FX series in future and AMD CPUs almost ever are somewhat backwards compatible (still running my AM3 Phenom on an AM2+ board, no time replace the hardware around Christmas time, all people want to buy computers).
True, but the UK prices are really odd. See here for example-

http://www.advancetec.co.uk/acatalog...herboards.html

From expereince, its more likely the 'performance' boards tend to get better updates in the future. The 'mainstream/entry' level boards (almost all with onboard video) are more likely to not get that BIOS update 3 years after release to run newer CPUs.

Its also (IMO) more likely that a newer chipset like the 9XX series will get updates that the older chipsets like the 8XX series cannot get.

@ betula- 880, 970, both will work. If you wanted to get a small case, eg. mircoATX, the 880 boards are the way to go (I dont know of any microATX 970). If you dont mind having a slightly larger case, and dont mind spending a few more quid for a new card (or use your old card) I'd get a 970. BTW, 'slightly larger' is just that, you dont have to run huge ATX cases, some of them are fairly small.

Quote:
Originally Posted by betula View Post
I dunno where you get all your knowledge from, guys, but I'm very pleased to have you around. I'll place the order, based on your latest information, and will let you know what I've decided on.

It might take a couple of days as I have a decorator around who's talking more than he's working and I feel I have to keep an eye on him. But I will do it and then let you know how the build goes. I'm looking forward to doing it now I know what to get.

Many thanks
No problem.

I've spent a lot of time fixing/building computers, both for myself and friends and professionally. I think TobiSGD is in a similar position.
 
Old 12-15-2011, 11:25 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
I am really hoping that AMD can pick up the performance of the bulldozer series, with stepping updates, and/or software updates.
Possible, but I don't think that will happen. I actually hope that the FX series was a step in between to come up with something that at least come close in some disciplines to the Sandybridge CPUs and they will release "the real thing" in the not so far future.

Quote:
We NEED AMD, I dont want to have intel dominate x86/x86-64 CPUs.
I totally agree!

Quote:
the UK prices are really odd
Wow, prices there are really different from what I see here in Germany.

Quote:
From expereince, its more likely the 'performance' boards tend to get better updates in the future. The 'mainstream/entry' level boards (almost all with onboard video) are more likely to not get that BIOS update 3 years after release to run newer CPUs.
You are right, I didn't think about that. But I would think that it is more likely to get the updates with "big brand" boards (ASUS, Gigabyte) then from the manufacturers that have rather an image to be "the cheap ones" (Biostar, Asrock).

Quote:
I've spent a lot of time fixing/building computers, both for myself and friends and professionally. I think TobiSGD is in a similar position.
Yes, I am doing the same for fun and to earn money.
 
Old 12-16-2011, 02:55 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
Possible, but I don't think that will happen. I actually hope that the FX series was a step in between to come up with something that at least come close in some disciplines to the Sandybridge CPUs and they will release "the real thing" in the not so far future.
Possible, but I dont think that AMD has much, if anything left 'in the pipeline' for now as far as the bulldozer CPUs go.

Sadly, the days of AMD keeping up with the 'top end' intel CPUs is gone. IMO it wont come back, it took a lot of luck and good choices from AMD (eg hiring lots of x-DEC engineers, partnering with motorola) and intel really stuffing up (eg the P4 series, RDRAM) for AMD to catch intel.

If AMD had managed to increase (and keep) its market share to more like 30-40% of the x86 market then AMD might have kept up with intel, but it didnt happen. Sadly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
Wow, prices there are really different from what I see here in Germany.
I'll admit that was a particularly bad example for UK prices. Most of the UK prices will be similar in range to Germany.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
You are right, I didn't think about that. But I would think that it is more likely to get the updates with "big brand" boards (ASUS, Gigabyte) then from the manufacturers that have rather an image to be "the cheap ones" (Biostar, Asrock).
Agreed, apart from all the OEM boards that asus builds for people like HP.

BTW, even though biostar and asrock as seen as cheaper, they are stil pretty good as far as updates go. ECS (retail) boards would be worse than either for updates in my expereince.
 
Old 12-16-2011, 08:40 AM   #25
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Inbetween continually feeding my decorator with tea and biscuits, I've been cruising the web for motherboards and processors. The difference in specifications is amazing. Some have this, some that, some nothing much. Anyway I'm increasingly drawn to the Gigabyte A75 APU boards because of their specs and prices. And they have good reviews, too.

I know that you recommended that I shy away from these on the grounds of lack of future upgrading possibilities. However, they will easily give me what I want now and I doubt very much that I will ever need more. My ageing rate is faster than the advance of technology!

I reckon I could buy the essentials for about GB 400. A Gigabyte mobo, cpu with integrated graphics, 4gb memory and an OCZ modular 550w psu. (I saw a review of that by chance). Maybe a micro case if this doesn't stretch things too much.

I look forward to recieving your comments.
 
Old 12-16-2011, 09:11 AM   #26
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I don't like Gigabyte boards, I've had problems with them. I would go for ASUS.
 
Old 12-18-2011, 05:26 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by betula View Post
Inbetween continually feeding my decorator with tea and biscuits, I've been cruising the web for motherboards and processors. The difference in specifications is amazing. Some have this, some that, some nothing much. Anyway I'm increasingly drawn to the Gigabyte A75 APU boards because of their specs and prices. And they have good reviews, too.

I know that you recommended that I shy away from these on the grounds of lack of future upgrading possibilities. However, they will easily give me what I want now and I doubt very much that I will ever need more. My ageing rate is faster than the advance of technology!

I reckon I could buy the essentials for about GB 400. A Gigabyte mobo, cpu with integrated graphics, 4gb memory and an OCZ modular 550w psu. (I saw a review of that by chance). Maybe a micro case if this doesn't stretch things too much.

I look forward to recieving your comments.
I'd avoid the socket FM1 ('a series') boards, at least for now. Aside from the upgrading issue that TobiSGD mentioned (which may not matter to you at all) there are other problems with the FM1 boards.

The main problem is that the AMD 'GPU on a CPU' system that is used with the A series CPUs is still buggy with many distros. Over the next year, those problems should be fixed, but right now its probably not the best idea unless you are running a very up to date distro (eg slackware current, debian testing/sid) or are very confident with fixing problems.

The other 'semi-problem' with the A series setups is that they really like to have 'fast' RAM (DDR3-1866+). They will run with slower, older DDR3 from 1066-1600 but it does slow down the performance in general. DDR3-1866/2000 is about twice the cost of DDR3-1600....
 
Old 12-19-2011, 04:04 AM   #28
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By gum, Cascade9, you've just stopped me in time. I'll go back to choosing an am3+ board as you originally suggested.

I'm nipping out now to an early carol service and will sing a paean of thanks on your behalf.

I'll let you know what I decide.
 
Old 12-19-2011, 05:04 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
The main problem is that the AMD 'GPU on a CPU' system that is used with the A series CPUs is still buggy with many distros. Over the next year, those problems should be fixed, but right now its probably not the best idea unless you are running a very up to date distro (eg slackware current, debian testing/sid) or are very confident with fixing problems.
I think that most people would agree with that; the A-series is relatively recent, and distro support is not quite there yet, in all cases. It seems almost certain that this situation will improve over time, but how long? And, is the distro that you would ideally want to use affected, or is it in the clear? These questions are difficult to answer at the moment, and if you just want to go on the safe path, then the safe answer is 'don't'.

Given that the only real advantages come if you are concerned about power consumption, and particularly if you are concerned about power consumption, and are able to take advantage of of the graphics processor for general computation (and, currently, you can't, outside of a few, special purpose, applications), it is a bit difficult to see the upside that compensates you for the potential downsides, It would be different if the system (approximately, processor plus motherboard) were a very obvious bargain, but that isn't the case, at least based on current UK prices.

@cascade9
Quote:
Possible, but I dont think that AMD has much, if anything left 'in the pipeline' for now as far as the bulldozer CPUs go.
AMD has 'pre-announced' Piledriver, Bulldozer's successor, for sometime in the new year (forget exactly when, but I'm not sure that I'd believe them, anyway). The trouble is that they have forecast an Instructions per Clock improvement of up to 15%, and that really isn't enough, even if it isn't an optimistic figure, and it is probably an optimistic figure, for general purpose usage.

That said, AMD is still in the game at the low-to-medium end, but it really isn't, further up the performance spectrum, and a small performance boost doesn't change that, where a big one could. The sector where AMD is genuinely competing doesn't allow them to sell high end processors, with larger per unit margins, but it does, just about, allow them to sell into the volume segment, but whether that is enough, or offers a simple enough business model to allow AMD to go toe-to-toe with Intel, is questionable.

That said, a Phenom II X4 555 BE offers good perf and a reasonable price, as does a Bulldozer Fx-4100. Neither of these are high end parts, but compared to where you are today, either would represent a very significant step forward in performance.

On the Intel side, something like an i3 2100 would certainly do the job, and even a Pentium G 840 would be a step from where you are, and would be less expensive. Traditionally, the position has been that an AMD system offers savings on the motherboard, but, right now, socket 1155 motherboards can be reasonably priced, if you don't want all the bells and whistles, and the top-end chipset. If you feel ideologically inclined to take a pro-AMD position, none of this will make much difference to you, you'll just try to select the best AMD part for your build.

The other thing to budget for, would be a CPU fan. The AMD ones, in particular, can sound a bit raw and irritating, and, if you build and don't like the sound quality, an aftermarket low-noise fan can make all the difference, and probably keep your CPU better cooled at the same time. Of course, if you build and don't object to the noise (or something else, like another fan, dominates the noise), then you needn't bother, and keep the cash.

One thing to look out for is the memory support of the motherboard; the real 'end-of-life, not-worth-upgrading-any-more, even-as-a-second-machine' point is often set by the maximum RAM that the board can support, so you should ensure that your board can accommodate at least twice as much memory as you intend to use initially. Four memory sockets is better than two, when upgrading, too. Both AM3 and S1155 boards ought to take a processor upgrade from what you are likely to buy now, even though there probably would be an issue about what is available new, say, 5 years down the line.

Last edited by salasi; 12-20-2011 at 02:42 AM. Reason: obvious typo that wasn't obvious until I hit the button
 
Old 12-20-2011, 02:29 AM   #30
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By gum, there's a lot to think about, isn't there. I was just settling on the Asus M5A88-M mobo and Athlon 11 x 4, 640 combination that TobiGSD proposed, based on price, when I read your post, salasi. Thanks for the input.

I'll now investigate the Intel i3-2100 possibilities. I'm getting interested now, rather than just gathering information, and as I've never had an Intel set up perhaps I should jump that way. And it's Christmas so I should treat myself and not worry too much about costs. I certainly would like a quieter machine, too.

Anytime any of you guys get to Shropshire, England, I'd happily stand you a pint or two.
 
  


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