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  X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis 
 
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Supreet Virdi Apr 11, 2006, 04:54pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Apr 16, 2006, 01:36pm EDT

Replies: 41 - Views: 4904
Hello all,

I’ve been using X850 Crossfire system from almost four weeks now, and so far I am extremely happy to see how it performs in games, so I decided to share my experience with all of you. Synthetic benchmarks & gaming benchmarks are included in this thread.


ATI X850XT [R480]:

R480 Architecture is one of the most overclockable and successful Architecture for ATI, it’s been around from quite time now, and still it’s a nice video card, especially now, since it has dropped to around US$ 163 as per listed at Newegg.

R480 Architecture has 6 Vertex Units and group of four quads, totaling 16 Pixel Pipelines and having 1-1 ratio down to render back-ends, with 16 decoupled Texture units, which work in parallel with Shader Processors. Advantage of having decoupled Texture Units is that, Shader Processors will not have to deal with Texture calculations as they are not coupled, for example, if a Texture instruction has been issued, it will perform directly on the independent Texture units, by this way it can do more Texture calculations in parallel with all Shader calculations.

ALU alignment inside the Pixel Pipeline stays the same with total of four ALUs (Vector1&2, Scalar1&2) and can able to push upto 5 Instructions per cycle.


Following are the R480 details you must be aware of:

16x1 Configuration

- 130nm Process with Low-K Dielectrics - TSMC
- 16 Pixel Pipelines (Four Quads)
- 6 Geometry Processors
- 16 Decoupled Texture Address Units
- 16 Render Back-ends (Single Z/Stencil Operation)
- 160 Millions Transistors
- 520 MHz Core Speed
- 540 MHz Memory Speed
- 256-bit Memory Controller (64-bit x 4)
- 256MB GDDR-3 Memory
- 3Dc (4:1 NMC)
- Pixel Shader Version 2.0b
- PCI-Express Bus Interface
- Temporal Anti Aliasing
- 2x/4x/6x Anti Aliasing
- 2x/4x//8x/16x Anisotropy Filtering


Later, ATI also released X850 CrossFire Edition card. In order to run two X850’s together, you’ll need X850 CrossFire Edition Card. Specifications for X850 CrossFire Edition is similar to X850XT, as per listed above.


XPRESS 200 CrossFire Motherboard:

To enable CrossFire, you’d need a Motherboard that is CrossFire ready; RD480 is the first chipset to support CrossFire, giving away 8x bandwidth to each card in CrossFire, and having two physical PCI-Express 16x slots.


Motherboard specifications are as follows:

- Socket 939 – Supports upto FX-60
- RD480 CrossFire Northbridge Chipset – 130nm Process
- SB450 Southbridge Chipset
- Supported Memories DDR 200/266/333/400 Upto 4GB
- Four Memory Slots
- Expansion Slots: 2 PCI-Express & 2 PCI
- Supports upto 4 SATA Drives (Raid 0, 1, 0+1)
- Supports upto 2 SATA II Drives
- Supports upto 4 IDE Drives
- Marvel Yukon Gigabit LAN
- ALC 880 High Definition Audio onboard - supports upto 7.1Ch
- 8 USB Ports



This Motherboard has some nice features, BIOS is very rich with overclocking features present, one could actually increase the HyperTransport to well over 2000Mhz on this Motherboard, and you can also increase the Voltage for almost everything, including the HyperTransport voltage to 1.39V. The only problem I have with this Motherboard is that it never detected my Memory at correct speeds of 200 MHz. I’ve already tried two different types of Memory on it, Kingston & Kingmax PC-3200s both work at 166 MHz instead of 200 MHz. But I’ve already overclocked my Memory and Processor, so, it’s a moot point here, however, I believe, there’s must be the bug in the BIOS, which can be rectified by upgrading BIOS.

This Motherboard overclocks wonderfully well also, unfortunately, the Memory (Kingston Value RAM) I am using is not meant for overclocking, so I had to leave the CPU to around 2.40 GHz, with HyperTransport reaching at more than 2100 MHz, and Base Clock touching around 266 MHz, while Multiplier is at 9x, and Memory speed crossing just over 215 MHz mark with 2.65 volts. Although I guess there’s still plenty of headroom for overclocking left in this Motherboard, roughly guessing, around 300 MHz of Base Clock can be attained.


Installation, Enabling CrossFire and Rendering Modes:

CrossFire Edition card had to be installed on the lower PCI-Express slot (on this Motherboard), which is Slot0, and the Slave Card in the upper slot which is Slot1, however, in most motherboard its opposite, the Slot0 is upper one and Slot1 is lower one. Installation was quite easy; it took me less than an hour for me to get it working. CrossFire, can be enabled in Catalyst Control Center, you just have to tick on a box under CrossFire section, and it will get enabled, also, you don’t have reboot your system after enabling it.


CrossFire offers Super Tiling, Alternate Frame Rendering & Scissor Modes for Rendering. Once the CrossFire is enabled, you can also set the Anti-Aliasing to 14x, which is called Super AA Mode, but keep in mind after enabling Super AA Mode, any other mode will stop working. Games do look marvelous, but it also reduces FPS in the games, which is quite obvious.

Catalyst Control Center:

I am also equally happy with the Catalyst Control Center, it works great, however, I would agree with few people who complain that Catalyst Control Center takes little more time to get initialized, but that’s only happen for the first time you get into Windows, if any of you are facing very slow boot-up, then I would suggest little more faster Hard Drive like Western Digital Raptor or SATA II. Although, it works fine on my Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM Hard Drive


Test Setup

• AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Venice overclocked to 2.40 GHz (3800+) VCore: 1.45v
• ATI XPRESS 200 CrossFire Motherboard
• ATI X850XT CrossFire Edition
• ATI X850XT
• 17" Samsung SyncMaster 793Magic Bright Monitor
• 2048 MBs Kingston Value RAM PC-3200 1T (Timings: 3-3-3-8) at 2.60V
• 40GB Seagate Barracuda Hard Disk
• 5.1 Sound Blaster Live! w/ 4.1 Creative Inspire 4400 Speakers
• Cooler Master 550W (RS-550-ACLY) Power Supply
• Logitech Keyboard & Mouse

Cooling:

• Cooler Master Susurro CPU Cooler with 92mm Ultra Silent Fan
• Cooler Master Copper RAM Heat Spreaders
• Cooler Master Premium Thermal Paste
• Cooler Master Blue Ice Northbridge Cooler (Moded)

Note: There are no specific reason why I choosed all Cooler Master products, its just because we have a local dealer here, hence easy availibility. Although, I am not disappointed with their products either

Benchmarks:

I’ve used three games for now, as I don’t have any more games, I do have Far Cry, but I’ve not included in this thread, I’ll post few screenshots of BFII & Far Cry later. Besides this, Synthetic Benchmarks like 3D Mark 05’ & Sis Sandra 2005b were also run.

Let’s see how powerful Venice 3000+ is while it’s overclocked to 2.40 GHz.

CPU
Sis Sandra CPU Arithmetic Benchmark:
http://img239.imageshack.us/img239/5996/arithmetic9vo.jpg

Sis Sandra CPU Multimedia Benchmark:
http://img231.imageshack.us/my.php?image=multimedia9sx.jpg

Memory:
Sis Sandra Memory Bandwidth Benchmark:
http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/4621/memorybandwidth8tf.jpg

3D Mark 05’: (CPU: 2.45 GHz)
http://img438.imageshack.us/img438/7131/3dmark47ns.jpg


Gaming Benchmarks:

Note: All games were run at 1280x1024 Resolution at 60 Hz due to my Monitor’s Refresh Rate limitation.

Game1 - Age of Empires III [6xAA, 16xAF]

Display Settings:

Video Resolution – 1280x1024
Refresh Rate – 60 Hz
Vertical Synchronization – Off
Anti-Aliasing: High

Shader Settings:

Shader Quality: High
Shadow Quality: Very High
Water Reflections: On
Bloom Effect: On

Detail Settings:


High-Poly Models: On
Terrain Detail Objects: On
Particle Quality: Normal
Tracer Effects: On
Foot Prints: On

Texture Settings:

Terrain Texture Quality: High
Model Texture Quality: High
Texture Filter Quality: High
16x AF set in Catalyst Control Center

Screenshot1:
http://img146.imageshack.us/img146/8422/10je.jpg

Screenshot2:
http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/6808/27df.jpg

Screenshot3:
http://img150.imageshack.us/img150/3733/39he1.jpg

Screenshot4:
http://img304.imageshack.us/img304/7278/43oy.jpg


FPS summary:

Low: 38 FPS
Average: 55 FPS
High: 100+ FPS

The game was extremely playable at those settings, I had already completed this game on my old 9800Pro, those screenshots are of Level1 and other levels have even more detail. I will add more screenshots of it, later.


Game2 – The Chronicles of Riddick [6xAA, 16xAF]

Graphics Setting:

Resolution: 1280x1024
Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
Full Screen: On
Vertical Synchronization: Off
Pixel Aspect: Normal
Shader Mode: 2.0++
Texture Quality: Maximum
Model Shadows: On
Anisotropy: Maximum

Screenshot1:
http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/356/17if.jpg

Screenshot2:
http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/3544/29de.jpg

Screenshot3:
http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/6882/34ct.jpg

Screenshot4:
http://img466.imageshack.us/img466/5986/40sz.jpg

Screenshot5:
http://img344.imageshack.us/img344/8166/56og.jpg

Screenshot6:
http://img344.imageshack.us/img344/3481/65yw.jpg

Screenshot7:
http://img466.imageshack.us/img466/5407/74ut.jpg

Screenshot8:
http://img461.imageshack.us/img461/7518/88vr.jpg

FPS Summary:

Low: 30 FPS
Average: 65 FPS
High: 100+FPS

The Chronicles of Riddick has some very nice graphics and a well written script as well, I really enjoyed playing this game, and at high detail this game looks very appealing.

Game-3 F.E.A.R. [4xAA, 8xAF]

Graphics Setting:

FSAA: 4x
Light Detail: Maximum
Enable Shadows: On
Shadow Detail: Maximum
Soft Shadows: Off
Texturing Filtering: Anisotropy 8x
Texture Resolution: Max
Videos: Max
Pixel Doubling: On
DX8 Shaders: Off
Screen Resolution: 1280x960
Shaders: Maximum

Effects:

Effects Detail: Maximum
Model Declas: Maximum
Water Resolution: Maximum
Reflections and Displays: Maximum
Volumetric Lights: Off
Volumetric Light Density: Minimum
Particle Bouncing: Maximum
Shell Casings: On
World Detail: Maximum
Corpse Detail: Maximum

Physics:

Single Player Physics: Minimum

Effects setting Screenshot:
http://img139.imageshack.us/img139/1659/effects4od.jpg

Graphics setting Screenshot:
http://img394.imageshack.us/img394/8867/graphics7vv.jpg

Performance Test Screenshot:
http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/1432/performancetest2fz.jpg

Physics setting Screenshot:
http://img141.imageshack.us/img141/6643/physics9qb.jpg

Screenshot1:
http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/2792/screenshot13oh.jpg

Screenshot2:
http://img141.imageshack.us/img141/3204/screenshot27fa.jpg

Screenshot3:
http://img141.imageshack.us/img141/6862/screenshot43cw.jpg

Screenshot4:
http://img102.imageshack.us/img102/4200/screenshot54zd.jpg He! :)

Screenshot5:
http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/466/screenshot67dr.jpg

Screenshot6:
http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/899/screenshot75zb.jpg

Screenshot7:
http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/4775/screenshot85kd.jpg

Screenshot8:
http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/1521/screenshot90ch.jpg


FPS Summary:

Low: 7 FPS
Average: 52 FPS
High: 100+ FPS

FEAR is one of the most graphic intense game out there, it really stressed down X850 CrossFire at those settings, in few areas FPS would drop to around 7 FPS, but generally I get about 55-60 FPS on average. FEAR performance test do tell all the story upto an extent though, but visually as you can see it looks quite appealing.



Conclusion:

As you can see above, X850 CrossFire can play almost any latest game out there on decent resolution & detail with decent FPS, including FEAR which is the most Shader Intense game.

At the moment, I am guessing I need even powerful CPU, Venice 3000+ at stock frequency of 1.80 GHz is quite slow now, that's why I didn't even bother runing the benchmarks at 1.80 GHz clock speed (not necessarily a bottleneck) but at 2.40 GHz it almost competes FX-53, but still a FX-55 or greater would’ve had helped a lot, also Venice CPUs has 512KB of L2 Cache, San Diego core (especially 4000+) with 1MB of L2 Cache would’ve certainly increased the performance in the games, you could roughly add another 4-5 FPS on average in all games.

Video Cards were run at stock speeds; I haven’t overclocked even a single MHz on Core or Memory, although now I am interested to see how it will perform at Platinum Edition Speeds (Core: 540 MHz / Memory: 590), although if I do so, I’ll definitely post screenshots again soon.

The Memory I am using at the moment is quite slow at stock, as the latencies are quite relaxed, CAS Latency of 3.0 at 200 MHz is obviously very slow, and a faster TCC5/TCCD/BH-5 Module would’ve had increased the performance by good difference in games. Also, as I mentioned above, there’s still headroom for overclocking, but I guess its about maximum overclock I could get with a Value RAM, using 166 MHz divider. But all in all X850XT CrossFire is still quite fast.

I'll also post few screenshots of how games look in 14xAA & 16xAF in coming days.


Catalyst Control Center Screenshot: :)
http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/7624/catalyst2wx.jpg


____

101% Pure ATI Whoop ASS®!!

http://img397.imageshack.us/img397/1715/picture0011ki.jpg
http://img397.imageshack.us/img397/6671/picture0045rp.jpg
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Sean Costello Apr 11, 2006, 05:04pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
never noticed how nice of a system you've had, well it just show's you that X850's can still do good :D, great info, very proffesionaly done!

______
Story of My Life- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c764JWVt5Fw
Apr 11, 2006, 05:28pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Apr 11, 2006, 05:29pm EDT

 
>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
Damn fine work, Supreet, damn fine. Although I think that the JPEG compression really stripped away a lot of the quality of your screenshots.

Adam Kolak Apr 11, 2006, 05:31pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
Must be a nice upgrade from that 9800 Pro.

Adam Kolak
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DarK_SlayeR Apr 11, 2006, 05:50pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
Very well done Supreet :)

-------------------
Intel Core 2 Duo e8400 @ stock
Asus P5Q Pro P45
2GB x 2 Kingston HyperX DDR2 1066
eVGA GTX 550 Ti 1024mb Superclocked
Windows Vista Home Premium x64
Supreet Virdi Apr 11, 2006, 05:50pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
Thanks,

Well I had to lower down the JPEG quality to Medium so that it can be easily uploaded, as I have slow Internet Connection speed here at my place. Although, yes games look much better than what it appears on the screenshots.

And Adam, yea I am blown away by the performance difference between X850XT CrossFire and 9800Pro, the difference is awesome!.

Also, I forgot to add that, I haven't noticed any heat problems with cards yet. :

____

101% Pure ATI Whoop ASS®!!

http://img397.imageshack.us/img397/1715/picture0011ki.jpg
http://img397.imageshack.us/img397/6671/picture0045rp.jpg
Mark Apr 11, 2006, 05:51pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
Dang you Supreet.... Now I have to go buy AOE3 ;)

----------------------------------------------
- Intel Pentium G2020
- Asus 8800GT 512MB w/Glaciator Fansink
- Antec True 650w
DarK_SlayeR Apr 11, 2006, 05:56pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
You better not have any heat problems! Those cards have leafblowers mounted on them!

-------------------
Intel Core 2 Duo e8400 @ stock
Asus P5Q Pro P45
2GB x 2 Kingston HyperX DDR2 1066
eVGA GTX 550 Ti 1024mb Superclocked
Windows Vista Home Premium x64
SuPeR Xp Apr 11, 2006, 06:06pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
Nice work :)

You are up there with the X1900XT, XTX, 7900GTX. Long Live the X850XT's :)

-------------------------------------------------
Custom AMD HAF 932 Red Dragon GAMING MOD!!!
http://www.techpowerup.com/gallery/2442.html
Supreet Virdi Apr 11, 2006, 06:09pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Apr 11, 2006, 06:10pm EDT

 
>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
Oh yes Mark, Age of Empires III is a nice game, and even better detail on advanced levels, I am sure you'd like the gameplay :)

Darkie :), yea, it has very efficient Dual Slot cooling solutions and automatic fan controller which keeps the heat away, I was just wondering I've seen so many threads in which so many people complain about about how hot it can get, but I don't have any problems.

Aww Super, yep, these cards are nice! :)

____

101% Pure ATI Whoop ASS®!!

http://img397.imageshack.us/img397/1715/picture0011ki.jpg
http://img397.imageshack.us/img397/6671/picture0045rp.jpg
Mark Apr 11, 2006, 06:11pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
Definately going to love AOE3. Big fan of AOE and AOE2 here!!! :)


----------------------------------------------
- Intel Pentium G2020
- Asus 8800GT 512MB w/Glaciator Fansink
- Antec True 650w
Supreet Virdi Apr 11, 2006, 06:59pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
Yea, nice game it is. I remember, I actually stopped playing F.E.A.R for it, you know just to give more time to Age of Empires III rather :D

____

101% Pure ATI Whoop ASS®!!

http://img397.imageshack.us/img397/1715/picture0011ki.jpg
http://img397.imageshack.us/img397/6671/picture0045rp.jpg
Sean Costello Apr 11, 2006, 07:23pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
yea I am blown away by the performance difference between X850XT CrossFire and 9800Pro


Try going to and X850XT from an MX200 or Intergrated graphics...

______
Story of My Life- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c764JWVt5Fw
Matt BillyBob Apr 11, 2006, 09:34pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
so supreet have you got your heart set on a crossfire 3200 motherboard yet?? ;) any idea what kind of performance gain you could expect?

Chris McNally Apr 12, 2006, 02:43am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
Excellent writeup Supreet, thanks a lot. You're getting some good numbers from those cards.

Regards,

Chris McNally

Moderator - Hardware Analysis
E-mail: chris@hardwareanalysis.com
Supreet Virdi Apr 12, 2006, 02:57am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
Oh yes Matt, I would love to have XPRESS 3200 Motherboard, it should overclock even better than RD480.

Thanks Chris, I'll also add screenshots of Battlefield II & FarCry in coming days. :)

____

101% Pure ATI Whoop ASS®!!

http://img397.imageshack.us/img397/1715/picture0011ki.jpg
http://img397.imageshack.us/img397/6671/picture0045rp.jpg
BrinNutz Apr 12, 2006, 09:30am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
Great Review Supreet...Very well done...Congrats!

RSA . Apr 13, 2006, 08:01am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Apr 13, 2006, 08:14am EDT

 
>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
great work, where did you keep your 9800 pro can you send me @..?

X2 4200
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Shadow_Ops_Airman1 Apr 13, 2006, 08:41am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
so you finally upgraded.

AMD Athlon XP-M 2500+ (133x14= 1867MHz) (209x11= 2299MHz)
DFI LP NF2 Ultra-B (Hellfire 3EG Rev2)
Antec SX800, Neo HE 500, 4 Antec 8CM Fans
Thermalright SI-97 1 Antec Tricool 12CM Fan
CL SB XFi Xtreme Music
2x Barracuda HDs (250/400)
2x Samsung Write
Supreet Virdi Apr 24, 2006, 03:12pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Apr 25, 2006, 07:39am EDT

 
>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
EDITED: FarCry screenshots moved to second page

____

101% Pure ATI Whoop ASS®!!

http://img397.imageshack.us/img397/1715/picture0011ki.jpg
http://img397.imageshack.us/img397/6671/picture0045rp.jpg
Michael C Apr 24, 2006, 10:17pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: X850XT CrossFire - Performance Analysis
Nice cards dude. Have you seen the Crysis video for the FarCry 2 engine yet? IT LOOKS AMAZING.


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