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  Re: The frustrations of building a new PC 
 
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Sander Sassen Oct 29, 2008, 06:31am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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I'm sure many people have had the same experience before, but I seldom find myself in a situation where a motherboard just refuses to post (unless it is defective), especially considering this isn't a motherboard from some unknown manufacturer. This particular motherboard features the Intel P45 chipset and uses DDR3 memory exclusively, there's no slots for DDR2, which some manufacturers opt to use. At this point I'm still debugging this issue with the manufacturer, so I won't declose details, but it sure seems odd that in '08 we'd be seeing these kind of compatibility issues.

Cheers,


Sander Sassen
Editor in Chief - Hardware Analysis
ssassen@hardwareanalysis.com
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Jose Garcia Oct 29, 2008, 07:23am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
Ah ya, I know what you mean. I feel for you too. I've had compatibility issues with a certain combination of sound and video cards.

Motherboard issues are the worst. I had experienced a very similar motherboard / memory issue like yours about 6 months ago. I ended up tossing 1gb of brand new memory. I would challenge the motherboard & memory manufacturers to do a QA analysis of this compatibility issue. Their engineers should test it on the bench and then issue a notice to their customers. It should totally be up to the manufacturer to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Good luck.

mayank tripathi Oct 29, 2008, 07:45am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
I was hoping you could disclose the makes and model numbers of all the parts as i will be going in for a new pc too and would not want to go through this.

Roman Polaski Oct 29, 2008, 08:07am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>>  How to avoid some of the frustrations of building a new PC
I, too, have been building state-of-the-art systems for friends and family since the late 1980s (!). My father-in-law was an electrical engineer and, after buying a "PC" for over $4k (!!) only to have zero support from the vendor, he immersed himself....and me...into learning about components and building systems heads and tails above what was on the market. Since then I love keeping up with the new technologies as best as possible all the while saving some bucks for my acquaintances. There's nothing like that sinking feeling when you first flip the switch only to have things remain dark, especially with the new owner looking over your shoulder.

To address the issue you've encounterd, what I decided to do to avoid critical failures is to order the MB 'assembled' with the RAM and CPU installed and tested at the vendor's shop. That way, when I get the MB, it's got the critical pieces installed and tested with the testerís name on the slip of paper. If it doesn't work when I get it I know the defect is usually one that I created. The cost of assembly and testing is only a paltry $9 from the one supplier I regularly use. It's a real help when building systems. I've had one assembly arrive dead, but the reason was shipping wasn't kind to the assembly and the vendor found a damaged board which was immediately replaced. I also had one arrive where the CPU that had popped off the board because of the shipping gorillas.

By using the assembly option, I've built dozens of high-end PCs that way and have eliminated the bulk of problems one can encounter.....at least to the level where it's easy to determine what other components I've installed and that can be removed and test without having to determine if the MB/CPU/RAM are working correctly. Other than that, builds are light-years better than back in the day when we were switching components to be compatible with each other. I'd highly recommend that any builders out there use the "assembly" option if their vendor offers it. In your case, it would have been immediately discovered the incompatibility of the DDR3 and your choice of MB.


Rome

Meats_Of_Evil Oct 29, 2008, 09:02am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
Good to see another article Sander. I wouldn't thought that a reputable brand as you described would have such a faulty design. Considering that the only mothebroard that every gave me problems was a POS with a Via arena chipset that just wouldn't play nice with my 6800 agp card, it couldn't even render the shadows correctly but it was my fault and I learned not to buy stuff so cheap.

I think you should at least specify the brands of RAM you used as to know if it's really a bad bios version or just a crappy design on their part. I'm sure you knew all this but some manufacturer's websites specify what brands of ram are tested and work 100% with the board.

Maybe I didn't read right but you didn't specify if you did a bios update? That could help a lot too.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Everything I write is Sarcasm.
Sander Sassen Oct 29, 2008, 09:16am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
Maybe I didn't read right but you didn't specify if you did a bios update? That could help a lot too.


I did, and it put the PC into a continously rebooting mode. By that I mean it is not even posting, but reboots just a few seconds after pressing the power button and continues doing that in a never ending cycle. I have tried everything to revive it, but nothing does. So I guess the last BIOS update they posted is broken.

DDR3 memory used that didn't work was OCZ and Geil, memory that did seem to work is Crucial, Kingston and Corsair. My best experience is with the Corsair DHX modules thusfar.

Cheers,

Sander Sassen
Editor in Chief - Hardware Analysis
ssassen@hardwareanalysis.com
Spikes Oct 29, 2008, 09:32am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
I get the 'assembly part' but at times the vendor simple doesnt have all the 'necessary parts' to make a 'assembly' assembled, and time is against you and you have to find the parts from another dealer and that way you cannot expect to bring another part from US and another from Africa and expect them the be assembled in AUS, my point is the posibility of assembly doesnt always appear to be as easy as $9,

E-8400 3.00 GHZ Core 2 Duo,
Asus P5q,
2gb DDR2 RAM,
150 GB Hdd,
9600 GT,
22" LG Screen,
John Ingram Oct 29, 2008, 09:34am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
I think the problem is with the software and drivers. As each version comes out they get narrower and narrower at what they look at. Hence NVidia does not want to look back at making older games play with new card drivers (Shogun and the first Medieval War do not work with 8000 series cards/drivers for example, and Cossacks needed a hacked DirectX fix to work with high end NVidia cards too.

I have always had niggling problems with my PC's ever since (around 5 years ago) I went with a removable caddy IDE drive system. XP doesn't associate drive letters with hard drives, so every time I use a different drive I have to go into Computer Management and change the drive letters.

My Bios also doesn't seem to like SATA and caddy IDE systems either, and sometimes cannot seem to find XP. I go into XP repair, wait until it asks for which OS to load and hit Enter to cancel, then reboot and all is well.

In recent years then, my problem isn't with the hardware but the software, that more and more does not like anything that is not strictly the norm!

Kelly ....... Oct 29, 2008, 11:19am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
It maybe just be coincidence, but it seems like since the introduction of DDR I read more and more about memory compatibility issues between different brands of memory and Motherboards. If you look at a motherboards BIOS updates, (Asus is a good example) almost every BIOS update is working on memory compatibility.

I had an issue last year, I built a PC with an Asus Striker Extreme(nf 680i) and trying to get it to boot with 4 1gb sticks of Patriot DDR2 800 EPP ram. When I did get it to boot eventually, by finding clock settings and timings that it liked it was really unstable. I had to use 2gb of some spare ram (Corsair) I had to get it running good. A BIOS update came out and eventually fixed the problem.

~WinXP Pro/Vista Ultimate | Core2Quad Q6700@3ghz |Asus Striker Extreme-nForce 680i(BIOS 1305) | 2gb Patriot DDR2 EPP-800 | XFX Gefore 8800gts 640mb | SB Audigy 2 | 150gb WD Raptor | 320gb WD CaviarRE | PC-P&C 750w SilencerQUAD | Lian-Li PC-65B~
paul riley Oct 29, 2008, 12:57pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
This reminds me of a problem from a few years ago I purchased a MSI motherboard with a nVidia chipset & an ATI graphics card Radeon X850 Pro. I specifically asked the vendor if these were compatible. After he had changed the card for the second time (refused to function after 2 months, twice) did he query what motherboard it was being used with. It was then I was advised to get an nVidia graphics card, which has run without problems for nearly 3 years ouputing to a 32" LCD TV & the 3rd X850 card has run on an ASUS mobo for the same length of time.

John Oct 29, 2008, 01:11pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
I had almost no luck at all with the 590 SLI chipset. I went through 6 boards before finding one that worked properly, so I decided to try Inel for the first time.

It seems that there is another issue now in building a custom PC. I bought a 680i board, an E8400, a pair of 8800 Gt's, & upgraded to Vista Ultimate x64. Everything booted, but there were random crashes at no specific interval. Sometime 10 minutes, sometimes 3 days. Then the crashes came daily, followed by 3 or 4 consecutive reboot attempts before working again. I did a lot of research, & tried a lot of fixes, but it turns out that Vista & nVidia no longer get along, especially with 8800 & 9800 seriecs cards. I reverted back to XP Pro x64 & the system runs solidly.

What to do with the Vista DVD?, load it on an AMD 790FX/SB750 board & try again. It works solidly on that combination, so nVidia can be pointed to as the culprit in this instance.

Harry Oct 29, 2008, 01:27pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
Well, I've not been tempted by Vista yet so I can't report anything there. Go to YouTube and search for "Hitler has Vista problems" if this new O/S being stuffed down everyone's throat has gotten to you.

I was running an old Soyo board which finally burned up after 8 years. At first I thought it was a hard drive failing so I put a newer one as the C-drive and reloaded Windows XP Pro a few times before I woke up and realized it was the mobo. Got a new motherboard, a Gigabyte with lots of PCI slots (this is a rare type board now) so I could reuse a number of expensive add-on cards from the old one. Got a Core2duo chip which has speeded up my home movies to DVD process.

And, of course, the new motherboard required new memory. I think this is a conspiracy that you have to buy new type memory everytime you build a new system. No problems, everything worked fine. New mobo had only one IDE socket; so, that controller card I had used before is now maxed out to run all the old drives and some new ones.

My problem was now that I have loaded XP so many times the automated activation is rejected and I have to call and enter that horrible 25 or 30 digit number and get one back to enter; and, I have to not only do that but figure out how to tell the automated system is was a component failure and not me loading XP on 20 different computers. Arrgh, I just wish some Linux O/S would come along that would run my expensive Windows programs and I'd ditch Microsoft's O/S so fast my own head would spin.

Still, there is always that moment of truth when you fire up a new system, do you get a screen or smoke coming out of the case. I dread that though in building 5 computers over a period of time for my own use I have only had one minor problem.

Swamp Daddy :)

dark41 Oct 29, 2008, 02:06pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
As a system builder, I've run into this scenario more times than I care to admit.

Intel boards have always been and remain finicky about memory. Many name brands simply don't work with them, while many generic brands do. Strange stuff, considering this is Intel.

DFI remains finicky with certain memory brands, including Corsair. Seems there's been a long standing feud between the 2 where DFI claims Corsair won't release their SPD info to them, and Corsair claims the SPD can be read by every other motherboard manufacturer so the problem has to be on DFI's end. My DFI problems have been solved for good, by boycotting DFI products. After RMA a defective board with them, they sent back a refurbished board with scratches on it which wouldn't go into BIOS. RMA on that board was declined due to the scratches. Go figure. Fool me once... My experiences with Corsair memory have been pretty good, and the few times I've had problems they've replaced the RAM quickly and without questions.

We've stuck mainly with Gigabyte boards recently, and had a few BIOS updates cause the reboot loop Sander describes. After contacting Gigabyte, the BIOS updates disappeared from their site and we had the boards replaced same day. I guess at least they're making an attempt to rectify the situations.

Lately we've had a host of problems with Crucial Ballistix, both regular and Tracers. Since Crucial has gone to the single sided 8 chip modules, they've been failing at an alarming rate. At least Crucial has been great about replacing the failed modules, and I usually get the replacements in a day or 2 (USA to AU) via cross ship RMA.

But having a memory manufacturer claim that I've overvolted modules and refusing to replace them is a new one on me. I'd like to see how they prove that, and seems to me that warranties pretty much put the burden of proof upon them to do so. However, if the system never posted and never went into BIOS, I'd think the motherboard manufacturer itself could be held responsible. Unfortunately I've never heard of a motherboard manufacturer replacing memory or any other component that it's destroyed, or believe me I'd be getting a whole bunch of new hardware from DFI. ;)

Sorry about your dilemma Sander and hope you get it worked out to your satisfaction.

EX38-DS5
E8500@4.0GHz (445x9, 1.40v) TRUE Black
Corsair HX620W
2x2gb Kingston HyperX 9600
HIS IceQ4 HD4850
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G5, Antec 1200
John Oct 29, 2008, 02:15pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
I wont buy another DFI board either. They sent me 3 boards as warranty, the 1st one was new, the 2nd ones were used. They both were covered with dust & DOA. Then they stopped answering phone messages & emails. If I wanted to be a prick about it, I had their information for call tagging a package back to them. It would have been justice to send them back the board in a huge box filled with bricks.

Rooin Oct 29, 2008, 02:29pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
I had some small trouble with my latest Build. a HTPC.

Building it from spare parts, and a small investment, I only dumped ~$300 into the system.

Spare -AMDx2 5800(?) 2.8ghz AM2 - Discovered was bad(?)
replaced with: AMD64x2 6000+ 3.1ghz AM2(89w) (~$90)
ASUS M3A78-EM (First attempt was with M3A78-VM I believe) (~$85)
Corsair xms 2gigs (1gigx2)
250g WD (laying around)
200g Samsung (laying around)
20x DVD burner (also laying around)
Antec HTPC Case (~$120) - Very very nice case...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129034

Put everything together in the -VM board, an no post, no beeps no nothing.. An being a bunch of parts laying around I was baffled. So going through the usual, Ram configurations, no luck.. Then tried a different (known to work) CPU, nothing... Decided the mobo was DoA.. RMA'd it an had to get a different board the -EM after Newegg was out of stock on the other. No biggy I saved $6. New motherboard.. everything back in... No post, no beeps, no nothing... Now I'm steamed. >:o Pull everything, an lay the Mobo, CPU, 1 dimm of ram, and a PSU open bench. Still no post Try the other "known to work" CPU again and tada! works.. So turns out my recovered CPU from the pile of parts is bad.. Which is odd because it worked fine when last used. At least I knew the first board was really bad, an I wasn't missing something. So I spent a little more money an snagged a lower watt, higher speed CPU. Which now has a 2mb-lvl 2 cache version now (of course) But it is just a HTPC after all...

Little bit easier problem to solve I guess. But still time consuming when parts arrive bad, or have some sort of incompatibility problem.

================================================================
"Even Satan wouldn't use customer service as a form of punishment." - Lucas http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com
Kelly ....... Oct 29, 2008, 02:35pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
I have had no problems at all with Vista, I love it really. The only problem I have had is no drivers for a Web-Cam but the webcam is really old (Pre Windows XP).

I have Asus Striker Extreme II (790i), 4gb Patriot epp, xfx 8800gtx, Windows Vista 32 Home Premium and it runs really good.

I've even been playing Fallout I, II, Baldur's Gate I and II on it with no trouble, except for a slight refresh problem with Fallout I but that was an issue under Windows XP as well.

~WinXP Pro/Vista Ultimate | Core2Quad Q6700@3ghz |Asus Striker Extreme-nForce 680i(BIOS 1305) | 2gb Patriot DDR2 EPP-800 | XFX Gefore 8800gts 640mb | SB Audigy 2 | 150gb WD Raptor | 320gb WD CaviarRE | PC-P&C 750w SilencerQUAD | Lian-Li PC-65B~
angryhippy Oct 29, 2008, 02:39pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
John Ingram said:
I think the problem is with the software and drivers. As each version comes out they get narrower and narrower at what they look at. Hence NVidia does not want to look back at making older games play with new card drivers (Shogun and the first Medieval War do not work with 8000 series cards/drivers for example, and Cossacks needed a hacked DirectX fix to work with high end NVidia cards too.

I've been having the same problem John with MOHAA and my 8800GT. It would crash to the desktop without even starting. I was trying different drivers up to and including the 177.83. Last night I loaded the new 178.24's and lo and behold MOHAA and Spearhead and Breakthrough all work fine now.

As for your article Sander, I always rely on customer reviews on NewEggs site rather than reviews from different sites. It's fairly easy to figure who knows what they are doing. I've given up totally on new mobos and only buy refurbished ones. The current e-retailer I'm using advertises bare bones but the boards almost always come complete. I'm using an ABIT P35 Pro I picked up for $65. The memory issues I have also experienced. Not DOA, but mainly not running at advertised specs or timing. As for issues with boards, the ASUS P5Q Pro and MSI P45 Platinum wouldn't allow me (although their BIOS shows the capability) to run my Geil at 2.4v which it's rated as. My budget forces me to stay about a year behind mainstream so I've yet to deal with DDR3 modules, but both my Geil DDR2 800 Ultra, and Geil DDR2 1066 Black Dragon all work flawlesly.

Get Hippied out!
http://www.angryhippy.net
Me at work: http://tinyurl.com/3nvncb3
My rig! A Blah blah.With a blah blah! SWEET! http://tinyurl.com/4yujmff
Da Beast! http://tinyurl.com/3sapr2b
i5 3570K 4.6GHz http://snipurl.com/26r3cot
Win7-8 Pro 64bit
Lawrence O. Wilson Oct 29, 2008, 05:34pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
To avoide compatabile and DOA issues, I purchase from Directron.com and have them test
my ordered parts before shipping. They charge between 3 - 8 Dollars, but that eliminates
ugly issues!

Lawrence O. Wilson
lawrenceowilson@yahoo.com

Fitz58 Oct 29, 2008, 05:47pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
I totally agree with Sander Sassen, in fact the entire 1st post(article) could have been written by myself. DDR3 memory being the biggest issue and seeking help from Corsair and the motherboard MFG. was an exercise in futility. I ended up using what common sence told me would work. Like other posters I also believe it is a BIOS software issue that should be addressed and included in the original issue of the BIOS if not then then immediately in an update. I feel that these MB(and other key components) makers are putting more emphasis on getting a new product out to the public then they are on making sure all the bases of working flawlessly are covered. To back up this statement just read some of the customer reviews on Newegg or on the Corsair help forum, where RMA's are an all to common practice, I for one was told from the MFG. that it is a hit or miss thing as to whether the part would accept what I was going to pare it with( I'm am purposely being vague as to not cast a bad light on one particular mfg. when they all are inflected with the same problems), and if it did not "Just"( I love this word "Just" it so easily said without any considerations) send it back to them for a try at another one, more or less to say that the general consumer is actually their version of remote QC.
I could go on about my own personal experience with this build of current PC technology components but it would only be redundancy of previous posts, and the Final point I would like to make is that we all have to make the hardware MFG.'s aware that this is not an acceptable way to conduct business; 1. Email your complaints to the highest point of the corporate chain as you can. 2. Write hard copy letters to the same. 3. Followup on all correspondence.4. Make posts in their forums. And this applies to all of the above state clearly your complaint and if possible the steps they should take to fix said problems (constructive complaints are good but providing possible solutions is even better).

Q9450@3000 MHz (8 x 375)W/Scythe Ninja & 120mmFan130CFM
GA-EP45T-DS3R Bios v.F3
4GigsDDR3 Corsair XMS3 1333C9DHX
PCI Express 2.0 Asus HD 4670 512MB
HDD Drive #1 - ST3320620AS (298 GB)
HDD Drive #2 - Maxtor 6Y200P0 (189 GB)
PSU Logisys 650W ATX12V
M
Mike L. Oct 29, 2008, 09:22pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
As fun as building a new PC is, it can sometimes be extremely discouraging. At the same time, it just isn't as cost effective as it used to be. Now I know what you're all thinking just after reading that sentence and no, I'm not stupid. Well, not yet at least. The underlying message behind that sentence was, if you want a high performance PC, than it isn't cheap. If you're someone who isn't as savvy, then it's no more than going to your local Best Buy or Fry's and just picking up what's on "special" for that week.

If you ask me, personally I think building computers is a waste. If you have the money to "burn" and if you're able to buy what you want and in one shot - as opposed to piece by piece - than it's worth it. Other than that, computers are such a commodity these days, it seems like the best idea is to go to your local Best Buy/Fry's and grab their weekly special.

___________________________________________
I am what you would call depressingly comfortable...
angryhippy Oct 30, 2008, 12:03am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
I think building computers are a continuing process. At least for me. Technically I have the same computer I had in 2003. But only the case and the floppy remain the same. I just upgrade piece by piece. The only major shift has been from an AGP card to a PCIx card which dictated a mobo purchase simultaneously. Anyway, as big of a PITA RMA's are, I have enough spare parts to cover me while I wait. And if that doesn't work out, I have a few more workable, though painfully slow systems in the closet to fall back on. Branded computers are comparatively low priced to the point that it's easier to get a branded for about the price you can pay to build an entry level system. The only problem is you still have to deal with the same old proprietary BS as always. But with the fall of memory prices and a plethora of decent vid cards around $100US, You can get set up with a decent though not quite prime time system that can play pretty much anything out there for about $400.

Get Hippied out!
http://www.angryhippy.net
Me at work: http://tinyurl.com/3nvncb3
My rig! A Blah blah.With a blah blah! SWEET! http://tinyurl.com/4yujmff
Da Beast! http://tinyurl.com/3sapr2b
i5 3570K 4.6GHz http://snipurl.com/26r3cot
Win7-8 Pro 64bit

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