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Sep 12, 2012

AMD Trinity Doing Much Better than Llano

Those that might not really understand why exactly is Trinity doing much better than Llano, should only remember that AMD now rules 43% of the low to mid-end PC market with its Brazos and Llano platforms.

AMD's Corporate Vice President of Desktop Product Line, Ms. Leslie Sobon has admitted to Fudzilla.com that Llano was a troublesome and delayed part, but now the company is executing much better with Trinity, Fudzilla reports. The reality is that if the “troublesome and delayed” Llano along with the 40nm Brazos got AMD 43% of the market while not having a single top-performing x86 model, Trinity will normally do much better. Sure the company has not significantly upgraded Brazos, but it doesn’t need to as Atom’s competition is practically null and only Intel’s market clout is sustaining Atom sales. Trinity is AMD’s first mobile oriented mainstream part and it excels in user experience while delivering Rory Read’s “good enough” x86 performance and impressive 3D capabilities at modest TDP values that were previously unattainable for AMD.

This is the first time AMD has managed to squeeze this much performance inside a 25W or a 35W TDP and the 17W Trinity parts are a complete novelty for the company. Also, for the first time in recent history, the company is improving its OEM and mobile shipments while placing the DIY market second. AMD is going for the higher margins in the mobile sector and the significant sales in the OEM market and it is ensuring that enough volume is available to fulfill the respective demand. Intel itself has apparently placed the x86 performance factor second so it seems that, even in the tough year of 2012, AMD managed to be a trend setter.

AMD logo
Image credits to AMD

DeepCool NEPTWIN Dual-Fan Cooler

DeepCool has just launched yet another cooling solution and this one offers complete compatibility with most of AMD and Intel’s sockets and also comes bundled with two large 120-millimeter fans.

The new cooling solution from DeepCool is officially called Neptwin and it comes with six U-shaped heatpipes that have a 6-millimeter diameter each. We’re still wondering why cooler makers aren’t moving their designs towards 8-millimeter heatpipes, but it seems that such a move will not affect the mainstream too soon.

The copper base is mirror polished and the whole thing weighs in at an impressive 1109 grams (2.44 pounds). The DeepCool Neptwin cooling solution is compatible with AMD’s FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+ and AM2 sockets and Intel’s LGA2011, LGA1366, LGA1155, LGA1156 and LGA775 platforms.

DeepCool NEPTWIN Dual Fan Cooler
Images credits to DeepCool

Most Tablet Makers Unimpressed with Intel Clover Trail

Intel’s Atom architecture took the computing market by surprise with its incredibly low power consumption, but also the unbelievably low performance. Now it seems that tablet makers have taken a good look at the way netbooks evolved and are apparently steering clear of Atom.

During this year’s IDF event in San Francisco, California, Intel reportedly touted “over 20 tablet design wins” with their Atom processors, and while this is a good number to start, we’d ask Intel if this is all it was able to get. Back when Nvidia was talking about Kepler, the company was bragging about “more than 300 design wins” and having a discrete GPU in a laptop is adding an extra cost as the same device could work just fine with an iGPU from AMD or Intel. Going for Intel’s Medfield or Clover Field platform is not adding any obvious extra hardware costs to a tablet design. The manufacturer should only decide if it wants to build an Atom-based tablet on not.

Actually going for Intel’s Atom could make the tablet a little bit more attractive as there is a huge software base available for the user, but there are many issues making the whole thing unattractive for tablet makers. One of the first and most important aspects is the low performance of the processors and the iGPUs inside them. A user running Windows8 compatible software on an Atom tablet will probably be frustrated about the low performance of the device and will return it or not buy it in the first place. Most customers are used with the performance they get from their laptops or desktops and seeing how the same programs move and feel on an Atom tablet will make the gadget less desirable. Microsoft made WindowsRT incompatible with the current x86 applications, thus forcing software makers to rework their programs and maybe optimize them in the process of porting to WindowsRT.

Even in demonstrations seen by our colleagues at IFA, WindowsRT tablets seemed simply snappier than Windows 8 models and this leads us to believe that many programs will actually work on Clover Trail, but the performance difference compared to a desktop x86 CPU will be too obvious. The second aspect is the added cost that Intel’s platform has, as the company is known for considerably overpricing its platforms compared to the competition. The third, and probably the most important, financial aspect is the added cost of a Windows 8 operating system license that can’t really compare in any way with Google’s Android that’s free.

There are no apparent power consumption advantages over ARM designs so this will not be a marketable feature as Qualcomm’s and Nvidia’s chips are considerably better. These and several other reasons are apparently keeping tablet makers away from Intel’s newest Atom platform.

Intel Developer Forum 2012 Logo
Image credits to Intel

Nokia Details Windows Phone 7.8 Features for Lumia Users

Nokia has already unveiled to the world its first smartphones running under Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 8 platform, and it is currently preparing them for launch.

At the same time, the company is working on providing existing Lumia users with a new OS upgrade, none other than the Windows Phone 7.8 platform that Microsoft has announced back in June. According to Nokia, existing devices will benefit not only from an updated interface, just as Microsoft promised, but also from a series of other enhancements, such as new features and applications. “In short, there is everything that you currently love about your Lumia, plus new developments coming in the future to help ensure that your Lumia experience will remain the envy of your friends,” a recent post on Nokia Conversations reads.

Following the release of Nokia City Lens for the Lumia 710, Lumia 800 and Lumia 900 devices, as well as that of Nokia Counters, the Finnish handset vendor will bring Cinemagraph to its existing Lumia users, along with updates to Smart Group Shot. According to the company, the upcoming upgrades are meant to provide users with better photo shooting and sharing capabilities, and will be accompanied by some other improvements as well. Among these, Nokia counts:

  • A new Start screen look and feel, familiar from Windows Phone 8, giving you a whole new look the moment you unlock your phone
  • Ringtone maker app to selected markets to create a personal ringtone
  • Contact share app updated to support sharing over Bluetooth in addition to SMS and email
  • Bluetooth file transfer to send media files via Bluetooth from your Lumia device to any other phone

With Windows Phone 8 expected to become officially available at the end of October, more info on when this OS upgrade will be pushed out should become available in the not too distant future. For the time being, all that Nokia shared on the matter was that “these updates for the Lumia 610, Lumia 710, Lumia 800 and Lumia 900 smartphones will be phased.”

Nokia Lumia 800
Image credits to Nokia

MSI GTX 660 TwinFrozr III Video Cards

Reports oing to happen next week, right after Apple’s iPhone 5 presentation, but it seems MSI decided it couldn’t wait for the official schedule anymore.

The company has apparently put out the official press release for its new MSI GeForce GTX 660 TwinFrozr III graphics cards and the toys are reportedly already available at several online outlets. The card is a whole lot cooler than the reference design as MSI touts a 19 degree Celsius lower working temperature and the cooling system is also 12.9 decibels quieter.

MSI’s card comes with an impressive factory overclock as the GPU works at 1098 MHz base frequency, but unfortunately the memory is set at the standard 6008 MHz. Online pricing ranges between 221 EUR and $280, depending on the shop.

MSI GeForce GTX 660 TwinFrozr III Graphics Cards
Images credits to VideoCardz

Intel Top-Performing Haswell Coming in Late 2013

It seems that the big message to take home from this year’s IDF event in San Francisco is that the new architecture is power-efficiency oriented and there was practically no emphasis on performance.

Not even the impressive new iGPU is allowed to truly shine and display its peromance. Intel is keeping the TDP specifications very tight and therefore the new GT3 iGPU can’t run at the same high frequencies as the HD4000 does today. We already detailed these aspects, but it seems that Intel is not at all interested in the performance competition and thus the top-performing Haswell CPUs will only enter the market in late 2013, VR-Zone reports.

Most industry insiders and the experts in the know believe this is mostly due to AMD’s inability to challenge Intel’s x86 processors. This may change once Steamroller will be launched, but until then there is little hope that the desktop Haswell will be launched.

Intel IDF 2012 Logo
Image credits to Intel

Intel Haswell chip
Image credits to Intel

BlackBerry 10 Lands with the Largest App Ecosystem of Any 1st-Gen OS

Early next year, Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion will bring to the market its first devices running under the BlackBerry 10 platform, and it seems quite bullish about it.

The company expects for the new OS and devices powered by it to enjoy significant success and to help it regain the market share it has been losing lately. One reason for this success, Alec Saunders, RIM's vice president of developer relations and ecosystem development said, would be the largest app ecosystem that BlackBerry 10 will enjoy when compared to other first-gen platforms, CNet reports.

RIM has been working hard on attracting a lot of developers to its upcoming mobile platform, and it seems that it might have succeeded in doing so. However, with Android and iOS consolidating their leading positions and with Windows Phone coming fast from behind, it’s clear that RIM needs a bit more than just apps to ensure BlackBerry 10’s success.

BlackBerry 10
Images credits to CrackBerry

Apple New iPhone 5 Launched

Tim Cook and his troops took the stage at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts today and introduced the new generation Apple smartphone - the iPhone 5.

Touted as the thinnest and lightest iPhone ever, the iPhone 5 is redesigned with a unibody aluminum case, a 4-inch Retina display, an Apple-designed A6 chip, fast wireless technology, better battery life, and iOS 6, “the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new features." “iPhone 5 is the most beautiful consumer device that we’ve ever created,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We’ve packed an amazing amount of innovation and advanced technology into a thin and light, jewel-like device with a stunning 4-inch Retina display, blazing fast A6 chip, ultrafast wireless, even longer battery life; and we think customers are going to love it.” For a full rundown of the technicalities, eager readers can visit Apple’s tech specs page right here.

Many soon-to-be iPhone 5 buyers will be interested in the design. Apple says it’s got an all-new 7.6 mm anodized aluminum body that is 18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than iPhone 4S. “Designed with an unprecedented level of precision, iPhone 5 combines an anodized aluminum body with diamond cut chamfered edges and glass inlays for a truly incredible fit and finish,” says the company. After design, comes performance. The new A6 chip is said to maximize performance and power efficiency with up to twice the CPU and graphics performance of its predecessor. According to the Cupertino giant, “almost everything you do on iPhone 5 is blazing fast for launching apps, loading web pages and downloading email attachments.”

It’s also got an 8-megapixel camera and the new panorama feature that lets you capture images of up to 28 megapixels by simply moving the camera across a scene. iPhone 5 will be available in either white & silver or black & slate on September 21 in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK. The international rollout is slated for September 28, with countries like Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Pricing begins at $199 / 154 EUR for the 16GB model. You can learn more about the new iPhone on Apple's site.

Apple iPhone 5 banner
Image credits to Apple

Apple's September 12 Keynote Leaked: New iPhone, iPod Refresh, iTunes Update

As if the iPhone 5 announcement wasn’t already half-spoiled by all the leaks as of late, Apple has now leaked all the major announcements it’s about to make on stage, one hour ahead of the big event.

Eagle-eyed fans conducting searches on Apple.com in the hours leading up to the big iPhone 5 event have confirmed that Apple will be calling its next smartphone the “iPhone 5.” Not only that, but they’ve even managed to confirm it will sport LTE networking. Other searches yielded an iTunes update. And now, thanks to some even better inspired customers, the entire keynote has been leaked. All the major announcements Apple plans to make today can be seen in the above screenshot.

These three announcements will be made on Apple’s PR section, following the keynote, according to Cultofmac (the first two are basically the entire keynote).

Apple is going to introduce a new iPhone, and two new iPods today. The iTunes update will undoubtedly matter as well. And there could well be some minor updates on the iPod shuffle front (and some new accessories), but that’s pretty much it. One new iPhone. Two new iPods.

Apple.com search results
Image credits to CultofMac

14,600 nVidia Tesla GPUs Powers Oak Ridge Titan Supercomputer

While Intel is celebrating the Stampede HPC system and the role played by Xeon Phi in its creation, NVIDIA has its own reason to be giddy: the soon-to-be fastest supercomputer of them all.

Some may have already heard about Titan, but for those who haven't, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is currently building it. We've now learned, from a report, that there will be 14,592 Tesla K20 graphics processing units involved in the building of the HPC conglomerate. While 16-core AMD Opteron CPUs do the regular computing, NVIDI's GPU accelerators do the parallel processing tasks.

The Titan will have 18,688 nodes, each with a 32 GB of memory. The cumulative floating-point performance should end up at above 20 Petaflops (Sequoia, the current leader, offers 2.01327). So far, ORNL has received only 32 Kepler-based Tesla K2 units. 1000 more should be delivered this week, while Titan itself will be completed by March 2013.

NVIDIA Tesla cores power Titan supercomputer
Image credits to NVIDIA

Sony Alpha NEX-6, the “Normal” One Among Camera Titans

Normally, we wouldn't say that a thousand dollars is agreeable, let alone cheap, but Sony's NEX-6 might wind up being considered thus, for a while, by people familiar with those two beasts revealed a short time ago.

NEX-6 is an interchangeable lens camera that uses a 16.1-megapixel image sensor and can record Full HD video (1080p). Like the Cyber-shot and A99, it uses Sony's Bionz image processor, as well as a wide ISO range (up to 25,600 sensitivity).

The full list of specifications can be read on Sony's website, and there are two versions of the product: one with 16-50mm Lens and one without. Expected to ship starting November 2012, the former is priced at $999.95 / 774 Euro, while the latter has a tag of $849.99 / 659 Euro. Special lenses will ship alongside them, though one might take a bit longer in arriving.

Sony Alpha NEX-6 camera
Image credits to Sony

Sony Alpha A99 Flagship Full-Frame DSLR Camera

Sony is bound to leave a few people flabbergasted now that it has launched a compact camera equipped with a 24.3-megapixel sensor, but it wouldn't be easy to see just how significant an invention the Cyber-shot RX1 is without a “normal” product to compare it to.

The Sony Alpha A99 full-frame DSLR camera is the sort of large and solid photo and video shooting product that full-frame 24.3-megapixel sensors are actually made for. The company intends to start shipping it in November, for a price, curiously enough, identical to that of the RX1: $2,799.95 / 2,167.31 Euro. Before anyone asks why the sums are the same, there is, in fact, a reason why the A99 is as expensive even if it doesn't demand the same painstaking manufacturing effort implied in cramming 24.3MP quality inside a small frame. Most of all, A99 boasts a Dual AF system, which pairs eleven cross-sensors with a 102-point focal plane phase-detection AF sensor. The result is a 19-point autofocus system that can track objects easier and faster. That said, perspectives can be locked onto via an XGA OLED Tru-Finder digital viewfinder (100-percent coverage) while an LCD on the back (1.2 million colors) displays the preview.

If the lighting isn't suitable, the sensitivity can be adjusted thanks to the Bionz processor, which can go from ISO 50 to 25,600. Furthermore, the camera can shoot rapid-fire images at 6 frames per second, or 10 FPS when Tele-zoom (a high-speed mode) is engaged. For the record, the Cyber-shot RX1 can only manage 5 fps. Other things worth noting are Full HD video recording in 24p/25p/50p/60p (continuous autofocus), real-time HD output (over HDMI) and a “silent” multi-controller on the front (lets shutter speed, audio record levels, ISO sensitivity and other things be adjusted while shooting a film). Finally, the A99 is equipped with a headphone jack and ships with an optional XLR adapter box.

Sony expects the A99 to work best with new 400mm f2.8 G SSM II lenses with zoom, or new wide-aperture Carl Zeiss A-mount prime Planar T f1.4 ZA SSM. Unfortunately, these lenses won't be out until 2013, in spring.

Sony Alpha A99 Flagship Full-Frame DSLR Camera
Images credits to Sony

Here Is Pre-Haswell Ultrabooks Are Look Like

We’ve only just talked about Haswell-based ultrabooks, but those products won't actually be up for sale any time soon, not before the year is out at any rate, which means Intel has to fill the time gap with Ivy Bridge-based designs.

That doesn't mean the corporation doesn't have anything new to offer though, even if the general blueprint stays the same. The folks at Mobile Geeks have provided us with the specification sheet of the new ultraportable mobile personal computers. There were several prototypes there, but the one they paid most attention to was particularly packed with features that most ultrabooks lack. The touchscreen wasn't all that shocking, even though it is, still, considered rare and unusual on a clamshell system. The real surprise was the NFC capability (Near Field Communication), being something more common to smartphones and tablets, just like GPS, UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System), ambient light sensors and movement sensors.

Being a prototype, the ultrabook was neither named nor priced, but we are hoping the amount of money needed to buy one won't be much higher than the “sweet spot” of $699 / 699 Euro, which ultrabooks still haven't achieved. That said, the 13.3-inch LCD (liquid crystal display) uses a native resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels, one step below the Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) of Haswell ultrabooks. Everything else is normal, insofar as a Core i7-based mobile PC can be called such: 4 GB of RAM (random access memory), a 180 GB Intel SSD, all the USB and video ports one could possibly need, Gigabit Ethernet and, of course, the Windows 8 operating system.

When the product starts selling, there should be other CPU options, since Core i7 high-end chips are a bit too expensive for most people, and the whole point of ultrabooks was to offer good performance in a thin package and at a reasonable price.

Intel ultrabook prototype
Images credits to Mobile Geeks

Intel Core i7-3970X Extreme CPU, Detailed Report

It is somewhat ironic that the architecture used in the making of Intel's strongest desktop central processors is one step behind that of common ones, but high performance always warrants more work and, thus, more time.

By that we mean to say that the strongest Extreme Edition Core i7 CPUs are based on the Sandy Bridge-E core, not Ivy Bridge. For that matter, by the time Ivy Bridge-E cores are ready, Intel will have already launched the Haswell micro-architecture. That said, there is a single Sandy Bridge-E high-end CPU that Intel still has to launch this year: Core i7-3970X. Slides published by BSN show that the base clock speed is of 3.5 GHz, while the Turbo Boost frequency can be of up to 4 GHz. For a chip with no less than six different cores, that is quite a bit. The cache memory is of 15 MB (L3), while the Hyper Threading technology allows a system to see 12 logical cores instead of “only” 6. Everything else is the same as on the other Extreme Edition SB-E units: a thermal design power of 130W (at most), compatibility with socket 2011 motherboards and unlocked multiplier.

We don't know for sure when shipments will begin, but it should be either this month (September 2012) or the next. No doubt overclockers will have a field day as soon as they get their hands on the Core i7-3970X. There is, unfortunately, one little problem with the processor, and we don't mean the lack of DDR3-1866 memory. The “problem” is lack of support for PCI Express 3.0 graphics adapters, which only the 22nm Ivy Bridge-E chips will have, in 2013, but which “normal” CPUs already offer. In related news, BSN's slides mention several other processors, whose specifications are unknown: Core i7-4930, i7-4960, i7-4970, and possibly i7-4990.

Intel Desktop Platform Roadmap, readies new Ivy Bridge-E CPU
Image credits to Bright Side Of News

Intel Haswell Ultrabooks to Have Nine-Hour Battery Life and Just $699 Price

Intel Developer Forum (IDF), currently taking place in San Francisco, California, has brought about some interesting revelations regarding the upcoming range of ultrabooks.

After the deliberately vague data on the Haswell CPUs themselves, as well as the Clover Trail Atom line, we are glad to see some specifics on a certain product range that the CPUs will reside in. We are, naturally, speaking of ultrabooks, those ultrathin laptops that Intel has been trying to use as a sort of anti-tablet buffer, albeit without a sufficient amount of success. We are fairly sure that slates have already established themselves as a product that consumers like enough to see as independent from the PC segment. Still, since many people will have to choose between one and a laptop, for financial reasons if nothing else, Intel hopes to rekindle interest in the latter. Ultrabooks powered by Haswell CPUs, priced at $699 / 543-699 Euro, will be capable of running for up to nine hours on a single battery charge, WCCFtech reports. What's more, they will have low-capacity NAND solid-state drives, no doubt for the Smart Response Technology (SSD caching), assuming the main storage drive isn't an SSD itself.

Furthermore, multi-gesture touchpads, Wi-Fi, Wireless Display support (WiDi) and 720p HD video chat will be default assets. Not only that, but the Santa Clara, California-based company means to install Anti Malware protection software, as well as identity protection technology, on the ultrabooks, alongside the Windows 8 operating system. As for everything else, OEMs would have to ship ultrabooks with 4 GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, 13-inch displays of 1366 x 768 or 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution and 32 GB SSD + 320 GB HDD for storage (or just a 128 GB SSD).

Shipments will, of course, only begin in 2013, as Haswell is not going to be released until then. PCMark vantage should return a score of 16,000 when run on them, and 80 MB/s in the PC Mark Vantage Video test.

Intel Haswell ultrabook specification plans
Image credits to WCCFtech

New Type of Windows Tablet Will be Powered by 32nm Intel Atom Clover Trail

Since Intel is holding the latest edition of its developer forum, the company is talking about its upcoming CPUs in official capacity, and that includes the Clover Trail.

Unfortunately, even now the IT player is proving to be less than forthcoming on the details, despite the press releases being long. We aren't quite surprised, not after seeing the same happening with the Haswell. That doesn't mean we aren't a bit disappointed though. Nevertheless, Intel did mention a few things about the new mobile system-on-chip (SoC), so we'll summarize them here. Unlike Haswell, Clover Trail won’t use the 22nm process, but the 32nm. The architecture is expected to compensate for the lack of energy efficiency gain associated with more advanced processing nodes. Both tablets and convertible devices will use it, or so Intel hopes and expects, now that Windows 8 is almost here.

The chip giant also vows that next-generation Windows devices will have improved security, better support for applications, enhanced media and certain new features. "We believe Windows 8 on Intel architecture will deliver the best experience, performance and compatibility across computing platforms," said David (Dadi) Perlmutter, chief product officer and executive vice president of Intel. For our part, we think Intel has its work cut out for it, now that some major Atom customers have decided to quit while they're ahead. We are referring to ASUS and Acer. They reportedly chose to stop making products based on that particular processor lineup. It is the latest and greatest hint that ARM has truly begun to erode Intel's market share on the portable PC front. At this point, we'll have to wait and see how many of those promised 20 tablets and 140 ultrabooks are still coming out, and if the convertible units that Intel has talked about are included in these numbers or not.

Intel Atom logo
Image credits to Intel

Intel Will Launch Haswell CPUs with 20X+ the Power Efficiency of Sandy Bridge on 2013

Given that the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco has been underway for two days now, it would have been odd if Intel hadn't said anything about the next year (2013) and what would happen then.

The promise of better hybrid drives (SSHD, solid-state hybrid drives as it were) is one thing that will have consumers, and IT companies alike, on the edge of their seats. Nevertheless, Intel is a CPU maker first and foremost, so, naturally, the world is more interested in what the corporation will do on that front. The 22nm Haswell microarchitecture took center stage, as we expected, and now we have the closest thing to an official confirmation that the line will, indeed, spawn at least one chip with 10W TDP. The announcement didn't outright say it, but it did promise that Haswell would be over 20 times more energy efficient than Sandy Bridge (second-generation Core-series CPUs). What's more, Intel said that even less power-hungry chips would be launched in 2013, based on the same architecture.

Ultrabooks will, obviously, benefit greatly from all this. One can never have too much battery life after all, and it doesn't hurt that the CPUs will supposedly have better performance and more features compared to those of today, despite the reduced energy requirements. "The 4th generation Intel Core processor family and our new line of low-power processors will usher in an era of unprecedented innovation in mobile computing," said David (Dadi) Perlmutter, chief product officer and executive vice president of Intel. "Our focus to deliver even lower power with the great performance that our processors are known for is as fundamentally significant as when we shifted our development focus beyond sheer processor speed in 2001. As a result, you'll see our customers delivering sleek and cool convertible designs, as well as radical breakthrough experiences across a growing spectrum of mobile devices."

ARM-based units have been getting stronger as of late, and it was just the other day that we saw a 22-inch ARM all-in-one running Android. Thus, Intel isn't outdoing itself here as much as it is accomplishing what it needs to.

Intel logo
Image credits to Intel

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