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Are ASRock motherboards any good?


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#1 cat1092

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 04:22 PM

The Topic line is most of my question, in particular want to upgrade the MB on the custom PC below (Speccy link provided at end of post), and just want to make sure that the screw holes line up (that micro ATX MB's has a standard) & that I'm getting a quality product. Note that this is a UEFI MB, according to the specs on the first page near the bottom, meaning I can (hopefully) go with GPT partitioning. :)

 

The issue with getting AM3/AM3+ motherboards is that most of Gigabyte, MSI (my favorite) & ASUS doesn't have the SATA-3 ports I desire. The main reason as to why the upgrade, is to have AHCI for my SSD's, there's no way to enable it on my Gigabyte GA-M68MT-D3 installed, and have to use the Intel SSD Toolbox & run manual TRIM passes every few days to ensure that it's being performed. Plus I want USB 3.0, most of the other choices has this & AHCI, but no SATA-3, which any modern PC should have. 

 

This is the MB I'm considering purchasing. 

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157582

 

Anyone know if ASRock MB's are reliable? Being that this is not my main PC, and the only one with a AMD CPU, currently have a Socket AM3 Athlon ll x4 630 (Propus), the AM3+ would allow me to upgrade to a CPU that has a 6MB L3 cache, when eBay prices lowers & the market is saturated, so I see these as available in the next year or so. The MB also features the Easy Driver Installer, hopefully that'll help with updates, drivers & any BIOS updates. It also supports up to 64GB RAM, most everyone who knows me, knows that I prefer to stuff RAM to the max, and at today's pricing for DDR3 RAM, why not purchase a couple of PC3-12800 32GB kits for 64GB total? :guitar:

 

That is, is the MB is good for a few months. Or I may take the 32GB of RAM out of my main PC (XPS 8700), use it in there, & purchase some higher performance modules for it, with tighter timings. That RAM is still available, so could add another 32GB that way, if compatible (PC3-12800, 11-11-11-28 timings), and Speccy specs for that RAM & PC are in my sig, they're almost half the price of when I purchased the two sets. Though I know with the installed CPU, it'll clock down to 1333MHz, will address this in the not too distant future. 

 

Though the PC is now running Windows 7, will also have a few Linux installs, and where I'll be installing a few virtual machines, this is where the RAM upgrade will become handy. If there's a bottleneck, it surely won't be a lack of RAM. :P

 

My budget is kind of limited for this project, am looking to spend no more than $75 right now, being this is older tech, yet still upgradable. And following are the Speccy specs of the custom PC, which will show more details about the current setup.  

 

http://speccy.piriform.com/results/2GQSl04zGqYjdeIjwCnuH7G

 

Any assistance, including alternatives, will be greatly appreciated. :)

 

Cat

 

 


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#2 SEANIA

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 06:17 PM

AsRock does make good stuff. They don't spend any excess money where they don't need to on their hardware. If you buy MSI/Gigabyte/ASUS there's usually a ton of free excess software and bonuses you get with their boards. That's not the case with AsRock, but you will see the savings on not having gotten that in the price you pay. Can look at them as the most cost effective high quality manufacture. 

 

As with all AM3/AM3+ boards. Use a downward blowing CPU cooler so the air cools off the board. You probably already are as is the stock cooler, but just in case. 


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#3 hamluis

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 07:48 PM

I like Asrock boards, I only began using Asus boards when it became more difficult to find anything other than Asus/Gigabyte boards for my systems for the price I deemed a motherboard to be worth to me.

 

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#4 the_patriot11

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 08:05 PM

ASrock is owned by ASUS and is their budget boards, I ran one for quite awhile. Quality wise, it worked great, but I personally, wouldnt of recomended it for any overclocking or massive performance rigs. And even for gaming, they work fine, they just dont always have the nicer features and options their big brother ASUS boards have.


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#5 ranchhand_

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 09:40 PM

I have used a couple of Asrock boards to keep my old AM3 system going, and I'm happy. Overclocked mildly and no problems. It has all the features that I would use. I suggest reading the users' reviews on Newegg, you will get a pretty good idea if there are any recurring problems.


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#6 cat1092

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 02:14 AM

Thanks to all of you for your swift responses, didn't expect such a reception in this short amount of time! :)

 

I'm not into overclocking, preferring to upgrade components to meet the need instead, it's not that I'm an anti-overclocking activist, rather have seen on these tech forums & in person what in unskilled hands what this can lead to. The sad part about it, is some with lower end hardware reads these articles of easy OC tweaking, and rather than upgrade RAM/consider a SSD to increase performance, sets their sights too high on OC'ing & ends up toasting a computer that they cannot afford to replace. 

 

While I'll admit to bumping up the clocks a few notches on GPU's to get faster speeds, I was both feeling a rush of adrenaline & shaking in my feet at the same time, and eventually just stopped after a few days, next time I purchase a GPU, will get an OC edition, what's in the PC being discussed in the Topic. So OC won't be a factor here, though will likely grab a CPU that runs at 1600MHz in dual channel mode as soon as my PC budget allows. :)

 


 

As with all AM3/AM3+ boards. Use a downward blowing CPU cooler so the air cools off the board. You probably already are as is the stock cooler, but just in case. 

 

 

SEANIA, this is my first AMD computer that wasn't a notebook or AIO type PC, I'm assuming that's already installed, though will clean everything up good & use the MX-4 thermal paste I've been using for some time. The reason why I feel it's installed that way, is the door, there's a cone type vent (nice idea by who came up with it), and there's zero warm, or any, air blowing out. :)

 

Makes me wonder if my main Intel based PC would benefit from the same. 

 

I'll review the MB again at the suggestion by ranchhand_ & look for consistent issues. Some, if not many, of the less than 4-5 egg reviews are about delivery times, length of rebate waits, etc, and not about the product. This MB appears to offer the most I could want for the price, considering in my OP that this is a secondary PC, albeit a nice one, if there was native AHCI, would likely not be posting. This was a sweet surprize to me when clean installing Windows 7, full version, so reactivation won't be an issue. :)

 

Capture%20Self%20Built%20PC%20WEI%20Win%

 

Not bad for what was a low cost quad core CPU by AMD, the first quad cores offered by the corporation & a total shocker to me. Only the 2nd computer out of all that I have, that has a score of 7.0 or higher across the board, aided by the MSI R7770 I had sitting in it's box in original anti-static packaging, after only 11 months of use. Have another that could be, yet being limited to low profile GPU's are a factor, had to install a low profile bracket to install the GPU that shipped with my XPS 8700, an AMD OEM Radeon 7570 1GB GDDR5, in the PC (an Optiplex 780 Desktop Edition) with a WEI of 6.9. Much of the low profile offerings are GDDR3 models. Considering that the Optiplex 780 has an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 (their best consumer offering prior to the 1st gen i7 series) with a massive 12MB L2 cache, and this one with only a 2MB L2, found it surprising that the Q9650 only edged it by a decimal (7.3 vs 7.2). Nice things can come in smaller & less costly packages. :)

 

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2836

 

Finally, what's not seen in the Speccy snapshot, yet was noticed my me on the day the PC arrived, has a more than adequate PSU in a 600W Thermaltake version, considering it's usage, must be better than rated by Newegg reviewers. As to that HDD with 1838 days, barely over 5 years total usage, have a 500GB WD RE4 that wasn't used much to replace with, the performance is better (an upscale Caviar Black), was in my main PC until it became too small to meet the need. Maybe the other can be reused as a backup drive, since I alternate these at each backup anyway, wouldn't be a major loss. 

 

I'll do some further research as suggested, have found at least one concerning issue among the 1 & 2 egg reviewers brought up (smoke upon first boot), though this could be attributed to an incorrect install procedure, something that wasn't supposed to could had been touching metal, leading to my question below. 

 

As this would be my first non-OEM MB replacement, I know there are standoffs (presume to be built into the case) to install the board on. Is it OK for even more protection to use a silicone or rubber washer of the same size that has a hole in the center for the screw to go through? May initially raise the board by a tiny fraction, yet are soft & will compress back down, not enough to block install of the back plate, or do new MB's includes these? I just want to ensure there's no chance metal to metal contact, and knowing this will be the 3rd MB installed within this case, any that are preinstalled, likely has some wear. No need to spend the money & not ensure the MB is not touching metal in these areas, and chances are high that I have plenty of the correct size silicone washers on hand. 

 

I've found and am looking at this other MB found as an alternative, one issue that I see is that there are only two SATA-3 ports, at least one reported the ports as 'unusable', it would seem if the install is performed on those ports, would fire right up, or drivers would need to be slipstreamed into the media. An existing install would need drivers & possibly purging of some of the others related to the prior MB on the system. For new MB (system), I prefer a clean install anyway. Can live with the fact that it'll only hold 16GB RAM. Another plus is that is has HyperTransport 3.0, which may be helpful in a AM3+ CPU upgrade more than with the one I'm running. Downside is that the SATA-3 are supported by ASMedia, have had a couple of their PCIe 'SATA-3' cards, good for SATA-2, not so good as advertised. 

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130722

 

Just need to ensure that I choose the right MB, hopefully the first time. :)

 

RMA's gets expensive fast, by the time all is said & done, could have an upscale MB with more features, though with AM3/AM3+ CPU's, some may be of no use, other than with the most powerful chips. While I don't want to end up with a lemon, at the same time realize that no one here (nor at Newegg) can promise this. 

 

Thanks for hanging in there with me through the process! :)

 

Cat


Edited by cat1092, 05 March 2016 - 02:20 AM.

Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#7 mremski

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 04:19 AM

The standoffs are likely drilled & tapped into the case, by definition the bulk of them should line up holes on any motherboard of the same formfactor.  There is one standoff (in the lower right quadrant as you look at it from topside) that has one of two positions.  Take them out if they don't line up, in general you don't want to put any insulating washers under the screws or on the standoffs.  Why?  Ground planes.  MB designers take all that into account and the theory is ground planes on the MB get tied to chassis via the screws and standoff, which wind up tying into power ground for the power supply.  This is all part of reducing noise in the system and making it safer from an electrical perspective.

 

If the MB is new or "New In Box"/"New Old Stock" it should have a back plate with it, most likely have screws and maybe standoffs too.  All sizes have been standardized for a while so "screws are screws".


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#8 cat1092

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 06:20 AM

mremski, thanks for the added information about the insulators. :thumbup2:

 

Wasn't thinking about the grounding aspect, just no metal touching unwanted areas of the MB, which is a must, and perhaps why some runs into the issue.

 

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#9 mremski

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 07:25 AM

Exactly.  Just remove the standoffs that don't line up, if there's another hole in the case that does, simply move it over.  Corners, edges one or two in the center are sufficient.  Assemble the MB flat on the work surface then put it in the case.  That will reduce the flexing of the MB.  Put the screws in all or as many holes as you can, but don't fully tighten, wiggle the board a little to make sure everything is lined up and then tighten like you would lugnuts or head bolts on your car (crosswise).  They only need to be snugged, not "tight" so if you use an electric screwdriver, put it on the lightest torque setting.  

 

People run into trouble by using short standoffs, then the ends of pins touch the case.


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#10 hamluis

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:37 AM

I've got a zillion-and-one old standoffs from prior builds which I've had...but I also believe that the motherboard package includes some.  You just screw the ones into the case which the motherboard will use (should be six, IIRC).

 

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#11 cat1092

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 04:38 AM

Thanks to all of you for your great assistance, purchased the ASRock MB that I first considered. :)

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157582

 

In the end, it was the fact that all ports are SATA-3, and couldn't find any others that has this, including a couple of nice looking, but dated ASUS models with SATA-2 only. At purchase, also chose the option for a 3 year warranty for the price of 2 ($12), which doesn't show until it's in the cart. Hopefully this will end up being a nice upgrade, and can hopefully upgrade to an FX CPU at some point. Some are these are still new, but think that I'll need to stick with the FX 8xxx series or below. No big deal though, considering this is a secondary PC, yet could become my primary Linux one, as Linux distros tends to play well better with AMD GPU's better than nVidia cards. Plug & Play! :)

 

Will follow up after the MB is installed & hopefully won't run into a snag along the way. :thumbup2:

 

Cat


Edited by cat1092, 08 March 2016 - 04:40 AM.

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#12 MadmanRB

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 04:50 AM

ASrock is owned by ASUS and is their budget boards, I ran one for quite awhile. Quality wise, it worked great, but I personally, wouldnt of recomended it for any overclocking or massive performance rigs. And even for gaming, they work fine, they just dont always have the nicer features and options their big brother ASUS boards have.

 

Actually ASRock is no longer a ASUS sub brand, it only has loose connectiuons to ASUS.

In any case, they are a great brand

The Fatal1ty sub brand is especially great


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#13 cat1092

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 06:21 AM

 

 

The Fatal1ty sub brand is especially great

 

Now that's a MB I may consider when performing a custom 1150 build, of which I have some of the other main components for, in particular a i7-4770, or may swap that one back into my XPS 8700 & use the i7-4790K that's being broken in at the moment, to have an unlocked CPU. Z97 chipset also, allows for a super fast M.2 or PCIe SSD. :thumbup2:

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157501

 

That was the plan when purchasing that CPU, Passmark scores are higher for the 4790K than the 6700K, and I suspect when the last batches are up for grabs, don't be surprised at $400 pricing, Moore's Law is catching up to these OEM's, I got mine for $328 on promo, though months back these were on promo for $289-299. No more, even the i7-4770 goes for $309, that one may be ran on promo for a little less. Given the dies are ever shrinking, it's going to be harder than ever to get the same power for future CPU's, exactly why I wanted another. Other enthusiasts are also seeing the light, and it didn't hep when OEM's united and stated that the Skylake CPU's would need Windows 10 'for full support', knowing full well that many shipped with Windows 7 Pro on the Costco & other sites. If one gets a Skylake, will have to make a decision, go with Windows 10 or Linux. 

 

The main items I'll need are the case, PSU & GPU, though can wait for the GPU if funding's low, would rather have an upscale GPU (GTX 970 minimum) than a $200 or less model that's only 128 bit, where having 4GB GDDR5 doesn't really matter, a 256 bit card (minimum) would be what I'd go with. That's more suited for 4K UHD than the GTX 960, which I have in my main PC, even though it says on the box '4K ready'. We get the performance we pay for. :thumbup2:

 

Though I may sell the i7-4770 & go with an unlocked i5 Haswell for my Dell, it has in the A11 BIOS, safe performance options. Plus get rid of the hidden backdoor of vPro. An unlocked i5 will deliver better performance than a locked i7. 

 

The current project I'm working on (back on Topic), will be a learning experience for me, that in the upcoming months, hopefully will prove to be very useful in building an entire PC. While I've learned a little about a lot of things, have never performed a non-OEM MB swap, though have swapped exact boards, not much to that, take some pictures & assemble back the same way. Swapping is getting closer to building, and since this is a budget project, am not risking a boatload of cash, yet I do want to walk away with this being a success, because it'll likely become my main Linux PC. :)

 

I have no formal IT education, my learning is from the University of Hard Knocks, yet many says that's the best, like real world training. 

 

Looking forward to pull this job off! :)

 

Cat


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#14 cat1092

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 06:03 AM

The MB arrived Friday, a day earlier than expected, hopefully will be able to begin working on the project today, have been too busy with unexpected tasks to get to the job, though I did image the SSD, will need to upgrade it's firmware in addition to the other needed tasks. Would go with a UEFI install, only the GPU isn't compatible (according to GPU-Z), though it says 'Windows 8 compatible' on the box. Will disabling Secure Boot take care of this? It would be great to reap the benefits of GPT partitioning & the extra bit of performance offered, could care less about Secure Boot, as I always disable this anyway. Reinstalling Windows 7 is not an issue with me, as newer drivers will be needed, plus will add at least 3 Linux OS's that are UEFI compatible. More details about the GPU. I'm the reviewer on the dates of 02/15/2015 & 02/05/2014, didn't realize until then I had ran it in my main PC for over a year, about 14 months. Normally for a major upgrade, will do a follow up review after a few months to a year of ownership to let consumers know how the component holds up over time. :)

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127687

 

If nothing else, could try a Linux install on a spare drive & see, these installs & updates under 30 minutes, that would at least let me know where I stand in the regard. 

 

Will likely upgrade the CPU in a shorter time frame than originally thought, the FX line of CPU's are brand new in box with cooler, and won't have to wait for used eBay pricing for what could be an OC'd model that may last long enough to make it through eBay & PayPal's protection periods. This one looks to be good & well reviewed by 1,331 consumers as of this post. 

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113286

 

It's actually on promo for less, though per Forum rules, are not permitted to display these codes. And Amazon has it for less than Newegg. Both sites offers the same game for those who are into that sort of thing. I'm not, have passed on the last three game codes after a bad experience in getting one that came with my last GPU purchase. Only wanted it for testing the card's capabilities & nothing more. 

 

http://www.amazon.com/AMD-FD6300WMHKBOX-FX-6300-Processor-Edition/dp/B009O7YORK

 

So the future's looking bright, assuming this MB install is a success. The FX series will be around for awhile, and uses no more peak wattage than the installed one. Which will leave me with a more than adequate CPU to install in a Optiplex 740 with the Enhanced BIOS on a AM2 MB, can run AM3 CPU's up to the Phenom series, though surely at a slower rate than on a AM3 MB, the Athlon II x4 630 has the ability to run either DDR2 or DDR3 RAM. Still, it should revive the ancient PC that has little muscle that's currently running a Athlon X2 4850e, could make a decent Linux PC if upgraded. 

 

For now though, only one project at a time, accomplishing what this Topic is about. :)

 

Cat


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#15 cat1092

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 12:41 AM

Thanks to the support of you all: :) 
 

JOB IS COMPLETED! :bounce: :guitar: 

 

http://speccy.piriform.com/results/gYufn6mQtTrVzmtA3zGxzxY

 

While the WEI score was the only score upped in the SSD to 7.9, I also used the 12GB RAM that shipped with my XPS 8700 to give me some extra memory to perform tasks like running VM's, etc. Yet this job was far from easy, because of the way the drives were mounted (screws on the side of the MB installed), had to remove just before I was getting ready to finish, but had plugged the PSU in & installed the GPU. What a heart sinker over 6 screws plus the optical drive swap, and the thing was, there was support for the drives already, the bays gives support themselves. 

 

In the end though, it was worth it, the PC boots at least 3x faster due to one of the ASRock apps, and will likely install a few more. Runs a lot better also, and with native AHCI, my SSD's will be getting the TRIM they need, have already added one, a 120 Samsung 850 EVO that I'll be cloning this OS to tomorrow & a spare HDD (500GB WD RE4, an upgraded Caviar Black). Come to find out, had a Windows 10 OS installed on it, when I first booted the PC, thought that MS had pulled one over on me. :P Then it dawned on me that Google Chrome was probably more than 15 versions behind, as were some other software, so must not had wiped the drive. All I know that as soon as I booted, that familiar look of 10 was there, ready for me to sign in. 

 

Using Mini Tool Partition Wizard, formatted those partitions fast, once I changed the boot order & was in Windows 7, that only required a fast activation, didn't even have to call. Speaking of which, and it seems to be about that drive (the Caviar Black), why am I seeing in the Device manager, also shows in the Speccy snapshot, a standard dual channel IDE controller?

 

 

Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller

 
ATA Channel 1
ATA Channel 0
 
WDC WD5003ABYX-01WERA1 ATA Device
 
 

 

It shows in the Device Manager all drives to be ATA (SATA) devices. So I uninstalled the dual IDE controller & dang if it didn't pop right back up, there was no option to delete the software. My thoughts were that it may had been a leftover from the Windows 10 install (or this one prior to upgrade), yet am sure that I removed the IDE controller after the format. That drive wasn't even in the PC prior to the upgrade, why the Windows 10 OS booted. Being that I have one leftover SATA port, may just switch the cable to that one & see what happens. It could also be remnants of the OS prior to upgrade of the MB, it's a full IDE one, the SATA was just ports only. 

 

So will check into it further & see what come of it, really don't want to reinstall the OS over that one item when all is running great.

 

Again, I extend my thanks to all of you, had I not created this Topic, would never had considered ASRock, now I have a glimpse of their quality, hopefully it'll be running just as good come a few months as now. :)

 

Though it may had been a tight fit, I believe that a full ATX MB could had been installed, there's a couple of extra standoffs to the right about an inch away to the right, and thank goodness that mine were in place, as the retail package didn't include the first one. :P

 

Well, will be looking at the next upgrade, as I mentioned, an FX-6300, looks to be a promising upgrade, a 6 core CPU with an 8MB L3 cache, and just as this one, 95W. My luck with stock coolers has been good, so hopefully what's in the box will do. One thing I don't care for on AMD CPU's, is the mounting system. Kind of tricky for one who has dealt with Intel for years. 

 

You folks are great in the Hardware Forum, your support has been highly appreciated! :)

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 





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