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Intel and QuTech Demonstrate Advances in Solving Quantum Interconnect Bottlenecks

Today, Intel and QuTech—a collaboration between Delft University of Technology and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research - published key findings in quantum research to address the "interconnect bottleneck" that exists between quantum chips that sit in cryogenic dilution refrigerators and the complex room-temperature electronics that control the qubits. The innovations were covered in Nature, the industry-leading science journal of peer-reviewed research, and mark an important milestone in addressing one of the biggest challenges to quantum scalability with Intel's cryogenic controller chip Horse Ridge.

"Our research results, driven in partnership with QuTech, quantitatively prove that our cryogenic controller, Horse Ridge, can achieve the same high-fidelity results as room-temperature electronics while controlling multiple silicon qubits. We also successfully demonstrated frequency multiplexing on two qubits using a single cable, which clears the way for simplifying the "wiring challenge" in quantum computing. Together, these innovations pave the way for fully integrating quantum control chips with the quantum processor in the future, lifting a major roadblock in quantum scaling," said Stefano Pellerano, principal engineer at Intel Labs.

Intel B460 and H410 Incompatibility with "Rocket Lake" Explained

Earlier this week, Intel shook the DIY PC market, particularly the vast mainstream segment, by revealing that its mid-tier B460 and entry-level H410 desktop motherboard chipsets will not be compatible with 11th Gen Core "Rocket Lake-S" processors, and that only its top-tier Z490 and H470, will. We have an explanation into what's going on, after consulting with people in the know, thanks to our friends at Hardware Zone Israel, who spoke with sources within Intel. It turns out, that some batches of B460 and H410 PCH dies are re-badged from older generations of PCH, and built on the 22 nm silicon fabrication process; whereas the Z490 and H470 are based on a newer generation that's built on 14 nm. This is similar to Intel's move to carve out the B365 chipset from the older H170.

In addition to being limited to an older version of Intel ME (Management Engine), the H460 and H410 PCH lack the ability to communicate with "Rocket Lake-S" processors over side-band, using PMSYNC/PMDN signals, a design change Intel introduced with the "Tiger Lake" and "Rocket Lake" microarchitectures. The chipsets faced no such limitation with "Comet Lake-S." Intel's decision to re-badge older 22 nm-class PCH silicon as B460 and H410 may have been dictated by the company's 14 nm node volume constraints. HotHardware reports that some motherboard vendors, such as GIGABYTE, found a clever (albeit expensive) way around this limitation, by creating "V2" revisions of their existing B460 and H410 motherboards, which actually use the 14 nm H470 chipset.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Announces New 22FDX+ Platform, Extending FDX Leadership with Specialty Solutions for IoT and 5G Mobility

GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF ), the world's leading specialty foundry, announced today at its Global Technology Conference the next generation of its FDXTM platform, 22FDX+, to meet the ever-growing need for higher performance and ultra-low power requirements of connected devices. GF's industry-leading 22FDX (22 nm FD-SOI) platform has realized $4.5 billion in design wins, with more than 350 million chips shipped to customers around the world.

GF's new 22FDX+ builds on the company's 22FDX platform, offering a broader set of features that provide high performance, ultra-low power, and specialty features and capabilities for the newest generation of designs. The differentiated offering will further empower customers to create chips that are specifically optimized for Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, automotive, and satellite communications applications.

Intel Core i5-L15G7 Lakefield Processor Spotted

Intel has been experimenting with a concept of mixing various types of cores in a single package with a design called Lakefield. With this processor, you would get a package of relatively small dimensions that are 12-by-12-by-1 millimeters withing very low TDP. Thanks to the Twitter user InstLatX64 (@InstLatX64) we have some GeekBench 5 results of the new Lakefield chip. The CPU in question is the Core i5-L15G7, a 5 core CPU without HyperThreading. The 5C/5T would be a weird configuration if only Lakefield wasn't meant for such configs. There are one "big" Sunny Cove core and four "small" Tremont cores built on the 10 nm manufacturing process. This is the so-called compute die, where only the CPU cores are present. The base dies containing other stuff like I/O controllers and PHYs, memory etc. is made on a low-cost node like 22 nm, where performance isn't the primary target. The whole chip is targeting the 5-7 W TDP range.

In the GeekBench 5 result we got, the Core i5-L15G7 is a processor that has a base frequency of 1.4 GHz, while in the test it reached as high as 2.95 GHz speeds. This is presumably for the big Sunny Cove cores, as Tremont cores are supposed to be slower. The cache configuration reportedly puts 1.5 MB of L2$ and 4 MB of L3$ for the CPUs. If we take a look at performance numbers, the chip scores 725 points in single-core tests, while the multi-core result is 1566 points. We don't know what is the targeted market and what it competes with, however, if compared to some offerings from Snapdragon, like the Snapdragon 835, it offers double the single-threaded performance with a similar multi-core score. If this is meant to compete with the more powerful Snapdragon offerings like the 8cx model, comparing the two results in Intel's fail. While the two have similar single-core performance, the Snapdragon 8cx leads by as much as 76.9% in a multi-core scenario, giving this chip a heavy blow.
Intel Core i5-L15G7 Intel Lakefield

Everspin Technologies and GLOBALFOUNDRIES Extend MRAM Joint Development Agreement to 12nm

Everspin Technologies, Inc., the world's leading developer and manufacturer of Magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM), today announced an amendment of its Spin-transfer Torque (STT-MRAM) joint development agreement (JDA) with GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF ), the world's leading specialty foundry. Everspin and GF have been partners on 40 nm, 28 nm, and 22 nm STT-MRAM development and manufacturing processes and have now updated their agreement to set the terms for a future project on an advanced 12 nm FinFET MRAM solution. Everspin is in production of discrete STT-MRAM solutions on 40 and 28 nm, including its award winning 1 Gb DDR4 device. GF recently announced it has achieved initial production of embedded MRAM (eMRAM) on its 22FDX platform.

Intel and QuTech Detail "Horse Ridge," First Cryogenic Quantum Computing Control Chip

Intel Labs, in collaboration with QuTech ‑ a partnership between TU Delft and TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) ‑ outlines key technical features of its new cryogenic quantum control chip "Horse Ridge" in a research paper released at the 2020 International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco. The paper unveils key technical capabilities of Horse Ridge that address fundamental challenges in building a quantum system powerful enough to demonstrate quantum practicality: scalability, flexibility and fidelity.

"Today, quantum researchers work with just a small number of qubits, using smaller, custom-designed systems surrounded by complex control and interconnect mechanisms. Intel's Horse Ridge greatly minimizes this complexity. By systematically working to scale to thousands of qubits required for quantum practicality, we're continuing to make steady progress toward making commercially viable quantum computing a reality in our future," said Jim Clarke, director of quantum hardware, Intel Labs.

Intel Core i5-L16G7 is the first "Lakefield" SKU Appearance, Possible Prelude to New Nomenclature?

Intel Core i5-L16G7 is the first commercial SKU that implements Intel's "Lakefield" heterogenous x86 processor architecture. This 5-core chip features one high-performance "Sunny Cove" CPU core, and four smaller "Tremont" low-power cores, with an intelligent scheduler balancing workloads between the two core types. This is essentially similar to ARM big.LITTLE. The idea being that the device idles most of the time, when lower-powered CPU cores can hold the fort; performance cores kick in only when really needed, until which time they remain power-gated. Thai PC enthusiast TUM_APISAK discovered the first public appearance of the i5-L16G7 in an unreleased Samsung device that has the Userbenchmark device ID string "SAMSUNG_NP_767XCL."

Clock speeds of the processor are listed as "1.40 GHz base, with 1.75 GHz turbo," but it's possible that the two core types have different clock-speed bands, just like the cores on big.LITTLE SoCs. Other key components of "Lakefield" include an iGPU based on the Gen11 graphics architecture, and an LPDDR4X memory controller. "Lakefield" implements Foveros packaging, in which high-density component dies based on newer silicon fabrication nodes are integrated with silicon interposers based on older fabrication processes, which facilitate microscopic high-density wiring between the dies. In case of "Lakefield," the Foveros package features a 10 nm "compute field" die sitting atop a 22 nm "base field" interposer.

Intel Rumored to be Courting GlobalFoundries for Some CPU Manufacturing

With its own silicon fabrication facilities pushed to their capacity limits, Intel is looking for third-party semiconductor foundries to share some of its supply load, and according to a WCCFTech report, its latest partner could be GlobalFoundries, which has a 14 nm-class fab in Upstate New York. If it goes through, the possible Intel-GloFo deal could see contract manufacturing commence within 2020.

GloFo's fab offers 14 nm FinFET and 12LPP, a refinement that's marketed as 12 nm. According to the report, Intel could use GloFo for manufacturing CPU dies, specifically its entry-level chips such as Core i3, Pentium, and Celeron. Intel is also known to shed its own manufacturing workload by contracting foundries for 14 nm core-logic (chipsets). In a bid to maximize 14 nm fab allocation for its CPUs, Intel also started making some of its 300-series chipsets on the older 22 nm process, which goes to show the company's appetite for 14 nm.

Continuing 14 nm Supply Shortages Lead Intel to Reintroduce Haswell-based, 22 nm Pentium G3420

"Nothing Really Ends" is the title of a song from dEUS, a Belgian "art-rock" band. And it would seem this applies all too well to the world of technology too. Intel has issued a Product Change Notification (PCN) which has changed the previously dead and buried, Haswell-era, 22 nm Pentium G3420 from its "Discontinued" status back to a worded "canceling this Product Discontinuance completely per new roadmap decision and enabling the product long term once again." Which means the Pentium G3420 will have a new lease of life, and will be available to customers until May 2020, with final shipments on December of the same year.

This is clearly an attempt from Intel to increase part availability for OEMs and system manufacturers, who have already been quoted as considering AMD due to both increases in performance and efficiency in their processors, as well as constrained supply from Intel, with giant Dell already having pointed the finger at Intel as a cause for their lower than expected revenue.

Intel's FinFET-Based Embedded MRAM is Ready for Production

A report via EETimes slates Intel's own working MRAM (Magnetoresistive Random-Access Memory) is ready for production in high-volume manufacturing. MRAM is a nonvolatile memory technology, meaning that it retains information even if there is a change in powerstate (ie, power loss), meaning that it's more akin to a storage device than to, say, RAM.

But why does MRAM matter, really? Well, MRAM is being developed as a long-term candidate to a universal memory solution, replacing both DRAM (a volatile memory technology) and NAND flash (a nonvolatile one), since node scaling with these technologies is becoming increasingly harder. MRAM promises better-scaling (at the foundry level) processes, with much higher yield rates. The fact that MRAM has been demonstrated to be able to achieve 1 ns settling times, better than the currently accepted theoretical limits for DRAM, and much higher write speeds (as much as thousands of times faster) compared to NAND flash.

Intel Launches B365 Express Chipset on 22nm Process, Possibly a Re-branded Z170

Intel today introduced the B365 Express desktop motherboard chipset as an in-between to its B360 Express and H370 Express chipsets. This model is part of Intel's optical enlargement of its motherboard chipsets to the 22 nm HKMG+ silicon fabrication node, to free up 14 nm++ for processors. Despite this, the TDP of the chipset remains unchanged at 6 Watts. The B365 has a couple of feature additions and subtractions over B360. To begin with it has a wider PCI-Express downstream root-complex, with 20 gen 3.0 lanes, on par with H370 Express. The B360, if you'll recall, only has 12 downstream PCIe lanes. This means B365 motherboards will have additional M.2 and U.2 connectivity.

According to the ARK specifications page for the B365 Express, this chip completely lacks integrated 10 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 2 connectivity. Perhaps the expanded downstream PCIe is really meant for motherboard vendors to use third-party USB 3.1 gen 2 controller chips. You still get eight 5 Gbps USB 3.0 ports (notice we didn't say USB 3.1 gen 1, because don't expect fast-charging features). The chipset also loses the latest generation Wireless AC integrated MAC. All of these point to the possibility of the B365 Express being a re-branded Z170 with locked CPU overclocking. Adding credence to this theory is the fact that while the B360 uses ME version 12, the B365 uses the older ME version 11. Much like the H310C, the B365 could include platform support for Windows 7.

Intel to Move Select Chipset Fabrication Back to 22nm in Wake of 14 nm Silicon Constraints

Things seem to be taking turns to the worse at Intel in accordance to Murphy's law. Not only was the company hit with a multitude of security flaws embedded in their CPUs, which puts their michroarchitecture design chops in jeopardy, but now they also have to contend with silicon fabrication snags. That Intel's 14 nm fabs are being hit with overwhelming demand for their output capacity is already a known quantity, with rising prices of Intel mainstream CPUs and reports of the company outsourcing 14 nm chip production to TSMC in a bid to increase availability - a first since the company became vertically integrated with both design and manufacturing of their own chips.

TSMC to Build Intel 14nm Processors and Chipsets

Try to wrap your head around Intel contracting TSMC to build some of its processors! With its own 14 nanometer silicon fabrication nodes under stress from manufacturing several generations of Core and Xeon processors simultaneously, leading to market shortages, Intel is looking to contract TSMC to manufacture some of its 14 nm products. Among these are certain models of its desktop processors, and several 300-series chipsets, including the H310, which are currently fabbed on Intel's last 22 nm node, that's probably being converted to 14 nm.

The TSMC contract appears to be moving faster than expected, with the Taiwanese fab eager to demonstrate its competence to Intel and secure future orders as the company is closer than ever in going fully or partly fabless. According to industry observers, Intel is staring at a 1:2 supply-demand ratio, for the countless chip it's building on 14 nm; which may have forced it to contract some of these chip designs to TSMC. Motherboard vendors expect Intel to sort out its supply issues by the end of 2018, with big help from TSMC.

Intel Shelves Z390 Express As We Knew It, Could Re-brand Z370 as Z390

Intel is rumored to have shelved the iteration of its upcoming Z390 Express chipset as earlier publicized, the one which had certain new hardware features. It could now re-brand the existing Z370 Express as Z390 Express and probably bolster its reference design with heftier CPU VRM specifications, to cope better with its upcoming 8-core LGA1151 processors. The Z370 Express is similar in feature-set to the brink of being identical to its predecessor, the Z270 Express. This move could impact certain new hardware features that were on the anvil, such as significantly more USB 3.1 gen 2/gen1 ports directly from the PCH, integrated WiFi MAC, and Intel SmartSound technology, which borrowed certain concepts from edge-computing to implement native speech-to-text conversion directly on the chipset, for improved voice control latency and reduced CPU overhead.

The reasons behind this move could be a combination of last-minute cost-benefit analyses by Intel's bean-counters, and having to mass-produce Z390 Express on the busier-than-expected 14 nm silicon fabrication node, as opposed to current 300-series chipsets being built on the 22 nm node that's nearing the end of its life-cycle. Intel probably needed the switch to 14 nm for the significant increases in transistor-counts arising from the additional USB controllers, the WiFi MAC, and the SmartSound logic. Intel probably doesn't have the vacant 14 nm node capacity needed to mass-produce the Z390 yet, as its transition to future processes such as 10 nm and 7 nm are still saddled with setbacks and delays; and redesigning the Z390 (as we knew it) on 22 nm may have emerged unfeasible (i.e. the chip may have ended up too big and/or too hot). The Z390 Express chipset block-diagram, which we published in our older article has been quietly removed from Intel's website. It's also rumored that this move could force AMD to rethink its plans to launch its Z490 socket AM4 chipset.

A Push for the Higher Margin: Intel Reportedly Discontinues Production of Its H310 Chipset

A report straight out of DigiTimes, citing industry sources, says that Intel has discontinued production of its H310 chipset. The decision has apparently stemmed from lower than expected production capacity for chipsets on the 14 nm process. When that happens, production focus must shift to a specific part: in this case, Intel obviously went with the option with the lower opportunity cost, and increased production of the Z370 chipset: the one with the increased feature-set, and, most likely than not, higher margins.

After a single month of tight supply for the H310 chipset, motherboard makers are now forced to use Intel's B360 chipset in their more cost-conscious options as well - a part which carries higher cost, and thus precludes manufacturers from hitting all the price points they usually would with a fully vertical Intel chipset lineup. Speculation has emerged claiming Intel suspended the supply of H310 because they have chosen to conduct a manufacturing process change from the tight-supply 14 nm (used across almost all of Intel's production stack, both consumer and enterprise) to a 22 nm fabrication technology. Further speculation places this constrained 14 nm supply as existent because of the delay in advancing to 10 nm, a process that Intel expected to be producing in volume by now (and since a while back, to be fair).

Intel Plans $5 billion Investment in Israel Plant for Expanded 10 nm Production

Israeli Economy Minister Eli Cohen today revealed that after talks with Intel, the company shared plans for a $5 billion investment in its Kiryat Gat plant, located in southern Israel. The Kiryat Gat plant currently features tools and manufacturing facilities that allow only 22 nm chips to be produced - definitely not cutting edge, but still somewhat relevant in the semiconductor market for simpler technologies. Intel's investment would bring this plant's capabilities to 10 nm manufacturing levels. The minister further stated that Intel will begin its investment this year, and was looking towards a full 2020 payoff with increased manufacturing capabilities. Naturally, with investment comes tax opportunities and government incentives, and Intel is expected to receive a 10% grant from the Israeli government to help it in this investments' funding.

Moore's Law Buckles as Intel's Tick-Tock Cycle Slows Down

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore's claim that transistor counts in microprocessors can be doubled with 2 years, by means of miniaturizing silicon lithography is beginning to buckle. In its latest earnings release, CEO Brian Krzanich said that the company's recent product cycles marked a slowing down of its "tick-tock" product development from 2 years to close to 2.5 years. With the company approaching sub-10 nm scales, it's bound to stay that way.

To keep Moore's Law alive, Intel adopted a product development strategy it calls tick-tock. Think of it as a metronome that give rhythm to the company. Each "tock" marks the arrival of a new micro-architecture, and each "tick" marks its miniaturization to a smaller silicon fab process. Normally, each year is bound to see one of the two in alternation.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Launches Industry's First 22nm FD-SOI Technology Platform

GLOBALFOUNDRIES today launched a new semiconductor technology developed specifically to meet the ultra-low-power requirements of the next generation of connected devices. The "22FDX" platform delivers FinFET-like performance and energy-efficiency at a cost comparable to 28 nm planar technologies, providing an optimal solution for the rapidly evolving mainstream mobile, Internet-of-Things (IoT), RF connectivity and networking markets.

While some applications require the ultimate performance of three-dimensional FinFET transistors, most wireless devices need a better balance of performance, power consumption and cost. 22FDX provides the best path for cost-sensitive applications by leveraging the industry's first 22nm two-dimensional, fully-depleted silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI) technology. It offers industry's lowest operating voltage at 0.4 volt, enabling ultra-low dynamic power consumption, less thermal impact, and smaller end-product form-factors. The 22FDX platform delivers a 20 percent smaller die size and 10 percent fewer masks than 28nm, as well as nearly 50 percent fewer immersion lithography layers than foundry FinFET.

"The 22FDX platform enables our customers to deliver differentiated products with the best balance of power, performance and cost," said Sanjay Jha, chief executive officer of GLOBALFOUNDRIES. "In an industry first, 22FDX provides real-time system software control of transistor characteristics: the system designer can dynamically balance power, performance, and leakage. Additionally, for RF and analog integration, the platform delivers best scaling combined with highest energy efficiency."

95W TDP of "Skylake" Chips Explained by Intel's Big Graphics Push

Intel's Core "Skylake" processor lineup, built on the company's swanky new 14 nanometer fab process, drew heads to its rather high 95W TDP for quad-core parts such as the Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K, even though their 22 nm predecessors, such as the i7-4770K and the i5-4670K run cooler, at 84W TDP. A new leaked slide explains the higher TDP. Apparently, Intel is going all-out with its integrated graphics implementation on Core "Skylake" chips, including onboard graphics that leverage eDRAM caches. The company is promising as much as 50% higher integrated graphics performance over "Haswell."

Although the chips have high rated TDP, the overall energy efficiency presents a different story. SoCs based on "Skylake" will draw as much as 60% lower power than "Haswell" based ones, translating into 35% longer HD video playback on portable devices running these chips. Intel's graphics performance push is driven by an almost sudden surge in display resolutions, with standards such as 4K (3840 x 2160) entering mainstream, and 5K (5120 x 2880) entering the enthusiast segment. Intel's design goal is to supply the market with a graphics solution that makes the two resolutions functional on desktop and video, if not gaming.

Intel Rolls Out Energy-efficient Core i3-4170T Dual-Core Processor

Intel topped off its value dual-core processor lineup with a new energy-efficient part, the Core i3-4170T. One of the last chips to be based on the 22 nm "Haswell" silicon, this chip offers two cores with HyperThreading enabling four logical CPUs, 3.20 GHz clock speeds, 3 MB, and a TDP of just 35W (standard i3-41xx series feature 54W TDP). The i3-4170T is priced roughly on par with the current series-leading chip, the i3-4160. A little later this month, Intel will unveil the i3-4170, which will be the fastest part in the series, featuring 3.70 GHz clock speeds.

Intel Debuts the Xeon E5-2600/1600 v3 Processor Family

Intel Corporation today introduced the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600/1600 v3 product families to address the requirements of diverse workloads and the rapidly evolving needs of data centers. The new processor families include numerous enhancements that provide performance increases of up to 3x over the previous generation, world-class energy efficiency and enhanced security. To facilitate the explosive demand for software defined infrastructure (SDI), the processors expose key metrics, through telemetry, which enable the infrastructure to deliver services with the best performance, resilience and optimized total cost of ownership.

The processors will be used in servers, workstations, storage and networking infrastructure to power a broad set of workloads such as data analytics, high-performance computing, telecommunications and cloud-based services, as well as back-end processing for the Internet of Things.

Intel Unveils New Technologies for Efficient Cloud Datacenters

Intel Corporation today introduced a portfolio of datacenter products and technologies for cloud service providers looking to drive greater efficiency and flexibility into their infrastructure to support a growing demand for new services and future innovation.

Server, network and storage infrastructure is evolving to better suit an increasingly diverse set of lightweight workloads, creating the emergence of microserver, cold storage and entry networking segments. By optimizing technologies for specific workloads, Intel will help cloud providers significantly increase utilization, drive down costs and provide compelling and consistent experiences to consumers and businesses.

Intel Core i7 "Ivy Bridge-E" HEDT Processors Start Selling

Intel made its newest Core i7 high-end desktop (HEDT) platform official with the launch of three new socket LGA2011 processors based on the swanky new 22 nm "Ivy Bridge-E" silicon. The launch includes the top-end Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition, priced at $990, followed by the Core i7-4930K at $555, and Core i7-4820K at $310. Expect a 10 percent markup across the board for these prices. Of these, the i7-4960X and i7-4930K are six-core parts, while the i7-4820K is quad-core.

The Core i7-4960X features a CPU clock speed of 3.60 GHz, with up to 4.00 GHz Turbo Boost frequency, 15 MB of L3 cache, and HyperThreading, which enables 12 logical CPUs for the OS to deal with. The i7-4930K clocks in at 3.40 GHz, with up to 3.90 GHz Turbo Boost, 12 MB of L3 cache, and HyperThreading. The i7-4820K, at its price point, can be extremely inviting for people with their minds set on a Core i7-4770K. It features 3.70 GHz clocks with up to 3.90 GHz Turbo Boost, 10 MB of L3 cache, and HyperThreading, enabling 8 logical CPUs. All three parts feature quad-channel DDR3 integrated memory controller with native support for DDR3-1866, 48-lane PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complexes, and 130W rated TDPs.

MSI GP70 and GP60 Gaming Series Notebooks Official

Slim and light, MSI's GP60 and GP70 presents better performance of the latest laptops for online gaming competitions. Under the hood, these NBs meet your need for machines that with good performance with better gaming experience. In addition, they sport envelope-pushing SteelSeries gaming keyboards, unique Audio Boost for headsets sound enhancement solution. Easy to Take and powerful, these NBs will give you the furious advantage in HD gaming competitions. MSI has received high marks for its high-end gaming laptops, the good performance but compact gaming design in new gaming notebooks. They featured Intel's 4th Generation Quad Core processor and new Generation NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M discrete graphics. Specially designed to meet the demands of online gamers around the world.
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