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AMD's PlayReady 3.0 In Polaris, Vega GPUs, APUs to Enable 4K HDR Streaming on PC

In the wake of increased requirements when it comes to digital copy protection mechanisms in consumable media (be it in the streaming or disc-type), AMD is looking to allow users of its products to keep up with the increasing demands of content distributors. Besides hardware encode/decode capabilities, hardware DRM support such as HDCP 2.2 or Microsoft's PlayReady 3.0 has become a necessity for high-quality content viewing, and is required for Netflix 4K and HDR streaming on PCs.

AMD themselves have said that they plan on enabling these features for their products via a driver release, thus turning the most recent Ryzen + Vega APUs into even more desirable HTPC-environment solutions. In the Ryzen Desktop APU Reviewers' Guide, the company specifically said, "Please note that HDCP 1.4/2.2 are supported for the purposes of streaming 4K+HDR content. AMD intends to have a production PlayReady 3-capable graphics driver in early Q2". The company thus joins Intel and NVIDIA in developing solutions that allow users to take advantage of 4K and HDR content on their PC solution via, for example, Netflix. The steps are still very convoluted, though; just look at the Netflix requirements for your PC after the break. It's mind-boggling.

AMD Ryzen 2000-series "Pinnacle Ridge" CPUs Get Soldered IHS

AMD's second-generation Ryzen 2000-series "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, which succeed the company's first Ryzen "Summit Ridge," reportedly feature soldered integrated heatspreaders (IHS), according AMD spokesperson "AMD_Robert" on Reddit. This would make the chips different from the Ryzen 2000G-series "Raven Ridge" APUs launched earlier this week, which come with a thermal paste between the IHS and the die. Soldered heatspreaders are generally known to have better heat transfer between the IHS and die, when compared to packages with thermal pastes between the two; and are more expensive to manufacture. They remove the need to "de-lid" the processor (remove the IHS). Ryzen 2000-series processors are expected to debut in April 2018.

AMD Provides Support for BIOS Update on 2nd Gen Ryzen - Boot Kit Available

The Socket AM4 platform is designed to be a long life, fully featured, scalable solution with support for multiple processors, with varying capabilities. Since the release of the AMD Socket AM4 motherboards in early 2017 with the AMD Ryzen desktop processor, there have been several BIOS updates made available through our motherboard partners. These updates not only provide improved system performance but also expand support for newer processors as they become available.

In February 2018, AMD began introduction of the new 2nd Gen Ryzen Desktop Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics. To enable support for this new processor, an updated BIOS is required. Due to the rapid pace of innovation, and strong demand for Ryzen Processors with Radeon Graphics, it may be possible that some users with an AMD Socket AM4 motherboard paired with a 2nd Generation Ryzen Desktop introduced in 2018, may experience an issue where the system does not boot up during initial setup.

Newegg Repents for Overpricing AMD APUs by Partially Refunding Customers

California-based Chinese PC hardware retailer Newegg late Tuesday, issued partial refunds to customers who bought highly marked-up AMD Ryzen 2000-series APUs with Radeon Vega graphics. At launch, Newegg marked up the Ryzen 3 2200G and the Ryzen 5 2400G by as much as US $20 above their MSRPs of $99.99 and $169.99, respectively. The 2400G was listed at $189.99, a price that greatly erodes the chip's competitiveness in the market against similarly-priced Intel chips. Newegg has since "lowered" prices of the two chips back to their MSRPs, and is writing to those who bought the chips at marked-up prices, intimating them of refunds of the mark-up back to their original mode of payment.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.2.2 Beta

AMD today released the latest version of Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition. Version 18.2.2 Beta introduces much welcome performance uplifts for Player Unknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), with up to 5 percent gains over 17.12.1 at 1440p, and up to 7 percent gains over it at 1080p. It also includes optimization for "Kingdom Come: Deliverance" and "Fortnite." You can expect up to 3 percent performance uplift at 1440p, and up to 4 percent at 1080p with "Kingdom Come: Deliverance," and up to 3 percent at 1440 and up to 6 percent at 1080p with "Fortnite." Grab the driver from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.2.2 Beta

AMD Intros the Wraith Prism CPU Cooler

AMD unveiled its new-generation Wraith Prism CPU cooler, which will soon be available for purchase separately, launched alongside some of the higher models of its Ryzen 2000-series "Pinnacle Ridge" processors. The Wraith Prism is essentially a Wraith Max with RGB LED lighting. The cooler features two RGB LED diffusers embedded into its shroud, an outer ring at the mouth of the intake, and an inner ring along the bore of the intake framing the fan. You will be able to control the RGB LED lighting via Ryzen Master software, but it will also support software standards from motherboard vendors, such as ASUS Aura Sync, MSI Mystic Light, GIGABYTE RGB Fusion, BIOSTAR Vivid, etc. Under the shroud, the Wriath Prism features the same aluminium fin-stack heatsink as the Wriath Max. The cooler features fan-profiles for various CPU OC modes, which can be enabled via Ryzen Master. When it starts selling separately, the Wraith Prism could be priced around $49, a $5-ish premium over Wraith Max.

Low-Power Variants of the Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G are on the Way

Over the last couple of days, motherboard manufacturers have been scrambling to release BIOS updates for their AM4 motherboards to accommodate the new Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G processors. From the information we gathered from ASRock's AM4 CPU support list, AMD is secretly preparing two more Ryzen "Raven Ridge" APUs. The unannounced models are the Ryzen 5 2400GE and Ryzen 3 2200GE. Judging from their technical specifications, the aforementioned processors are the low-power variants to the two models that were released today. The "GE" variants come with a lower 3.2 GHz base clock and 35W TDP. As of yet, AMD hasn't officially announced the pricing or release date.

ASUS Announces Support for AMD Ryzen Desktop Processors with Radeon Vega

ASUS today announced that its complete lineup of AM4-socket-based motherboards now offer support for the first Zen architecture-based AMD Ryzen desktop processors with Radeon Vega graphics Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), via a BIOS update that's available immediately. These all-new AMD Ryzen 2000 Series APUs combine up to four Zen-based CPU cores with integrated Radeon Vega graphics. When used in combination with ASUS AMD AM4 Series motherboards, AMD Ryzen 2000 Series APUs offer great-value performance and deliver best-in-class gaming and graphics experiences.

Existing owners of ASUS AM4-socket motherboards can update their systems quickly and easily with the intuitive ASUS USB BIOS Flashback or ASUS EZ Flash 3 tools. In addition, an updated graphics driver - available from the ASUS support website - pushes the integrated AMD Radeon graphics to new performance heights for best-ever visual and gaming experiences with AMD Ryzen 2000 Series APUs.

ASRock Outs AM4 Motherboard Raven Ridge BIOS Updates, AMD Standardizes New Label

ASRock today announced that it has posted motherboard BIOS updates for its socket AM4 motherboard product lineup, which enables support for AMD Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G APUs based on the "Raven Ridge" silicon. The company posted BIOS updates for all 18 of its AM4 motherboard models, based on AMD X370, B350, and A320 chipsets. To get your BIOS update, visit the downloads section of the product page of your motherboard model on ASRock company website.

In related news, it looks like AMD has standardized a new label for use by motherboard manufacturers on their product boxes to denote out of the box support for AMD Ryzen 2000 series processors, on newer batches of their AMD 300-series chipset motherboards. Motherboards without this label likely won't support chips such as the 2200G or 2400G out of the box, and will require a BIOS update using a supported Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processor first. Motherboards based on the upcoming AMD 400-series chipsets, which should launch in Q2-2018, will support "Raven Ridge" and upcoming "Pinnacle Ridge" processors out of the box, including backwards-compatibility for existing "Summit Ridge" processors.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.2.1 WHQL

AMD today has released the WHQL version of its Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.2.1 Beta drivers, which the company had introduced just five days ago. There's no apparent difference between this driver version and the previously released one, other than the WHQL certification - this might mean some additional stability in the new driver release compared to its Beta version, though mileage may vary.

Just as a friendly reminder, the Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.2.1 drivers add support for Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age, while fixing a number of bugs with FreeSync and the Vulkan API, among others. As always, you can download these drivers right here on TechPowerUp!, just by following the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.2.1 WHQL

iBase MBN806, the First AMD Snowy Owl Motherboard to Appear in the Wild

Taiwanese industrial computer manufacturer iBase has listed what appears to be the first motherboard for AMD's Snowy Owl platform. Based on the BGA2028 socket, the iBase MBN806 is powered by an eight-core, eight-thread EPYC Embedded 3201 SoC with a clock speed up to 2.3 GHz. The motherboard has four DDR4 memory slots and supports up to 128GB of registered memory or 64GB of unregistered memory (ECC/non-ECC) at a maximum frequency of 2667 MHz. A lonely PCIe x8 also slot sits near the memory slots. As for storage options, the MBN806 comes with two SATA III ports and a PCIe x4 M.2 slot that supports both the SATA and PCIe protocols. By default, there are no integrated display outputs, but consumers can purchase a separate IPMI module to add a VGA port to the motherboard. Ethernet connectivity is present via an Intel I210-AT GbE controller.

Dell EMC Announces Three New PowerEdge Servers Powered by AMD EPYC Processors

Dell EMC announced three new servers designed for software-defined environments, edge and high-performance computing (HPC). The PowerEdge R6415, PowerEdge R7415 and PowerEdge R7425 expand the 14th generation of the Dell EMC PowerEdge server portfolio with new capabilities to address the demanding workload requirements of today's modern data center. All three rack servers with the AMD EPYC processor offer highly scalable platforms with outstanding total cost of ownership (TCO).

"As the bedrock of the modern data center, customers expect us to push server innovation further and faster" said Ashley Gorakhpurwalla, president, Server and Infrastructure Systems at Dell EMC. "As customers deploy more IoT solutions, they need highly capable and flexible compute at the edge to turn data into real-time insights; these new servers that are engineered to deliver that while lowering TCO."

MSI Outs Socket AM4 Motherboard BIOS Updates for "Raven Ridge" APU Support

MSI is among the first motherboard manufacturers to release BIOS updates for its entire socket AM4 motherboard lineup, to enable support for Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G APUs, based on the "Raven Ridge" silicon. With the two chips installed, you will finally be able to use the DVI, D-Sub, HDMI or DisplayPort connectors on the rear-panel of your socket AM4 motherboards. Motherboards based on AMD's upcoming 400-series chipset, will come with support for "Raven Ridge" APUs out of the box, among other chips, such as the company's upcoming 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" processors.

Among MSI's 300-series chipset socket AM4 motherboards to receive "Raven Ridge" support, are the X370 XPower Gaming Titanium, the X370 Gaming M7 ACK, the X370 Gaming Pro Carbon, the X370 Gaming Pro, X370 Gaming Plus, X370 SLI Plus, X370 Krait Gaming; the B350 Tomahawk Plus, the B350 Tomahawk, the B350 Tomahawk Arctic, B350 PC Mate, B350M Gaming Pro, B350M Mortar, B350M Bazooka, B350M Pro-VDH, and A320M Gaming Pro. You'll find the BIOS ROM files in the downloads section of your motherboard's product page on MSI website.

Sapphire Launches Pulse Radeon RX Vega 56 Graphics Card

Sapphire over the weekend officially launched its cost-effective custom-design Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics card, the Pulse Radeon Vega 56 (model: 11276-02), which began appearing on European e-tailers late-January. The card combines a custom-design short-length PCB that's roughly the length of AMD's reference R9 Fury board; with a beefy custom-design cooling solution that features two large aluminium fin-stacks, ventilated by a pair of 100 mm double ball-bearing fans.

The card offers out of the box clock speeds of 1208 MHz core, 1512 MHz boost, and 800 MHz (1.60 GHz HBM2 effective) memory, against AMD reference clock speeds of 1138 MHz core and 1474 MHz boost. At its given clock, the memory bandwidth on offer is 409.6 GB/s. The "Vega 10" silicon is configured with 3,584 stream processors, 192 TMUs, and 64 ROPs. The card draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors, display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4 and one HDMI 2.0. Sapphire intended for this SKU to ideally occupy a close-to-reference price-point, a notch below its Nitro+ series, however in the wake of the crypto-currency wave, market-forces will decide its retail price.

Swiftech Releases Brand-New Apogee SKF Flagship Waterblock

Rouchon Industries Inc., dba Swiftech, today announced the release of their new Apogee SKF flagship waterblock. With overwhelming success from our Limited Edition Apogee SKF "Heirloom Series" which truly allowed customers to "Make it personal", we are now extremely proud to introduce the Apogee SKF - which follows in the footsteps of the award winning high performance Apogee XL2 featuring customization options that allows users to go beyond their limits. This new technology is at least one generation ahead of the competition and will be the foundation of Swiftech's next generation CPU waterblocks.

The Apogee SKF also features an entirely new cooling engine made of 125 micron (less than 5 thousandths of an inch!) thick slotted fins. The center piece is also customizable/replaceable. Out of the box, the Apogee SKF is compatible with all current and upcoming CPU's: From Intel's LGA 115x, 2011, 2011-v3 and 2066, to AMD's legacy AM2/3, AM4 and upcoming SP3/TR4.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.2.1 Beta

AMD today released its latest version of Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition. Version 18.2.1 Beta adds optimization for "Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age." It also corrects a bug with AMD FreeSync which caused it to switch between minimum and maximum refresh-rate range, causing a stutter. FreeSync compatibility with Samsung CF791 displays, was also improved. It also corrects a game launch issue with "Sid Meier's Civilization V" on hybrid graphics systems. Radeon Chill compatibility is improved with games that use the Vulkan API (such as "Doom" and "Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus." Texture and artifact glitches were corrected in games such as "NFS: Payback" and "Hyperdimension Neptunia."
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.2.1

HWiNFO Adds Support For Upcoming AMD CPUs, GPUs, Others

PC diagnostics tool HW Info has added support for future, as-of-yet unreleased AMD CPUs and GPUs, which seemingly confirm some earlier news on AMD's plans for their next-generation offerings. HWiNFO's v5.72 update adds support for upcoming AMD Navi GPUs, Pinnacle Ridge, 400-series motherboards (which should make their market debut alongside AMD's Zen+ CPUs), and enhanced support for AMD's Starship, Matisse and Radeon RX Vega M. We already touched upon AMD's Matisse codename in the past: it's expected to refer to the company's Zen 2 microarchitecture, which will bring architecture overhauls of the base Zen design - alongside a 7 nm process - in order to bring enhanced performance and better power consumption.

Starship, on the other hand, is a previously leaked evolution of AMD's current Naples offering that powers their EPYC server CPUs. Starship has been rumored to have been canceled, and then put back on the product schedule again; if anything, its inclusion in HWiNFO's latest version does point towards it having made the final cut, after all. Starship will bring to businesses an increased number of cores and threads (48/96) compared to Naples' current top-tier offering (32/64), alongside a 7 nm manufacturing process.

Sapphire Intros Radeon RX 550 Graphics Cards with 640 Stream Processors

Sapphire quietly introduced a slightly bolstered Radeon RX 550 graphics card that's based on the "Polaris 21" silicon, rather than the Polaris 20 "Lexa" silicon, called simply the Pulse Radeon RX 550 2GD5/4GD5 (model: 11268-16 for 2 GB and 11268-15 for 4 GB). Consumers should pay attention to the model number. "Polaris 21" is the same chip AMD bases the RX 560 on. This particular card has 10 out of 16 compute units physically present on the chip, which translates to 640 stream processors, higher than the 512 stream processors the RX 550 is originally endowed with. Other vital specs include 40 TMUs, and 2 GB or 4 GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 6.00 GHz, over a 128-bit wide memory interface (96 GB/s memory bandwidth). The GPU is clocked at 1071 MHz. The card relies on the PCI-Express slot for power, its display outputs include one each of DVI, HDMI 2.0, and DisplayPort 1.4. Sapphire could be going after the sweltering PUBG crowd.

MSI Intros Radeon RX 580 Armor MK2 Graphics Card

MSI today introduced its Radeon RX 580 Armor MK2 graphics card series, available in standard and OC variants. Both feature 8 GB of GDDR5 memory. The two cards feature the same Armor MK2 product design that the company debuted with the RX 570 Armor MK2 series, earlier this month. The standard variant offers out of the box clock speeds of 1353 MHz core, which is slightly higher than AMD-reference clocks of 1340 MHz. The OC variant tops that with 1366 MHz out of the box. Both variants leave the memory untouched at 8.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective).

The Armor MK2 series is positioned a notch above the original Arsenal-series Armor SKU, in featuring a pair of updated TorX 2.0 fans, red-colored accents in place of white on the cooler shroud, and the addition of a metal back-plate with red accents. It hence sits in between the Armor and Gaming series. TorX 2.0 fans feature double ball-bearings, and an improved fan blade design for higher air-flow, allowing MSI to lower the fan speeds, and with it, noise. The fans stay off when the GPU is idling. The PCB design is unchanged between the Armor MK2 and the original RX 580 Armor series. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Highlights from AMD Earnings Call: Hardened "Zen2" and 7 nm "Vega" by 2019

Following its Q4 and 2017 Annual financial results reveal, AMD CEO Lisa Su, in the company's post-results earnings conference call, made some notable disclosures and guidance. The most interesting - and which shouldn't come as a surprise - is that AMD expects revenues to grow by a staggering 30 percent quarter-over-quarter in Q1-2018, riding on the blockchain (crypto-currency mining) wave. The company's graphics processors offer high efficiency at mining popular crypto-currencies, such as Ethereum, Z-cash, and Bitcoin.

Moving on, Su commented on how her company is coping with the "Meltdown" and "Spectre" CPU vulnerabilities, and reaffirmed that AMD's x86 architectures are slightly safer by design against some of the vulnerabilities; that while the upcoming "Zen+" CPU micro-architecture, which is essentially an optical-shrink of "Zen" to the 12 nanometer process will ship with microcode-level patches against the vulnerabilities, its successor, the "Zen2" micro-architecture, which will be built on the 7 nm process, will feature architecture-level hardening against the vulnerabilities. "Zen 2" tapes out towards the end of 2018, and could see production and marketing in 2019. The other big reveal is the taping out of an optically-shrunk "Vega" architecture implementation on the 7 nm process, taping out within 2018. This isn't "Navi," but possibly a bigger "Vega" chip that leverages 7 nm to have acceptable power/thermals. AMD could tap into the machine-learning market with this silicon first.

AMD Reports Fourth Quarter and Annual 2017 Financial Results

AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) today announced revenue for the fourth quarter of 2017 of $1.48 billion, operating income of $82 million and net income of $61 million or diluted earnings per share of $0.06. Non-GAAP operating income was $103 million, non-GAAP net income was $88 million and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share was $0.08. For fiscal 2017, the Company reported revenue of $5.33 billion, operating income of $204 million and net income of $43 million or diluted earnings per share of $0.04. Non-GAAP operating income was $301 million, non-GAAP net income was $179 million and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share was $0.17.

"2017 marked a key inflection point for AMD as we re-shaped our product portfolio, delivered 25 percent annual revenue growth, expanded gross margin and achieved full-year profitability," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "We are even more excited about 2018 as we launch our next wave of high-performance products and continue to position AMD as one of the premier long-term growth companies in the technology industry."

QNAP Introduces vQTS: Initially Available for TS-x77 Ryzen NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today released the new "vQTS" virtualization technology that enables users to run multiple virtual QTS operating systems on a QNAP NAS. Based on Virtualization Station, vQTS provides benefits for resource segregation, multi-tenant environments, flexible application deployment, and savings on energy, cost and physical space. vQTS is initially available for the AMD Ryzen-powered TS-x77 NAS series, which delivers high-performance to maximize vQTS utilization for greater business flexibility in management and applications.

SK Hynix Announces Availability of 16 Gb DDR4 Chips, up to 256 GB DIMMs

Sk Hynix has added to its product catalog single-die 16 Gb DDR4 memory chips, which should enable a two-fold increase in maximum memory capacity per single DIMM. This allows SK Hynix to sell same-capacity chips with fewer memory semiconductor dies, due to the increase in storage density, and to increase maximum memory capacity at the same memory die populations as before. The benefits are lower power consumption (due to the reduced number of memory dies to power), and the possibility of putting together either dual-ranked 64 GB modules, quad-ranked 128 GB LRDIMMs and octal-ranked 256 GB LRDIMMs. That last part is the most important: theoretically, the maximum amount of memory on top Intel or AMD server platforms could double, which could enable up to 4 TB RAM in EPYC systems, for example. And as memory-hungry as big data applications have become, there's ever need for higher memory capacity.

SK Hynix's 16 Gb DDR4 chips are organized as 1Gx16 and 2Gx8 and supplied in FBGA96 and FBGA78 packages, respectively. Current 16 Gb density speeds stand at DDR4-2133 CL15 or DDR4-2400 CL17 modes at 1.2 V. SK Hynix plans increase the available frequencies in the third quarter of this year, adding DDR4-2666 CL19 to the lineup.

Intel Processors to Have "In-silicon" Fixes to Meltdown and Spectre This Year

Intel, which benefited from the post-Q4 public-disclosure of Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in its latest results, is hoping to mitigate its fallout on Q1-2018. The company, along with several other CPU designers, such as AMD and ARM, are firefighting the two devastating security vulnerabilities through OS kernel patches and CPU micro-code updates; which come at a slight expense of performance. In a bid to unnerve investors, company CEO Brian Krzanich announced that Intel is working on "in-silicon" fixes to Meltdown and Spectre.

An "in-silicon" fix would entail a major CPU micro-architecture design that's inherently immune to the two vulnerabilities and yet offers the benefits of modern branch-prediction and speculative execution. Krzanich says processors with in-silicon fixes to the two vulnerabilities will be released to market by the end of 2018.

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G Smokes Core i5-8400 at iGPU Performance

AMD is pinning a lot of hopes on its upcoming Ryzen 2000G "Raven Ridge" desktop APU family, which combine a quad-core "Zen" CPU with a larger-than-expected integrated GPU based on the latest "Vega" architecture. While Intel's iGPU design focus for its "Coffee Lake-S" processors continues to be hardware-accelerated 4K video playback, and non-gaming tasks; AMD promises a more wholesome solution. The integrated Radeon Vega 11 graphics of the Ryzen 5 2400G features 11 "Vega" NGCUs (next-generation compute units), which translates to 704 stream processors, 44 TMUs (@ 4 TMUs per NGCU), 8 or 16 ROPs, and a bandwidth-rich pathway to the APU's dual-channel DDR4-2933 capable IMC, thanks to AMD's new Infinity Fabric interconnect.

In its pre-launch press-deck for the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G, AMD did the obvious - comparing a similarly priced Intel Core i5-8400 six-core processor (MSRP: $189) with its faster Ryzen 5 2400G (MSRP: $169.99) at gaming, highlighting its products key promise - enabling 1080p gaming with many of the newer AAA titles. In AMD's testing, the Radeon Vega 11 iGPU keeps frame-rates well above 30 fps at 1080p. In key popular titles such as "Battlefield 1," the frame-rates cross 50 fps, titles like "Overwatch" and "Rocket League" are almost that fast. "Skyrim" approaches 96 fps, while "The Witcher 3" stays barely above 30 fps. The i5-8400 with its UHD 620 graphics barely touches the 30 fps mark in any of the games, at 1080p. Even taking into account AMD's marketing hyperbole, the Radeon Vega 11 seems capable of running most eSports titles at resolutions above 1600 x 900, which should particularly interest iCafes and gamers on a shoestring budget.
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