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TSMC Reports Third Quarter Results

TSMC today announced consolidated revenue of NT$293.05 billion, net income of NT$101.07 billion, and diluted earnings per share of NT$3.90 (US$0.62 per ADR unit) for the third quarter ended September 30, 2019.

Year-over-year, third quarter revenue increased 12.6% while net income and diluted EPS both increased 13.5%. Compared to second quarter 2019, third quarter results represented a 21.6% increase in revenue and a 51.4% increase in net income. All figures were prepared in accordance with TIFRS on a consolidated basis.

AMD to Release Ryzen 7 3750X Processor?

AMD's latest Product Master guide (since taken down but immortalized in the interweb) has a surprise in store for AMD's Ryzen 7 desktop CPU lineup. Sandwiched in-between the Ryzen 7 3700X and the Ryzen 7 3800X, a new entry has reared its head, in the form of the Ryzen 7 3750X. The new CPU is specified to keep the same 105 W TDP of its elder sibling Ryzen 7 3800X, instead of keeping the Ryzen 7 3700X's 65 W TDP. Technically, this is possible to achieve in both pricing and performance: the Ryzen 7 3750X, if it ever is launched (it could be a specific release for system integrators or other interested parties outside the usual mainstream desktop suspects) could sport increased base clocks compared to the Ryzen 7 3700X's 3.6 GHz base / 4.4 GHz boost clocks... But not easily, considering the Ryzen 7 3800X starts at 3.9 GHz base / 4.5 GHz boost. It's possible to release the 3750X with a 200 MHz boost on base clocks and the same 4.4 GHz boost, but does it make any sense to do so?

It could - even if with some forced optimism - should AMD price it closer to the Ryzen 7 3700X than to the Ryzen 7 3800X. The $329 and $399 prices for those CPUs, respectively, leave a gap that could be filled by the Ryzen 7 3750X at around the $349 mark, for example. It's likely most users would be making the jump from the 65 W CPU than dropping less cash compared to the 3800X, so AMD's margins per sale would definitely improve. At the same time, this could be a way for AMD to cope with TSMC's 7 nm increase in lead-times and lower availability of CPUs by moving stock from the 65 W CPU to the pricier 3750X in parts that can actually run at those frequencies. Driving their lineup's ASP up ensures AMD can keep a steady stream of income should availability decline - less parts sold at a greater price can shore up some of the lost cash influx.

TSMC Extends 16 nm Lead Time, Possibly Because the Fab is Swamped

TSMC has increased its 7 nm delivery time by as much as three times because of extra demand from customers who want their products made on 7 nm manufacturing process. While we thought the struggles with the delivery of 7 nm will only be present for that node, it turns out that TSMC is facing some issues with the delivery of its 16 nm node as well.

There is no clear indication of why is TSMC having issues meeting demand for its 16 nm node, just now. What might be the reason is that a large number of manufacturers are still designing and manufacturing their products on 16 nm, as it is quite cheaper than smaller nodes, so the 16 nm manufacturing facilities may be "overloaded". Another possible reason is that wafer output faced some issues that are now affecting both the 7 and 16 nm node delivery time being extended. That can be anything from a small power cut to a large issue like contamination of cleanrooms where processors are made.

TSMC September 2019 Revenue Report

TSMC today announced its net revenues for September 2019: On a consolidated basis, revenues for September 2019 were approximately NT$102.17 billion, a decrease of 3.7 percent from August 2019 and an increase of 7.6 percent from September 2018. Revenues for January through September 2019 totaled NT$752.75 billion, an increase of 1.5 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

TSMC Starts Shipping its 7nm+ Node Based on EUV Technology

TSMC today announced that its seven-nanometer plus (N7+), the industry's first commercially available Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology, is delivering customer products to market in high volume. The N7+ process with EUV technology is built on TSMC's successful 7 nm node and paves the way for 6 nm and more advanced technologies.

The N7+ volume production is one of the fastest on record. N7+, which began volume production in the second quarter of 2019, is matching yields similar to the original N7 process that has been in volume production for more than one year.

TSMC Files Complaints Against GlobalFoundries for Infringement of 25 Patents

TSMC, the world's leading global innovator in semiconductor manufacturing, filed multiple lawsuits on September 30, 2019 against GlobalFoundries in the United States, Germany and Singapore for its ongoing infringement of 25 TSMC patents by at least its 40nm, 28nm, 22nm, 14nm, and 12nm node processes. In the complaints, TSMC demands injunctions to stop GlobalFoundries' manufacture and sale of infringing semiconductor products. TSMC also seeks substantial monetary damages from GlobalFoundries for its sale of infringing semiconductor products and unlawful use of TSMC's patented semiconductor technologies.

The 25 TSMC patents in the complaints relate to a diverse set of technologies, including FinFET designs, shallow trench isolation techniques, double patterning methods, advanced seal rings and gate structures, and innovative contact etch stop layer designs. These specific technologies cover the core features of mature and advanced semiconductor manufacturing processes. The patents at issue comprise just a small portion of TSMC's extensive portfolio that numbers more than 37,000 granted patents worldwide. TSMC was ranked one of the top 10 companies for U.S. patent grants last year, for the third consecutive year.

Moore's Law - Is it Really Dead ?

"Moore's Law" is a term coined in 1965 by Gordon Moore, who presented a paper which predicts that semiconductor scaling will allow integrated circuits to feature twice as many transistors present per same area as opposed to a chip manufactured two years ago. That means we could get same performance at half the power than the previous chip, or double the performance at same power/price in only two years time. Today we'll investigate if Moore's Law stayed true to its cause over the years and how much longer can it keep going.

TSMC to Begin Mass Production of 5nm Chips in 2020

According to industry sources over at DigiTimes, TSMC will begin mass production of its 5 nm node in March 2020, when companies using the 5 nm PDK can tape out their designs and integrate them into future products. Going into volume production two years after the 7 nm node, 5 nm is trying to put Moore's Law back on track again.

Built using the Extreme Ultra-Violet lithography (also known as EUV), 5 nm node is supposed to utilize existing FinFET transistors along with many improvements in speed, power and density when compared to existing 7 nm node. Speed is supposed to increase by around 15%, while density will improve by as much as 80%, which is excellent news for everyone. Noticeable power reduction is also present and it is now possible to have about 30% reduction in power consumption, while also enjoying additional speed and density improvements that new node brings.

AMD Could Release Next Generation EPYC CPUs with Four-Way SMT

AMD has completed design phase of its "Zen 3" architecture and rumors are already appearing about its details. This time, Hardwareluxx has reported that AMD could bake a four-way simultaneous multithreading technology in its Zen 3 core to enable more performance and boost parallel processing power of its data center CPUs. Expected to arrive sometime in 2020, Zen 3 server CPUs, codenamed "MILAN", are expected to bring many architectural improvements and make use of TSMC's 7nm+ Extreme Ultra Violet lithography that brings as much as 20% increase in transistor density.

Perhaps the biggest change we could see is the addition of four-way SMT that should allow a CPU to have four virtual threads per core that will improve parallel processing power and enable data center users to run more virtual machines than ever before. Four-way SMT will theoretically boost performance by dividing micro-ops into four smaller groups so that each thread could execute part of the operation, thus making the execution time much shorter. This being only one application of four-way SMT, we can expect AMD to leverage this feature in a way that is most practical and brings the best performance possible.

2nd Gen AMD EPYC Continues Market Momentum with New Customers

At the European launch in Rome, Italy AMD today highlighted the growing adoption of 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors across cloud, enterprise and HPC customers. "Today, we are proud to have new platforms from Dell and new customers adopting 2nd Gen AMD EPYC for cloud, enterprise computing and HPC," said Forrest Norrod, senior vice president and general manager, Datacenter and Embedded Solutions Business Group. "We continue to take the AMD EPYC processor to new heights and are thrilled to have the ecosystem supporting us across hardware, software and cloud providers as we face the challenges of the modern data center head-on."

AMD also announced a new addition to the 2nd Generation AMD EPYC family, the AMD EPYC 7H12 processor. The 64 core/128 thread, 2.60 GHz base frequency, 3.30 GHz max boost frequency, 280 W TDP processor is specifically built for HPC customers and workloads, using liquid cooling to deliver leadership supercomputing performance. In an ATOS testing on their BullSequana XH2000, the new AMD EPYC 7H12 processor achieved a LINPACK score of ~ 4.2 TeraFLOPS, ~11% better than the AMD EPYC 7742 processor.

TSMC Trembles Under 7 nm Product Orders, Increases Delivery Lead Times Threefold - Could Hit AMD Product Availability

TSMC is on the vanguard of chipset fabrication technology at this exact point in time - its 7 nm technology is the leading-edge of all large volume processes, and is being tapped by a number of companies for 7 nm silicon. One of its most relevant clients for our purposes, of course, is AMD - the company now enjoys a fabrication process lead over arch-rival Intel much due to its strategy of fabrication spin-off and becoming a fabless designer of chips. AMD's current product stack has made waves in the market by taking advantage of 7 nm's benefits, but it seems this may actually become a slight problem in the not so distant future.

TSMC has announced a threefold increase in its delivery lead times for 7 nm orders, from two months to nearly six months, which means that orders will now have to wait three times longer to be fulfilled than they once did. This means that current channel supplies and orders made after the decision from TSMC will take longer to materialize in actual silicon, which may lead to availability slumps should demand increase or maintain. AMD has its entire modern product stack built under the 7 nm process, so this could potentially affect both CPUs and GPUs from the company - and let's not forget AMD's Zen 3 and next-gen RDNA GPUs which are all being designed for the 7 nm+ process node. TSMC is expected to set aside further budget to expand capacity of its most advanced nodes, whilst accelerating investment on their N7+, N6, N5, and N3 nodes.

AMD Readies the Low-Power "Dali" APU for Thin-and-Light Notebooks

AMD is expected to bring back its low-power APU family in 2020 with the new "Dali" silicon. Updated company roadmap slides see the inclusion of "Dali" as a "value mobile APU," positioned under "Renoir," a performance APU targeting both the mainstream notebook and desktop (socket AM4) platforms. AMD looks keen to branch out its APU business in two directions.

"Renoir" is expected to be a "Zen 2" based APU with CPU performance matching at least the Ryzen 5 3600 or 3700X, and a faster "Vega" based iGPU. It wouldn't surprise us if "Dali" is a monolithic 7 nm die with two "Zen 2" CPU cores and a tiny iGPU with 3-4 compute units. "Renoir," on the other hand, could be an MCM with an 8-core "Zen 2" chiplet and an enlarged I/O controller die that has the iGPU. "Dali" could see the light of the day only in 2020, by which time TSMC could substantially increase its 7 nm volumes and clear the decks for its new 7 nm EUV mass-production.

AMD Updates Roadmaps to Lock RDNA2 and Zen 3 onto 7nm+, with 2020 Launch Window

AMD updated its technology roadmaps to reflect a 2020 launch window for its upcoming CPU and graphics architectures, "Zen 3" and RDNA2. The two will be based on 7 nm+ , which is AMD-speak for the 7 nanometer EUV silicon fabrication process at TSMC, that promises a significant 20 percent increase in transistor-densities, giving AMD high transistor budgets and more clock-speed headroom. The roadmap slides however hint that unlike the "Zen 2" and RDNA simultaneous launch on 7th July 2019, the next-generation launches may not be simultaneous.

The slide for CPU microarchitecture states that the design phase of "Zen 3" is complete, and that the microarchitecture team has already moved on to develop "Zen 4." This means AMD is now developing products that implement "Zen 3." On the other hand, RDNA2 is still in design phase. The crude x-axis on both slides that denotes year of expected shipping, too appears to suggest that "Zen 3" based products will precede RDNA2 based ones. "Zen 3" will be AMD's first response to Intel's "Comet Lake-S" or even "Ice Lake-S," if the latter comes to fruition before Computex 2020. In the run up to RDNA2, AMD will scale up RDNA a notch larger with the "Navi 12" silicon to compete with graphics cards based on NVIDIA's "TU104" silicon. "Zen 2" will receive product stack additions in the form of a new 16-core Ryzen 9-series chip later this month, and the 3rd generation Ryzen Threadripper family.

TSMC August 2019 Revenue Report

TSMC (TWSE: 2330, NYSE: TSM) today announced its net revenues for August 2019: On a consolidated basis, revenues for August 2019 were approximately NT$106.12 billion, an increase of 25.2 percent from July 2019 and an increase of 16.5 percent from August 2018. Revenues for January through August 2019 totaled NT$650.58 billion, an increase of 0.6 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

TSMC Responds to Allegations of Patent Infringement by GlobalFoundries

TSMC is in the process of reviewing the complaints filed by GlobalFoundries on August 26, but is confident that GlobalFoundries' allegations are baseless. As a leading innovator, TSMC invests billions of dollars each year to independently develop its world-class, leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing technologies. As a result, TSMC has established one of the largest semiconductor portfolios with more than 37,000 patents worldwide and a top 10 ranking for US patent grants for 3 consecutive years since 2016. We are disappointed to see a foundry peer resort to meritless lawsuits instead of competing in the marketplace with technology. TSMC is proud of its technology leadership, manufacturing excellence, and unwavering commitment to customers. We will fight vigorously, using any and all options, to protect our proprietary technologies.

TSMC pioneered the pure-play foundry business model when it was founded in 1987, and has been the world's largest dedicated semiconductor foundry ever since. The company supports a thriving ecosystem of global customers and partners with the industry's leading process technology and portfolio of design enablement solutions to unleash innovation for the global semiconductor industry.

Globalfoundries Files Patent-infringement Lawsuits Against TSMC in the U.S. and Germany

GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF), the world's leading specialty foundry based in the United States, today filed multiple lawsuits in the U.S. and Germany alleging that semiconductor manufacturing technologies used by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. (TSMC) infringe 16 GF patents. The lawsuits were filed today in the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the U.S. Federal District Courts in the Districts of Delaware and the Western District of Texas, and the Regional Courts of Dusseldorf and Mannheim in Germany.

In filing the lawsuits, GF seeks orders that will prevent semiconductors produced with the infringing technology by Taiwan-based TSMC, the dominant semiconductor manufacturer, from being imported into the U.S. and Germany. These lawsuits require GF to name certain major customers of TSMC and downstream electronics companies, who, in most cases, are the actual importers of the products that incorporate the infringing TSMC technology. GF also seeks significant damages from TSMC based on TSMC's unlawful use of GF's proprietary technology in its tens of billions of dollars of sales.

AMD Designing Zen 4 for 2021, Zen 3 Completes Design Phase, out in 2020

AMD in its 2nd generation EPYC processor launch event announced that it has completed the design phase of its next-generation "Zen 3" CPU microarchitecture, and is currently working on its successor, the "Zen 4." AMD debuted its "Zen 2" microarchitecture with the client-segment 3rd generation Ryzen desktop processor family, it made its enterprise debut with the 2nd generation EPYC. This is the first x86 CPU microarchitecture designed for the 7 nanometer silicon fabrication process, and is being built on a 7 nm DUV (deep ultraviolet) node at TSMC. It brings about double-digit percentage IPC improvements over "Zen+."

The "Zen 3" microarchitecture is designed for the next big process technology change within 7 nm, EUV (extreme ultraviolet), which allows significant increases in transistor densities, and could facilitate big improvements in energy-efficiency that could be leveraged to increase clock-speeds and performance. It could also feature new ISA instruction-sets. With "Zen 3" passing design phase, AMD will work on prototyping and testing it. The first "Zen 3" products could debut in 2020. "Zen 4" is being designed for a different era.

NVIDIA Manufacturing Turing GPUs at Samsung Korea Fab, 11nm?

During our disassembly of the GeForce RTX 2060 Super, we noticed a shocking detail. The 12 nm "TU106" GPU on which it is based, has the marking "Korea." We know for a fact that TSMC does not have any fabs there. The only Korean semiconductor manufacturer capable of contract-manufacturing a piece of silicon as complex as a GPU, for a designer with the energy-efficiency OCD as NVIDIA, is Samsung.

What makes this interesting is that Samsung does not officially have a 12 nm FinFET process. It has 14 nm, and the 11LPP, a 11 nm nodelet, which the company designed to compete with TSMC 12 nm. It would hence be really interesting to hear from NVIDIA on whether they've scaled out the "TU106" to 14LPP, or down to 11LPP at Samsung. It's interesting to note that the shrink in transistor sizes in these nodelets doesn't affect die-sizes. We hence see no die-size difference between these Korea-marked chips, and those marked "Taiwan." We've reached out to NVIDIA for comment.

Update July 3rd: NVIDIA got back to us
NVIDIA
The answer is really simple and these markings are not new. Other Turing GPUs have had these markings in the past. The chip is made at TSMC, but packaged in various locations. This one was done in Korea, hence why his says "Korea".

On an unrelated note: We already use both TSMC and Samsung, and qualify each of them for every process node. We can't comment in any further detail on future plans, but both remain terrific partners.

Intel Internal Memo Reveals that even Intel is Impressed by AMD's Progress

Today an article was posted on Intel's internal employee-only portal called "Circuit News". The post, titled "AMD competitive profile: Where we go toe-to-toe, why they are resurgent, which chips of ours beat theirs" goes into detail about the recent history of AMD and how the company achieved its tremendous growth in recent years. Further, Intel talks about where they see the biggest challenges with AMD's new products, and what the company's "secret sauce" is to fight against these improvements.
The full article follows:

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 50th Anniversary Edition Not a Worldwide Release, Available only in US and China

Apparently, AMD isn't celebrating its 50th anniversary in all parts of the globe, judging from recent reports regarding its AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 50th Anniversary Edition. Apparently, the exclusive, limited-edition graphics card will only be available for US and China customers - two of the biggest worldwide markets, for sure. This is a strange decision from AMD, since a sold unit is a sold unit; however, this may be a sign of really limited availability of the graphics card and the hardware powering it.

AMD Announces 3rd Generation Ryzen Desktop Processors

AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su at her 2019 Computex keynote address announced the 3rd generation Ryzen desktop processor family, which leverages the company's Zen 2 microarchitecture, and are built on the 7 nm silicon fabrication process at TSMC. Designed for the AM4 CPU socket, with backwards compatibility for older AMD 300-series and 400-series chipset motherboards, these processors are multi-chip modules of up to two 8-core "Zen 2" CPU chiplets, and a 14 nm I/O controller die that packs the dual-channel DDR4 memory controller and PCI-Express gen 4.0 root complex, along with some SoC connectivity. AMD claims an IPC increase of 15 percent over Zen 1, and higher clock speeds leveraging 7 nm, which add up to significantly higher performance over the current generation. AMD bolstered the core's FPU (floating-point unit), and doubled the cache sizes.

AMD unveiled three high-end SKUs for now, the $329 Ryzen 7 3700X, the $399 Ryzen 7 3800X, and the $499 Ryzen 9 3900X. The 3700X and 3800X are 8-core/16-thread parts with a single CPU chiplet. The 3700X is clocked at 3.60 GHz with 4.40 GHz maximum boost frequency, just 65 Watts TDP and will be beat Intel's Core i7-9700K both at gaming and productivity. The 3800X tops that with 3.90 GHz nominal, 4.50 GHz boost, 105W TDP, and beat the Core i9-9900K at gaming and productivity. AMD went a step further at launched the new Ryzen 9 brand with the 3900X, which is a 12-core/24-thread processor clocked at 3.80 GHz, which 4.60 boost, 72 MB of total cache, 105W TDP, and performance that not only beats the i9-9900K, but also the i9-9920X 12-core/24-thread HEDT processor despite two fewer memory channels. AMD focused on gaming performance with Zen 2, with wider FPU, improved branch prediction, and several micro-architectural improvements contributing to a per-core performance that's higher than Intel's. The processors go on sale on 7/7/2019.

AMD Confirms Launch of Next-gen Ryzen, EPYC and Navi for Q3

During AMD's annual shareholder meeting today, AMD president and CEO Dr. Lisa Su confirmed the launch of next-generation AMD Ryzen, EPYC CPUs and Navi GPUs for the third quarter of this year. The expected products are going to be manufactured on TSMC's 7 nm process and will be using new and improved architectures.

Ryzen 3000 series CPUs are rumored to have up to as much as 16 cores in Ryzen 9 SKUs, 12 cores in Ryzen 7 SKUs and 8 cores in Ryzen 5 SKUs. EPYC server CPUs will be available in models up to 64 cores. All of the new CPUs will be using AMD "Zen 2" architecture that will offer better IPC performance and, as rumors suggest for consumer models, are OC beasts. Navi GPUs are the new 7 nm GPUs that are expected to be very competitive both price and performance wise to NVIDIA's Turing series, hopefully integrating new technologies such as dedicated Ray Tracing cores for higher frame rates in Ray Tracing enabled games. No next generation ThreadRipper launch date was mentioned, so we don't yet know when and if that will that land.

Intel Switches Gears to 7nm Post 10nm, First Node Live in 2021

Intel's semiconductor manufacturing business has had a terrible past 5 years as it struggled to execute its 10 nanometer roadmap forcing the company's processor designers to re-hash the "Skylake" microarchitecture for 5 generations of Core processors, including the upcoming "Comet Lake." Its truly next-generation microarchitecture, codenamed "Ice Lake," which features a new CPU core design called "Sunny Cove," comes out toward the end of 2019, with desktop rollouts expected 2020. It turns out that the 10 nm process it's designed for, will have a rather short reign at Intel's fabs. Speaking at an investor's summit on Wednesday, Intel put out its silicon fabrication roadmap that sees an accelerated roll-out of Intel's own 7 nm process.

When it goes live and fit for mass production some time in 2021, Intel's 7 nm process will be a staggering 3 years behind TSMC, which fired up its 7 nm node in 2018. AMD is already mass-producing CPUs and GPUs on this node. Unlike TSMC, Intel will implement EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography straightaway. TSMC began 7 nm with DUV (deep ultraviolet) in 2018, and its EUV node went live in March. Samsung's 7 nm EUV node went up last October. Intel's roadmap doesn't show a leap from its current 10 nm node to 7 nm EUV, though. Intel will refine the 10 nm node to squeeze out energy-efficiency, with a refreshed 10 nm+ node that goes live some time in 2020.

AMD's Zen 2 Threadripper Conspicuously Absent From Company's Latest Roadmaps

We've all taken a look at AMD's March 2019 product roadmap, which showed us the upcoming 2019 tech the company would be bringing to the table in its "non-stop product momentum". However, it seems that this non-stop product momentum might be coming to an unexpected twist of fate that might delay it from entering the last station - the Zen 2-based Threadripper. In the company's latest May earnings call roadmap, the company silently removed the Zen 2 Threadripper from its product roadmap - where it used to sit right after the launch of Zen 2-based Ryzen products for consumers, is now just a big crop of the space it occupied.

This might mean many things, and a mistake on someone's part while cropping the PowerPoint slide could be the only thing going on here. However, the best and most plausible speculation that can be entertained when one considers this is simple - a supply problem. With the 7 nm node being the newest, most dense fabrication process possible, and with AMD having to share TSMC's 7 nm wafer production with a number of high profile companies - such as Qualcomm, for instance - may mean that supply is simply too tight to support Zen 2-based products across so many product stacks - Ryzen and Epyc - at the same time.

TSMC Expects Most 7nm Customers to Move to 6nm Density

TSMC in its quarterly earnings call expressed confidence in that most of its 7 nm (N7) process production node customers would be looking to make the transition to their 6 nm (N6) process. In fact, the company expects that node to become the biggest target for volume ordering (and thus production) amongst its customers, since the new N6 fabrication technology will bring about a sort of "backwards compatibility" with design tools and semiconductor designs that manufacturers have already invested in for its N7 node, thus allowing for cost savings for its clients.

This is despite TSMC's N6 process being able to take advantage of extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) to lower manufacturing complexity. This lowering is achieved by the fact that less exposures of the silicon are required for multi-patterning - which is needed today as TSMC's N7 uses solely deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography. Interestingly, TSMC expects other clients to pick up its N7+ manufacturing node that aren't already using their 7nm node - the need to develop new tools and lesser design compatibility between its N7 and N7+ nodes compared no N7 and N6 being the justification. TSMC's N7+ will be the first node to leverage EUV, using up to four EUVL layers, while N6 expands it up to five layers, and the upcoming N5 cranks EUVL up to fourteen (allowing for 14 layers.)
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