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Apple Businesses Technology

Apple Is Buyer of New 64-Bit IBM Chips 421

Posted by Hemos
from the makin'-the-move-with-powerpc dept.
ohmygod2 wrote to us with a story from SF Gate that Apple, unsurprisingly, is going to be one of the purchasers of IBM's PowerPC 970. At this time, though, it's unclear where Apple is going to actually *use* said chip.Update: 10/14 15:53 GMT by H : Follow-up to Tim's story.
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Apple Is Buyer of New 64-Bit IBM Chips

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  • urr (Score:5, Funny)

    by peterpi (585134) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:00PM (#4446431)
    "it's unclear where Apple is going to actually *use* said chip"

    I predict that Apple will use the chip in a high end personal computer.

    • by tunabomber (259585) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:08PM (#4446501) Homepage
      I predict that Apple will use the chip in a high end personal computer.

      Wow! That's an even better idea! ...but the 64-bit iPod project is already in high gear, so we can't stop now, can we?
    • by ebuck (585470) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:23PM (#4446624)
      I imagine that thoses Apple computers will only be sold to the inhabited continents.
    • Re:urr (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spy Hunter (317220)
      Sometime in the future...

      Headline: Apple employees seen putting new IBM chips into new computer cases
      It is still unclear whether Apple is going to sell these computers, or switch to Intel at the last second for no good reason.

      Give it up people! Apple is stuck with PowerPC chips whether they like it or not. What are they going to do, release OS X for Intel and realize suddenly that there are *no* applications or drivers available for it? It would take a while for the application base to build up again, and some older applications would never be recompiled. Then would new applications continue to be released both in Intel and PowerPC versions? If there's something Apple cannot afford, it is to lose market share due to a messy transition.

  • Good news roundup (Score:5, Informative)

    by mgaiman (151782) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:00PM (#4446432) Homepage
    Google News [google.com] of course has pretty much all the acticles. They are all based upon the same IBM press release, but many make slightly different predictions.
  • its used in the IBM z series servers and these servers can serve up like 100,000 pages per second its insane. this chip is only second to the dec alpha in FPU processing! macs running on these are going to be smokin``
    • How could a processor be in servers when it is not even made yet? If you read the press release you would see it is IBM announcing details of a chip that is unfabbed. Maybe you are thinking of the Power4, kind of this chip's big brother.
    • that is with an 8 MB cache and having multiple cores....this sucker will have 1 core and probably 512 cache at the most
  • by Indes (323481) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:02PM (#4446453) Homepage
    Apple has been slowly expanding in the last little while.. OS/X is becomming ever more popular and Apple's hardware is slowly but surely getting much better as time goes on.. If Apple creates a 64-bit arch market before Microsoft does, Apple could really take off and beat MS.. Dreams CAN come true!!
    • sure they could but it is unlikely that masses of people are going to move to the 64bit platform. Apple still lacks the software base that MS has (unfortunatly I suppose) and the hardware will be out of the price range that most people will be looking to spend (I just purchased a second PC for $500 including monitor, I have no desire to pay as much as the PPC platform will cost).

      Dreams in this case will most likely remain just that (no matter how bad I want them to come true :)

      Just my worthless .02
      • who cares about market share? apple is making profits..buy there stock!!!!

        any way.... the software gap is non-existant for 90% of computer users. games are the only thing that lacks, and ALL big title games are released at the same time for the mac as they are for the PC...only the crappy stuff does not come out at the same time or ever...though, crappy is subjective.

        the $500 PC might be around for a long time, but it certainly is not being pushed by dell or gateway...why is that...becasue dell and gateway have realized that there is no money in a market with high volume and no profit....if you had not noticed, dell and gateway have been pushing there 1200 - 1500 dollor PCs and almost never mention there $500, under featured systems which are basicly now just a way to package out dated hardware and move it out of the factory in an attempt to at least recoup the costs of the hardware.
    • I haven't seen the numbers, but I think Apple is poised to make inroads into corporate IT, particularly if they ship systems with this 64 bit chip.

      The consumer market will probably make a much smaller splash. The real market breakthroughs that Apple needs on the consumer side are more software than hardware.
    • I have seen no evidence that Apple has been increasing any market share. In fact, if Apple suddenly took the majority of market share away from Microsoft, I don't think we'd be in any better shape. To have one company control both the hardware and the software end would be suffocating.

      I don't think Apple is going anywhere because of its high costs and its inability to produce machines with superior value and/or price. IBM's 64-bit PowerPC chip may be priced more like the Itanic than it will be priced like the Hammer. The Apple Tax is for colored, moulded plastic. So if Apple takes up 64-bit, that only means their survival will be extended for 5 or so more years.

      I'm looking forward to Hammer machines running Linux, not an overpriced 64-bit Macintosh.

  • my favorite line (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linuxpng (314861) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:03PM (#4446457)
    Critics -- notably Intel -- argue that most desktop users have no need for 64-bit processing.

    then to be redundant, Intel should face up to the fact that most users have no need for 2.8 Ghz processors.
    • by artemis67 (93453) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:13PM (#4446545)
      When Apple started selling FireWire-based Macs, Intel immediately tried to marginalize it by saying that the technology only appealed to a niche of consumers, and oh-by-the-way here's our specs for ATA/66 and USB 2.0 (for which the detailed specs hadn't been finalized, and which didn't start hitting mainstream systems until some 2 years later).

      Intel takes seriously Andy Groves's words about only the paranoid surviving.
      • by Anonymous Freak (16973) <prius,driver&mac,com> on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:22PM (#4446616) Journal
        oh-by-the-way here's our specs for ATA/66 and USB 2.0 (for which the detailed specs hadn't been finalized, and which didn't start hitting mainstream systems until some 2 years later).

        Disclaimer: I used to work for Intel's server motherboard division. I don't think I'm biased, but wanted to get that out of the way.


        1. USB 2.0 still isn't in 'mainstream' systems. I'd give it another 6 months.
        2. It has been more than two years since FireWire came out. The first FireWire Mac was the 'Blue and White' G3 in January 1999, and FireWire cards were an option even before that.
        3. Intel is a member of the IEEE1394 working group, and early in FireWire's life, Intel supported it, only to distance themselves when USB 2.0 was announced.
        4. Intel has Intel-branded motherboards with FireWire onboard.
        5. ATA/66 has nothing to do with FireWire or USB at all... Intel doesn't even dictate ATA standards, although I'm sure they have a lot of clout. (Heck, Maxtor got their 'FastDrives', a.k.a. ATA/133 accepted by the ATA standards board, against Intel's objections...)
    • But the 2.8 Ghz processor "makes the Internet faster!" Duh.
    • by Isldeur (125133) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:20PM (#4446598)
      >>Critics -- notably Intel -- argue that most desktop users have no need for 64-bit processing.

      >then to be redundant, Intel should face up to the fact that most users have no need for 2.8 Ghz processors.


      Ah Grasshopper! You've obviously never tried to compile the KDE source tree.

    • by crovira (10242) on Monday October 14, 2002 @03:56PM (#4447969) Homepage
      And IBM didn't see a world-wide demand for more than a dozen mainframes.

      By the time you factor in biometric security, voice recognition and Christ's own gaming engines, VR generation, desk-top video editing and so on, 64 bits gets chewed up pretty fast even if you offload some processing to custom chips (and anyway who wants to build boxen with more ASICs that cost more money?)

      64-=bitrs on the desktop? In five years it may be the majority of new box builds are 64-bits and 32-bit will be for poor for folks stuck on Windows without a migration path.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:03PM (#4446458)

    There are so many options:

    • Stacked up to make that annoying table in the engineer's break room stable
    • Ceramic heat thingys for toaster ovens
    • Dropped out of airplanes over Alaska as a NORML protest
    • Thrown at people pumping gas
    • As party favors at Job's next all-night coke party
    • The latest thing in West-Coast gansta rapper accessories
    I mean, seriously, where the fuck else would you use a new CPU than in ... your computers as a new CPU?
  • hmmm.... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Now all we need is a good portable 64 bit OS. ;-)

    >SELECT * FROM users WHERE clue > 0
    0 rows returned
  • by phoenix_orb (469019) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:04PM (#4446469)
    THis is an interesting story:

    The 970 is a derivative of the Power 4 chip (with what I assume to be the Altivec extensions)

    These run in the 1.6 -2.0 Gig range

    As a Risc chip

    with 64 byte chunks.

    Granted, I am unsure as of yet if Darwin runs 64 bit natively, but when it does, imagine a dual processor of these (with of course, quartz extreme pushing all of the video over to the Graphics processor).

    Maybe I am getting my hopes up, but this is what I have been waiting for. New macintosh, here I come :)
    • The 970 is a derivative of the Power 4 chip (with what I assume to be the Altivec extensions) Altivec is just the Motorola marketing name for a set of SIMD extensions, Apple markets it under the name "Velocity Engine". IBM's chip will supposedly contain similar extensions to take advantage of the same thing, Apple could simply just swap them and still retain the Velocity Engine moniker. BTW, from what I read, OSX's underpinnings were designed with 64bit in mind, doesn't sound like it would be too big of a development job to convert over.
    • but when it does, imagine a dual processor of these (with of course, quartz extreme pushing all of the video over to the Graphics processor).

      and then... imagine a Beowulf cluster of these...
  • only 1.8 GHz? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by r0b0t b0y (565885)
    so i'm guessing that this is the first iteration of this proc. (even tho from what i read, it just a stripped down version of the chips they use in their own servers). and that their roadmap indicates some kind of wild and crazy ramping up in chip speed (since 1.8GHz will be puny compared to whatever intel and amd have out by then). cuz that's the only way they'll stay competitive with x86 hoopla (unless somehow consumers magically understand the difference b/w chip clock and the speed of the chip

    anyone know if ibm's powerpc architecture allows them to do this?
    • They can just make up speeds like AMD to account for the slower clock.

      Mac 3600+, etc.
    • Re:only 1.8 GHz? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hadlock (143607)
      it should scale up to 8GHz. plus, it does 8 instructions per cycle, vs. the G4's 3 per cycle, vs. Intel's P4's 1 instruction per cycle
    • Re:only 1.8 GHz? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 3770 (560838)
      Can anyone tell me the clock speed of Intels fastest processor? Wrong! It is the 1 GHz 64 bit Itanium 2.
  • by WittyName (615844) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:07PM (#4446488)
    http://www.eet.com/semi/news/OEG20021014S0059

    Essentially a derivative of the company's Power4 microprocessor, IBM's PowerPC 970 adds 64-bit PowerPC compatibility, an implementation of the Altivec multimedia instruction-set extensions and a fast processor bus supporting up to 16-way symmetric multiprocessing.

    I hope they use a memory controller that does at least DDR 333.
    • Over at AppleInsider [appleinsider.com] There has been much talk of IBM using an on chip integrated memory controller. This would be good because it would be FAST, but bad because it would probably use a proprietary form of RAM. So I guess we'll see.
      • I doubt IBM would design a memory controller that uses a proprietary memory interface. This would raise their memory costs enormously without providing much in return.

        I would guess that IBM would build a multichannel switched memory interface to DDR SDRAM. The controller would handle say four simultaneous requests for 64-bit memory values. This is what Nvidia does in their GPUs, and it seems to work for them. I believe the Sparc chip also has a similar on-chip memory controller.
    • by blamanj (253811) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:14PM (#4446547)
      The presence of Altivec is a clear indication that Apple was involved and/or will be using the chip. Up until now, IBM has resisted adding Altivec to its version of PPC, and Apple depends on it heavily.
    • Furthermore.. (Score:2, Informative)

      by WittyName (615844)
      In terms of die size, a rough measure of cost, the PowerPC 970 measures 118 mm2, against 131 mm2 for the Northwood 2.X-GHz Pentium 4. Both the IBM and Intel parts are being made in 130-nanometer CMOS on 300-mm wafers.

      This indicates that the price could be competitive in desktops.

      Way to go IBM!
    • Hey, come on. Read the article you linked to!
      The 970 also sports a cache-coherent, 900-MHz processor bus capable of data rates up to 6.4 Gbytes/second.

      Keep in mind that DDR333 runs at 167MHz, so this new processor has a bus that can do DDR at 450MHz (DDR900), or quad-pumped 225MHz (QDR900?), or maybe <Sarcasm>PC900 SDRAM</Sarcasm>.

  • by BlameFate (564908) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:11PM (#4446523)
    Wired.com has this article:

    http://www.wired.com/news/mac/0,2125,55722,00.html [wired.com]

    This is being discussed all over (here, Ars, Macworld) but the Wired article takes a much more "done-deal" tone than any of the other commentary I have seen yet. It suggests the possibility of Macs with 4TB of ram too :-)

  • Wait... (Score:5, Informative)

    by aengblom (123492) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:13PM (#4446546) Homepage
    But wait...

    Slashdot:
    "Apple: Apple Is Buyer of New 64-Bit IBM Chips"
    SF Gate:
    "Apple, IBM and Motorola declined to comment on the switch, which has been rumored as the processors in Macintosh computers have trailed Windows-based counterparts in clock speed."
    Wake me when one of the companies comments please. They will, but be patient before yelling CONFIRMED!

    Thanks

    • Exactly. This is pure speculation, once again elevated to implied fact by a lazy, unverified summary. The story said no such thing, and quoted no verifiable source.
  • Critics (Score:5, Funny)

    by ultraslide (267976) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:14PM (#4446552)
    "Critics -- notably Intel -- argue that most desktop users have no need for 64-bit processing"

    Critics -- notably Microsoft -- have argued that most desktop users have no need for more than 640kb of memory. :-)

    the 'slide

    "Corporate rock still sucks. What are you gonna do about it?"
  • by Anonymous Freak (16973) <prius,driver&mac,com> on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:16PM (#4446563) Journal

    Okay, actually read the stories. "According to industry sources..." is what it says. Nowhere is there confirmation from Apple or IBM that Apple has comitted to purchasing them. This is not new, this is just the same news as the last story, only centered on one specific rumor, instead of the main story.

    As soon as Apple or IBM officially states that Apple has committed to purchasing these processors, don't title the story 'Apple is Buyer...' since we still aren't sure.

    Yeah, I'll admit, I've been expecting it since IBM announced the chip, and I fully expect that Apple will be the main customer. BUT, my belief (or the belief of any 'industry source', without hard proof) doesn't make it a fact.

    I'm not asking that you not to rumormonger on it, I'm just asking that it not be presented as fact when it is still just rumor.

    (Bah, and now I've forfietted three of my moderator points by posting in a thread I moderated in... :-( It just got me pissed off when I finally noticed that there still isn't any proof.)

  • by banky (9941) <gregg@@@neurobashing...com> on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:23PM (#4446618) Homepage Journal
    Cupertino, CA - Apple Computer (AAPL) is expected to buy a record number of the new "PowerPC 970" CPU, but in a suprise move, isn't expected to actually do anything with them.

    "We're doing great with the iPod, the warehouse is totally empty," said Apple VP Phil "All your Jaguar" Schiller. "Steve thought it would look more lived-in if we had some big boxes of stuff in there."

    Steve Jobs was hard at work developing a new way to mispronounce the name of the new CPU and was unavailable for comment.
  • by wazzzup (172351) <astromac AT fastmail DOT fm> on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:25PM (#4446638)
    Despite the fact that the PPC 970 will be introduced at 1.8 GHz while the P4 is expected to be around 3GHz, the 970 will execute 8 instructions per cycle. I can't recall how many instructions per cycle the P4 executes but I believe it is far fewer than 8. Of the handful of articles I read about it, somebody said that the 970 would effectivly compete with a 4-6 GHz P4 as a result of the instructions per cycle efficiency of the chip.

    Plus, it's gotta run cooler than a 6GHz P4 would. As a laptop owner, ignoring the superior performance potential of this chip, the cooling and power requirements alone would make me choose a 970 architecture over a Pentium.
    • by Hadlock (143607) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:41PM (#4446759) Homepage Journal
      the P4 executes 1 instruction per cycle. the G4 does 3 (the basis of apples "megahertz myth" myth), so this is a huge step up.

      as for the laptop part, hell yeah. my tibook by the end of 2003 should be nearing the end of it's "useful lifespan" - whatever that is, and i'll probably sell it for half of what i bought it for then and buy the latest, greatest "G5" laptop once it's avalible. that's the plan, at least. i'm in college after all.... and apple has a tendancy to take forever to release a new laptop based on a new processor design.
    • by ebuck (585470) on Monday October 14, 2002 @02:03PM (#4446940)
      I agree with you, but I hope you're not confusing instructions per cycle with length of the pipeline.

      The P4 processes instructions in a pipeline. The pipeline can contain 20 instructions at any one time, but each instruction is only finished once it exits the pipeline.

      Same goes for the 970, I'd imagine.

      To truly increase instructions per cycle, you have to add extra pipelines (and a lot of extra circuits to prevent instructions from stepping on each other)

      If pipelines were always full, and all instructions were equivalent, the P4 would beat the pants off of the 970. But the pipeline is not always full because instructions often depend on the results of other instructions, and not all operations are equal in their requirements.

      So shorter pipelines often handle instruction dependancies better resulting in better performance, while (for other reasons) longer pipelines are easier to design for higher Ghz.
    • " Despite the fact that the PPC 970 will be introduced at 1.8 GHz while the P4 is expected to be around 3GHz, the 970 will execute 8 instructions per cycle."

      The IBM processors are RISC processors. The Intel ones are CISC. RISC do less per instruction, therefore, it is stupid compare the way you do.
  • by trudyscousin (258684) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:29PM (#4446674)
    "it's unclear where Apple is going to actually *use* said chip"

    This reminded me of an exchange from the animated series "Freakazoid," when Douglas Douglas received a long-coveted computer chip for Christmas.

    "Can I put it in, Mom?" he asked.

    "Okay, but only in your computer."

    (Well, I thought it was just as silly...)

  • Well, Duh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by superdan2k (135614) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:30PM (#4446682) Homepage Journal
    From the article:
    "Critics -- notably Intel -- argue that most desktop users have no need for 64-bit processing. In fact, Microsoft Corp. has yet to release a 64-bit version of Windows that will run on AMD's Hammer chips."

    Is it any wonder, given they just lost their defense against Intergraph's patent lawsuit which may result in them not being able to release the Itanium series?

    Hey, Intel, last I checked, no one had a use for 32-bit processing or 640K of RAM on the desktop, either.</sarcasm>
  • by Hadlock (143607) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:31PM (#4446686) Homepage Journal
    http://www-3.ibm.com/chips/news/2002/1014_powerpc. html
  • Arg? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mistermoonlight (80842) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:40PM (#4446751)
    "In its marketing, Apple has stressed the megahertz and gigahertz is not necessarily indicative of a machine's performance. Still, the fastest Motorola processor for the Mac, the G4, runs at 1.25 gigahertz; Intel Corp.'s fastest Pentium 4 chip runs at 2.8 gigahertz."


    It's like he never even thought about what he wrote. Someone conveys the thought that marketing hype may be costing you money, but let's ignore that and perpetuate the marketing hype.


    On the other hand, the "Megahertz Myth" is marketing hype aimed at opposed marketing hype, so who really cares what either Apple or Intel offer as the "fastest"?


    My PowerBook G3 runs just fine, my Pentium III runs just fine. If you need the power, go for it, but if you don't, go refurbished.

    Just my opinion.

  • by nocomment (239368) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:52PM (#4446842) Homepage Journal
    I'm wondering though.
    I remember part of the reason apple went with motorla G4's was for the altivec engine. Back when Motorala and IBM split they forked the powerpc chip (the then G3), when this happened the definition for the chips changed slightly.
    Motorola's definition of the G4 was a faster chip with the altivec engine. This is what allows for superfast processing during high floating point calculations (similar to MMX only phatter). This was also the part Apple was talking about when they used to advertise "twice as fast as pentium pc" because during those moments of super-intense number crunching, they were. IBM's definition of the G4 was a chip made with copper, shorter pipelines things like that. How is the switch to an IBM chip going to affect altivec? Since it's motorola technology I think it's safe to assume it won't be on the IBM chip. Will the IBM chip suffer at all during those slowdowns? Or will the extra 32 bit data path, in conjunction with copper, etc... be more than enough to make up the difference?

    • I believe it was Ars Technica or the Register that mentioned the coincidence that IBM's new PowerPC based on the Power4 included "extra instructions".


      Yea, it was The Register (slowly...remembering...)


      The new IBM chip had the same amount of instructions as AltiVec, and when somem digging was done, the name of the instruction set was the same as the generic name for AltiVec (also mentioned in the Register article, verified at IBM's & Motorola's sites?)


      I'm sorry I haven't posted links, but I gotta grab lunch before I get pulled aside for troubleshooting again.

  • Need? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RatBastard (949) on Monday October 14, 2002 @02:02PM (#4446922) Homepage
    Critics -- notably Intel -- argue that most desktop users have no need for 64-bit processing

    And IBM said no one needed the power of the 80386. Then Compaq released their 386 monster and IBM stopped mattering in the PC world.

    • Re:Need? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Alomex (148003) on Monday October 14, 2002 @02:41PM (#4447187) Homepage
      And IBM said no one needed the power of the 80386. Then Compaq released their 386 monster and IBM stopped mattering in the PC world.

      The difference is that we have had plenty of 64 bit processors aimed at the lower end and they just don't work. It is too expensive to bring in 64 bits from RAM to cache when the average variable has less than 8 significant bits. Hence the packed words of VLIW Itanium.

      Back when my job description included developing code for the Alpha and the Pentium, just paging in the larger 64 bit code killed the speed advantage of the Alpha chip.

      • Re:Need? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dutky (20510)
        The difference is that we have had plenty of 64 bit processors aimed at the lower end and they just don't work. It is too expensive to bring in 64 bits from RAM to cache when the average variable has less than 8 significant bits. Hence the packed words of VLIW Itanium.

        Back when my job description included developing code for the Alpha and the Pentium, just paging in the larger 64 bit code killed the speed advantage of the Alpha chip.


        What a load of bullshit!

        First, what's this crap about 64-bit processors not working? There are plenty of MIPS, Alpha, Sparc and PowerPC based 64-bit systems that work just fine. Aren't the current crop of Nintendo game consoles powered by a 64-bit MIPS? How much more low-end do you need to go?

        Second, what's this crap about most variables having less than 8 significant bits? Most variables have a minimum of 8 significant bits. The average length of a character string is in the 8-12 byte range (64-96 bits!) and integers and pointers are all (at least) 32-bits wide in modern systems (Windows, MacOS, and all unices).

        Third, what's this crap about it being "too expensive" to transfer 64-bits of data in from RAM? All modern processors have 64-bit wide data busses and transfer data in 4-beat blocks (meaning 4*64-bits, or 256-bits at a time). This is true for the Pentium as well, at least since the Pentium II!

        Finally, what's this crap about "paging in 64 bit code"? Just because Alpha (or Sparc, MIPS, or PowerPC) have 64-bit wide data registers doesn't make the code any bigger! Both the 32-bit and 64-bit variants of Sparc, MIPS, PowerPC and PA-RISC use the same size instruction words (32-bits), so there is no difference in code size.

        Whatever your job description might have said, you clearly don't know what you are talking about.

  • by Leimy (6717) on Monday October 14, 2002 @02:25PM (#4447097)
    Skip to the happy ending where a 1.3Ghz Power4 beats a 2.2Ghz Pentium 4.:)
    http://www.digit-life.com/articles/ibmpower4 /

One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word. -- Robert Heinlein

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