My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

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My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby Hellistor » 2016-6-04 @ 23:00

Hello,
A few hours ago I made a post in Marvin about my Voodoo 3. In that post i mentioned something very nice coming after that one.

Here it is. My ultimate late '90s gaming rig.

I've been building this PC for the last 1&1/2 years now.

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The specs are:

Motherboard: Supermicro P6DGU, Dual CPU, Intel 440GX Chipset
CPU: Two Intel Pentium III "Coppermine" 1GHz Slot 1, 100MHz FSB
RAM: Two 256MB sticks of PC133 SDRAM running at 100MHz
Primary Graphics: MSI Geforce2 Ti Pro-VT 64MB
Seconday Graphics: Two STB Blackmagic 3D 12MB (3dfx V2) in SLI
Primary Soundcard: Creative Soundblaster Live!
Secondary Soundcard: Creative Soundblaster 16
Networking: 3Com 10/100 PCI NIC
USB: Generic USB 2.0 Card
HDD: 120GB 7200rpm IDE HDD (not sure what brand right now)
Primary Disc Drive: NEC DVD Drive
Secondary Disc Drive: Jupiter CD-RW Drive
Primary Floppy Drive: 3,5' 1.44MB Floppy Drive
Secondary Floppy Drive: 3,5' 1.44MB Floppy Drive

Peripherals
Monitor: LG 99G
Keyboard: IBM Model M, German Layout, From 1991
USB Mouse: Logitech G402 (for modern precision)
PS/2 Mouse: Microsoft Intellimouse 1.2A
Mousepad: Logitech G440
Speakers: "Multi Media Speaker Systems"-Brand Stereo Speakers
Gamepad: Microsoft Sidewinder gamepad
Joystick: Quickshot QS 201 Super Warrior as well as a Microsoft Sidewinder 3D Pro (not pictured)



I ordered these two STB Blackmagic 3D off ebay not too long ago, they were the last addition to the machine. I made the SLI cable myself and found the passthrough cable at a fleamarket.

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They are in fantastic condition and work perfectly.

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Putting them into the machine gave me goosebumps.

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Here's a full shot of the interiour. Since I took this picture I put a 12cm fan near the expansion slots instead of the 8cm one.

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I have no idea what case this is. It came with my Integris Computers PC my father bought me in 2002. I love the minimalistic look of it though. It even has an intake fan and dust filter.

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The I/O area is pretty crazy. Besides the Voodoo passthrough cable I also have a pretty interesting soundcard setup going on. I have a 3,5mm cable passing the Soundblaster 16 into the line-in of the Soundblaster Live! so I don't have to switch between them.

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I got some nice input devices as well. A Sidewinder gamepad, a Quickshot QS 201 Super Warrior as well as a Sidewinder 3D Pro (not pictured)

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I'm running a Microsoft Intellimouse 1.2A as well as a Logitech G402 with a G400 mousepad. I rarely use the Intellimouse, mostly for troubleshooting and safe mode. I use the G402 because I'm too used to modern mouse accuracy to go to something more befitting the era.

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The machine is set up with three partitions. One Windows 98 SE partition, one Windows 2000 SP4 partition and one shared storage partition. I use Windows 2000 mainly to give myself an excuse for having two processors.

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Finding all the correct drivers for this machine was a nightmare. I had some serious problems getting the Soundblaster live! to run. I must have reinstalled Windows 98 about 15 times all together to get all the correct drivers and settings together. Surprisingly the Voodoo2s were the easiest to install. Plop them in, install the FastVoodoo2 4.6 Driver and done, works. I feared it would be much worse.

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I disabled the Direct3D drivers of the Voodoo2s so they don't conflict with my Geforce2 Ti. They only take over now when a Glide game is started.
Need for Speed II SE looks great on them

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As does GLQuake, although it runs better on the Geforce.

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And wow is the Geforce doing it's job. This is the Unreal castle flyby at over 70fps at 1024x768x32. The version I'm running is Unreal Gold with the Old Unreal Multimedia OpenGL patch.

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Half Life is one of my favourite games and it runs beautifully on both the Voodoo2s and the Geforce2.

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While the machine is mostly built for late 90s Windows gaming it's still able to play a lot of 90s DOS games as well. Doom for example runs perfectly. Duke3D, Hexen, Heretic, Jazz Jackrabbit and Descent 2 as well. It's overkill by quite a bit but I don't care. Overkill is the entire philosophy behind this build

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So, that's it for now. I have several other builds I might show off in the future, but this is the most interesting one.
Also you probably recognize this if you browse the subreddit /r/retrobattlestations.
I posted a gallery there containing the same pictures a few days ago. Don't worry nobody is plagiarizing, I just wanted to share it here as well.

If you want to look at these pictures at higher resolution, you can check here.

I have one question for you guys though. Running some games on the Voodoo2s in SLI seems to give me "blurring". I can only describe it as the Voodoos not being quite in sync, so one is lagging slightly behind the other one. I can see the alternating scanlines ghosting if that makes sense to you. This is not happening in all games. I have seen it happen in Forsaken, Unreal Gold, Unreal Tournament, as well as the glide patch for Descent, where it literally makes the game unplayable. However, Half Life, Quake 1 and 2, Need for Speed II SE/IIIHP/IVHS are fine. If I turn on Vsync, it vanishes, however I hate using Vsync due to the input latency it causes. I can work around the problem by using the Voodoo 2 tweaker and having profiles for different games, however I'd still like to know what the cause of this is. You guys got any ideas?
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby Oldskoolmaniac » 2016-6-04 @ 23:56

thats a pretty snazzy setup u got there, i would love to get a set of v2s. love the case very clean
Motherboard Reviews https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=48825
Plastic parts looking nasty and yellow try this https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=51460
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2016-6-05 @ 00:29

I like how the theme of "dual" is used throughout the machine!

- Dual CPU
- Dual V2
- Dual floppy
- Dual optical drives
- Dual OS

:lol:

I like the built, nicely chosen parts and the CRT monitor is awesome too.

You had a question about the even / odd scan line artefacts with V2 SLI. This happens at very fast frame rates. Likely you will see this with older games that do 100 or more FPS. Some options:

- Run the game somehow more demanding. Higher resolution, crank up the details if possible
- Try a higher refresh rate
- Set a higher refresh rate in combination with v-sync. At 85 or 120 Hz v-sync gives you much less input lag than at 60 Hz
- Replace V2 SLI / Nvidia with a V3
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby Arctic » 2016-6-05 @ 00:38

Awesome build!

UT99 with a Geforce 2? - Blasphemy! :D
You should play Unreal Tournament on the Voodoo 2 cars in glide (that's what they're made for :) )

The rest of the PC is really cool!!
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Athlon XP 3000+ Barton @ 2.25GHz / 512MB DDR333 CL2 (2-2-5 1T) / Asus A7V333 2.0 / Voodoo 5 5500 64MB AGP 2x / Soundblaster 512 / Pioneer 105S / Win98SE
I am looking for Goldfinger Device - PM me!
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby petro89 » 2016-6-05 @ 00:55

Very nice build!! I have a similar one I did six months ago except with dual 700s and a geforce 4 ti4200 to go along with my voodoo 2 SLI cards. Fun to put together for sure, and like yours, it really looks sweet "under the hood" with the two processors and the 3 video cards.
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*Ryzen 7 2700x, Rx480, Win10
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*Phenom IIx4 975, R9 270, Win7
*Phenom IIx4 945, hd5850, XP
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby fyy » 2016-6-05 @ 01:01

Very nice and clean system, well done! About the driver thing, I hope you saved them for the future, and for users who might be looking for them :D It really is a pain in the ass sometimes to find things like that and having to scour in random internet nooks and crannies to finally get what you need! Also, nice Model M keyboard, and I like how you mounted that 80/90mm fan inside the case.
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby clueless1 » 2016-6-05 @ 01:02

Bravo! Gorgeous setup! I've got double vision after ogling those pics.
The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby Hellistor » 2016-6-05 @ 07:07

Thank you guy! Glad you like the build. :happy:

I'm very excited, Phil likes my computer! :blush: Loving your videos. Your Voodoo 2 SLI Sleeper PC Video was the reason I ordered the Voodoo 2s.

So the blurring problem is caused by higher framerates, I kind of figured this myself, but wasn't quite sure.

The dual theme came after I got the motherboard and CPUs. I thought, might as well put everythign I can in this thing.

I actually had a Voodoo 3 3000 in the system before, however I was looking for a bit more performance and visual quality. This Geforce2 Ti is actually my very first graphics card I had back in the day. Had to replace the capacitors on it to revive it. Sadly that Voodoo 3 is currently dead with artifacts. I wanted to use it in a 550mhz Pentium III machine. I asked for some advice as to what I can try to fix it over in Marvin. Not sure what to do yet

I was thinking of maybe using a Voodoo 5 however they are prohibitively expensive here in Austria. That's why I used the Geforce and ordered the Voodoo2s of ebay. They were surprisingly cheap, 70€.


Nice build petro89! Looks very good as well!


Well, I was running Unreal in Glide before, but as I said it has the SLI blur I mentioned. It's not too bad in Unreal but the Geforce is giving me higher performance and visual quality with 32 bit colour.


The really annoying part was finding which driver worked with my hardware revision. Sharing the drivers is pretty unneccesary as I got pretty much all of them from vogonsdrivers anyway. The rest are from FalconFly. But if I find some old driver discs I'll see if they are online and upload them if necessary.

The Model M is one of my most cherished posessions. I got it from a very long standing IBM service shop/retailer here in town. They have some very nice stuff in their windows. PC XT, PC AT, PS/2 IBM Portable and so on.
One day I just went in, asked if he had any clicky keyboards lying around. He brought out two from the back. He asked 50€ a piece, a "reasonable price".
I got three Model Ms, two from that store and one from my father. He still had a NiB Model M lying in his office.

That 80mm fan was since replaced with a 120mm fan to move some more air near the Voodoos.


Hey clueless1, you ok? Better go to an optician and get a check up. Hehe. :happy:
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2016-6-05 @ 07:19

:blush: The V2 SLI sleeper was lots of fun to build.

V5 prices are out of control. But not much one can do about it. V2 SLI / V3 is great for 1024 x 768 gaming, it's only if you want higher resolution that the V5 makes sense. A shame 3dfx bankrupted so early as now we always have to compromise or use two graphics cards :depressed:

V2 SLI with a GeForce is a popular choice to get best of both worlds :)

EDIT: I used the FastVoodoo2 V4.6 drivers, they worked great for me.
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby Hellistor » 2016-6-05 @ 07:39

I should build a sleeper PC as well, but put my modern system in an old beige tower. Would certainly deter theft :lol:

For my purposes 1024x768 is enough. It's the resolution I was aiming for. 800x600 is a bit rough for me but 1024 is fine.

Don't we all wish that 3dfx was still around? While Nvidia and AMD are making some great cards, it basically boils down to: "Do i want AMD's card in pricerange x or do I want Nvidia's card in pricerange x?"
I also got a PowerVR Kyro II. You wouldn't get anything like that nowadays. Not that I'm having any issue with my modern hardware I just wish there was more variety.

It was surprisingly easy getting the Voodoos to play nice with the Geforce. I thought I'd have to fiddle around for hours, but nope. Just works.

One thing I forgot to mention is how damn loud this machine is. With the stock heatsinks on the Pentium IIIs and all the fans to keep the system cool it's pretty loud. Louder than any PC I owned previously.

Fun fact! The fans on the Pentium III heatsink are humming at a perfect E. I can tune my guitars after the damn noise it makes :lol:

The FastVoodoo2 V4.6 Drivers are working great for me as well. Gotta love the 3dfx community.

EDIT: I just remembered. The build is not quite complete. Only thing I got to add to make it perfect is a wavetable daughterboard. I was thinking of the Dreamblaster S1 or X1. I saw your videos of course but I'm not sure about which one I should get (once I got some spare cash). Got any advice?
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2016-6-05 @ 07:55

Yea the compatibility and "just works" is why 3dfx cards are so loved. Nvidia is great, but cards from that era you do have to try out a few drivers depending on the game.

I like the idea of a reverse sleeper PC :)
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby feipoa » 2016-6-05 @ 11:17

Very slick looking case. It kinds reminds me of some Dell cases. I really prefer dual Slot-1 440BX systems over the newer socket 370 platform - they have a stronger vintage feel to them and at the time of release, they were absurdly expensive.

I too have a pair of 1000 MHz slot 1 coppermines w/100 MHz FSB. While they work in my Dell Precision Workstation 410, long term testing demonstrated some instability, so I am running dual 850 MHz processors.
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby Hellistor » 2016-6-05 @ 12:30

I love this case. I had it for at least 14 years. The DVD drive as well. It's loud and screams when you open it but to me that's the sound of my childhood.

I prefer the Slot motherboards as well. They look much better in my opinion, especially with SMP. Having two socketed CPUs on a motherboard looks wrong to me whereas the Slot ones just look right.

I calculated the total cost of the system not too long ago. It's a rough estimate, but the system including all peripherals (that were available back then) came to about 7000 USD back in 1999/2000. Adjusted for inflation it's ~9700 USD today.

It's a shame that your 1GHz CPUs aren't quite stable, but 850MHz is definitely enough horsepower for anythign '90s.
Looked up the Dell, looks like a very nice machine!
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby feipoa » 2016-6-05 @ 21:11

Attached is my Dell Precision Workstation 410. The case grills are similar to yours. It had a 64-bit PCI slot specifically for a Dell RAID card, however I do not have the RAID card. I'm sure it is hard to find. The machine cost me $4100 USD in 1998, which is around $6000 today. Came with dual PII-400.

$7000 seems a little high. What's the breakdown? Wiki lists those CPUs as $1000 each.
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby Hellistor » 2016-6-05 @ 21:37

Very nice Workstation! The motherboard form factor is very interesting.

The price breakdown goes somethign like this. All in USD.
I used manufacturers price when I could, so it might have been cheaper to buy in a store. It's only a rough estimate, I didn't spend much time hunting down all the specific prices. Some are taken from similar hardware around that time. Some are guesses. I used Maximum PCs Dream Machine 2000 as the basis for my estimates.

2200 for both Pentium III 1GHz CPUs
300 for the Supermicro Motherboard (probably a bit low)
400 for the 512MB RAM (probably a bit high)
600 for both Voodoo 2s
150 for the case
300 for both disc drives
100 for both Floppy drives
450 for the Geforce2 Ti (just checked, that was way too high, was more like 200)
100 for the SB Live!
100 for the SB 16 (guess)
100 for the 3Com Ethernet Card
80 for the USB 2.0 car (estimate)
900 for the 120gb HDD (probably too high in retrospect)

I also included the periphery costs in that 7000 USD number that's one of the reason it was so high.

250 for the Model M
1000 for the LG 99G Monitor (estimate)
20 for the Microsoft Intellimouse 1.2A

That's how I arrived at the number. Thinking about it now it was probably closer to around 6500 but it's not too far off.

EDIT: I think my Supermicro P6DGU Motherboard has that Raid/PCI slot as well. Looks just like it.
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby ynari » 2016-6-05 @ 22:50

pentium III CPUs weren't that expensive, unless it was at the moment of release - I had two, but sold one.
600 is definitely high for two Voodoo 2s, they were somewhere between 180 and 200 GBP new, unless you're adjusting for inflation.
I've got a P6DGS with the remaining 1GHz 100MHz P3 in the loft, but started with a P6DGE
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby Hellistor » 2016-6-06 @ 06:53

The prices I mentioned are in USD not in GBP, however I just realized a an error I made which pretty much throws off the whole calculation.
I forgot that prices in the USA are usually posted without tax, so most likely any price I said before is wrong.

Let's just leave it at: "It was very very expensive back then"

Those motherboards are very nice. I love my P6DGU, it's stable as a rock and doesn't give me any trouble whatsoever.
The 440GX chipset is wonderfully stable and the compatability is great.

I got both a Matsonic MS7112c and a Chaintech 6VTA2 which have Via Apollo based chipsets and they have extreme problems with AGP performance.
Testing the same 500mhz Pentium III and GF2 MX400 in all three motherboards gives very different results. The P6DGU works beautifully whereas both the Matsonic and Chaintec are lagging behind massively. Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament are nearly unplayable for me on these Motherboards. Massive stuttering at 640x480. The Supermicro manages fluid gameplay at 1024x768.

I'm probably getting an Abit BX6 Rev 2.0 with 440BX to use instead. I'm done with Via chipsets from that era.
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby feipoa » 2016-6-06 @ 07:20

The 440BX was renowned for its speed and stability. I used my dual PIII-850 as my everything PC until around 2013. It was very difficult to crash that computer. Finding the right combination of hardware and drivers for VIA-based motherboards can be trying.

EDIT: I was looking for a story post I did some time ago about my transition from 486 to the dual PII-400, but I cannot seem to find it. I did find the over abbreviated version though.
feipoa wrote:I bought a dual PII-400 BX-based Dell Workstation in late 1998. I upgraded the RAM to 1 GB and CPU's to 850 MHz in 2007. I had two graphic card and HDD upgrades from 1998 to 2007. This system was on 24/7 and used everyday as my all purpose computer until early 2013. That's a 15-year lifespan. The system did cost around $4000 in 1998 though. The system is still functional today, but is currently in retirement.
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby Hellistor » 2016-6-06 @ 07:31

I spent the last two days trying out different combinations of hardware and drivers on those two motherboards and nothing helped the graphics speed. I'm quite annoyed at those boards by now.
Testing both a 500MHz and 550MHz Pentium III, several sticks of RAM, a GF2 MX400 and a Kyro II as well as a bunch of VIA 4 in 1 Chipset drivers on both boards made no difference.

It took me quite a while to get a better computer as well. I was still using a 1.33GHz Athlon with 1GB of RAM until about 2008/9. I "upgraded" to that system in 2005 I think from a 1.7GHz Williamette Socket 423 P4 with 512MB RAM.


EDIT: Whoa feipoa that's one long lived computer you have there. I bought my P6DGU used so I have no idea how much it was used but I suspect it was a workstation as well. I should try running Windows 7 or 10 on it, just for fun. :lol:
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Re: My dual 1GHZ PIII Monster, I call it "The Witch Doctor"

Postby archsan » 2016-6-06 @ 18:03

Hey Hellistor, I like that Integris case so much! Classy looking and the build quality also seems very good (it's nigh impossible to get this kind of vintage case today on the market).

Has it always retained that greyish beige, or did you have to clean it up at some point (i.e. because of yellowing)? I could use some advice that is not Retro-Brite, preferrably some ingredients/substances that are more common...

I also just acquired two ASUS P3B-F rev 1.04 boards in addition to a P2B rev 1.10. I'm hoping to put a Tualatin-S or just a 1GHz Coppermine Slot 1 on one of them but the latter don't come too often (or as cheap as the rest). You're right about Slot 1 CPUs -- they're so much cooler than socketed ones! :cool: I wish Slot A Athlons were blessed with a platform as reliable as the 440BX.

Anyway, the overall feel to this rig and desktop is really nice! Bookmarked! :)
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"No way. Installing the drivers on these things always gives me a headache."—Guybrush Threepwood (on cutting-edge voodoo technology)
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