Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 5:41 pm

Crayon Shin Chan wrote:..., and probably move on to lower level stuff like microcontrollers.


Interesting, I hadn't really thought of that.

There is a massive amount of advancement going on in the embedded/microcontroller world. I've done some hobbyist microcontroller stuff over the years and where things were just 6-7 years ago and today is massively different.

Around 2006, I bought a PIC development board and commercial C compiler for around $400-$500. This was pretty common at the time. I bought an Arduino a couple of years ago and was just stunned that for $30 and a free compiler, I was doing all of the same stuff with a huge library of open source code at my fingertips. And, the Raspberry Pi is even more ridiculous. It's far beyond being a microcontroller of course, but the amount of power a Pi has for that price opens up the door to a lot of things that aren't possible with a microcontroller.

I think the advancement at the lower end of the computing scale, like microcontrollers and small form factor systems, will be stunning over the next 2-4+ years.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 5:53 pm

sschaem wrote:high speed, low power, high density memory a passing fad ?

If it ends up being too expensive, too unreliable, or overtaken by some other technology before it reaches critical mass, then yeah. We just don't know yet.

esc_in_ks wrote:There is a massive amount of advancement going on in the embedded/microcontroller world. I've done some hobbyist microcontroller stuff over the years and where things were just 6-7 years ago and today is massively different.

Around 2006, I bought a PIC development board and commercial C compiler for around $400-$500. This was pretty common at the time. I bought an Arduino a couple of years ago and was just stunned that for $30 and a free compiler, I was doing all of the same stuff with a huge library of open source code at my fingertips. And, the Raspberry Pi is even more ridiculous. It's far beyond being a microcontroller of course, but the amount of power a Pi has for that price opens up the door to a lot of things that aren't possible with a microcontroller.

I think the advancement at the lower end of the computing scale, like microcontrollers and small form factor systems, will be stunning over the next 2-4+ years.

Yeah, I hear you. Besides the rise of stuff like Arduino and Raspberry Pi, you can get a 32-bit PIC with a MIPS core in it for a few bucks these days. 20 years ago, a 32-bit MIPS CPU was a high-end workstation processor!
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 6:34 pm

Sory 4 the missspellingz but Iam texting from my flying car. i predict that ARM will stil own mobility. Intel will come in with better products but the impreovements wont be enough for the existing players to switch from their existing knowledge, infrastructure, tools, etc. Intel will still make boatloads of money but just in server and PCs. PCs won't die. But their growth phase is over. Just like cable did not kill broadcast TV. AMD will still be around focasing on PS4 and Xbox
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 8:01 pm

"What are the measurable benefits of HMC

HMC is a revolutionary innovation in DRAM memory architecture that sets a new standard for memory performance, power, reliability, and cost. This major technology leap breaks through the memory wall, unlocking previously unthinkable processing power and ushering in a new generation of computing.
Increased Bandwidth — A single HMC unit can provide more than 15X the bandwidth of a DDR3 module.
Reduced Latency – With vastly more responders built into HMC, we expect lower queue delays and higher bank availability, which will provide a substantial system latency reduction.
Power Efficiency — The revolutionary architecture of HMC allows for greater power efficiency and energy savings, utilizing 70% less energy per bit than DDR3 DRAM technologies.
Smaller Physical Footprint — The stacked architecture uses nearly 90% less physical space than today’s RDIMMs.
Pliable to Multiple Platforms — Logic layer flexibility allows HMC to be tailored to multiple platforms and applications."

The issues I have with this are these:

1. For most general desktop applications memory bandwidth appears to not be an issue.
2. With regard to latency they are non committal and only saying that they expect reduced system latency.

The reduced footprint and power consumption seem to be the key gains and will be very significant for mobile devices but much less so for desktops.
I wonder when we can expect large scale production and more importantly take-up by the big players?
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 8:10 pm

Rambus made many of the same promises.

I started in the computing world on a PDP-8 through an ASR-33. My first network experience was through a Racal-Vadic acoustic coupler modem hooked to a Trash 80. I've seen promises glitter in the fires off the Shoulder of Orion and I've seen them destroyed by C-beams at the Tannhauser Gate. From all of them I've learned: Don't buy the hype, wait for the proof.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 8:47 pm

Yeah like everyone has said, Ill believe in a new memory format when I can go into a store and buy it for a reasonable price. Seen too many hype wagons and paper launches to get excited about anything anymore.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 9:09 pm

just brew it! wrote:
sschaem wrote:high speed, low power, high density memory a passing fad ?

If it ends up being too expensive, too unreliable, or overtaken by some other technology before it reaches critical mass, then yeah. We just don't know yet.

IIRC the signs lead to lower cost and higher relative reliability.

The only issue that is really of concern now is cosmic rays -- with the HMC architecture a whole slew of memory regions can be messed up with a single ray because of the physical layout. This is really only a concern on ultra-scale systems, but it is a concern. There's no double-chip-kill with HMC planned either AFAIK.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 20, 2013 8:51 am

esc_in_ks wrote:There is a massive amount of advancement going on in the embedded/microcontroller world. I've done some hobbyist microcontroller stuff over the years and where things were just 6-7 years ago and today is massively different.

Around 2006, I bought a PIC development board and commercial C compiler for around $400-$500. This was pretty common at the time. I bought an Arduino a couple of years ago and was just stunned that for $30 and a free compiler, I was doing all of the same stuff with a huge library of open source code at my fingertips. And, the Raspberry Pi is even more ridiculous. It's far beyond being a microcontroller of course, but the amount of power a Pi has for that price opens up the door to a lot of things that aren't possible with a microcontroller.

I think the advancement at the lower end of the computing scale, like microcontrollers and small form factor systems, will be stunning over the next 2-4+ years.


Moore's law is pretty awesome, and FOSS has done a great job of providing a ready made software base for all sorts of hardware. :)

In 2-4 years, I think we'll see a FOSSed ISA. ARM or MIPS would be good candidates. ARM might feel the pressure from Intel and ask their licensees to contribute, and the Chinese are betting heavily on MIPS. MIPS doesn't have the market share ARM does, and the US government won't let China own MIPS since a lot of defense related embedded stuff uses MIPS. I would peg the LGPL or EPL are probably the two most likely licenses, but there could be others.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 20, 2013 12:16 pm

One thing is for sure, SSDs will need to get much cheaper. The path to that result may be to adopt SOME new kind of storage medium (memory cube or otherwise). The current NAND system is a dead end. It's too expensive. Even the latest "generation" of SSDs was a huge plateau compared to Gen1/Gen2 or Gen2/Gen3. SSDs are already fast enough in all their respective metrics, the next big change has to be affordable capacity. Sure, in the past 1-2 years we've seen capacity prices decrease to half or less of what they used to be, but it's going to have to get below $0.25/GB before they start taking big bites from the mechanical hdd market share. Think of all the people that would buy a 500GB SSD for $125... If our devices are to get smaller and smaller, we can't afford to continue having two types of storage medium (hdd + SSD) to house all our data. It's going to be a race between hybrid hdds polishing their performance and SSD pricing.

In 4+ years, RAM and "storage" will be one in the same, served by the same physical unit. That will be the end of SSDs. HDDs will continue to survive for a while beyond that because of thier relatively low cost/GB. Eventually prices would drop enough to kill them off too.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 20, 2013 12:47 pm

DPete27 wrote:That will be the end of SSDs.

That would also be the beginning of an era.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 20, 2013 12:52 pm

4 years out 64gb ram will be mainstream as virtually all software goes 64 bit. GPUs will be up to 4x more powerful than Titan. Optical discs will survive and allow a tb per disc. Internet attacks will make people want some physical secure back up. power, headphones, accessories, monitors will all be wireless. WIFI will be at close to gb per second in advanced markets.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 20, 2013 1:32 pm

beck2448 wrote:4 years out 64gb ram will be mainstream as virtually all software goes 64 bit. GPUs will be up to 4x more powerful than Titan. Optical discs will survive and allow a tb per disc. Internet attacks will make people want some physical secure back up. power, headphones, accessories, monitors will all be wireless. WIFI will be at close to gb per second in advanced markets.


[*] 8 gigs of RAM is standard in most boxes shipping today. Without DDR4 and a notable concordant cost decrease we're still probably a little more than 4 years away from 64 gigs being typical in an off-the-shelf rig. I could buy 32 gigs being standard at that point.

[*] GPUs being more powerful than Titan? Yeah, I might be able to buy that. But given the current tick-tock ~2 year turnaround time, I'd put my money at 3x, tops.

[*] Current experiments with 4-layer Blu-rays yield ~200 gigs on the experimental side of things. If that can be ironed out, I could see 200 gig discs with HEVC encoding being sold as Blu-ray 2 within half a decade. That would be useful for a wide range of activities (I'm kind of interested in a reliable recordable medium with that capacity, to be honest), but the ongoing push to The Cloud and streaming video will reduce its immediate appeal for consumers at large. Moreover, the argument for upgrading to that versus the current spec's not nearly as strong as the jump from DVD...

[*] Malware's not going to get better any time soon. At the very least I predict more pervasive, easily available encryption and tightened security measures becoming standardized across different platforms.

[*] Headphones, possibly. Monitors, maybe (at the high end). Power? Not really seeing it. "Accessories" is awfully broad.

[*] Wifi at ~1 gigabit, I can picture. But a gigabyte per second is harder to solve, and outside of a wireless LAN the use cases are limited given current broadband speeds.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 20, 2013 2:25 pm

Am I weird that I don't see the point in upgrading a PC for at least 6 years? My 1st custom build lasted just shy of 7 before the mobo gave up (although I'd donated it to my parents 3 years prior). Now I think hardware is advancing quicker than the software can keep up. Anyway. Like Techreport said on their podcast the other week, DDR4 will be the norm in 2 years. As will SSDs, and i'm REALLY hoping those SSD PCI-Express boards come down in price! Come 4 years time, 4K res will be more accepted, but I'm really wishing for the day monitors catch up with smartphones' pixel density. http://xkcd.com/732/

Oh, and speaking of fibre-optic broadband, check out what they're doing in the north of England, which apparently is "too remote" for BT to bother rolling it out. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21442348
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 20, 2013 5:34 pm

beck2448 wrote:4 years out 64gb ram will be mainstream as virtually all software goes 64 bit.

Regardless of cost I hope that 64GB isn’t mainstream that soon as that would likely be more to do with software bloat than necessity.
Most applications don’t really benefit much from being 64 bit and those that do have generally already made the move although in some cases both 32 + 64 bit versions are offered.
Windows itself doesn’t seem to use much more than it did 6 years ago so I wouldn’t be surprised if mainstream users can still live with 8GB in 4 years and I will likely have moved from 8 to 16GB.
Unless something radical happens 64GB seems a long way of for mainstream users by which I mean regular non techie/geeky home users.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 20, 2013 5:50 pm

smilingcrow wrote:
beck2448 wrote:4 years out 64gb ram will be mainstream as virtually all software goes 64 bit.

Regardless of cost I hope that 64GB isn’t mainstream that soon as that would likely be more to do with software bloat than necessity.
Most applications don’t really benefit much from being 64 bit and those that do have generally already made the move although in some cases both 32 + 64 bit versions are offered.
Windows itself doesn’t seem to use much more than it did 6 years ago so I wouldn’t be surprised if mainstream users can still live with 8GB in 4 years and I will likely have moved from 8 to 16GB.
Unless something radical happens 64GB seems a long way of for mainstream users by which I mean regular non techie/geeky home users.

"640KB is enough for everyone"

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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 20, 2013 6:04 pm

Waco wrote:"640KB is enough for everyone" :P

That 'joke' needs to be recompiled as it no longer runs under Windows x64 post Windows 7.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 20, 2013 6:38 pm

smilingcrow wrote:
Waco wrote:"640KB is enough for everyone" :P

That 'joke' needs to be recompiled as it no longer runs under Windows x64 post Windows 7.

You can still run it in a VM though.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 20, 2013 6:40 pm

awakeningcry wrote:Am I weird that I don't see the point in upgrading a PC for at least 6 years?


No, that's my normal upgrade cycle.

I'm going to say 16GB will be standard for a system without integrated RAM in 2-4 years simply because of manufacturing advances and chip density. Servers will be the big factor pushing this, and desktops will get what trickles down.

I guess I should say desktop parts will become cut down server parts. Portable computing devices (laptops, tablets, phones, etc.) will be the dominant form factor, and they will be powered by SOCs with 4GB of RAM integrated on-die or with some sort of chip stacking.

64GB of RAM will become standard when SDRAM gives way to NVRAM.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 20, 2013 7:04 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:I'm going to say 16GB will be standard for a system without integrated RAM in 2-4 years simply because of manufacturing advances and chip density. Servers will be the big factor pushing this, and desktops will get what trickles down.
64GB of RAM will become standard when SDRAM gives way to NVRAM.

I think it will depend on price and necessity. There was massive over supply of DDR3 which led to very low pricing. With DDR4 seemingly going mainstream in 2 years that throws a curveball into the pricing equation. If DDR4 stays high and DDR3 prices increase which often happens when a memory standard is replaced that puts pressure on the OEMs to keep RAM configurations low. Of course it could go the other way but OEMs tend not to overload mainstream systems with RAM that is unnecessary for most. The majority of Dell’s mainstream desktops still have 4GB for example.
When people say ‘as standard’ I presume they are referring to what the default configuration is for OEM systems.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Tue May 21, 2013 8:19 am

Definitely the mainstream stuff. I'm going to say the RAM size will be a product of limitations due to RAM being integrated into an SoC. DIMMs will be going away.

I was presuming "as standard", here, meant a higher end, possibly, hand built system. Any parts we have in the future will be originally server parts, and servers admins aren't going to stand for lower RAM limits. The demand for density is too great, and the power constraints are too much.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Tue May 21, 2013 2:56 pm

I've been thinking about the upcoming Xbox / PS4 releases and how it relates to this topic. Most of this is common sense, but that doesn't mean it isn't the future of hardware.

IMO, gaming drives GPU advances primarily, but I'm sure it influences CPUs to some degree as well. What we already know is that the new consoles will be x86. That means much easier porting to PCs. Game devs have two options with this opportunity:
1) Better optimize for the more powerful PC hardware since the brunt of the "PC-porting work" is done by having the game originally coded for x86.
2) Redirect "porting costs" into things like better content/creativity/storylines/etc while taking an "its already good enough" approach to PC hardware optimization. Maybe even taking the time to eliminate signs of consolitis from PC ports??

Next, these low-power 8-core Jaguar CPUs and 7850-esque GPU are a hint at the future of gaming. More and more tasks are being offloaded to the GPU these days ("GPU controlled games") making raw CPU power less of an issue. Now, looking at new consoles with many weak CPU cores and a decently powerful GPU by todays standards coupled with the emergence of higher resolution displays and I see a couple things happening:
1) The demand for GPU horsepower is going to skyrocket - obvious if you look at the GPU prowess needed to do eyefinity gaming without the overhead of deciding what monitor to send each pixel to.
2) Given the weak IPC of the console Jaguar CPU, more tasks will have to be offloaded to the GPU. The reduced necessity of a high IPC will drive AMD/Intel to continue focusing on power efficiency over IPC gains in their quest to conquer the tablet market.
3) I'm not really sure where the need for 8 cores comes into play besides predicting better multi-threading implementation in the future (by games at least). If Haswell's TSX tech doesn't take off, I imagine we'll see 8-core Intel CPUs in 4 years.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Tue May 21, 2013 4:10 pm

DPete27 wrote:I've been thinking about the upcoming Xbox / PS4 releases and how it relates to this topic. Most of this is common sense, but that doesn't mean it isn't the future of hardware.

IMO, gaming drives GPU advances primarily, but I'm sure it influences CPUs to some degree as well. What we already know is that the new consoles will be x86. That means much easier porting to PCs. Game devs have two options with this opportunity:
1) Better optimize for the more powerful PC hardware since the brunt of the "PC-porting work" is done by having the game originally coded for x86.
2) Redirect "porting costs" into things like better content/creativity/storylines/etc while taking an "its already good enough" approach to PC hardware optimization. Maybe even taking the time to eliminate signs of consolitis from PC ports??

It should drive the PC gaming market to cut the dead weight (directx 9 and 32 bit OS support.)

It seems like the X1 and PS4 both have an ARM chip along with the x86 so I'm wondering if future Windows versions will support dual architecture machines.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Tue May 21, 2013 4:36 pm

But XB/PS4 do not use DirectX, do they?

If they don't, then while some part of the code is going to be easier to port (x86->x86), all the graphics related code still has to be ported from whatever they use in consoles to DX, is that right? How big of a savings are we talking about here?
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Tue May 21, 2013 5:37 pm

yuriylsh wrote:But XB/PS4 do not use DirectX, do they?

If they don't, then while some part of the code is going to be easier to port (x86->x86), all the graphics related code still has to be ported from whatever they use in consoles to DX, is that right? How big of a savings are we talking about here?

From what I've heard it's considerable when comparing to the PS3 arch at least. Having Cell out of the picture should be a boon to everyone...seemed like a good idea with bad execution.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Tue May 21, 2013 6:41 pm

yuriylsh wrote:But XB/PS4 do not use DirectX, do they?

I don't know what either of them uses, but it's my understanding that the regular Xbox uses DX10 and PS3 uses OpenGL--both of which are very PC-friendly--and I would be very surprised if the new platforms go a different route. Console-only games come about due to politics, not business or technical limitations, and the publishers that do it won't change their ways.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Tue May 21, 2013 8:45 pm

Revenue from hardware is no longer enough, or growing fast enough to hold Wall Street's interest. Vertical markets increase due to their add-ons, walled-garden revenue captures (e.g., iTunes), and the average bear's inability to understand enough of the details to build their own systems, or have the time to do/maintain it.
Geeks/hobbyists (like us) will always want to roll our own, but we're a shrinking percentage of the market, so our cost/function/performance advantage continues to shrink, perhaps (but hopefully not) to the point where we (start to?) give up.
Mobile/portable continues to grow while home/private servers become interesting (again?) once we all decide that the cloud providers (or perhaps the gov't) are violating/leveraging/inspecting too much of our privacy.
So, low-end mobile/portable continues to catch up to current laptop/PC level performance. Current PC's turn into dumb/turnkey servers that feed our bits to our mobile devices through strongly encrypted tunnels. Mainframes finally die, continuing to be replaced by inexpensive clusters of stateless everything-interesting-soldered-down white-box servers.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 2:21 am

NovusBogus wrote:
yuriylsh wrote:But XB/PS4 do not use DirectX, do they?

I don't know what either of them uses, but it's my understanding that the regular Xbox uses DX10 and PS3 uses OpenGL--both of which are very PC-friendly--and I would be very surprised if the new platforms go a different route. Console-only games come about due to politics, not business or technical limitations, and the publishers that do it won't change their ways.


PS3 mostly uses libgcm, a much lower level API compared to OpenGL ES.

Xbox 360 uses a customized variant of DX9.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 8:04 am

MarkG509 wrote: Mainframes finally die, continuing to be replaced by inexpensive clusters of stateless everything-interesting-soldered-down white-box servers.


Mainframes will never die. Midrange stuff (x86, ARM, etc.) doesn't have the uptime or reliability of mainframes. Within their niche, nothing can touch them. If anything, midrange stuff will look more like a mainframe.
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nothing good for enthusiasts

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 9:42 am

Stagnation is the name of the game.

Slow, boring, incremental advances, nothing major. More bang for your buck, but not a lot more bang overall.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 2:44 pm

just brew it! wrote:(which will experience a surge in popularity when someone finally finds the critical hole in Blu-Ray DRM and facilitates easy ripping of Blu-Ray titles).


Wait wut???? This can be done now.
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