Sanity Check

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Sanity Check

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 2:36 pm

First off, this is not a gaming-first build. It'll be a 1080p monitor (yes, I'm still on a 1680x1050 Dell 2007WFP). Since I'm typing on a July 2007 build, I'm looking for the long haul. Latest/greatest/wait 3 months means nothing. All new items have come from the May 2014 TR Guide.

I was going to go Kubuntu, but I've found that I do way too much work stuff on the home box to stray from Windows.

Keepers:

Antec P-182 and a pile of fans
Corsair 520HX Modular PSU
Asus Xonar D1 PCI sound card (yes, I know the W8.1 driver is borked; will ride MB sound until fixed)
Various spinning drives, but will repurpose a WD Red 3TB as the main storage drive
Peripherals
Thermalright TR-120 Ultra Extreme (seems that LGA1150 kits are available)

New Stuff:

Asus Z-97-A
i5-4670K (Plan to OC to 80%/90% of limit) Now thinking of i7-4790K
2x8GB at market price
GTX 760 (changed to 750Ti based on 1900x1200 max)
Crucial MX100 512GB SSD
Asus Blu-Ray burner (be a long time before I drop optical)
8.1 (pro?) with instant Classic Shell
Asus VS24AH-P 24" 19x12 IPS LED Monitor

Before anyone says I need more, please remember I'm running an Abit IP35Pro with a C2D 6600@3.2 and an 8800GTS 640MB and that has served my needs faithfully for almost 7 years of 24/7/365. GPUwise, if it'll do 1080p at max, I'm happy.

If this makes sense, I'll have some good stuff for Starfalcon at this year's BBQ.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 2:45 pm

Maybe wait a few more weeks for a 4690K with better IHS TIM?
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 2:49 pm

yokem55 wrote:Maybe wait a few more weeks for a 4690K with better IHS TIM?

If it improves OC and doesn't add cubic $$, maybe. After all, a 2.4 C2D at 3.2 for 7 years straight is nothing to bitch about. I won't miss having to fiddle with the CPU:RAM ratios to keep RAM from harshing the OC.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 2:54 pm

Wouldn't a 750 be a more preferable choice over the 760 for more basic 2D/3D?

Much more power efficient, cooler running, and cheaper.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... -_-Product
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 3:07 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:Wouldn't a 750 be a more preferable choice over the 760 for more basic 2D/3D?

Much more power efficient, cooler running, and cheaper.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... -_-Product

I might look at a 2GB 750. Marginal cost spread over a number of years doesn't faze me, nor do running costs. Cooling-wise, remember it's going into a P182 with all 5 case fan holes filled. Just want to be sure I can max settings at 1080p as well as maintain some margin for as long as I can.

Since I joined TR some 12.5 years ago I've owned 2 GFX cards; a Ti4200 and an 8800GTS. I'm looking for the next card that can handle a similar time period.

Who knows? Maybe with a better card I might play more games?
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 3:16 pm

Captain Ned wrote:Who knows? Maybe with a better card I might play more games?


I think it more likely you'll have just spent more money that could have been used instead on your real passion: liquored up camping trips.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 3:21 pm

if you're not afraid of a marginal price hike that'll last you the long term, why not spend the $60 and get a GTX 770 or R9 280X? Newegg has this MSI 770 for $319 or a MSI R9 280x for $309. If you're going to keep it that long, it's basically zero cost.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 3:23 pm

That looks pretty good, but two things I'd throw in there:

-A lot of cheap high-capacity SSDs are being launched over the next two months. If you'd rather have lots of space and decent speed than maximum speed and not as much space, it may be worth waiting until August or so to see how the Optima, MX100, Force LX, and anything SanDisk might be cooking up turn out. This will probably also lead to a price cut on last-generation SSDs. Most SSDs currently on the market are over a year old.

-Maxwell GPUs are worth waiting for if you aren't hurting for graphics performance now. All indications are that they will be significantly more efficient which means lower monthly utility bill, smaller size unit and possibly lower cost per unit of performance. 750Ti is already out and the full Maxwell with die shrink and everything is expected to come out around the end of the year. You said you don't want to wait a long time, but you also said you want something for the long haul and this is a case where the wait comes with a lot of residual benefits over the 7+ years or whatever that you're using it.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 3:30 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:
Captain Ned wrote:Who knows? Maybe with a better card I might play more games?
I think it more likely you'll have just spent more money that could have been used instead on your real passion: liquored up camping trips.

Hmm, I just looked at the spread plots in the 750 & 760 reviews and the 750 kills the 760 on 99th%/dollar compared to the 760, so you might be on to something, especially since I don't plan to go beyond 1080p. The 750 review used all the high settings that the 760 did (although 760 was 1440p) and came out with similar numbers.

As for the 770 advocates, I've lived with a 1680x1050 for 7 years and all I really want for the next 7 is to watch my Blu-Rays (I don't care about 3D) when the wife & daughter are watching "Long Island Medium". I'll adopt 4K somewhere into the next decade.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 3:36 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Ryu Connor wrote:
Captain Ned wrote:Who knows? Maybe with a better card I might play more games?
I think it more likely you'll have just spent more money that could have been used instead on your real passion: liquored up camping trips.

Hmm, I just looked at the spread plots in the 750 & 760 reviews and the 750 kills the 760 on 99th%/dollar compared to the 760, so you might be on to something.

Yes, yes it does. Which is why I so strongly suggest waiting for the successor to the 760. :)

One other thing, I'm not seeing a lot of expansion cards in there. Why not get a Gryphon Z97 for a similar price? Not only does it have a longer warranty and better features, it's micro ATX which means you're set if you need to move it into a smaller space. Expansion cards are dead and the trend is toward smaller integrated systems to go with our smaller integrated apartments and smaller integrated paychecks.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 3:48 pm

NovusBogus wrote:One other thing, I'm not seeing a lot of expansion cards in there. Why not get a Gryphon Z97 for a similar price? Not only does it have a longer warranty and better features, it's micro ATX which means you're set if you need to move it into a smaller space. Expansion cards are dead and the trend is toward smaller integrated systems to go with our smaller integrated apartments and smaller integrated paychecks.

I've got the space, I like the acoustic & cooling properties of the P182, and I like having the options for expansion. I'm an old fart and I feel better when my computers have a notable physical presence. I want a computer that when I stub my toe on it will cause me to curse loudly instead of kicking it across the room.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 3:52 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:I think it more likely you'll have just spent more money that could have been used instead on your real passion: liquored up camping trips.

Unlike certain relatives of TR staff, I've never "gone too far" at BBQ. :wink:
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 5:37 pm

Captain Ned wrote: Asus Xonar D1 PCI sound card (yes, I know the W8.1 driver is borked; will ride MB sound until fixed)
Retire this ancient sound card or pass it down with the other ancient hardware. We haven't needed obsolete PCI slots since SB X-Fi Ti came along on PCIe in mid-2008.

Integrated Realtek ALC1150 audio on motherboard, or...
Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z 70SB150200000 OEM or here
Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z 70SB150000000 Retail or here
Asus Xonar DSX or here
One of the thoughtful features in the SB Z is the ability to switch easily between speakers and headphones from the tray application. I leave my headphones plugged in all of the time.


Captain Ned wrote: Asus Z97-A
That ATX motherboard wastes two slots on obsolete PCI. :(

Is the Intel i218-V ethernet implementation a desired feature? Two of the fourteen motherboards listed below use Realtek and five of them use Qualcomm's Atheros Killer. I've actually had excellent results with Realtek in recent years. All four Asus motherboards as well as the ASRock Z97 Extreme4 and Extreme6 and the Ggiabyte GA-Z97X-UD7 use the trusted Intel component. The Asus Gryphon Z97 would be my preference.

Asus Sabertooth Z97 or Z97-Pro
MSI Z97 Guard-Pro or Z97-G45 Gaming
ASRock Z97 Extreme4 or Z97 Extreme6
Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD7 or GA-Z97X-Gaming GT

Would you consider micro-ATX motherboards? You can still use your Antec P182 ATX case.
Asus Gryphon Z97 or Maximus VII Gene
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 6:11 pm

I second JAE's sound card recommendation.

The current SB series cards use UAA

Meaning you don't even have to use drivers from Creative, the built-in Microsoft drivers provide everything.

My SB-Z card provides basic analog and digital input and output with no drivers from Creative and none of their software additions. Just the plain Windows sound panel controls everything needed. So long as you don't need analog 5.1 or 7.1 you are good to go.

If you want future proof, Creative using the UAA driver is the better path.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 6:24 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Ryu Connor wrote:I think it more likely you'll have just spent more money that could have been used instead on your real passion: liquored up camping trips.

Unlike certain relatives of TR staff, I've never "gone too far" at BBQ. :wink:

What about *other* camping trips? :wink:

Just one other thought on your OS dilemma... how *much* Windows-specific work do you need to do, and what is the nature of said work? If none of it requires robust hardware 3D acceleration or funky special-purpose PCI/PCIe devices, you can probably handle all of the Windows stuff in a VM. My desktop at work was set up that way for ~4 years (Ubuntu host OS + Windows XP guest), but a substantial part of my job is doing Linux development, so there are different tradeoffs involved.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:41 am

I'm impressed the Geforce has lasted that long for you; of the two-dozen G92's we had here they all kicked the bucket in about four years (EVGA, PNY and BFG iirc)

"Big Maxwell" is going to be worth waiting for, I think. If you keep hardare that long, you're going to want the next card to be energy-efficient and "4K ready".
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2014 7:20 am

Chrispy_ wrote:I'm impressed the Geforce has lasted that long for you; of the two-dozen G92's we had here they all kicked the bucket in about four years (EVGA, PNY and BFG iirc)

Fan or capacitors? I had a few older GeForce cards which died from bursting caps; brought a couple of 'em back to life with DIY re-cap jobs. G92 should've been after the worst of the capacitor plague had passed, but there were still some dodgy caps being used even then.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:21 am

No idea. These were company cards so when the magic smoke escaped (they all "blew" with horrific burning smells and noxious gases). If I had to guess, I'd say it wasn't the fan, because the only way the smell could be circulated that fast would be if the blower was still exhausting all the burnt stench as it died. I didn't bother repairing them - just swapped in whatever was good back in the day - probably either GTX285s or 7970s depending on when they blew.

I suspect they could be repaired but the time it'd take to remove the cooler and de-gum the memory pads carefully enough to avoid ripping the BGA modules off the board wouldn't be worth my hourly rate. I obviously don't get paid what my department is charged at for costing purposes, but if I spend half a day on something that's £475 excluding VAT - and you can buy two new cards with a 3-year warranty for that much.... :\
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:48 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:That ATX motherboard wastes two slots on obsolete PCI. Is the Intel i218-V ethernet implementation a desired feature?

Yep. Leaves me with an Intel PCIe NIC for trade bait at BBQ. As for moving to μATX I don't have space constraints; the P182 has been in the same spot for 7 years and isn't going anywhere soon.

I'll keep the Xonar because I like its sound quality. I'll be listening to music far more than gaming and that's what the Xonar does well. Besides, it wouldn't even go in the box until the W8.1 driver issues are sorted and I'd be starting with The Crab. It'd be a hard pill for me to actually buy a Creative card no matter whose driver I'm using. To be completely honest, I'd be happiest if someone could find a way to make my old TBSC work in W8.1 (and which was one of the things making me think hard about Kubuntu for the main box).

Ryu: Still on analog 5.1.

JBI: Windows-specific work stuff is done on flaky home-built apps provided us by certain Federal Banking Agencies. They throw enough odd (and unknown/unknowable) error codes that adding VM to the mix probably isn't so hot an idea. Besides, I do have the Kubuntu 14.04 lappy to experiment with and possibly allow me at some point migrate the main box to a VM'd platform.

Other camping trips? Well, I certainly don't remember. 8)
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:56 am

Chrispy_ wrote:No idea. These were company cards so when the magic smoke escaped (they all "blew" with horrific burning smells and noxious gases). If I had to guess, I'd say it wasn't the fan, because the only way the smell could be circulated that fast would be if the blower was still exhausting all the burnt stench as it died. I didn't bother repairing them - just swapped in whatever was good back in the day - probably either GTX285s or 7970s depending on when they blew.

I suspect they could be repaired but the time it'd take to remove the cooler and de-gum the memory pads carefully enough to avoid ripping the BGA modules off the board wouldn't be worth my hourly rate. I obviously don't get paid what my department is charged at for costing purposes, but if I spend half a day on something that's £475 excluding VAT - and you can buy two new cards with a 3-year warranty for that much.... :\

Noxious fumes sounds like the caps exploded. And yeah, in a work-related situation, unless you've got an intern you can hand it off to for repair it probably isn't worth it. I generally do re-cap jobs only for my own stuff.

Captain Ned wrote:JBI: Windows-specific work stuff is done on flaky home-built apps provided us by certain Federal Banking Agencies. They throw enough odd (and unknown/unknowable) error codes that adding VM to the mix probably isn't so hot an idea.

Heh, that might actually be an argument *for* sandboxing them off in a VM! :lol:

Captain Ned wrote:Besides, I do have the Kubuntu 14.04 lappy to experiment with and possibly allow me at some point migrate the main box to a VM'd platform.

Since you don't game you've got quite a bit of flexibility. If you decide you really like Kubuntu but want to keep Windows as the primary OS on the desktop for work you could even flip things around and run Kubuntu in a VM.

Captain Ned wrote:Other camping trips? Well, I certainly don't remember. 8)

:lol:
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:58 am

Captain Ned wrote:I'll keep the Xonar because I like its sound quality. I'll be listening to music far more than gaming and that's what the Xonar does well. Besides, it wouldn't even go in the box until the W8.1 driver issues are sorted and I'd be starting with The Crab. It'd be a hard pill for me to actually buy a Creative card no matter whose driver I'm using.


beep bop boop http://maxedtech.com/asus-xonar-unified-drivers/

8.1 support added in the most recent release. I don't even look at the Asus site for drivers.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:07 am

DancinJack wrote:
Captain Ned wrote:I'll keep the Xonar because I like its sound quality. I'll be listening to music far more than gaming and that's what the Xonar does well. Besides, it wouldn't even go in the box until the W8.1 driver issues are sorted and I'd be starting with The Crab. It'd be a hard pill for me to actually buy a Creative card no matter whose driver I'm using.


beep bop boop http://maxedtech.com/asus-xonar-unified-drivers/

8.1 support added in the most recent release. I don't even look at the Asus site for drivers.

Running Uni Xonar now to make sure that 2.1 music stays in the front speakers. Hadn't seen the W8.1 upgrade.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:02 am

just brew it! wrote:Heh, that might actually be an argument *for* sandboxing them off in a VM! :lol:

Yeah, when the accepted (and documented) method of getting one of them to close gracefully is to choose "Ignore" from the A/R/I dialog, you might be right. Same app has thrown the same error from W98 through to W7 and yet no one can fix it.

Rumor has it that the next-gen apps will actually be contracted out to competent devs and will not rely on everyone using them being on the exact same release of Office. Now to find a way to make the internal office DB better seeing as it started with FoxPro, was migrated to Paradox, then migrated to Access, then had some SQL thrown in so we could put it on the website. The front-end relies on Office 97, so every Patch Tuesday the boffins have to come to every box that uses the DB and reinstall the Office 97 front-end bits that the PT updates sensibly broke.

I've tried to make a budget-based argument that someone in each division of our Dept. should have admin access within the division unit container. Never goes anywhere.

Back to the point, I've also added a nice-looking Asus 24" 1900x1200 LED monitor to the list in the FP.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:47 pm

Captain Ned wrote: I've also added a nice-looking Asus 24" 1900x1200 LED monitor to the list in the FP.
How about a Korean 30" 2560x1600 for under $500?
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:58 pm

That's a nice looking monitor, wish I could have gotten that sort of price on mine. For what it's worth I've been quite happy with my Asus PA248Q.

The problem with those Korean wunderkinds is twofold: too big for many desks, and they usually don't have a scaler for running at lower than the rated resolution. If neither of those is a problem then go for it, the panels are coming from the same place as the name brands.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2014 3:09 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Captain Ned wrote: I've also added a nice-looking Asus 24" 1900x1200 LED monitor to the list in the FP.
How about a Korean 30" 2560x1600 for under $500?

Well, if I'm sticking to a 750Ti and I don't game all that much, the $229 (at least this week) Asus complete with properly-documented controls is all I need. Moving from 20 to 24 is going to be enough, as 30 would probably scare me.

I know, I know, I know; a TR mod not wanting to push the limits just doesn't seem right. Never been my style (c.f. the Ti4200 and 8800 GTS). Y'all should be happy I even included an SSD in the build as I've got more than enough real drives (at last count 6, ranging from 500GB to 3 TB) lying around to get the job done. I know where I want to be in the ecosystem and am looking for opinions on better options within that slice of the ecosystem. I'm not about to wait 3 or 6 months for a component that might bring improvement, mainly because even though I've used the Win Embedded registry hack to keep core kernel updates coming for XP, I really need to get off it sooner rather than later.

And yes I am old, cantankerous, and not easily budged from long-held beliefs (or slights). Ignore the tye-dye in my BBQ pics and focus on the grey hair.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2014 3:25 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Captain Ned wrote: I've also added a nice-looking Asus 24" 1900x1200 LED monitor to the list in the FP.
How about a Korean 30" 2560x1600 for under $500?

Mine was just about $500 delivered. A great deal and I am very pleased.

You only get Dual DVI, no fancy letter strings so you'll need a good card. My new, el' cheapo, Zotac GTX 780 does the job very well.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:40 pm

Captain Ned wrote:Moving from 20 to 24 is going to be enough, as 30 would probably scare me.

I know, I know, I know; a TR mod not wanting to push the limits just doesn't seem right.

Well, you and I are both "of an age" where vision issues (lack of accommodation) can start to become a concern. Really huge-ass monitors can be a problem, because when you've got the center of the screen at the proper distance for your computer/reading glasses, the far edges can start to get a little out of focus.

IMO a better solution is a pair of smaller monitors, angled slightly inwards so that they are both aimed at your chair. This is what I do at work -- a pair of 24" 1920x1200 displays. So I have the effective screen real estate of a 48" 3840x1200 display, but it is easier on my middle-aged eyes than a single larger display would be. I can also state from first-hand experience that even a crap-tastic Radeon HD 3000 IGP is capable of driving a pair of 1920x1200 60Hz displays, as long as you don't care about 3D acceleration.

The other nifty thing about dual-head is that if you run a VM you can full-screen the VM on the secondary monitor, leaving the host OS exposed on the primary. Switching between the host and guest OSes becomes a matter of simply moving the mouse pointer back and forth. :wink:
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2014 5:48 pm

Looks like a good plan, hitting it right in the sweet spot. The size of the SSD is perhaps a little big - unless you have a specific need for it? Otherwise a smaller drive possibly in conjunction with a 4770K might be better future proofing. I expect SSDs will continue their drop in price/GB over the coming years but CPU price/performance seems to have heavily stagnated.
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Re: Sanity Check

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:10 pm

Captain Ned wrote: Moving from 20 to 24 is going to be enough, as 30 would probably scare me. I know, I know, I know; a TR mod not wanting to push the limits just doesn't seem right. I am old, cantankerous, and not easily budged from long-held beliefs (or slights).
The 24" monitor that you selected should be adequate. A 30" monitor could be better.

When someone upgrades as infrequently as you do, they should be making big leaps when they do finally turn loose of old hardware and embrace something new.

That shock that you experience when first working with a big monitor may be a good scare, not a bad one. The jump from 1600x1200 to 2560x1600 was the most significant "Wow!" moment in my computing experience since getting an Amiga.
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
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