Laptops

General discussion

Which LCD?

by Momo26 / August 9, 2005 9:49 AM PDT

It's comming down to the minor details I any suggestions/comments on this particular topic would be appreciated.

The Inspiron 6000d from Dell comes standard with a "15.4 inch WXGA LCD Panel"

The next upgrade would be the "15.4 inch UltraSharp WSXGA+ LCD Panel" [add $100CDN] and then "15.4 inch UltraSharp WUXGA LCD Panel" [add $200CDN]. But I do not want to spend an extra $200 on the LCD. Nor do I need the resolution to be THAT small.

So it is down to the standard WXGA LCD or the upgrade to the WUXGA. How much of a difference is there? Is it worth an additional $100? My budget is limited and already i'm exceeding it to purchase this machine.

Keep in mind this model will come with 128MB ATI's Mobility

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Not worth the upgrade
by jas0nhe / August 9, 2005 9:54 AM PDT
In reply to: Which LCD?

Dell's standard, WXGA screen should make fonts easy to read and should be crisp/clear enough.

-Jason

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The glare on the new screens is anoying
by hamako / August 31, 2005 11:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Not worth the upgrade

I recently bought a new laptop and had the choice between a conventional plasma screen and the new type of high-resolution screen. I chose the older technology, because the really nice resolution was totally offset by the anoying glare. I could see myself in the screen and the reflections from the ceiling lights were terrible.

A little less resolution? I don't mind, as my conventional non-glare plasma screen gives me, what I want.

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Disagreements
by jas0nhe / September 1, 2005 2:22 AM PDT

I personally think this new coating on LCD screens (TruBrite, BrightView, TrueLife) is awesome. In standard home lighting, there is little reflection--and even in bright lighting, the brightness of the screen overcomes the reflections that you may see.

In libraries, the lighting is great for these types of screens. I'd recommend it.

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XGA best for general use but UXGA/SXGA better for Excel/prog
by KenSanramon / August 9, 2005 9:56 AM PDT
In reply to: Which LCD?

An LCD is only native at one resolution. You can switch to other resolutions but the results will not be optimal and in some cases horrible.

Therefore, unlike a CRT which can adjust well anywhere within its range you have to choose for your needs.

A UXGA display (most extreme and smallest pixels) is good for people that demand the most data on the LCD and also have very sharp eyesight. This would allow you to see more lines of code, more Excel data, etc at once. However, on a notebook LCD size of 15.4" keep in mind that can make internet words unacceptable small to read. That would not be the case with a 19" or better yet a 22" desktop LCD.

Therefore, the XGA resolution is best for most people as it is optimized for most web pages and it is still a sharp resolution.

The SXGA is a more reasonable compromize if you do want smaller pixels but don't want to go to the extreme. But again, your web pages will have smaller fonts than intended as most are set up for XGA.

If you get a software program called powerstrip it does allow you to switch LCD resolutions with better results.

DVD's will look better with the higher resolutions as the more pixels you have the better the movie will look. However, they look pretty good on XGA so again that is a matter of incremental improvement.

For my use mostly surfing the internet I have XGA but I have read power users (Excel or programming) that value the benefit of more screen real estate with the higher resolutions........

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Thanks for the imput...
by Momo26 / August 9, 2005 12:32 PM PDT

I will be doing such tasks as word processing, perhaps a little excel/publisher, internet research ect. I do like a small font resolution but not the extreme, no. As well, I do not like "large" icons/fonts either. Somewhere in between.

Right now on my desktop, I have a 17" monitor and I am running at 1152 pixels by 864 pixels (one of the options available in properties). This size is perfect as the icons are nice and petite, but not small and the images/fonts/icons/start menu bar is sharp and crisp.

Above all I want a sharp and crisp image. That's more important than the size but again, a nice median will do.

What will the graphics on this laptop (15.4" widescreen) run at (pixels by pixels)?

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More LCD analysis.
by KenSanramon / August 9, 2005 1:25 PM PDT

A 15.4" XGA resolution is 1200x800 which is the widescreen equivalent of 1024x768 on a square 15" LCD.

Note that you can specify large or small fonts in the windows software just as on any monitor.

The 15.4" or 15" LCD's are a nice size but they are smaller than the 17" Monitor size (likely square) you are referring to. Also, note that if it is a normal webpage it will display the largest square image on the widescreen display (programs like Excel or Word or some webpages will stretch but many standard ones will not).

This means you are displaying a 14" square image or so on a 15.4" widescreen. The tradeoff of course if that Excel spreadsheets and widescreen DVD's take big advantage of the widescreen (and you can see more of each line left to write for writing code and you can see more columns in Excel but less rows).

Note also that a 15.4" widescreen is not as tall as a 15" square LCD so it will fit somewhat better on an airplane tray table (but it will be somewhat wider on the tray -- but the big issue is how far the LCD lid sticks up).

So, again for my use I would not want a higher resolution for reading internet text -- but many people on the dedicated user site I had for my notebook liked SXGA -- so consider that. I would not go with the extreme UXGA unless you absolutely are a power user who values ultimate text display against the negative of extremely small text.

Also, you need to decide if you want the high contrast LCD treatments that make the LCD look sparkling indoors in reasonable light (and especially watching DVD's in low light) but are not desirable if you work at an office with harsh overhead flourescent lights, have a direct light window directly behind you or use the notebook outside in direct light.

The LCD screen treatments (normally only $25 -$50 or so to the cost if it is offered as an option on the custom order websites like hpshopping.com are Briteview (HP/Compaq), Xbrite (Sony), Trubrite (Toshiba) and Crystal View (Fujitsu). note that the LCD's are not made by any of these companies but rather by mostly Chinese companies -- LG, Hitachi, Samsung, etc..........

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Thank You again
by Momo26 / August 9, 2005 2:17 PM PDT
In reply to: More LCD analysis.

I think the XGA will do just fine. I was trying to google image search sample screen shots with similar resolution just to get an idea of what the desktop looks like in proportion to each other but I couldn't find a good sample.

If you say the XGA 1200x800 is equivalent of 1024x768 on a square 15", does that mean what i'm running now (1152x864) on my 17" pc monitor will look actually smaller (the fonts ect) than the 15" widescreen in the same resolution or the opposite? Opposite being that the widescreen XGA images will look smaller than what I have right now. I'm just trying to get a good idea of what the size of icons/images/text will be in native resolution on the XGA.

I hope you understand that above question.

Thanks

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What type of monitor?
by jas0nhe / August 10, 2005 5:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Thank You again

If you're using a CRT, then I'm afraid I can't answer your question. But if your monitor is a 17'' LCD at the resolution you specified, expect things to look slightly smaller with the base WXGA resolution on the Inspiron (1280x800) and significantly smaller at each higher resolution.

I hope this helps.

-Jason

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XGA versus SXGA
by KenSanramon / August 10, 2005 6:53 AM PDT
In reply to: What type of monitor?

Momo:

I can simply tell you that I use a 19" LCD at work and with that size you would benefit from moving to a higher resolution than XGA. In fact larger LCD sizes do have a larger native resolution often versus 15" LCD's and even 17" LCD's.

So, if you are viewing images on a 17" LCD XGA monitor keep in in mind everything (words and photos) will be somewhat smaller on a 15.4" widescreen or 15" square LCD.

So, for that reason XGA is fine for most people on a 15.4" widescreen.

Note, however, that a 15" LCD is closer to a 17" CRT as the actual viewable image on a 17" CRT is about 16" in most cases.

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Some final notes about the Inspiron
by jas0nhe / August 10, 2005 6:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Which LCD?

Hi Mo,

It seems that you're going to purchase this laptop pretty soon, so I'll give you a bit more details about its characteristics.

1) There's going to be a lot of extra software that you probably won't need crammed into the laptop. This will cause a slightly longer startup and will waste some RAM from your system.

Recommendation: Buy the laptop a week or so before school starts so that you'll have time to get used to it and uninstall the unnecessary software (most of it is trialware that expires in 30-60 days). Also learn to use the ''msconfig'' utility to minimize start-up time, and ''services.msc'' to ensure that you aren't wasting any RAM.

2) This laptop will add significant amounts of weight to your backpack if you carry it along with your textbooks and other stuff. Unlike what I recall some previous user saying, it is not optimal for taking with you on campus.

Recommendation: Get a laptop bag so that it's a seperate thing to carry. If I were you, I'd try not to carry it from class to class.

3) Since you're not upgrading to the extended battery, you shouldn't expect 5.5 hours of life (what CNET got in their tests). Even with the 9-cell battery, general usage will probably be more power-consuming than the methods CNET use to test laptop batteries.

Recommendation: Limit the use of your laptop. If you absolutely need to use it to take notes in class, don't multitask, and turn off all unnecessary background programs. Charge the battery as often as possible, and when you can, run it on AC power. Also, to extend battery life, fully drain the battery on its first run and then charge it to 100% for your second use.

I hope this helps.

-Jason

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Thank you Both Once Again...
by Momo26 / August 10, 2005 12:42 PM PDT

Yes i'm going to go with this laptop very shortly. I'm trying to figure out a few financial things and I am going to look into any discounts my school provides for students interested in Dell products (i've seen many posts of person(s) recieving 12% discount through their educational institute).

But on Dell.ca it does say that tommorrow is the last day for the "Free upgrade to 80GB HD from 40GB." It would be nice to take advantage of that but i'm not sure if i'll be able to buy by tommorrow.

Oh well, specials come and go. I just do not want to pay a penny more than what they are asking for right now - $1499 CDN + TAXES + $130 CDN extended 3-year warranty. The price for this machine has droped $100 in "this weeks" special. From your experiences, could you forcast what Dell would do next? Price go back to how it was 2 weeks ago? Maybe a better deal? I've been trying to monitor them and this particular model stayed the same from "weekend only sale" to now (this week until tommorrow) whereby the 6000 DID go back up to it's regular of $1299. (Note I am interested in the 6000d).

By the way, I do not know much about the new sonoma technology. What advantages will I be gaining by purchasing the Pentium M 730 appose to P M 725? Just wireless capabilities? I do not plan to fork out extra money later to have wireless capabilities by any means. Wired LAN is okay for my limited internet browsing.

And yes, I will most likely keep this machine at home most times (unless I plan to stay at school and do homework/assignments there - whereby there will probably be an AC Outlet in the libary facilities).

Thanks for the tremendous help guys.

Keep me posted

- Mo

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Was just reading consumer reviews on Cnet...
by Momo26 / August 10, 2005 1:06 PM PDT

Many, many people complain about the display on battery power and how it dims considorably even on simple tasks. This is quite a big issue. I know I will be using the machine at home a lot, but I do want to be able to take it out as well.

And one review mensioned that the battery can only be charged/discharged 500 times max? I've never heard of anything like that before. I assume that is the estimated lifespan of the battery. Not much even if one re-charges the battery every other day = approx. 3.5 years. But I could recharge more often, not sure yet.

This whole resolution concern is honestly making me weary. What do you guys think? Should I worry? I should I go with another machine such as the similarily priced Inspiron 700m; no reported display problems or many problems altogether actually. But it does not have new sonoma technology, nor does it have dedicated graphics or DDR2 SDRAM (it has SHARED DDR2 SDRAM).

The 6000d does obviously sound like the better buy, but that display is enough to turn me away. So the 700m is the same high price as the 6000d just because of the size?!?!

Input at this time is greatly appreciated. (I know we've debated before but for the money i'm putting down I would like a flawless machine [atleast from the hardware point of view]).

- Mo

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Sonoma (Dell 6000) versus Dothan (600m) speed incremental ..
by KenSanramon / August 11, 2005 4:29 AM PDT

There is not a huge difference between the new Sonoma technology (Pentium M Centrino 3rd generation - example Pentium M 730 1.6 ghz -- chips in end 0) and the Dothan technology (2nd generation Pentium M Centrino --example 725a 1.6 ghz -- chips end in 5).

You do get a new chipset for the Sonoma which is supposed to optimize processes somewhat. You do get improved bandwidth for the integrated video. You get a 533mhz system bus instead of the prior 400mhz. You get PC3200 RAM instead of PC2700 before.

You should get the built in minipci wi-fi card even if you won't use it right away as that will work with any 54G wi-fi router automatically (and you can pick up free internet access at some public locations). That card is standard in most notebooks but if an option should not be more than $50 or so.

If you do decide you like the Dell 600m that is still the Dothan technology versus the Sonoma Dell 6000 there is not a lot of difference. The 2mb L2 system cache on both cpus is the same.

As I said, you get incremental better integrated video (but dedicated video is better -- the Dell 6000 does have this as an option) and a faster system bus. The difference in RAM speed is not going to be significant for you.

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So...
by Momo26 / August 11, 2005 5:21 AM PDT

Do you think that getting the machine w/ new Sonoma tecnology is worth sacrificing LCD quality (brightness) - Dell 6000 appose to Dothan technology 700m?

(Refer to my post before last if not already).

And what performance difference is there between 400MHz and 533MHz system bus?

Thanks

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Display brightness...
by jas0nhe / August 11, 2005 7:38 AM PDT
In reply to: So...
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Sonoma is preferable but LCD is most expensive component
by KenSanramon / August 11, 2005 10:47 AM PDT
In reply to: Display brightness...

Obviously, if everything else is equal I would rather have a Sonoma notebook now with the faster bus, faster RAM, new chipset, etc.

However, if you really feel this LCD monitor is an issue the LCD is the most expensive part of the notebook and also it is the item you will be looking at all the time.

I am just stating that if you do end up looking at a non-Sonoma notebook for this reason you will not have a huge speed difference if you get a dedicated video card.

The new Sonoma integrated video, however, does have an increased bandwidth so that is definitely and improvement versus Dothan networks with only integrated video.

One of the big advantages of the Dell 6000, however, is it is one of the most inexpensive mainstream Sonoma Pentium M Centrino notebooks with the ATI 128mb dedicated video card available (HPDV4000 15.4" has a nice Briteview display and even has DVD/CD instant on with remote but only has integrated video available).

If you do not think you want to get dedicated video, however, compare the LCD to the HPDV4000 (see hpshopping.com as well)

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How important is Dedicated video for ME?
by Momo26 / August 11, 2005 2:33 PM PDT

I will not be doing any graphics work or photoshop or anything of the sort, so how important is dedicated video for me? Will the machine run noticibly smoother/faster with dedicated graphics appose to integrated Intel Extreme? I assume it will because it will not be eating system RAM.

However, I do want crisp, clear images/fonts/background ect and I know the graphics card has much to do with that along with the actual LCD.

But if I am not playing any games, then perhaps dedicated video isn't for me.

Oh man, I really wish the Dell 6000 didn't have LCD issues. This machine (price in mind) seemed to be the best buy for me, performance and components wise. Strange as it is, other manufacturers with comparible components charge more for this type of notebook computer.

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At this point
by jas0nhe / August 12, 2005 12:36 AM PDT

I would just go ahead and make the decision to purchase the Inspiron 6000. It seems that you are worrying quite a bit about this, and you shouldn't. Dell excels in making PCs, and if not enough people liked the Inspiron 6000, they wouldn't sell it.

Dedicated video, for you, isn't too important. Depending on how much you multitask, 512MB of RAM + shared video may be okay. But if you want to watch movies from time to time, you might want to invest on a dedicated video card.

I have read somewhere that there is a way to manually turn down/up brightness for the screen. I'm not sure of it, though.

-Jason

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Unfortunately Not...
by Momo26 / August 11, 2005 2:38 PM PDT
In reply to: Display brightness...

No, can't adjust the Dell 6000 display. I've read that there is no feature to adjust the brightness of the screen while on battery power. What I mean is, ofcourse you can adjust regular color/brightness/contrast ect, but no matter what, the screen will DIM while NOT on A/C power. No way to overide this "power saving" feature.

I want to see how much it will actual dim though. That would be interesting. I wonder if there are sample images on the internet. Maybe for what I plan on using the machine, it won't be a concern. But if it is to dim, then ofcourse I would notice while using a program such as MS Word where the background is all white.

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Musings
by KenSanramon / August 12, 2005 7:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Unfortunately Not...

It is a good ideal while indoors to dim the LCD a bit anyway as you can save quite a bit of battery life that way (1/2 hour or more). At any rate, if the LCD dims that way it is feature of the power saving mechanism not a flaw with the LCD itself. But read the Dell boards as to whether there really are LCD problems themselves.

As I said, the HPDV4000 has the instant on DVD/CD functions (instant boot to use those without booting operating system saving time and power) and the built in remote control in the PC card slot. That, in addition to the Briteview screen treatment are extra goodies if you are willing to live with integrated video.

Again, the LCD's are made by various companies in China mostly (Hitachi, LG, Samsung) not by Dell or HP/Compaq of Toshiba themselves.

Note that HP/Compaq and Dell notebooks are also manufactured and assembled overseas as well (as are most but Fujitsus --not Fujitsu Siemanns -- are still reportedly assembled in Japan).

Dell desktops are assembed in the US and that is why they have gotten such a stellar reputation --the desktop side not the notebook side. In fact, when Dell first sold notebooks the initial ones were so bad they withdrew them and started over again.

But nearly all notebooks at this point are assembed overseas with similar LCD's, hard drives, etc and it is the reliability ratings and service ratings that make the difference between brands.

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I went on the Dell community forum...
by Momo26 / August 12, 2005 4:35 PM PDT
In reply to: Musings

Many people are saying one can change the display settings in the BIOS so that the brightness on battery power is equal to brightness while on A/C power. Some people also mensioned that it is still dim around the edges but not too much to worry about.

Hmmm. Dell has just mixed up the systems and prices for this weekend. Now that same machine (Dell 6000d) has the 64MB ATi (not 128MB) graphics, a 60GB hard drive(not 80GB as before) but it has "free upgrade" to 1GB DDR SDRAM from original 512MB DDR SDRAM. All that with a price increase of $180 CDN. Oh and they changed the processor to the 1.8GHz Intel

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Musings 2
by KenSanramon / August 12, 2005 9:37 PM PDT

I would rather have the 128mb dedicated video and the lower processor and you can always add RAM later yourself if the Dell RAM is in 1 slot. 64mb dedicated will play many games but perhaps on reduced settings wheras you are pretty set with 128mb dedicated on a notebook.

However, 64mb dedicated is better than integrated

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(NT) (NT) When's the latest time you can buy?
by jas0nhe / August 13, 2005 3:21 AM PDT
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THIS sale is until the 18th of this month
by Momo26 / August 15, 2005 4:20 AM PDT

I can buy anytime really granted that the machine reaches me in and around the first week of September.
In order to recieve by then, I would have to place the purchase very soon.

I know, I would prefer the greater graphics over processor speed as well. As well, i'm sure 512MB DDR SDRAM would have been sufficient, but this is the way Dell works. It's a gamble when one waits for one sale after another. I missed out last week, hopefully by the 19th a better deal will be available.

Check it out: http://www1.ca.dell.com/content/products/category.aspx/notebooks?c=ca&cs=CADHS1&l=en&s=dhs#

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Leave time for testing and/or return before it is too late
by KenSanramon / August 16, 2005 11:09 AM PDT

Momo:

You are better off if you are going to college or school getting the notebook sooner. You want to be able to utilize at least part of the 30 day return policy to test out the notebook.

If you receive the notebook just before you really need it you do not have the time to test it, remove extra hard drive programs that slow down the notebook, reformat the entire hard drive in some cases (many people do this to get a clean install), etc.

Yes, if you order custom you have to order very soon to insure you receive the notebook in time but if you watch retail (not for Dell) than of course that extra time for customization does not apply.

Note that Costco has a 6 month return policy above that of the manufacturer return policy and you can custom order notebooks (at least HP/Compaq -- check for others) at www.costco.com.

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I have the same problem 2
by yahyavi / August 30, 2005 8:17 PM PDT
In reply to: Unfortunately Not...

I have the same problem with my inspiron 6000 (D).

the drightness bar works but there is no change in the brightness...

any comments?

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So when it is on battery power...
by Momo26 / August 31, 2005 7:45 AM PDT

You can NOT adjust the brightness higher when on battery power? The salesperson actually did it right in front of me by pressing a combination of buttons. Didn't see which exact buttons but included one of the F# buttons.

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I saw the keyboard.
by jas0nhe / September 1, 2005 7:49 AM PDT

You can adjust the brightness. Period.

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I did go onto the Cosco Canada website....
by Momo26 / August 16, 2005 3:49 PM PDT
In reply to: Which LCD?

There prices were quite high as I recall. Plus, does one not need a membership (for a fee) in order to shop there?

Yes I could go retail and avoid the delivery waiting time ect. but then I would not be able to order Dell. I would have to go with one of the other manufacturers which I know little about.

But to be able to go into the store anytime (as long as warrenty is present) is a luxury that would feel more secure than appose to sending the machine or parts to Dell via mail and playing the waiting game.

I really haven't had the opportunity to thoroughly check out the retail stores. (Transportation issues).

Okay, if I were to go with another manufacturer (right off on another tangent) then I suppose (from what i've read and heard from you guys and others) HP/Compaq would have to be the choice.

Actually, I have gone to an electronics store lately. "The Source" by "Circuit City" is the name. Didn't impress before, nor did it impress me this time. Too many electronics stuffed into one little retail room. And the laptops they had were Toshibas and Compaqs and all had Celeron Processors. I didn't bother getting involved with the sales reps.

Dell just seems to be Trusted and I have had many recommendations from current owners as well. The closest being a family member with a 700m who recommends it to me because of mobility reasons and lives by the philosphy that if I'm going to spend money on a mobile device, why not make it the smallest, yet efficient as possible.

Okay, this next 'deal' from Dell I will check out, evaluate my position, either make the purchase or go out to a store knowing what I want and spend as much time as possible playing around with the machines.

Did I mension before, oh how I wish the i6000 didn't have LCD issues? I would probably have this machine in front of me right now.

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Hmmm...
by Momo26 / August 18, 2005 3:10 AM PDT

HP seems to be slowly growing on me. Seem to be decent machines.

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