ASRock FATAL1TY X99X Killer LGA 2011-v3 “X99 Chipset” Motherboard Review

Posted Sep 15, 2014
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Introduction

The ASRock ‘FATAL1TY’ X99X Killer is a serial killer that you want to have on your side. Okay, okay – so it’s not really a serial killer (at least not during the daytime), but the ASRock X99X Killer completely kills the competition in terms of a budget gaming board that delivers in a lot of ways in terms of all the current ASRock X99 offerings. The MSRP of $289.99 comes with this board that is layered with a black/red design surface and adorns the X99 emblem of CPU support. The board itself features Super Alloy components, which are simply stunning, ranging from the Aluminum Alloy heatsinks, to the Power Choke 60A that provide for better current saturation across the PCB. The ASRock X99X Killer also comes with the Killer e2200 LAN which is something that we only see in higher end boards, and it’s a great thing to see this being used here for network performance being optimal per gaming packet.

Being the choice for the hardcore gamer on a budget, ASRock really delivers something for the value. The ASRock X99X Killer comes with the Realtek 1150 powered chipset that runs across the I/O with support for Purity Sound 2.0 – a real nice software multiplexer for audio that can handle 7.1 surround sound before the world starts looking to 12.1 for consumer use.

Video Review

Intel LGA 2011 V3 Socket

The Haswell-E platform introduces the latest LGA 2011 V3 socket which will be compatible with the upcoming line of processors.

Cooler Compatibility With LGA 2011 V3 Socket

While Haswell processors ship with their own boxed coolers and cooler makers providing retention brackets for LGA 1150 compatibility, it should be noted that LGA 1150 socket is easily compatible with both reference LGA 1150 boxed coolers and custom products.

So if you’re upgrading from LGA 1155 to LGA 1150, you can easily equip your cooler on the latest socket from Intel without any sort of trouble.

Intel 9-Series X99 Platform Control Hub (PCH)

Intel ships their latest X99 platform with the Haswell-E processors which will introduce a new generation of high-end motherboards for enthusiasts and gamers. You can find below the specifications of the X99 chipset and comparison against the Intel X79 chipset:

Item Intel X79 “Patsburg” Intel X99 “Wellsburg”
CPU Cores 6 and 4 8 and 6
Shared Cache 15 MB L3 Cache 20 MB L3 Cache
PCIe Lanes Off of Processor 40 Lanes 40 Lanes (5820K with 28 Lanes)
Discrete Graphics Configurations 2×16 / 4×8 Gen 3 GPUs through processor 2×16 / 5×8 Gen 3 GPUs through processor
Memory Quad Channel DDR3 1866 Quad Channel DDR4 2133
TDP (Thermal Dissipation Power) 130W 140W
Socket LGA 2011 LGA 2011-v3
Maximum SATA Ports (Maximum at 6 GB/s) 6 (2) 10 (10)
Thunderbolt Capability No Yes
BCLK (Base Clock) OC Support From Chipset No Yes
Total Number of SKUs Available Three (Core i7-4820K / Core i7-4930K / Core i7-4960X) Three (Core i7-5960X / Core i7-5930K / Core i7-5820K)

Intel Haswell-E Features

First Desktop Platform To Feature DDR4 Memory Support

Coming to the memory controller,  Intel’s Haswell-E is officially the first HEDT platform to feature support for DDR4 memory. The DDR4 memory controller lies on the processor itself through which it is directly connected. The new DDR4 memory modules consume only 1.2 V of power compared to 1.65/1.5V standard with DDR3. The can feature upto 16 banks of memory and require a 288-Pin DIMM connectors which would be available on the new X99 chipset motherboards. The DDR4 memory controller offers Quad channel memory support. DDR4 would offer faster clock speeds and the Haswell-E platform supports frequencies o 2133 MHz, 2667 MHz O.C +.

LGA 2011-3 Socket Supports Haswell-E Processors

Intel is also preparing the latest LGA2011-3 socket which has similar dimensions but a different ILM key pattern which allows only for Haswell-E processor compatibility. Intel adds compatibility for both their Channel DRX-B Liquid cooler and T-HPHS air cooler with the LGA 2011-3 socket for Haswell-E processors.

Better Overclocking Support For Overclockers

Just like Haswell and Ivy Bridge-E before it, Haswell-E  retains the great overclocking features that  ship with the “K” series and “Extreme Edition” processors. Both the memory and processor can be overclocked beyond limits with unlocked turbo limits, unlocked core ratios in 80/100 increments, programmable iVR voltage, support for XMP mode, unlocked memory controller and voltage limits, native support for memory upto 2667 MHz, Unlocked PCH and PLL voltage controls and more. A single Haswell-E processor would feature 2 x16 and 3 x8 Gen 3 PCI-e support with 40 lanes and would be directly connected to the DDR4 memory controller and the Wellsburg X99 chipset. The feature set would remain the with technologies such as SSE4, AVX, VT, AESNI under its belt.

Haswell-E Block Diagram

We already detailed the Haswell die above, what you see below is the block diagram for Haswell-E X99 chipset platform. You can see that the processors is directly connected to the Wellsburg PCH through DMI 2.0 x 4. The PCH offers 6 USB 3.0/ 8 USB 2.0, 10 SATA 6 GBps (Native), High definition Audio, integrated LAN, 8 PCI-e 2.0, and Intel Rapid Storage Technology 13.1 while the Haswell-E processors offer PCI-e 3.0 (Up to 40 Lanes / 28 on the Core i7-5820K) and Quad channel DDR4 Memory support up to 2133 MHz (native).

ASRock FATAL1TY X99X Killer Motherboard

The ASRock X99 lineup consists of nine motherboards which include the X99 OC Formula, X99 Killler FATAL1TY, X99M Killer FATAL1TY, X99 Professional FATAL1TY, X99 Extreme 6, X99 Extreme 4, X99 Extreme 3 and the X99 M Extreme 4 motherboards. All of the motherboards feature the latest generation of Super Alloy technology which new and improved components do deliver the best stability and performance out of the hardware. This includes the upgraded XXL Aluminum Alloy Heat Sink for great heat dissipation, Ultra Dual-N MOSFET (UDN) that delivers more efficient Vcore power supply with lower Rds(on), Premium 60A Power Choke that offers 3 times better saturation current, highly magnetic and heat resistant design Premium Memory Alloy Choke and 12K Platinum Capacitor to ensure stable performance and industry’s longest lifespan – 12,000 hours.ASRock X99 Killer Series

The OC series boasts an impressive design with conformal coating which is achieved through the use of Polysiloxanes also known as Silicon which protects the motherboard against conductive liquids and dust. The coating prevents the motherboard from moisture, dust, corrosion, extreme temperatures, oxygen, ozone and UV Light. Other features include the Purity Sound 2 and Killer E2200 LAN chip across the X99 lineup.

The ASRock X99X Killer is another high-end motherboard featuring the LGA 2011-3 socket to support Haswell-E processors. The motherboard features a red and black color scheme which is a fitting color scheme for the X99 platform. The motherboard features the ATX form factor like the other two boards detailed in the X99 lineup from ASRock. From a technical perspective, the motherboard features a 12 Phase high-quality Super Alloy Power design. The CPU socket is powered with a single 8-Pin connector and the 24-Pin ATX power connector.

Being a enthusiast and gaming design, the motherboard comes in the ATX form factor featuring 50G Aluminum Alloy heatsinks that will be included on the final design, Premium Alloy Chokes, Dual-Stack MOSFETs, Japanese made high-quality conductive polymer capacitors and support for the latest and greatest Haswell-E processors. There are eight DDR4 DIMM slots, four on each side of the socket which can support up to 128 GB of Quad Channel memory with speeds of up to 2800 MHz (O.C+) and support for ECC and RDIMM memory. Expansion slots include three PCI-e 3.0 x16 and two PCI-e 3.0 x1 slots. The expansion slots are all 15u gold contact in VGA PCIe slots and feature support for 3-Way AMD CrossFireX and 3-Way NVIDIA SLI. There’s also the Ultra M.2 slot, mPCI-e in addition to the mPCIe slot and 4-Pin Molex connector which adds additional power to the PCI-e expansion lanes while using several cards. Storage connectors include 10 SATA 6 GB/s connectors followed by two USB 3.0 headers and a Diagnostic LED are located just below the X99 PCH.

The motherboard comes with the Purity Sound 2 design which offers a 7.1 channel HD Audio jack powered by AL1150 codec and DTS Connect. Additionally, being a FATAL1TY series motherboard, the X99X Killer also adopts Killer E2200 LAN network chipset for better networking. A USB 2.0 connector can also be found on the top right corner of the motherboard which is pretty useful during installation and overclocking since users can’t reach the I/O panel. I/O on the ASRock X99 Extreme 6 motherboard includes 1 eSATA, 6 USB 3.0 (6 Rear, 4 Front), 2 USB 2.0 (4 Front, 2 Back), 1 COM Port Header, Intel Gigabit Ethernet LAN, Killer E2200 LAN, ASRock HDD Server Technology, ASRock Cloud and Full HD UEFI.

ASRock FATAL1TY X99X Killer Specifications

The ASRock FATAL1TY X99X Killer features tons of amazing stuff for enthusiasts and the specifications are as follows:

AsRock X99X Killer Specifications
CPUSupports 6th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors, and Intel® Pentium® and Celeron® Processors for the Socket LGA2011-3
ChipsetIntel Wellsburg X99 Chipset
MemorySupports Quad Channel DDR4 3000+(OC) memory with max. capacity up to 128GB
- Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
Onboard GraphicsNone (X99 has no Intel Integrated HD Graphics like Haswell)
Audio7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC1150 Audio Codec), Supports Purity Sound™ 2 & DTS Connect
LAN/Wireless LANInternet - Intel LAN + Qualcomm Atheros Killer LAN
Expansion Slots3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots / 2 x PCIe 2.0 Slots
(PCI_E1, PCI_E3, PCI_E5)

  • Single GPU

  • 16x/0x/0x

  • 2-Way GPU

  • 16x/16x/0x

  • 3-Way GPU

  • 16x/16x/8x

  • 4-Way GPU

  • NONE
    Multi-Graphics TechnologySupports 3-Way AMD® CrossFire Technology
    Supports 3-Way NVIDIA® SLI Technology
    Supports Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1.
    Storage InterfaceIntel X99 Express Chipset
    - 6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports (SATA1~6)
    - 1 x M.2 port
    - M.2 port supports M.2 SATA 6Gb/s module
    - M.2 port supports M.2 PCIe module up to 10Gb/s speed
    - M.2 port supports 4.2cm/ 6cm/ 8cm length module
    - Supports RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 5 and RAID 10
    - Supports Intel Smart Response Technology, Intel® Rapid Start Technology and Intel Smart Connect Technology
    • ASMedia ASM1042 chipset
    - 4 x SATA 6Gb/s ports (SATA7~10)
    The SATA5 and SATA6 ports will be unavailable when installing a module in the M.2 port.
    M.2 PCIe interface only supports UEFI option ROM, NOT support legacy option ROM.
    M.2 PCIe interface does not support RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 5 and RAID 10.
    Supports Intel Core processors on Windows 7 and Windows 8/ 8.1
    USB Intel X99 Express Chipset
    - 4 x USB 3.0 ports available through the internal USB connectors
    - 6 x USB 2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB connectors)
    • ASMedia ASM1074 Chipset
    - 6 x USB 3.0 ports on the back panel
    • ASMedia ASM1042 Chipset
    - 2 x USB 3.0 ports on the back panel
    Internal I/O Connectors1 x COM Port Header
    1 x TPM Header
    1 x Power LED Header
    2 x CPU Fan Connectors (1 x 4-pin, 1 x 3-pin)
    3 x Chassis Fan Connectors (1 x 4-pin, 2 x 3-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)
    1 x Power Fan Connector (3-pin)
    1 x 24 pin ATX Power Connector
    1 x 8 pin 12V Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector)
    1 x HDD Saver Connector
    1 x PCIe Power Connector
    1 x Front Panel Audio Connector
    1 x Thunderbolt AIC Connector
    1 x Dr. Debug with LED
    1 x Power Switch with LED
    1 x Reset Switch with LED
    1 x BIOS Selection Switch
    Back Panel Connectors- 1 x USB 2.0 Port (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
    1 x Fatal1ty Mouse Port (USB 2.0) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
    - 1 x Clear CMOS button
    - 1 x Optical S/PDIF-out port
    - 2 x USB 2.0 ports
    - 8 x USB 3.0 ports
    - 2 x RJ45 LAN jack
    - 1 x 6 in 1 OFC audio jack
    BIOS• Dual AMI UEFI BIOS with 2x 128 Mb Flash ROMs
    • The motherboard BIOS provides “Plug & Play” BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
    • The motherboard provides a Desktop Management Interface(DMI) function which records your motherboard specifications.
    Operating Systems Support for Microsoft Windows 8.1/8/7/Vista/XP
    Form Factor30.5cm(L) x 24.4cm(W) ATX Form Factor

    ASRock FATAL1TY X99X Killer Unboxing

    The ASRock X99X Killer is not shy about blood on the box – which is streaked with a cut across the front as if a knife cut into the box. The center has a red vignette which contrasts with the black of the rest of the box very nicely.

    When you unwrap the main board packaging – you are greeted by the ASRock X99X Killer (not holding his trademark knife or wearing his trademark Pyramid Head).

    ASRock FATAL1TY X99X Killer – A Closer Look

    The ASRock X99X Killer is a professional grade motherboard which makes use of high grade components to feature better stability and last longer than traditional motherboards. The board comes with the LGA 2011-3 socket which is able to support the Intel Haswell-E processors – including the 8-Core Intel Core i7-5960X.

    x99xkillercloseIn terms of design, the ASRock X99X Killer makes use of a 12 Phase PWM and the socket is powered by a 8-Pin+4-Pin EPS connector scheme in addition to the 24-Pin power connector that provides juice to the board. Thes high quality Super Allot components include the 50G Aluminum Alloy heatsinks, Premium Alloy Chokes, Dual-Stack MOSFETs, Japanese made high-quality conductive polymer   platinum capacitors which all help to make this run faster. The color scheme is red and back for the board which is similar to the ASRock X99 FATAL1TY series, another X99 board that has some of the X99X Killer features plus a tiny bit of things (4-Way SLI support – though realistically 4-way SLI is overkill if you ask me).

    The board has four sets of heatsinks, two for the PWM and power area which are located on the top and interconnected via a heatpipe while the second set is located over the PCH and below the socket which are also connected through a heatpipe. The design is quite elegant and we can see several components scattered across the PCB so ASRock is making use of every inch of the space they can get. All of this combines with full spike protection from surge, lightning, or even electric static discharge – super impressive.

    For storage, the ASRock X99X Killer provides 10 SATA 6 GBps ports, two USB 3.0 header and two USB 2.0 headers. A Dual BIOS and Diagnostic LED can be found below the SATA ports. Expansion slots include 5 PCI-e 3.0 x16 slots which are provided extra power through a 4-Pin connector near the bottom of the board. The board supports both AMD CrossFire and NVIDIA SLI Multi-GPU functionality. There’s also the Ultra M.2 slot, mPCI-e in addition to the mPCIe slot and 4-Pin Molex connector which adds additional power to the PCI-e expansion lanes while using several cards.

    Being a FATAL1TY motherboard, ASRock has also included their Purity Sound 2 design on the PCB which is isolated from the rest of the components and has an ALC1150 codec underneath the EMI shielding and the Killer E2200 LAN chip which is placed right next to another mPCIe port which can be used for WiFi and wireless connector cards. The I/O on the motherboard includes 2 USB 2.0, 6 USB 3.0 ports, a PS/2 port, e-SATA port, Killer E2200 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and a 7.1 channel HD audio jack.

    ASRock X99X Killer I/O Panel:

    x99xkillersideASRock includes tons of things on their I/O panel shield which speaks well of its features for a nicely affordable board. The board includes the PS/2 port, 10 Super Speed USB 3.0 5 Gb/s ports (4 Front/6 Rear), 7 USB 2.0 ports (4 Front, 1 Back, 1 Mouse Port, 1 Vertical Type A), 2 Intel DuaL Gigabit Intel LAN ports with the Atheros Killer E2200, eSATA port and a 7.1 HD Channel audio jack. The ASRock X99X Killer really comes features that are impressive in terms of its back design.

    More details are given below:

    • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port
    • 1 x Optical S/PDIF-out port
    • 6 x USB 2.0 ports
    • 10 x USB 3.0 ports
    • 2 x RJ45 LAN jack
    • 1 x 6 in 1 OFC audio jack

    ASRock FATAL1TY X99X Killer Accessories

    The X99X Killer is shipped with a variety of accessories which include a Driver DVD, Driver’s Manual, Software Guide Book, Installation Guide, Red/Black I/O panel, 3 x SATA III Black Cables, 1 x 3-Way SLI Bridge, 1 x 2-Way SLI Bridge, XSplit Gamecaster 3-month license bundle card.

    • 1 x Drivers Manual
    • 1 x Installation Guide / Software Guide
    • 2 x SATA III Black Cables
    • 1 x SLI Bridge (3-Way)
    • 1 x SLI Bridge (2-Way)
    • 1 x Driver DVD
    • 1 x Red/Black/ Gold-Plated I/O Shield
    • 1 x XSplit 3-Month Subscriber Card

    ASRock FATAL1TY X99X Killer – Utilities

    Each motherboard manufacturer develops a wide range of exclusive utilities and software for their latest hardware and products these days. ASRock bundles their X99X Killer motherboard with incredible software utilities allowing easier management and ease of control over the various features on the motherboard. Following Utilities can be found on the installation disk:

    • ASRock App Shop
    • ASRock F-Stream (multi-purpose)
    • F-Stream includes: HDD Saver, Live Update, EZ OC, OC Tweaker, XFast RAM, Key Master
    • ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard)

    F-Stream is an interesting multi-purpose solution that seems to have it all. I personally loved the Tech Service option. Testing that out – ASRock got back to me within 48 hours, which was really awesome.

    ASRock FATAL1TY X99X Killer BIOS

    The ASRock X99X Killer BIOS is a UEFI Bios that has a sleek design that is appreciated and not blue like the professional series.

    The following are the BIOS options:

    Clock Range Steps
    CPU BCLK: 90.90 MHz … 300.0 MHz 0.06 MHz
    Memory Dividers: x8 (800 MHz), x10.67 (1067 MHz), x13.33 (1333 MHz),
    x14 (1400 MHz), x16 (1600 MHz ), x18 (1800 MHz),
    x18.66 (1866 MHz), x20 (2000 MHz ), x21.33 (2133 MHz),
    x22 (2200 MHz), x24 (2400 MHz), x26 (2800MHz), x28 (3000 MHz)
    Voltages Range Step Size
    CPU Vcore: 0.800 V… 2.10 V 0.001 V
    CPU Ring Voltage: 0.800 V… 2.10 V 0.001 V
    DRAM Voltage: 0.600 V… 2.800 V 0.010 V

    The BIOS has tons of options, and one thing that kept me in awe of this motherboard was the price point and the sheer number of features. It is really an exceptional board in terms of its flexibility.

    Test Setup

    Processor
    • Intel Core i7-5930K
    • Intel Core i7-4770K
    Motherboard:
    • ASRock ‘FATAL1TY’ X99X Killer w/ Core i7-5930K
    • MSI X99S GAMING 9 AC w/ Core i7-5930K (4.48 GHz)
    • MSI X99S GAMING 9 AC w/ Core i7-5930K
    • MSI Z97 XPOWER AC w/Core i7-4770K
    Power Supply:  Coolermaster 1000W Gold
    Hard Disk:  Crucial M550 SSD 1TB
    Memory:  G.SKILL RipJaws DDR4 16GB CL 15 (4X4 GB)
    Case:  NZXT Phantom 820
    Video Cards:  MSI GAMING GTX 780 3GB
    Cooling Solutions:  Cooler Master V8 GTX
    OS:  Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

    Overclocking with ASRock X99X Killer

    Overclocking with the ASRock X99X Killer was fairly standard. The Core i7-5930K chip overclocked to 4.4 at a multiplier of 44 with 1.198V (a little lower than what I managed with the MSI X99S GAMING 9 AC Motherboard but about the same).

    ASRock FATAL1TY X99X Killer – BENCHMARKS

    X264 HD Encode Benchmark

    This benchmark measures the encoding performance of the processor. It offers a standardized benchmark as the clip as well as the encoder used is uniform.

    Cinebench R11.5

    Cinebench is based on Maxon’s Cinema 4D. It is used to compare graphics as well as processor performance. We are using the CPU performance numbers for our comparison.

    POV-Ray

    The POV-Ray package includes detailed instructions on using the ray-tracer and creating scenes. Many stunning scenes are included with POV-Ray so you can start creating images immediately when you get the package.

    3DMark Vantage CPU Performance

    3DMark Vantage is a DirectX 10 video card benchmark test for Windows that is designed to measure your PC’s gaming performance. While the overall benchmark is great, the utility also provides a good indication of the CPU performance.

    WinRar

    WinRAR is a powerful archive manager. It can backup your data and reduce the size of email attachments, decompress RAR, ZIP and other files downloaded from Internet and create new archives in RAR and ZIP file format.

    SuperPI

    Super PI is used by many overclockers to test the performance and stability of their computers. In the overclocking community, the standard program provides a benchmark for enthusiasts to compare “world record” pi calculation times and demonstrate their overclocking abilities. The program can also be used to test the stability of a certain overclock speed.

    ASRock FATAL1TY X99X Killer – Gaming Benchmarks

    CRYSIS 3

    Crysis franchise is the crown jewel for the PC gamers. Even after going multi-plat, the game is considered to be the most brilliant and gorgeous game ever brilliant, a visual marvel in short. The third and most probably the last title in the Crysis trilogy blends in the most deepest story line of the franchise with graphics that would make any other game cry in shame. Powering the game is the beastly and much user friendly CryEngine 3 that adopts all the features of DirectX 11 API. Simply speaking, the game demands a high performance graphics card than a high performance CPU to play well on higher settings.

    BioShock Infinite

    Destroying a giant floating bird as Booker DeWitt and saving a girl is all part of the job description in this sky utopia thriller by makers of the popular BioShock – Irrational Games. The video game is absolutely gorgeous with full settings, greatly optimized, and one that a benchmark is just calling out for.

    Power Consumption / Thermals / Audio Quality

    The ASRock X99X Killer surprised me quite honestly. Not that I expected little of it, but for the price point I did not expect it to come bundled with so many features to rival a more costly motherboard. ASRock has really done me proud in terms of its quality and dedication to building motherboards, and the ASRock X99X Killer is one of their stars. The Haswell Core i7-5930K has temperatures similar to the Ivy Bridge-E processors – and runs slightly cooler at default settings but as soon as its overclocked, the CPU pushed around the 83-94C even with my top-end air V8 GTS cooler.  A water cooling setup is recommended for 24/7 overclocked usage.

    The audio quality from RightMark Analyzer registered as “Very Good” – which is exactly where people want to be when it comes to audio benchmarking. My only gripe with the audio here is that Dolby Digital Live was not licensed instead of DTS. As much as DTS is relevant, I felt a gaming-central board would take more advantage of the most common medium technology in the form of Dolby Digital Live – which packs any source into a 5.1 channel stream (not upmixed). The quality in Dolby Digital offering seems to be more developed in terms of R&D than DTS when it comes to gaming support (most support analog HD surround or Dolby Digital). Definitely this is a slight disappointment of this board, but it seems that ASRock is trying to go for a higher medium that is less lossy than Dolby Digital.

    Conclusion

    The ASRock FATAL1TY X99X Killer build is exceptional, the attention to software detail is great, and all in all the board performs admirably well in comparison to other X99 boards.  If you are a hardcore gamer but don’t have the budget for a $399.99 or $450-$499.99 MSRP X99 motherboards, this is the one I would highly suggest. The price difference seems to be the only real difference between the ASRock X99X Killer and the most expensive offerings currently.

    The ASRock X99X Killer motherboard gives hardware enthusiasts the modesty of price along with luxury in the sense of value. It also totally stabs the competition and earns it’s name as a real killer in this X99 market.

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