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Converting AMD HP System to Core 2 Duo

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January 9, 2007 6:01:33 PM

So I have an HP Pavilion a1450n AMD x2 4200+ (socket 939). I want to game on it, so I was thinking of making the big switch to an Intel e6600 system. I am not worried about my warranty, which I already voided by switching to a non-HP PSU... and I thought about an AMD FX-60 because it's the best 939 cpu, but it's $440 to the e6600's $318, and it doesn't make sense if I cannot further upgrade the AMD in the future. So I want to throw away my locked NAGAMI mobo, sell my x2 chip, and sell the DDR ram. Then I want to install a intel socket mobo, the e6600, and DDR2 ram. This will be quite the project.

So I need a micro-ATX form factor mobo that will be good enough for the e6600, hopefully 4gb of DDR2, and at least one pci-e port for an 8800 at some point. What's the best mobo for this type of setup? I would also like plenty of USB's and a firewire. I know you will say to get a regular ATX mobo and case, but I say no, I want a micro-atx mobo.

Thanks for the help, and any other input on my project is appreciated.

The start date is about a month away still.
a b V Motherboard
January 9, 2007 6:34:33 PM

Give this recent Tom's article a read.

Out of the 4, I would opt for the Asus P5B-VM with the Foxconn G9657MA as a close second.

Good luck!
January 9, 2007 6:46:21 PM

You might as well sell the whole thing - fitting an 8800 card onto a uATX motherboard is going to be very difficult as the card is very big and gets quite warm. I'd suggest dumping the entire thing and start from scratch in a decent full size case and an ATX motherboard.
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January 9, 2007 7:03:02 PM

If you are going to replace the cpu, motherboard, ram, and video and you already have a new power supply, why not replace the case and HD and optical drive too while you are at it and end up with something good rather than a crappy little HP microatx junkbox?

I built a new machine for my sister 2 weeks ago using:
Asus P5B motherboard
Core 2 Due E6400
1GB ram (OCZ pair of 512MB PC6400 modules)
7600GT video card
250GB WD SATA drive
Pioneer DVR-111 dvd writer
Silverstone TJ04 case.
Logitech wireless mouse and keyboard

All you will be saving is the cost of the HD ($100 at most) and the case ($whatever you are crazy enough to spend) and the dvd writer ($40 at most), while you will be gaining a ton of grief trying to work with a micro atx case, which probably has HP proprietary connectors for the front I/O connectors and probably won't work with a new board as a result. And you will be able to restore the original power supply to the HP and sell it to someone else in it's original condition. Oh and of course you probably have to buy a copy of windows too since the one that came with your HP won't run with a new motherboard, since being OEM it is tied to that specific machine.
January 9, 2007 7:28:04 PM

I think the card will fit fine in my box, I have a 7900gs in there now and I think an 8800gts is 1.5" longer... shouldn't be a problem. And I don't plan on SLI or using any other pci devices.

I am concerned about proprietary i/o connectors which I don't have a clue about. I thought that changing out an HP mobo would take care of any issues with proprietary settings.

I will need to replace Windows XP... that is a fact. Or Vista I guess since I am going to do this next month.
January 9, 2007 7:36:54 PM

Quote:
You might as well sell the whole thing - fitting an 8800 card onto a uATX motherboard is going to be very difficult as the card is very big and gets quite warm. I'd suggest dumping the entire thing and start from scratch in a decent full size case and an ATX motherboard.


And it will be cheaper.
Put the Old PSU back, sell the old system, and build a proper system from the ground up.
a b V Motherboard
January 9, 2007 7:41:10 PM

Congrats, it looks like you have a standard front-panel connector. Your Motherboard
January 9, 2007 7:47:46 PM

Quote:
Congrats, it looks like you have a standard front-panel connector. Your Motherboard


...congrats because the i/o is not a proprietary connector? So I can put a new mobo in there and it should work?

By the way good job finding that nagami so quickly. On other forums I have seen people desperate to find out the mobo make on the a1450n... of course it's right there on the HP website. Made by ASUS.
a b V Motherboard
January 9, 2007 7:50:16 PM

Yeh, the photo shows a standard FP Audio connector, standard FP Indicator/Switch connector, and standard USB connectors. A few boards still don't have these standard connectors, but most do. Check your PM for more details.
January 9, 2007 8:38:33 PM

If you're going to upgrade mainly for gaming just buy a decent video card. Going from a X2 4200 to a E6600 isn't going to make a huge difference (if any at all) for gaming if you have a decent video card (1900 or 8800). Also 4gigs of ram is excessive and a waste of money. If you really want a major upgrade you'd be better off rebuiling you whole system. Look at how much you want to spend to upgrade your HP

E6600 ~$300
Motherboard ~$150
4GB RAM ~$500(to buy 4gigs of cheap RAM would be retarded)
GeForce 8800GTX ~$600

You'd be spending over $1500 to upgrade and only saving $200 - $300 on the case, HDD, Optical etc. Your extra CPU, Mobo, and RAM aren't going to sell for very much used because most enthusiast will know what they're worth. You can sell the system whole to anybody and get more for it.
January 9, 2007 9:43:36 PM

Quote:
If you're going to upgrade mainly for gaming just buy a decent video card. Going from a X2 4200 to a E6600 isn't going to make a huge difference (if any at all) for gaming if you have a decent video card (1900 or 8800). Also 4gigs of ram is excessive and a waste of money. If you really want a major upgrade you'd be better off rebuiling you whole system. Look at how much you want to spend to upgrade your HP

E6600 ~$300
Motherboard ~$150
4GB RAM ~$500(to buy 4gigs of cheap RAM would be retarded)
GeForce 8800GTX ~$600

You'd be spending over $1500 to upgrade and only saving $200 - $300 on the case, HDD, Optical etc. Your extra CPU, Mobo, and RAM aren't going to sell for very much used because most enthusiast will know what they're worth. You can sell the system whole to anybody and get more for it.



I think some would argue that a x2 4200+ versus a e6600 is a no contest. Plus I can't OC my CPU at all because its an HP. And I would like to have 4 gig available JIC, though I have no plans to actually get 4gb anytime soon.

buy e6600: $320
buy 8800gts: $280 (I have a gift certificate for the rest)
buy new micro mobo: $100
buy DDR2 2 gig: $250

$spend-----> $950

sell my amd x2 4200+ : $160
sell the DDR 400: $75
sell the 7900GS: $140

$sell-----> $375

total upgrade: $575 (that's funny, I spent $600 on the original a1450n)

I would like to get an 8800gts because I don't need the GTX, but I thought my little x2 4200+ would bottleneck it too much. So then I thought of going 8800gts + FX-60, but then I saw that I could get a e6600 + a mobo for the price of the FX-60. So that's what got me to replacing the micro-atx mobo.

I do hear the wisdom of just selling my HP to rebuild, but it's only 3 months old so maybe I'll just throw a 80GTS in there and see how it runs. Then I can always transfer the GPU to something else later, and sell the HP when I have some parts rounded up (and some time to build my first pc).
a b V Motherboard
January 9, 2007 10:52:52 PM

People telling you to replace the case are talking without thinking. Your case supports standard motherboards and standard connections.

A few boards don't come with the standard front panel connector, including most Gigabyte boards and many Asus boards. You should start looking around for a version of the Foxconn board that includes FireWire.

The board you've seen reviewed is the G9657MA-8KS2H, you'd be looking for the G9657MA-8EKRS2H
January 10, 2007 3:35:10 AM

The e6600 is on sale at Fry's.com for 297 right now (Free shipping). Go get it.
January 10, 2007 3:39:56 AM

Quote:

The board you've seen reviewed is the G9657MA-8KS2H, you'd be looking for the G9657MA-8EKRS2H


Excellent, thanks Crashman.
January 10, 2007 1:00:01 PM

Quote:
People telling you to replace the case are talking without thinking. Your case supports standard motherboards and standard connections.


Actually we are thinking. What we are thinking is:

An HP Pavilion is pretty much by definition a small piece of junk.
Microatx is a pain with limited expansion, and certainly nothing high end will ever by microatx.
Many name brand cases are designed to cool to exact configuration they come with, and not much more than that, so changing the contents completely may not work very reliably.
Selling a name brand machine complete is doable, since at least then people know what they get.
Selling peces, especially a microatx board, isn't likely to be that successful, at least not if you want to get anywhere near what you paid for it.

I have often been tempted to replace a motherboard or a cpu or something else in a computer, but when I compare the gain to the cost of buying a completely new system, it is almost never worth it. And that is for one component. Once you start replacing half the machine, it is never worth it. By adding the few dollars extra to build a completely new machine means you now have two complete machines rather than one hacked together box and some undesirable left over components.
a b V Motherboard
January 10, 2007 1:39:46 PM

1. HP's "junk" cases are often of superior quality to typical $40 cases, so he saves money on the build by not needed a $60 or better case
2. Most users don't use more than four slots anyway. In fact, most gamers still use only one card, a graphics card
3. His case has an exhaust fan. Yea, just like similar-sized retail cases. On top of that, he already has a new, more powerful power supply in his case.
4. He doesn't want to sell the whole machine, at best he'd only get enough money out of it to replace the drives he just sold
5. I'd buy his processor if I had the cash. As for his motherboard, ebayers are constantly seeking exact replacement parts.

He already let his intentions be known, so think it out.

The main reason many people ditch a decent OEM case is because they don't want to bother re-wiring proprietary front panel connectors. His uses the latest standard, available on over half of Core 2-compatible motherboards.

Now what gets me is that some of my recent Asus boards have a 9-pin front panel connector spot, unused, with an Asus proprietary connector soldered in next to it.

Edit: Sweet, I just looked at my Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 and it has the standard connector. It only looks nonstandard because it has a speaker header adjacent to it. Perhaps I'll recheck my Micro-ATX version later!
January 10, 2007 3:42:00 PM

Quote:
People telling you to replace the case are talking without thinking. Your case supports standard motherboards and standard connections.


Actually we are thinking. What we are thinking is:

I have often been tempted to replace a motherboard or a cpu or something else in a computer, but when I compare the gain to the cost of buying a completely new system, it is almost never worth it. And that is for one component. Once you start replacing half the machine, it is never worth it. By adding the few dollars extra to build a completely new machine means you now have two complete machines rather than one hacked together box and some undesirable left over components.

Youn know, the Pavilion case really isn't THAT bad. Plus you have to remember I got it for $600! And it doesn't take up a ton of desk space. And I like the DVD burner, the hard disc, and my PSU. It's just that I think a core 2 duo mobo and chip would jumpstart my gaming performance and be more upgradable than a socket 939.

Unfortunately, I cannot find the G9657MA-8EKRS2H in stock anywhere at the moment (is it new?).

I am also thinking that maybe I should just cell my X2 4200 and replace it with a X2 4800 that I can get for $250. It has a bigger cache size and is 2.4ghz rather than 2.2. I can't overclock the CPU on with my BIOS though, and ntune is VERY unstable (big surprise). Just a little preformance bump to get more out of my gfx card and tide me over until the technology costs half the price in a few months. Or I could just spend a little bit of money on a micro-ATX AMD board, and use my current chip and RAM, and overclock.

I saw the $297 for the e6600 sale at Fry's... they'll be $237 soon.
January 10, 2007 6:47:40 PM

I've just completed a pile of systems with the Core 2 Duo, and a fine processor it is too. However, I can't see that you'll be getting a huge improvement over the 4200+, and I agree with other posts re 4Gb being overkill. When I upgrade I tend to slap in a new motherboard, processor, memory and graphics card, and make up another system from the leftovers to sell second hand or at auction.

Can't recall the HP motherboard, but if it has a standard i/o backplate you could stick it in a midi tower ATX to sell on if you want to retain your case.

However, if I had that spec currently (mines a PIV 3GHz with 1Gb and GF6600) then I'd stick with it for 6 months while the prices come down. The spec you have now is quite respectable.
January 10, 2007 8:10:19 PM

Is there some misconception as to the performance of a e6600 that I don't know about? What is with all the posts saying that he won't see a decent performance increase? All the charts on Tom's say differently in regards to gaming:

http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html?modelx=33&model1...

So why blow smoke at him? Granted, they are using a X1900XTX, but he can always upgrade the video card later. e6600 is 30% faster than the 4200+, and 20% faster than a FX-60 in Quake 4, 40% faster than the 4200+ and 26% faster than a FX-60 in Call of Duty 2, 31% faster than the 4200+ and 15% faster than a FX-60 in FEAR.

Am I reading benchmarks wrong?

Plus the price drops sometime in Q2 07 supposedly to $224 for the E6600 (could be late Q2, so...)
according to http://www.hkepc.com/bbs/itnews.php?tid=714230&starttim...

So why not switch to a C2D now? At least he will only have to reinstall his OS now, video card upgrades are fairly painless compared to MB upgrades.
January 10, 2007 8:47:27 PM

Nothing wrong with your figures, but if you average them out at 27% performance improvement then I suggest the reason several postings are questioning the need to upgrade relate to the cost of the upgrade. Personally I look for 100% (ie something twice as fast as I have now) before outlaying and would never contemplate such an expense for a relatively low increase in performance. But it's his money, so he'll spend it as he chooses I'm sure.

If I had the cash to blow I'd be putting it to a really decent new monitor, the HannsG is ok but not the best gaming monitor on the market by any means.
January 10, 2007 8:52:44 PM

ok have an old hp pavilion. don't remember what model. well the motherboard died one day, and i had to replace it. the cables from the HP case would not connect to the new board i had bought, and well the problem was that i couldn't connect the POWER SWITCH and the hdd led, speaker, usb. well i went back to the store the guy helped me mod the cables (ripped out the ends of some case he had lying around). so yeah I recommend getting a new case.
January 10, 2007 8:53:35 PM

Just a quick question, what resolutions are you gaming at?

I am just curious why you are scrapping the setup, and not just buying a video card. You don't need a new cpu, motherboard, and memory. If you CAN fit the 8800 in there, I would just do that.

My point, the GPU makes the largest difference, since you are getting one either way, buy the card and put it in to see how well it works. If you are gaming at 1600X1200 or above, the FPS will be very close. If you are below that resolution, the FPS won't be as close, but they will already be so high that it won't matter. You could also check on ebay and see what those computers go for. I would put the build in another case personally, but that is just me. I also consider the upgrade you are planning to do, one that is not necessary(Mobo, CPU, Mem.... not video card).

wes

Edit: of course Core 2 would be faster, but, since you say it's just for gaming I doubt you would notice the difference with just a different CPU and the same GPU.
a b V Motherboard
January 10, 2007 8:56:39 PM

Yeh, it's a new model.

I just rechecked the Gigabyte GA-965GM-S2, it has the standard 9-pin front panel connector so your front panel connector would fit. It also has a 4-pin system "beep" speaker connector next to that, which you wouldn't use, but seeing them threw me off.

So you could use the 965GM-S2, but that particular board has zero overclocking features.
January 10, 2007 9:08:13 PM

I guess i'm confused here...Why cant he game on his current rig? He says his max resolution is 1440x900. Thats my monitor and I have a 7900gs as well and I cant complain about my gaming experience. His cpu isnt that bad for gaming...is it?
January 10, 2007 9:26:17 PM

Quote:
Is there some misconception as to the performance of a e6600 that I don't know about? What is with all the posts saying that he won't see a decent performance increase? All the charts on Tom's say differently in regards to gaming:

http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html?modelx=33&model1...

Those are benchmarks, not real world results. They're designed to show CPU performance NOT system performance. At a 1024x768 (15" LCD) resolution with no AA or AF the E6600 will dominate a X2 4200. However once you raise the resolution and any other settings your GPU is gong to bottleneck and the CPU makes very little difference. You'd be a moron to buy a 8800 and run it at any settings where the CPU will make much of a difference. I know this first hand from my own recent experience. I went from a 3700+ to a FX60 and noticed almost difference when gaming (I have a 8800GTS). I however do other things besides game so yes the better CPU is worth it, just not for games.

Also I doubt he'll actually get the $$ he wants for his old parts
Quote:
sell my amd x2 4200+ : $160
sell the DDR 400: $75
sell the 7900GS: $140

You could get those parts for the same if not less brand new. Here's Newegg.com's prices:

4200+: $169
1GB DDR400: $84
7900GS: $156

Since only enthusiasts are going to be interested in parts you'll have a pretty tough time selling them for what you want because they'll know they're not getting their money's worth. Realistically you could sell those parts for something like.

4200+: $100 - It has to be cheaper then a new 3800X2. I would have said $120 but I remembered that most HPs don't have a standard HS/Fan so any body who buys yours will also need a HS/Fan.

1GB DDR400: $35 - 1GB can be had brand new for $50 if you look hard enough, plus the RAM out of an HP is most likely inferior to most brands value versions.

7900GS: $140 - This is the only one you'll get close to what you want on because it's a good video card and they tend to hold they're value better. Somebody with an existing 7900GS wanting SLI will probably pay close to retail.

If you sell the system whole you can sell it to anybody and probably get more value for it.
January 10, 2007 9:40:15 PM

Quote:
Or I could just spend a little bit of money on a micro-ATX AMD board, and use my current chip and RAM, and overclock


This actually isn't too bad of an idea either. I have to admit to being a bit of a fence-sitter on this topic myself. I would tend to agree with most here, that, if going to the extreme you are talking about going to, it would probably be wise to just scrap the project and do a new build (if you want to stick to microATX, that is your choice to make,a nd I respect that... and you can probably find some decent microATX cases that don't take up a lot of space similar to your HP.)

At the same time, the way everything is moving right now, it might just be best to get a 939 mobo you can overclock to get you by the next months, and then look at a new build once some of the dust settles.
January 10, 2007 10:08:12 PM

of course, upgrading video is also your best bet for a performance improvement.... if you upgrade your video, and go to a 939 board, you'll be spending probably 1/2 of what you were proposing to spend, get most of the performance that you were looking for, and, most importantly, be running more generic parts, and be rid of pretty much everything "HP" except for the case.
January 10, 2007 10:43:19 PM

Quote:
At a 1024x768 (15" LCD) resolution with no AA or AF the E6600 will dominate a X2 4200. However once you raise the resolution and any other settings your GPU is gong to bottleneck and the CPU makes very little difference. You'd be a moron to buy a 8800 and run it at any settings where the CPU will make much of a difference.


So at 1440 X 900, is that still making me a moron to buy a 8800GTS and run it with the bottleneck X2 4200+? I also do archicad and autocad on it, but I figure that if it can run a very demanding game like Oblivion at high-highest settings, it will run those cad programs.

And you are probably right about what I'm going to get for my RAM, but I bet I can do OK on the CPU and 7900GS.
January 10, 2007 10:46:14 PM

Quote:
of course, upgrading video is also your best bet for a performance improvement.... if you upgrade your video, and go to a 939 board, you'll be spending probably 1/2 of what you were proposing to spend, get most of the performance that you were looking for, and, most importantly, be running more generic parts, and be rid of pretty much everything "HP" except for the case.


Well I think I am now leaning toward just getting a cheap 939 board that I can OC on and a new graphics card in a month and then letting the dust settle on the duo-core/quad core debates and see how well Vista runs through all of this.

So, who knows a good 939 micro-mobo that I can OC on, has firewire, and a pci-express slot?
January 10, 2007 11:01:53 PM

Thing is, at those settings, you will probably have such high FPS that you wouldn't notice a difference. Seriously, can you see the difference between 100 and 140fps? Or 150 and 200FPS? No, because and LCD won't display anything over the refresh rate. So, as long as it is consistently over around 60-70 FPS you won't see it, on an LCD, and it's probably already so fast, that anything above it you would be able to differentiate. Just my thoughts though, and the numbers might be just slightly off.

I just think it's a waste for gaming to do the full upgrade ATM. But, that aside, doing other CPU intensive stuff will show the increase using the Core 2 cpu. Also, even in gaming, the FPS change with the OC might not be noticeable. Can you downclock the cpu on that board? If so, it would be interesting to see the performance difference in games with the cpu turned down by about 400mhz. Just a thought though.

wes
January 11, 2007 12:58:52 AM

Quote:
Thing is, at those settings, you will probably have such high FPS that you wouldn't notice a difference. Seriously, can you see the difference between 100 and 140fps? Or 150 and 200FPS? No, because and LCD won't display anything over the refresh rate.


Right, no way I could see it. But I am certainly not getting 100-140fps now... more like 20-30 on Oblivion and Medieval 2.

Quote:
it's a waste for gaming to do the full upgrade ATM. But, that aside, doing other CPU intensive stuff will show the increase using the Core 2 cpu. Also, even in gaming, the FPS change with the OC might not be noticeable. Can you downclock the cpu on that board? If so, it would be interesting to see the performance difference in games with the cpu turned down by about 400mhz. Just a thought though.


Good idea... the BIOS is LOCKED down though.
January 11, 2007 1:30:25 AM

Yeah,

I am speaking of the 8800 series, but even with the older cards, if you are getting low fps, it is based on the bottleneck at the card, and not really the cpu. I will look around and see if I can help you find a good micro board for that system, that will be inexpensive, and OC a little.

I would start with just the card though. If you end up buying a new mobo, then you start getting to the point that you might be better off getting a Core 2 system. If you can geta good inexpensive board though, then it might be worth the extra oiwer from the OC.

wes

Edit:typo
January 11, 2007 1:42:21 AM

Alright,

I did a quick check, and the consensus seems to be that the biostar t-force 6100 sk. 939 is the best micro 939 board for OCing. I have seen reports of people having clock around 2.7 and 2.8ghz on Opty 165's. And that is a low multiplier, so, you shouldn't have any issues with yours, higher multiplier.

I have found prices on it for $69 to $79 shipped. So, take it as you will. Is it worth the $79 for the added performance from overclocking the cpu? Will you see any difference in games? I don't know the answer to that for sure, I can speculate that you won't.... but, I am not realy sure.

wes
January 11, 2007 1:46:18 AM

Oblivion at 1440x900 at high settings, with 8800GTS you can do HDR+AA, your CPU will make no difference. And like others said when you play games at lower settings where the CPU will make a difference it won't be noticable because it will be like 100FPS vs 130FPS. But if you do other stuff where the CPU change will matter then by all means go to the E6600. I just think building a new system and selling your old will at the very least cost you no more and you'll end up with a better overall system. I sell HPs and can tell you anything you upgrade around is going to be inferior to what you'd get if you just sold the whole system and bought everything new. The hard drive, optical, media card readers are all junk in those things. I'm just not sure why you're so dead set on rebuilding your HP rather then just building a whole new system. The money you'd be spending for CPU, GPU, and RAM it just seems like a complete waste to hamstring yourself by building around a limited sysetm.
January 11, 2007 2:07:11 AM

I agree with the last guy who posted. For games, the cpu you have is good. If you NEED more cpu power for other apps, I would build a new system, rather than build around the case you have. However, I would wait for the E4300 or whatever it is going to be called, and not waste cash on the 6300 or 6400, since the 4300 will be a superb overclocker.

If it were me, I would buy the video card I want(88XXGT(X)(S).... whichever one, keep everything else the same, and then in a few months, maybe 6.... I would go with the 4300, and OC the hell out of it with the 8800. A $160 cpu OCing as high or higher than a stock 6800.

wes
January 11, 2007 3:54:55 AM

Quote:
I agree with the last guy who posted. For games, the cpu you have is good. If you NEED more cpu power for other apps, I would build a new system, rather than build around the case you have. However, I would wait for the E4300 or whatever it is going to be called, and not waste cash on the 6300 or 6400, since the 4300 will be a superb overclocker.

If it were me, I would buy the video card I want(88XXGT(X)(S).... whichever one, keep everything else the same, and then in a few months, maybe 6.... I would go with the 4300, and OC the hell out of it with the 8800. A $160 cpu OCing as high or higher than a stock 6800.

wes


Yeah, I think I've been thoroughly talked into just getting a new vid card for now and then building one from the ground up in the future when the path is more clear. You know how it is getting the itchy trigger finger to buy things at Newegg, so thanks for talking me down.

I plan to get a 8800gts in Feb or whenever the prices have dropped another good chunk and game on that for a while. Then with tears in my eyes I'll put the HP on Craigslist (minus card of course) and spend the income on new components.

Look for me on the forums in a few months so you can all hold my hand as I try to build a box from scratch. That should be entertaining.
January 11, 2007 4:10:32 AM

No probs, I have been guilty of this more times than I care to remember. It is alot easier to be on the outside looking in. I tend to offer better advise for other people than the decisions I make for myself. But, as you are, I am learning to deal with it, and not let the "urge" get the best of me.

Whenever you need a hand, we are all more than happy to help.

wes
!