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~ $2500 Build Advice, intel+nVidia

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October 20, 2011 7:22:15 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP

Hi dear forum members;

I want to make a build for CoD4:MW CoD:MW2 and CoD:MW3 and BF3. Probably I will not use it other than gaming. I have been doing research for about a week but I am still undecided and confused because of new technologies. Any optimum build for these games is enough. FPS is more important than resolution for me by the way. I have heard about new-coming technologies but I do not want to wait for them. Even though these new technologies may boost performance referred to current ones, they will probably not affect the prices of current products right? Most importantly, I want to build a good-standing long-lived setup which I can use for 4 years without changing even a screw. Then I can make another super-monster 4 years later :) 

Budget Range: max $3000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (Call of Duty MW series), other

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I live in Boston. Any good and trustworthy site/store.

Country of Origin: MA, USA

Parts Preferences: intel+nVidia setup preferred, but any reasonable other combinations are OK.

Overclocking: Yes (Please guide how to do, I never did OC before)

SLI or Crossfire: Yes / Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (24" seems to be OK)

Additional Comments: Never tried water-cooling and I am curious about it.

Please address where I can get your advised products. Thank you very much.
October 21, 2011 12:33:05 AM

Case: $149.99 - COOLER MASTER Storm Sniper
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo: $184.99 - ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: $169.99 - CORSAIR Professional Series HX850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: $219.99 - Intel Core i5-2500K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler: $34.99 - COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: $69.99 - G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (8-8-8-24)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU*: $300-500: Some reputable GTX 570 or 580.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive: $69.99 - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD:197.99 - Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Disk Drive: $19.99 - ASUS SATA 24X DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor:$199.99 - ASUS VS248H-P Black 24" 2ms HDMI LED Backlight Widescreen LCD Monitor 250 cd/m2 ASCR 50,000,000:1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $1640-1800
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October 21, 2011 12:39:18 AM

cmeliksah said:
Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP

Hi dear forum members;

I want to make a build for CoD4:MW CoD:MW2 and CoD:MW3 and BF3. Probably I will not use it other than gaming. I have been doing research for about a week but I am still undecided and confused because of new technologies. Any optimum build for these games is enough. FPS is more important than resolution for me by the way. I have heard about new-coming technologies but I do not want to wait for them. Even though these new technologies may boost performance referred to current ones, they will probably not affect the prices of current products right? Most importantly, I want to build a good-standing long-lived setup which I can use for 4 years without changing even a screw. Then I can make another super-monster 4 years later :) 

Budget Range: max $3000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (Call of Duty MW series), other

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I live in Boston. Any good and trustworthy site/store.

Country of Origin: MA, USA

Parts Preferences: intel+nVidia setup preferred, but any reasonable other combinations are OK.

Overclocking: Yes (Please guide how to do, I never did OC before)

SLI or Crossfire: Yes / Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (24" seems to be OK)

Additional Comments: Never tried water-cooling and I am curious about it.

Please address where I can get your advised products. Thank you very much.


no point in spending over $1500-$2000 on a PC if its going to be replaced in 4 years. I'd go with an i7-2600K w/ 8GB of DDR3 maybe 16GB if its cheap, and (2) GTX 580's in SLI.
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October 21, 2011 1:06:04 AM

Or wait a month for ivy bridge
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October 21, 2011 1:06:46 AM

And nvidia is over priced, power greedy crap. go ATI. 6970 in cross fire=pwn
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2011 1:07:38 AM

4 years is too long to go without a GPU upgrade. This is why we don't normally recommend for instance GTX 580 SLI... they will be outdated too fast. There is diminishing returns in the GPU area, and it never makes good sense to spend too much there.
I have found over many many years of building, that the $300 range works best for me. I spend this amount on a new GPU every 18-24 months, and I can always play the newest games at max settings. That's a rough estimate of course... it will vary day to day, but generally $280-350.

Not that you have to do that. Much depends on your disposable income and what feels right to you. However, anything over two 6950s is just overkill.

I think you have Microcenter on the east coast. They can be a good place to grab a CPU sometimes.

Real water cooling is a separate hobby and requires that you do your own research. The research is needed because assembly will require advanced knowledge.

You CAN get a simple kit. It's not the same as what you would find in a serious water cooler's case. However, they are better at cooling than air coolers:
Corsair H100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Swiftech H20-220-EDGE Dual 120mm
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...

Here is an example of serious water cooling. It's a worklog and will take you through the whole process... for that particular person:
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?2742...
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October 21, 2011 1:09:03 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2 of those and your golden. If you can find 1gb 6970 OC from gigabyte (because they have good stock coolers). Get those and they should be a little bit cheaper than the 2GB. 2GB cards are good if you are running eyefinity, really large resolutions and or using a tv as a screen.
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October 21, 2011 1:12:58 AM

I'd go with a DH-14 over water cooling and buy a HAF 932 case, I have the 922 and is has awesome air flow and is cost effective. The 932 is a full tower I believe (I'm at work and don't have tons of time to research this).


I7 2600K
NOCTUA DH-14
8GB GSKILL RAM(THERES A 60$ 8GB SET W/ 8-8-8-24 TIMING)
P8Z68 MOBO WITH X16 PCI SLOTS THAT CAN DO X8/X8 CROSS FIRE
800 WATT PSU CORSAIR(THEY PRETTY GOOD FOR PSU)
SSD(OPTIONAL) BUT THERE ARE HD THAT CAN RUN RAID 0 AND HAVE SAME SPEEDS AS SSD IN MOST AREAS.
X2 6970 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

=COMPUTER FTW. F**K NVIDIA
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October 21, 2011 1:28:47 AM

cjtex; what is COMPUTER FTW? can you open it I am not familiar with internet language since I am not a native speaker/user of english.
Proximon; what is your advice about GPU then? Does overkill mean waste or super performance I could not get the point :) 
So everyone is opposed to using nVidia then OK I will give a shot for AMD in this setup just to gain some experience.
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October 21, 2011 1:33:20 AM

Alright, let us abandon my water-cooling dreams because it seems to a lot of work and I do not want to do it before I expertise on it with more research.
So, I have never used AMD GPUs and I am kind of prejudiced about company itself. I respect your choices and knowledge and I am still curious about trying something new like AMD GPUs :)  I hope you can make me a simple comparison with nVidia and AMD GPUs and say why you choose either one.
I would like to use an ASUS mobo or msi or gigabyte. Any advice for that also?
Is it better to have a single 8 GB ram or 2x4GB? Single 8GB seems more reasonable if I want to increase it in the future.

And foremost, I do not want to wait if it is not going to make things better enough which will worth for waiting another month. There will be no miracle with a new CPU architecture right? Only maybe %15 performance boost in CPUs which will not affect that much in graphics performance. Furthermore, it will be more expensive right? Would not it be waste of money if I am already able to play with i7?
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2011 1:44:04 AM

It's not a question 'bout being prejudiced 'bout AMD. They make wonderful value for money processors for the budget conscious specialized heavily threaded apps. But higher up the pecking order you go (I'll say for general purpose/gaming builds over 800 odd and certainly over 1K) they make less and less sense.

CPU: $330(?) Intel Core i7-2700K (Upcoming)

Motherboard: $200 ASUS P8Z68-V PRO

RAM: $100 CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB

GPU: 2X $480 EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 580

HDD: 2X$ 60 SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB

SSD: $205 Intel 320 Series 2.5" 120GB

ODD: $70 LG Black SATA Blue Ray burner Super Multi with LightScribe Support - OEM

PSU: $280 CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX1200

Case: $162 Corsair Obsidian 650D

LCU: $120 CORSAIR H100 Liquid CPU Cooler

Comes to $2547+ Shipping.

EDIT: If you're uncomfortable 'bout liquid cooling, get the Noctua NH-D14.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2011 1:55:30 AM

I'm not opposed to SLI GTX 470s, but they run kind of warm and suck power at load.

Crashman always has a "beyond the point of reason" line in his monthly GPU article:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card-...

You won't see any SLI GTX 580s there. It just makes no sense financially and won't visibly improve any game. Yes, you'll get higher meaningless FPS, because anything over 60 is meaningless. You can brag for about a year as well, and then be embarrassed because your expensive SLI setup has been superseded by a single $400 card.

I think buying a single 6970 might be just fine for you. If you don't like the results, buy a second.
The HX850 will be a bit underutilized in that scenario. The Seasonic X750 would be not too unreasonable for one GPU but just enough for two 6970s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As far as specific 6970s:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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October 21, 2011 2:26:14 AM

So Proximon, how about physX and other utilities that nVidia offers for gaming? Are they too little to ignore in performance?
As i see, 6970 and gtx570 in same tier in Crashman's article, and gtx580 and 5970 in same tier (which is kind of odd when you look at numbers of models in AMD side :)  ).

I assume that you have a ready setup in your mind which is enough for me (for playing CoD MW, MW2 and MW3 in a fps higher than 100-125 maybe). If you have, can you please attach it here. I am really overwhelmed with all these numbers, performance/cost charts and etc. I will buy it and let it go. But as I say, I really want it to endure for couple of years, at least for Call of Duty MW3 and MW4.
And is it possible to make it into fractal arc mini microATX case with a microATX motherboard like ASUS maximus iv gene-z?
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2011 2:29:39 AM

For whatever it's worth - Link

Also, since you can still flash some of the 6950's into 6970's, it's better to get one of those like this ASUS Radeon HD 6950
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2011 2:30:12 AM

I'd second Proximon's advice, with one caveat. If you are personally more comfortable with nVidia, go with the 570. The 6970 will trade benchmark wins with it, and do so using less power and maybe running quieter by a few db:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/292?vs=306But whatever

But if you are predisposed to nVidia these benefits may not be worth a forced move to AMD. I have a 580 in one rig and a 5870 in another, and I can recall cursing every 5870 driver glitch while probably ignoring the same with nVidia - because I prefer nVidia.

Whichever, go with a single gpu for now, and as Prox said get an 850W psu so you can add a second card later . . . should that ever be required/desired.

A specific 570: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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October 21, 2011 2:33:51 AM

I would have to say 1 580 would be worth it. Then when the new NV cards come out buy another top tier or second to top tier card.

You can get SLI 580's if you want but in that case you would want a bigger monitor. Why not buy a good buy 1080 P 3d tv instead of two 580's get 1 and a great monitor.
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Best solution

a c 113 B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2011 3:52:50 AM

Sometimes these threads turn into nice discussions for us helpers, but yah they can get a little overwhelming :) 

On a 1920x1080 monitor, I consider a single GTX 570 or better to be about all you need. A very few games may not run on absolute maximum. An example would be Metro 2033, where you would have to settle for less Antistropic filtering... but you would not be able to tell the difference to the naked eye.

Does that mean that's all you need? Consider all those CoD games you are playing. They can run on the highest settings no problem. They'll run at max on my 5870 with no issues at all.

BF3? I hear it might be a little more demanding but probably not as demanding as Metro 2033. It's hard to say though once you get into a lot of smoke, fire, and explosions in a large MP game.

I'm leaning more towards either up front 6950s or a single GTX 580 to start. After all, having too much is better than not enough.

All right, here's how I would do it personally, if I had 2500 bucks to spend on a new computer today. Don't take it as gospel, you have a lot of very able contributors here, and I respect all the opinions. But I would not hesitate to buy this setup given price and features:

  • ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
  • Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
  • ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor
  • 2x MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III 1G/OC Radeon HD 6950 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
  • 2x AMD Gift - Comic Book - OEM
  • SeaSonic X750 Gold 750W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
  • G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR
  • Kingston 4GB Micro SDHC Flash Card Model SDC4/4GB
  • Intel 510 Series (Elm Crest) SSDSC2MH250A2K5 2.5" 250GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K
  • ASUS P8Z68 Deluxe LGA 1155 Intel Z68 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
  • Corsair Obsidian Series 800D CC800DW Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
    TOTAL: $2,499.38

    Share
    October 21, 2011 4:09:46 AM

    Fractal Design Arc Mini Black High Performance PC Computer Case w/ USB 3.0 and 3 Fractal Design Silent Fans
    Item #: N82E16811352008
    $99.99

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    Item #: N82E16822152185
    $69.99

    ASUS VS248H-P Black 24" HDMI LED Backlight Widescreen LCD Monitor
    Item #: N82E16824236153
    $199.99

    Seasonic SS-850HT 850W ATX12V v2.31,EPS12V v2.92 80Plus Silver Certified, Active PFC Power Supply - OEM
    Item #: N82E16817151100
    $129.99

    G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM
    Item #: N82E16820231445
    $69.99

    ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
    Item #: N82E16813131759
    $179.99

    Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K
    Item #: N82E16819115070
    $314.99

    LG Black Super Multi SATA WH12LS30 LightScribe Support - OEM
    Item #: N82E16827136226
    $79.99

    Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
    Item #: N82E16820148442
    $197.99

    Subtotal: $1,327.91

    How about this one? I realized that there is no need to spend more than $2000 for my expectations right? Can you make some changes and additions on this build- in sake of saving some money and not saddening my father (I am a student :) )
    This little case seemed cute :) 
    And I don't think I will need all these 500 GB SSD, 120 GB is enough for my games :) 
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    a c 113 B Homebuilt system
    October 21, 2011 4:40:53 AM

    Two things right off:

    - The motherboard has only a single slot between PCI-E slots, so if you have two cards they would be jammed together

    - The case really doesn't have the ventilation for multiple GPUs.

    The PSU is OK, as long as you don't have to look at it. It also has a reduced warranty, 3 years instead of 5. It is not modular so you will have many cables to stuff into the case, and no place to put them with those drive cages in the way. Perhaps the lower cage is removable though.
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    October 21, 2011 5:10:37 AM

    OP: have you thought of a tri monitor setup. you can easily get one with that budget. here is a comparison- http://promos.asus.com/US/Eyefinity/index.htm it is worth it if you ask me

    3 screens: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... x3=450$

    i5 2500k

    get either 2 6970's or 2 gtx 580's 3072mb. dont want 1gb cards because the lack of memory will bottleneck them

    motherboard: i suggest an asrock z68 gen3 motherboard. they are great motherboards for the money.
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    October 21, 2011 6:45:04 AM

    mjmjpfaff; thanks buddy, but I think one monitor is more than enough for me :) 
    Proximon, I did some comparison on GTX 580 SLI vs. 6950 CF and result is amazingly in favour of 6950s :)  I salute you! Corsair Obsidian 800D is a great case but how about 650D? I think this will have enough ventilation though? I am asking for it because the smaller is the better for me.

    And how about these two rams? I know you already preferred Sniper one but if you explain why I will be appreciated:
    Gskill Sniper
    Gskill RipjawsX

    This 500GB intel ssd seemed too much and too expensive to me. How about these cheaper solutions? ONE or TWO?
    And additionally to your last setup, Corsair H80 seemed useful for cpu cooling. Thanks to everyone for sharing your opinions!

    Sorry if I bothered you with questions and criticizing, I am just a little curious and want to make my current and further decisions accurately by asking details.
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    a c 113 B Homebuilt system
    October 21, 2011 8:13:23 AM

    Yes, good case.

    Speed is not terribly important with the RAM, but the price on the 1866 is great. 1866 with a latency of 9 is slightly better than 1600 with a latency of 8. That is only true of Sandy Bridge. Back in the old days latency was a bit more important.

    G.skill simply because they seem to be the best. Corsair has had a few memory issues lately. I'm sure they will work it out fast but for now you just can't beat G.skill for quality and price. I don't want to make it seem like a big issue, most RAM companies are acceptable. Even the lesser known ones like Wintech. They mostly get their chips from a few sources.

    On the SSD I actually linked a 250GB drive. I own a 160GB and my next one will be a bit bigger.

    The Crucial is fine. I just ordered this Corsair for a friend, and it was a great deal:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    Out of stock and the price is back up now though.

    Actually, this is a fantastic deal for 180GB:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    That's very fast. Sandforce so it's a bit less reliable, but at that price and speed it's hard to turn down.

    Corsair H80 is comparable to air coolers. H100 is better than air and I think it would fit right into the top of that case?
    Well, it's not really needed. the CPU will run fairly cool regardless. That's why the Cooler Master 212+ gets so many recommendations... it's cheap and it's all you actually need for a moderate OC.
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    October 21, 2011 4:17:34 PM

    Here is the near-end build, after asking for additional advice or anything I should know, I will order it :) 
    Asus Dvd $20
    Obsidian 650D $190
    1TB Seagate HDD $65
    ASUS 24" Glossy $200
    2 x MSI6950 $520
    Seasonic 750w PSU $140
    Gskill Sniper 2x4GB $60
    Corsair Force 3 180GB SSD $250
    i7 2600k + Asus P8Z68 Deluxe $545
    Corsair H100 LC $120
    W7 64-bit $100
    TOTAL: $2230

    Some additional promotions exist such like PaintShop $0 which I did not understand where it came from :) 

    Any correction or advice? I hope this is the optimum that I can get and I wish this is the end of hard decision time and start of fun time! :) 

    Question Proximon: Are you sure this PSU will be enough for OverClocking? "Absolutely!" would be the best answer :) 
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    a c 113 B Homebuilt system
    October 22, 2011 1:00:45 AM

    You'll be in fine shape. I doubt you can ever hit 600W from the wall, even running Prime95 and Furmark at the same time. Under gaming loads you'll be under 500W.

    Paintshop must be a free gift you got with some other purchase.

    I was going to ask you to confirm compatibility of the H100 with the 650D, but a quick google revealed that it's a popular combo and no issues.
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    October 22, 2011 1:28:09 AM

    Alrıght, this is the end of the hard decision-making process which is eased by your helps. Thanks for everyone who shared their valuable opinions, especially thanks to Proximon.
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    October 22, 2011 1:28:32 AM

    Best answer selected by cmeliksah.
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