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GTX 670 or HD 7970 on a low end CPU & RAM

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January 29, 2013 10:18:29 PM

I've always upgraded my graphics cards to just "good enough" cards. So I finally decided to get a good card. I'm pretty much decided on either a GTX 670 or Radeon HD 7970 card. The thing is, I'm running a Sandy Bridge Core i3 (3.1 Ghz) CPU and 8 gigs of 1333 RAM. I know there's going to be some bottlenecking as far as frame rate, so my question is, how much of a frate rate drop should I expect? And which of the two cards would you recommend (or other cards withing the price range)?

I've settled between:
This Gigabyte GTX 670 Windforce
And this XFX Radeon HD 7970 Black Edition

A few points to note: I don't particularly care about PhysX, just wanna be able to play at max settings on most games with nice frame rate. I will be playing on a single 27-inch 1080p display. I might overclock the card if I need to, but if performance is there to begin with, I'll leave it stock. I will not be using the card for any professional video / graphics editing or modeling software. I wouldn't mind sacrificing a bit of performance for better cooling (hence why I'm interested in that Windforce card). My budget is around $450. Games I mostly play are: Skyrim (with a few graphics mods), Sleeping Dogs, Saints Row 3, Borderlands 2, Batman Arkham City, Far Cry 3, Civ 5, Anno 2070.

Other specs are:
Motherboard: ASrock Z75 Pro3.
PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower 675 watt.
Storage: Samsung 840 Series SSD (system) & 1 TB HDD (media)
Current graphics card: Saphire Radeon HD 6770 (overclocked to Core = 960; Mem = 1330)

I'll probably upgrade my RAM in the coming weeks. Maybe 8 or 16 gigs of 1866. I figured I'd wait to see what Intel has in store with their Haswell CPU's. Don't really feel that I need to upgrade since all I use my PC for is web browsing and gaming. I know Intel is primarily focused on laptops with Haswell, but I think they said that new line of desktop CPU's will be out by the end of the year. Correct me if I'm wrong on that one.

Any suggestions or recommendations are appreciated :) 
a c 133 U Graphics card
January 29, 2013 11:12:22 PM

You would more then likely bottleneck your system with a i3 SB processor. I would get something more mid line for your system. Which isn't low end good enough to play kind of card. Maybe something like a GTX660Ti/or 7870. If you like batman a lot then maybe the nvidia option is more appealing to you.


also a case could be made for borderlands 2 as well as the game is quite different with a nvidia card rendering the physx
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 29, 2013 11:14:27 PM

However, I should let you know that the socket is changing with Haswell so that may prove to be an issue for you as you would need a new motherboard and down the line there will probably be DDR4.
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January 29, 2013 11:47:05 PM

Yes, I know that Haswell will be on a new socket. I'd upgrade my board if anything. But like I said, i wanna wait on the CPU to see the final products when they come out (chips and boards). Plus, the Ivy Bridge CPU's will most likely become cheaper as well.

As far as PhysX, it does look a whole lot better in Arkham City but I can get the same effect in Borderlands 2 on my current AMD card, and to me, it makes Borderlands look worse. I've seen the list of games which use PhysX, and the only ones I'm actually interested in playing, or care about better graphics are the Batman games.

Really the games I'm looking to increase performance, regardless of PhysX, are: Sleeping Dogs, Far Cry 3, Arkham City, and some future games like GTA 5, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider.

Lets say I do get either of those cards, how much would performance be bottlenecked? I mean in terms of fps, in those games I listed?
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a b U Graphics card
January 29, 2013 11:56:52 PM

kalash156 said:
Yes, I know that Haswell will be on a new socket. I'd upgrade my board if anything. But like I said, i wanna wait on the CPU to see the final products when they come out (chips and boards). Plus, the Ivy Bridge CPU's will most likely become cheaper as well.

As far as PhysX, it does look a whole lot better in Arkham City but I can get the same effect in Borderlands 2 on my current AMD card, and to me, it makes Borderlands look worse. I've seen the list of games which use PhysX, and the only ones I'm actually interested in playing, or care about better graphics are the Batman games.

Really the games I'm looking to increase performance, regardless of PhysX, are: Sleeping Dogs, Far Cry 3, Arkham City, and some future games like GTA 5, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider.

Lets say I do get either of those cards, how much would performance be bottlenecked? I mean in terms of fps, in those games I listed?


You can actually offload the PhysX to the CPU, so when you get your new board + CPU, it'd be a better value with the 7970.
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 12:00:31 AM

CPU:
Yea I think the Ivy bridge scenario will be quite attractive I would imagine the pricing may be a little cheaper however it wasn't this last generation. The Sandy Bridge CPU's held there ground price wise due to there overclockability.

Physx:
Fair enough just thought I'd throw it in there since you brought up some major Nvidia based titles. In Batman I feel its more subtle but it adds to things here and there. With Borderlands 2 you can tell a little more guns reacting different effects against objects but your opinion is fair.

You would be bottlenecked more by the fact you have a dual core versus a quad core. I'm not sure how much FPS would be lost in games in games that benefited more from a quad core you could lose quite a bit performance. The way I see it if you are going to make a CPU upgrade down the line it can't hurt to get the card you want now instead of holding back on a card that would fit your cpu now.

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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 12:02:04 AM

As you may be able to offload physx onto the CPU he isn't really interested in it really so I wouldn't go pushing that. And you cant run batman on high physx not a chance on the CPU the computer would bog down. The only reason you can get medium physx settings stable on Borderlands 2 is because it the ever so ageing dx9 standard.
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January 30, 2013 12:04:12 AM

Most games dont use more than 2 cores, so if u overclock that i3 to around 4.2 ghz, u will play any games out there for at least another year. So I say its worth it.
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a b U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 12:08:11 AM

cgner said:
Most games dont use more than 2 cores, so if u overclock that i3 to around 4.2 ghz, u will play any games out there for at least another year. So I say its worth it.


You can't overclock i3's...
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 12:08:31 AM

Can you overclock a i3? I'm not so sure on that. I was only aware of k sku chips being overclockable which are i5 and i7's
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a b U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 12:11:43 AM

bigshootr8 said:
As you may be able to offload physx onto the CPU he isn't really interested in it really so I wouldn't go pushing that. And you cant run batman on high physx not a chance on the CPU the computer would bog down. The only reason you can get medium physx settings stable on Borderlands 2 is because it the ever so ageing dx9 standard.


You can run medium PhysX without any performance loss with an i5. OP said he doesn't really care about PhysX.
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January 30, 2013 12:14:05 AM

As long as I can get more than 40 fps on maxed settings, I'm good.

So what about the actual cards? Out of the two I listed which one's do guys think is a better performer? They both have good coolers, so that's not an issue. I know the new AMD cards use more power than Nvidia's, though, that's also not really a big issue. I know XFX also has a Ghz edition of that card, which from everything I've read, is much better than any GTX 670. But it also costs a lot more...
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 12:15:19 AM

No I know Bigmack70 and I got on this exact discussion. And he gets around 50 FPS or something on his computer but he does some pretty crazy overclocking on his cards and CPU on medium settings however you don't get the full effects with medium you get that on high. And I commented on him not wanting Physx above so if he doesn't care for it its cool.
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January 30, 2013 12:26:50 AM

How can you max something that has PhysX, without using PhysX? That's not maxed. That's like saying you want to max a game, but won't use AA.
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 12:28:23 AM

The 680 isn't a very good value. The 670 is the value high end chip and then the next valued chip would be the 7970 or 7970 ghz edition because the 680 is poorly priced. However if you were doing something that used CUDA computing the 680 would be the way to go.
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 12:29:03 AM

MatildaPersson said:
How can you max something that has PhysX, without using PhysX? That's not maxed. That's like saying you want to max a game, but won't use AA.


While I do agree some people just don't like the feature so its okay its not something people have to use.
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January 30, 2013 12:30:38 AM

bigshootr8 said:
While I do agree some people just don't like the feature so its okay its not something people have to use.

How can you not like it? What's not to like about better looking physics? o.O
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a b U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 12:37:35 AM

MatildaPersson said:
How can you not like it? What's not to like about better looking physics? o.O


Gets in the way. Distracting. Loss of performance.
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January 30, 2013 12:41:06 AM

samuelspark said:
Gets in the way. Distracting. Loss of performance.

If the graphics and debris from an explosion "gets in your way" and you have a problem with that, I don't think you understand what maxing graphics means.

Better environments = performance hit. If you want max settings, you need the GPU handle it. What's the problem there?
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January 30, 2013 12:41:28 AM

MatildaPersson said:
How can you not like it? What's not to like about better looking physics? o.O


I've already touched on that. The only games which use PhysX that I'm actually interested in playing are the two Batman games and Borderlands 2. And in Borderlands 2, I can get PhysX on my AMD card, but I don't use it because it makes the game look worse (and gives enemies an advantage in some situations). What about all of the other games which don't use PhysX?

samuelspark
Thank you for the suggestion, though I'm not sure I'd trust a brand I've never had any experience with on a card which had a number of DOA's reported. I did find this Gigabyte Ghz edition for only $30 more. Spec-wise, it seems to be same. Actually it has a slightly higher Mem clock than that Powercolor card (75 MHz more). Thoughts?

Edit: forgot to add the actual link
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a b U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 12:51:03 AM

kalash156 said:
I've already touched on that. The only games which use PhysX that I'm actually interested in playing are the two Batman games and Borderlands 2. And in Borderlands 2, I can get PhysX on my AMD card, but I don't use it because it makes the game look worse (and gives enemies an advantage in some situations). What about all of the other games which don't use PhysX?

samuelspark
Thank you for the suggestion, though I'm not sure I'd trust a brand I've never had any experience with on a card which had a number of DOA's reported. I did find this Gigabyte Ghz edition for only $30 more. Spec-wise, it seems to be same. Actually it has a slightly higher Mem clock than that Powercolor card (75 MHz more). Thoughts?

Edit: forgot to add the actual link


That's actually not a bad deal. If you can afford it, go for it. However. Gigabyte GPU's are usually excessively long with the triple fan setup so make sure it fits.
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January 30, 2013 12:53:42 AM

kalash156 said:
I've already touched on that. The only games which use PhysX that I'm actually interested in playing are the two Batman games and Borderlands 2. And in Borderlands 2, I can get PhysX on my AMD card, but I don't use it because it makes the game look worse (and gives enemies an advantage in some situations). What about all of the other games which don't use PhysX?

samuelspark
Thank you for the suggestion, though I'm not sure I'd trust a brand I've never had any experience with on a card which had a number of DOA's reported. I did find this Gigabyte Ghz edition for only $30 more. Spec-wise, it seems to be same. Actually it has a slightly higher Mem clock than that Powercolor card (75 MHz more). Thoughts?

No, you can't get PhysX on an AMD card. You can get fake PhysX or run it off the CPU, but it runs like shite.

"Gives the opponents an advantage?" I don't even...

"Looks worse?" If more destructive looking explosions and devastating power weapons is a negative in your book, you might want to reconsider why you want a video game maxed out.










Looks better to me.
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a b U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 12:57:05 AM

Only a phew games use phsyx.

also why not consider the amd 6300? i have mine at 4.5ghz and i just off load phsyx to the cpu
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 12:58:13 AM

Its a matter of opinion. And I would imagine that it would seem that the enemies had an advantage of it because you were not running at the same speed as those using the GPU's to render the info. However if the visuals don't appeal to you they don't appeal to you. Physx doesn't give the enemy any advantage its a detail setting.
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January 30, 2013 1:14:44 AM

bigshootr8 said:
Its a matter of opinion. And I would imagine that it would seem that the enemies had an advantage of it because you were not running at the same speed as those using the GPU's to render the info. However if the visuals don't appeal to you they don't appeal to you. Physx doesn't give the enemy any advantage its a detail setting.


In Borderlands 2, it does give enemies a slight advantage in some situations. Ex. using PhysX, I mean fake PhysX :sarcastic:  , the game has those flapping blankets and rags everywhere. A lot of times those rags are close to cover positions. So whenever I try to shoot enemies from behind those rags, I can't see where I'm shooting; but the enemies can see you perfectly. This was actually one of the reasons I stopped using PhysX in BL2.

MatildaPersson
Visual quality is subjective. In Arkham City, PhysX does make the game look much better because it "interacts" with objects and scenery already present in the game. In Borderlands 2, aside from those rags, it simply spawns new particles out of thin air when you shoot at things. Which to me, makes it look tacky and not "good". Just because a game features some kind of extra visual effects, doesn't mean that those effects will make the game look any better. Case and point: grain filter in Grand Theft Auto 4. It's an extra visual effect, but it made the game look like crap. Very subjective, again.
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 1:17:23 AM

Ah I can see what you mean with the cloth physx. But again like I've been preaching its a subjective thing you either like it or hate it. I play a lot of games that do use it and I like it however I don't push my visual preferences on others.
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January 30, 2013 1:18:51 AM

kalash156 said:
In Borderlands 2, it does give enemies a slight advantage in some situations. Ex. using PhysX, I mean fake PhysX :sarcastic:  , the game has those flapping blankets and rags everywhere. A lot of times those rags are close to cover positions. So whenever I try to shoot enemies from behind those rags, I can't see where I'm shooting; but the enemies can see you perfectly. This was actually one of the reasons I stopped using PhysX in BL2.



Flapping blankets? Really? Like, you actually typed out that paragraph for real?

I don't even...
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 1:20:45 AM

Not everyone is going to like the same things you do I play games that use it and have recorded a good amount of content with it. You are showing your bias by not being able to look at things from both sides of the coin.
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January 30, 2013 1:21:42 AM

bigshootr8 said:
Not everyone is going to like the same things you do I play games that use it and have recorded a good amount of content with it. You are showing your bias by not being able to look at things from both sides of the coin.

If someone considers "flapping blankets" an issue, they.... I don't even... How can you read that and not laugh?
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 1:24:44 AM

sometimes enemies can show up behind them I'm sure I haven't ran into that issue but I'm out of time to deal with the inability to see that a person is subject to see things differently.

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a b U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 1:25:08 AM

Fake PhysX? Runs like crap?

Keep in mind the difference between running on GPU and CPU is just alleviating the load from one component to the other. I can run PhysX high on my 6850 fine. Just gets really distracting sometimes.
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a b U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 1:25:38 AM

MatildaPersson said:
http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m99hb5ApIy1qc7mh1.jpg

Flapping blankets? Really? Like, you actually typed out that paragraph for real?

I don't even...


+99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999 haha
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 1:25:54 AM

Yea I agree Samuel it can be for some which is why extra eye candy is more of a subjective thing.
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 1:26:23 AM

You just need to go 88 miles an hour and everything will be fixed.
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January 30, 2013 1:26:39 AM

bigshootr8 said:
Ah I can see what you mean with the cloth physx. But again like I've been preaching its a subjective thing you either like it or hate it. I play a lot of games that do use it and I like it however I don't push my visual preferences on others.


Thank you. And I didn't mean to sound like a douche about it. You have been actually helpful. I just didn't like the way BL2 looked with PhysX. I think I'll go with that Gigabyte Ghz card I've found.


MatildaPersson
I'm new to these forums, but I see I've found my first troll. Well done! Carry on preaching about PhysX.
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January 30, 2013 1:28:18 AM

kalash156 said:
Thank you. And I didn't mean to sound like a douche about it. You have been actually helpful. I just didn't like the way BL2 looked with PhysX. I think I'll go with that Gigabyte Ghz card I've found.


MatildaPersson
I'm new to these forums, but I see I've found my first troll. Well done! Carry on preaching about PhysX.

I pray to God they don't put flapping blankets in any future games. You might not be able to play! Oh the horror.
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 1:31:36 AM

You will find them all the time Kalash but I do promise you that there are those on the forums that want to see people get what they are after and to see them helped. I'm someone who tries to be unbiased. I learned in a speech class that I took in school that the moment you show bias you lost your debate/argument.
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January 30, 2013 1:32:09 AM

samuelspark said:
Fake PhysX? Runs like crap?

Keep in mind the difference between running on GPU and CPU is just alleviating the load from one component to the other. I can run PhysX high on my 6850 fine. Just gets really distracting sometimes.

No. That's not how PhysX works. It's specifically programmed to function on a GPU architecture. CPUs handle it poorly. It is not simply "alleviating the load from one component to another." Aside from that, Nvidia owns the rights to it and has no intention in the world of making it accessible outside of their hardware.
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a c 228 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 1:44:09 AM

The question in the title is very adequately and pointedly addressed here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fx-8350-core-i7-377...

Quote:
Our benchmark results have long shown that ATI's graphics architectures are more dependent on a strong processor than Nvidia's. As a result, we usually arm our test beds with high-end Intel CPUs when it comes time to benchmark high-end GPUs, sidestepping platform issues that might adversely affect results designed to isolate graphics performance.
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January 30, 2013 2:03:55 AM

JackNaylorPE said:
The question in the title is very adequately and pointedly addressed here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fx-8350-core-i7-377...

Quote:
Our benchmark results have long shown that ATI's graphics architectures are more dependent on a strong processor than Nvidia's. As a result, we usually arm our test beds with high-end Intel CPUs when it comes time to benchmark high-end GPUs, sidestepping platform issues that might adversely affect results designed to isolate graphics performance.


Not exactly. That article takes into account only 2 processors, neither of which is the one I am using and it doesn't really address my original question. With my original question I was hoping to get specifics on just how much it would affect gaming performance, in terms of fps or other performance issues (random lag or graphical anomalies) compared to higher-end CPUs. Or if it will actually negatively affect performance compared to my current setup of Core i3 2100 and HD 6770 (overclocked).
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 2:04:47 AM

Right he wants to know frame wise the kind of loss he should experience if he were to get a high end chip.
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a b U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 2:06:10 AM

dude phsyx is the best thing it acctually increases your fps from 60>120fps and also it acctually makes the game look like 2000x better and it also gives you more maps and guns buy nvidia and u get free maps and candy its teh best :D 
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January 30, 2013 2:08:12 AM

Best answer selected by kalash156.
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 2:11:02 AM

lol slant can't tell if you are trolling or not I would assume so.
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a b U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 2:12:33 AM

Lol ofc im trolling haha
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 2:14:03 AM

:p  I thought so. Your icon is that a AMD logo versus Pentium 4?
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January 30, 2013 2:19:52 AM

I for once will agree that turning some graphical features helps me play better and enjoy the game more. For example, motion blur is annoying and makes me feel sick, post processing in some games simply blurs everything out to make textures SEEM nicer, but it gives me a headache because my eyes feel like they cant focus. Shadows and ambient occlusion make it somewhat harder to see enemies in online FPS games. When playing at 1080P, more than 2X anti aliasing makes no visual difference, so why burn extra energy and generate extra heat?

Just how I prefer to roll....
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 2:20:53 AM

Nothing wrong with that the great thing about pc gaming is you can change settings and make it work for you.
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a b U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 2:23:36 AM

Yea my logo is the amd Athlon vs pentium 4 :p 
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