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Old Jun 9, 2013, 02:32 AM   #1
MagicThief83
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Selling my iMac and going the Hackintosh route?

Hello All,

Like many of you, I waited very long and patiently for Apple to refresh their long over-due iMac lineup. I ordered one as soon as they were available and while I must say that I enjoy using the machine, I'm just a little underwhelmed by its performance. The iMac is in and of itself a great machine, but I find the lack of expandability and customization a big drawback of the machine. I prefer to dual boot, and I game in Bootcamp. While the 650M performs respectively in some titles, it also chokes on many others. In addition, the slow performance of Windows on the 5400 rpm drive is also annoying. I consider myself an avid gamer, however, I won't be able to enjoy the latest titles because the GPU is a huge bottleneck. I've been contemplating building myself a Hackintosh and I have a monster build in mind, that would demolish anything one would throw at it (Dual boot SSDs, thunderbolt motherboard, GTX 770 graphics, etc.). I really enjoy the simplicity of Apple products and I love it how the stuff just works, but I also enjoy being a power user and I'm not afraid to tinker with hardware/software. Maybe I should wait and see if Apple possibly refreshes the Mac Pro, and what that refresh will bring, but I know it'll be over-priced and will cost me a huge premium, compared to a similarly configured Hackintosh but at a more reasonable price point. I'll probably sell my iMac, build a Hack, and then I'll probably pick up a refreshed MBA because I enjoyed owning one of those and found them to be amazing products.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 02:43 AM   #2
leman
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I have used a Hackintosh for over a year and I am was glad to get a 'real' Mac instead. And from what I read, they are not much stabler now. Plus, after doing some calculations I realised that a Hackintosh which would match the specs of the top-tier iMac is not that much cheaper.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 02:48 AM   #3
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It depends how much time you can spend to stabilize and setup the system. Also, who will use the system. If you have much time (and you like that kind of stuff) or ur the only one who use the system (not your kids) then go with hackintosh. It's adventurous. I came from Unix/Oracle sysadmin/dba and do eager spend time for that until my kids asked my time
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 02:58 AM   #4
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OK, so far you have told us onlythat you use the Mac in Bootcamp to play Windows based games. What do you use the Mac for? Why do you want a Mac OS X based system?

I assume you have good reason but you don't tell us. Your use of Mac OS X will determine of the hackintosh is a good idea. For example if yo do video for a living and use FCP, the hackintosh would be a vary bad idea
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 03:02 AM   #5
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The feedback I got from my cousin who has a Hackintosh is to be prepared for some system bugs along the way but it was also fun and challenging. Price wise Hackintosh is cheaper though you'll need to spend more time making hardware adjustments. For gaming, someone told PC windows are better suited for gamers. That Macs were not really made for high end gaming.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 07:17 AM   #6
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Plus, after doing some calculations I realised that a Hackintosh which would match the specs of the top-tier iMac is not that much cheaper.
I've been researching about Hackintoshes for over year and from what I've read and seen, a hackintosh can easily obliterate a Mac Pro in terms of performance, so in theory, a top tier iMac wouldn't even be able to compete. A top tier iMac will easily surpass 2700 and I know because I almost pulled the trigger on one; my proposed hackintosh build: roughly $1600 and much higher specced.

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It depends how much time you can spend to stabilize and setup the system. Also, who will use the system. If you have much time (and you like that kind of stuff) or ur the only one who use the system (not your kids) then go with hackintosh. It's adventurous. I came from Unix/Oracle sysadmin/dba and do eager spend time for that until my kids asked my time
I am the sole user of the computer and I don't have kids lol. I don't mind putting in the effort to stabilize the computer. Hackintoshes have come along way and are becoming increasingly compatible with hardware used for most macs today. A lot of chipsets and hardware are supported by Mac OS so there isn't a lot of setting up and troubleshooting unless your hardware is incompatible or you software update (which should never be done until the update has been tested and patched for compatibility). There are a few other caveats, but hackintoshes have become increasing popular and stable systems.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 07:40 AM   #7
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OK, so far you have told us onlythat you use the Mac in Bootcamp to play Windows based games. What do you use the Mac for? Why do you want a Mac OS X based system?

I assume you have good reason but you don't tell us. Your use of Mac OS X will determine of the hackintosh is a good idea. For example if yo do video for a living and use FCP, the hackintosh would be a vary bad idea
Well I do some light photo editing and video transcoding/DVD transcoding in OSX but I love using Mac OSX for my daily driver and prefer it over Windows for productivity and general PC use. Like I said, I'm an avid gamer and I have a ton of Steam games but a lot of them don't perform well on the iMac's GPU. I knew this going into my purchase of the iMac, but I wasn't willing to spend a ton for an outdated Mac Pro, and I don't want to buy a dedicated next gen gaming console because I don't want to deal with physical game media (I use Steam for digital gaming) and I prefer to have one machine for gaming and productivity needs. I would like to be able to enjoy my games visually and play them in the highest detail. It doesn't make sense for me to buy a dedicated gaming PC because I could just build a kick-butt hackintosh and just be able to dual boot both Mac OSX and Windows. I'm just a power user at heart and while I think the Mac Pro would be a great machine, it's just outdated and not worth the premium price tag. Not only would I have a significantly powerful PC, but I can also customize it and expand upon it for future use. I know Hackintoshes require maintenance and I'm willing to put in the work but I've also had some issues with a regular Mac as well. For some reason, I couldn't restore from a TM backup and was getting a bunch of errors and KPs on my iMacs TM restore, so I had to delete everything and manually reinstall the OS and my apps and reconfigure everything again. I'm a huge Apple fan and have owned/and own a slew of Apple products and while I think owning an Apple laptop makes sense because they are beautiful and well constructed machines and work well, I can't say the same for the iMacs or current Mac Pro, because they lack the power and customization of true workstations.

----------

Forgot to mention, I also had an occasion where my Mac wouldn't restart from a TM backup (boot screen just went gray and would endlessly load), so Macs can have their share of instability as well, although they are stable and great machines for the most part.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 08:00 AM   #8
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Another choice would be to see what they say (if anything) about the Mac Pro at the WWDC and then make your decision on whether or not to go the hackintosh route.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 08:23 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by MagicThief83 View Post
I've been researching about Hackintoshes for over year and from what I've read and seen, a hackintosh can easily obliterate a Mac Pro in terms of performance, so in theory, a top tier iMac wouldn't even be able to compete. A top tier iMac will easily surpass 2700 and I know because I almost pulled the trigger on one; my proposed hackintosh build: roughly $1600 and much higher specced.
The current iMac is significantly faster than the Mac Pro (as long as we are talking about the single-CPU systems). The nice thing about Hakintosh is that they give you more flexibility and room for compromise (e.g. cheaper case, display etc.). Of course, Apple's SSD prices are outrageous as well. And you can also get a much better GPU on a desktop (but it will cost you as well). basically, if you want to build a desktop more or less equivalent to the 27" iMac with the 680MX (including a 27" IPS display, wireless mouse/keyboard combo, a 660Ti GPU and a well-designed aluminium case) you will get rather close to the iMac's cost...

The reason why I abandoned my Hakintosh was because of the little things. Small problems with sound, sleep, USB, weird performance glitches etc., fear of updates - nothing serious, but it got really annoying. I was hacking and recompiling my DSDT every day and at some point I just said 'screw that, I am getting an iMac'
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 08:49 AM   #10
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Another choice would be to see what they say (if anything) about the Mac Pro at the WWDC and then make your decision on whether or not to go the hackintosh route.
I don't think anything Apple will refresh the Mac Pro at WWDC, But I'll wait and see just in case they do.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 09:11 AM   #11
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I really liked the ability to use the iMac as a display for a PC using the target display function. Unfortunately, Apple appears to have disabled this ability by changing to thunderbolt. If you want or need to use the latest graphics cards, a PC is the only option right now. Without the target display function and an iMac, a Hackintosh is the only real solution if you want to run a OSX also (unless you want multiple monitors on your desktop) I am hopeful that the new Haswell motherboards with thunderbolt will be able to use the new iMacs as a monitor. Maybe the move to 4K video will produce some thunderbolt enabled graphics cards that will work with the iMacs target display mode.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 01:13 PM   #12
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I've been researching about Hackintoshes for over year and from what I've read and seen, a hackintosh can easily obliterate a Mac Pro in terms of performance, so in theory, a top tier iMac wouldn't even be able to compete. A top tier iMac will easily surpass 2700 and I know because I almost pulled the trigger on one; my proposed hackintosh build: roughly $1600 and much higher specced.
I recently spec'd out a new iMac vs. a similarly equipped PC and the price was almost the same, maybe a one or two hundred dollars difference. I don't know how you arrived at an $1100 difference. You must not be considering the cost of a high end 27" inch monitor in that.

Judging by your other responses it seems you've already made your decision to go the hackintosh route so why not just go for it?
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 01:21 PM   #13
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I recently spec'd out a new iMac vs. a similarly equipped PC and the price was almost the same, maybe a one or two hundred dollars difference. I don't know how you arrived at an $1100 difference. You must not be considering the cost of a high end 27" inch monitor in that.

Judging by your other responses it seems you've already made your decision to go the hackintosh route so why not just go for it?
I will lol, just waiting until after WWDC just in case a new Mac Pro is announced. But I fear that a similarly specced Mac Pro would cost me close to $ 4000. I didn't factor in a 27" monitor because I don't need that size, thereby cutting costs significantly. In plus, based on the rumors floating around, looks like the next Mac Pro may not be user upgradeable, so maybe I'm better off just building a custom workstation (so that way I can upgrade the components instead of having to buy another PC) and then just getting a refreshed MacBook. A similarly equipped PC would range somewhere around the $1300-1400 range, where as a maxed out iMac (which would perform inferiorly) would cost well close to $3000.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 01:28 PM   #14
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you would be better off creating a windows gaming machine then a hackintosh. you gain nothing really by choosing a hackintosh over a gaming machine. you still have to boot into windows. plus you have to deal with all the baggage that a hackintosh carries. Running 2 separate systems a windows gaming machine and a (real) mac of some sort is the sensible way to deal with mac gaming issues not a hackintosh.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 01:32 PM   #15
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you would be better off creating a windows gaming machine then a hackintosh. you gain nothing really by choosing a hackintosh over a gaming machine. you still have to boot into windows. plus you have to deal with all the baggage that a hackintosh carries. Running 2 separate systems a windows gaming machine and a (real) mac of some sort is the sensible way to deal with mac gaming issues not a hackintosh.
I love OSX and since I'm going the custom route, why not have the best of both worlds and build a system that is capable of running both OSes, that seems like the more sensible route to me. I see what you're saying but I'd rather do the hackintosh and being able to dual boot into Windows would be a plus.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 01:46 PM   #16
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I love OSX and since I'm going the custom route, why not have the best of both worlds and build a system that is capable of running both OSes, that seems like the more sensible route to me. I see what you're saying but I'd rather do the hackintosh and being able to dual boot into Windows would be a plus.
I'm in the same boat as you. I purchased a top tier iMac 27" when they came out at the end of last year. I had a number of issues with image retention and issues with Thunderbolt Display mode, and after 5 months and 4 different machines I gave up and built a Hackintosh.

This is the second Hackintosh I've built over the years and I will agree with most people stating that they are slightly annoying for all the upkeep you need to do, but for the money I spent I couldn't have purchased an iMac that would be this powerful. Sure, I have about the same money into the Hackintosh that I spent on the iMac, but I have a faster CPU (3.5 OC'd to 4.2 on air), faster GPU (HD7950 3GB), and I dual boot Windows for gaming and OSX (yeah, yeah; that all can be done on the iMac too). But, I can upgrade all of these components at a later time making the initial investment a better value with less depreciation over time since I can pull it apart as needed.

There is something to be said for an actual Mac and it just working. I do get peeved at times when I have to futz with the Hackintosh, but I feel better with this build and spending $2k vs just having a $2k iMac that will be obsolete in 6 months. (And half of that $2k was the Apple Cinema Display I purchased).
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 02:08 PM   #17
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I'm in the same boat as you. I purchased a top tier iMac 27" when they came out at the end of last year. I had a number of issues with image retention and issues with Thunderbolt Display mode, and after 5 months and 4 different machines I gave up and built a Hackintosh.

This is the second Hackintosh I've built over the years and I will agree with most people stating that they are slightly annoying for all the upkeep you need to do, but for the money I spent I couldn't have purchased an iMac that would be this powerful. Sure, I have about the same money into the Hackintosh that I spent on the iMac, but I have a faster CPU (3.5 OC'd to 4.2 on air), faster GPU (HD7950 3GB), and I dual boot Windows for gaming and OSX (yeah, yeah; that all can be done on the iMac too). But, I can upgrade all of these components at a later time making the initial investment a better value with less depreciation over time since I can pull it apart as needed.

There is something to be said for an actual Mac and it just working. I do get peeved at times when I have to futz with the Hackintosh, but I feel better with this build and spending $2k vs just having a $2k iMac that will be obsolete in 6 months. (And half of that $2k was the Apple Cinema Display I purchased).
I hear you and I agree. To be honest, it appears that hackintosh maintenance has gotten easier compared to what it used to be, and there's a lot of support available from the community when it comes to trouble shooting. The technology in the iMac tends to get obsolete real fast, but then again that applies to all technology. At least with a custom PC, there is less depreciation when you select quality components that will last a while. It's just that you pay such a premium to own a Mac and unless it's the Mac Pro, your hardware will lag behind present and future requirements. For example, playing GTA IV on my iMac with the 650M over clocked and settings tweaked down (high detail, 1600 x 900), I'm averaging 30-40 FPS with occasional peaks at 50, but there is also considerable slow down and visual quality is anything but optimal. I know I can kill this game with a gaming PC configured with high-end graphics. In plus the beauty of owning several components is that if one piece goes kaput, you replace the defective part; with the iMac, the whole machine will need to go in for repair and once the screen goes, forget about it. I know this all hypothetical and trust me, I love the iMac and its a technological feat of engineering, but I also crave raw performance which it sorely lacks at times. In addition, I don't want to have buy a new Mac every two years just to keep up with the times; I'd rather purchase a machine that will stand the test of time, not be undermined by it.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 03:23 PM   #18
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I've been researching about Hackintoshes for over year and from what I've read and seen, a hackintosh can easily obliterate a Mac Pro in terms of performance, so in theory, a top tier iMac wouldn't even be able to compete. A top tier iMac will easily surpass 2700 and I know because I almost pulled the trigger on one; my proposed hackintosh build: roughly $1600 and much higher specced.
Really?

$1600 also includes a 27" 2560x1440 IPS LCD, right? Also at minimum a 660 Ti GPU, but you said much higher specced, so I assume at least one 680 GTX in that build and those are about $400 give or take.

A large proportion of the cost of the iMac is the screen.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 03:31 PM   #19
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Really?

$1600 also includes a 27" 2560x1440 IPS LCD, right? Also at minimum a 660 Ti GPU, but you said much higher specced, so I assume at least one 680 GTX in that build and those are about $400 give or take.

A large proportion of the cost of the iMac is the screen.
$1600 includes a thunderbolt motherboard, 8GB RAM, GTX 770, power supply, i5 3.4GHZ quad core CPU, didn't include the monitor and you're right about the card, and three hard drives: one 2TB 7200 rpm HD and two 120GB SSD drives. And some other little accessories lol...it's crazy when you think about the expense of the iMac but you are getting quality components though.

----------

Forget to mention the RAM is also fast DDR3 1600 RAM.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 03:43 PM   #20
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$1600 includes a thunderbolt motherboard, 8GB RAM, GTX 770, power supply, i5 3.4GHZ quad core CPU, didn't include the monitor and you're right about the card, and three hard drives: one 2TB 7200 rpm HD and two 120GB SSD drives. And some other little accessories lol...it's crazy when you think about the expense of the iMac but you are getting quality components though.

----------

Forget to mention the RAM is also fast DDR3 1600 RAM.
I think this kind of illustrates the point I was making earlier. There's no free lunch when choosing PC over Mac. Lots of people throw out numbers that make it sound like they are saving so much money. But when you get right down to it and if you honestly compare apples to well... apples the TCO is basically the same.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 03:56 PM   #21
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$1600 includes a thunderbolt motherboard, 8GB RAM, GTX 770, power supply, i5 3.4GHZ quad core CPU, didn't include the monitor and you're right about the card, and three hard drives: one 2TB 7200 rpm HD and two 120GB SSD drives. And some other little accessories lol...it's crazy when you think about the expense of the iMac but you are getting quality components though.

----------

Forget to mention the RAM is also fast DDR3 1600 RAM.
That's not that different from the iMac though - it will hardly significantly outperform it, except perhaps in graphical power (the desktop 770 is a fair step up from the 680MX), and you're still out a screen. The iMac's RAM is also 1600 Mhz DDR btw. I chucked in an extra 8 in mine from Crucial for nowhere near Apple's price for 16 total. It has been more than enough for me.

I'm pleased with the performance of this machine. I know it can't be upgraded to a new GPU, but having owned an iMac previously, I knew that was going to be the thing that really dated the machine as it aged so I got the best one I could at the time. I'm happy that by the looks of everything nVidia has released for the 700M series, that the 680MX is basically getting a free extra generation, since it's virtually identical to the 780M in spec.

My plan is to get 5 years out of this thing and then look at where I stand. I'm confident that the 680MX will hold its own in that timeframe, with the ability to drop down to 1080P in particularly taxing games. Sure I won't be able to drop in the latest and greatest GPU in a couple of generations, but I think it's a decent tradeoff for the compromise I made when buying the machine in the first place. No need to mess with hackintosh, great machine, quiet operation, low power consumption (relative to a desktop GPU beast).

However, that said, to each their own - those building hackintoshes and enjoying them, don't let me stop you. I'm just here to point out that the iMac is actually not dreadful value for the performance and benefits it has.

Edit: this of course is in reference to the 27" with the 680MX - I think anyone buying a 21" and comparing it to a hackintosh for gaming performance will have different results. The 650M in the 21" is pretty underpowered.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 04:17 PM   #22
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After running a stable hackintosh since mid 2011. I'm doing the opposite and looking forward to moving to a mini.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 05:21 PM   #23
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After reading through this thread I've learned a lot. I was considering getting a Hackintosh before but I guess I'll stick to Mac. Thanks
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 06:05 PM   #24
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Hackintoshes aren't troublesome, you just have to commit sometime to setting up the right build and researching how to configure that build. I know individuals who have had stable Hackintoshes for months-years on end. Sure nothing beats the real deal, but then that's part of the fun of tinkering with a custom PC and getting Mac OS to run on it.

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Edit: this of course is in reference to the 27" with the 680MX - I think anyone buying a 21" and comparing it to a hackintosh for gaming performance will have different results. The 650M in the 21" is pretty underpowered.
Well I have the 21" and it's underwhelming and under powered.
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Old Jun 9, 2013, 06:09 PM   #25
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Hackintoshes are immensely easy to build and maintain these days. You also get the peace of mind of being able to upgrade your components quite easily... so long as you are using OS X friendly-components.

You will have to familiarize yourself with updating drivers and occasionally editing kext files... but if you stick to using strictly Mac-friendly parts, there is a lot less maintenance. I'm quite happy with my Hackintosh. 10.8.4 added native driver support for the Titan GTX and I just upgraded to a 27" IPS display.
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