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Apollo "68080" new 68K Core running on Atari STf

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I don't think it could really become competitive on it's own, considering a Raspberry Pi Zero or 1 is faster than Vampire 2, and even the $400 version coming with the high end FPGA will not be faster than the Raspberry Pi 2, let alone 3.

 

With that said, it currently gives Amiga fans a lot of acceleration for a reasonable price (even 250EU is good vs 68040/68060 accelerator cards), and it's more compatible than the 040 or 060 to boot because of how they engineered the CPU. On top of that it works with any existing hardware which standalone versions certainly wouldn't do. This makes it a more compatible solution than MIST, with much higher performance to boot. The Amiga was lucky to have software that really benefits from faster CPUs.

 

I think the ST story could be similar; Starglider, and Frontier Elite II will use whatever you can throw at them hardware-wise as they'll scale to 50/60 fps nicely with CPU speed. I'm sure there are a few others.

 

Summary- Vampire has these benefits over MIST:

- More compatible CPU*

- More compatible custom chips (because it uses onboard chips)

- Much higher CPU performance (>110,000 vs 8,644 Dryhstones for MIST in Sysinfo 4.0)

- Will come with a FPU soon

- 128MB instead of 32MB of RAM (web browsing is tolerable)

- The full retro feeling (you still touch the old computer to use it)

- HDMI output (vs VGA on MIST)

 

and drawbacks:

- Requires a whole host computer to work

- higher cost

- Cannot emulate multiple machines like MIST

- Not using open sourced cores

- Does not support USB HW like MIST

 

* From the Apollo team:

Apollo 68080 CPU (100% 68K compatible)
Apollo fully supports _EVERY_ CPU instruction of the 68000/68010/68030/68040/68060

Apollo 68080 supports _ALL_ 68000/68020/680x0 Ea-modes.

Apollo 68080 supports selfmodify code operations.
So code doing this which worked fine on 68000, but fails on 68030/68040 .. can work again on 68080.

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Guys.. If you don't get on this "bandwagon" you are missing out. This is probably the fastest thing that has ever natively executed 68k code. Its easily over 2x faster than the fastest gen6 060.. If I load up the WinUAE Amiga emulator on my Corei7 PC, and set everything to "max acceleration", it can not run as fast as the Vampire 2.. ANd theres no way in hell any Raspberry PI running an emulator is gonna get anywhere even close.

 

Mist and FPGA Arcade are not even on the same playing field.. This thing has a 64bit core that runs all of the extended commands from every generation of 68k processor, plus has exponentially larger caches, pipelining, and even MMX support. It runs existing 680x0 stuff at blinding speed, but thats only the "tip of the iceberg" when you talk about the potential performance gains possible with compilers updated to utilize the addtional cpu features. http://www.apollo-core.com

 

The guys doing this are AMIGA people. They want to support the ST, but they need help & support from the ST community.

 

There are 2 incarnations of the hardware currently available. One plugs directly into a 64pin DIP 68000 socket, so it could work for the 520,1040, mega ST/E machines. The other is proprietary to the A600 and it's doubtful it would have any application in the Atari world due to very specific physical/mechanical requirements.. So, let's focus on the model that actually fits the standard DIP 68000 socket:

 

Vampire2.jpg

 

Main features:

 

1.The Apollo 68080 CPU core is implemented in a cyclone 3 FPGA.. Core updates can be easily applied via downloadable/executable flash-update files.

 

2. It has 128megs of the fastest RAM ever put on an AMIGA (or any 68k machine, to my knowledge). Programs that benchmark "effective ram speed" on classic AMIGA accellerators (usually 30 - 50mhz on the fastest 68060 accelerators) rate this SDRAM at like 580mhz. This is not an exaggeration.

 

3.It also has additional flash memory to contain the Amiga Kickstart image, negating the need for hard system ROMs (This could be used for the TOS image in an Atari ST application).

 

4.It has a built in IDE interface that currently benchmarks at about 11.5 megabytes/second.

 

5.It has a built in Micro SDXC card slot that can be used for additional mass storage and currently works with microSD cards up to 128GB.

 

6.It has a built in HDMI output which (on the AMIGA) does 8/16/24/32bit color output with resolutions up to/exceeding 1080p. The developers have stated that they believe it would be VERY EASY to adapt this to support existing Atari ST retargetable Graphics standards.

 

Literally, all this thing needs to come to the ST is a compatable flash image containing the appropriate ST-specific support logic to make the core run on an ST and an appropriate/customized TOS image to provide rudimentary support to the onboard harware.

 

Check out http://www.apollo-accelerators.com

 

You wont find a 68k FPGA core anywhere that even comes close.. If you guys want the ST platform to benefit from this, they need your support.

 

 

Last thing I will say is that the Pricing you've seen on ebay is a very short term thing being done to generate funds to set up mass production of the current and next gen design. The fact that people will pay those amounts should give you some indication of the performance levels that this device is capable of.

 

There is also an order list you can get on with a fixed price of about $300USD.. Once mass-production is in place, they estimate lead-times of (approximately) 1 month or less..

 

If you have low level hardware/coding experience with the ST platform and you want to help, or are simply interested in following this project up to the minute(on Amiga or ST)please come to irc.freenode.net, #apollo-team.

Edited by MEtalGuy66
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Thanx. Funny, I don't see MMX support mentioned. Speeds you listed are nothing impressive. This is year 2016. I can buy for 10-15 Euros CF card what can 30++ MB/sec. I can buy for little more Euros 4-8 GB DDR3 RAM card. Will not continue.

 

What would be of real use is to give exact specs of possible video playback - that's something where can really compare performance. So: resolution, bit depth, frames per second for fluid playback and used audio and video codecs.

You know, I had similar discussions around 2002, when some Amiga user bragged how he can watch video on his accelerator aided Amiga. That PCs are crap, etc. Then it appeared that it was something like 160x100px at 6 fps :)

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Thanx. Funny, I don't see MMX support mentioned.

If it's not on the wikipage it's because the page is not up to date.

 

Speeds you listed are nothing impressive.

Well, please tell me what other 68k machine is capable of them and I'll take your statement seriously.

 

This is year 2016. I can buy for 10-15 Euros CF card what can 30++ MB/sec. I can buy for little more Euros 4-8 GB DDR3 RAM card. Will not continue.

I'm glad you "will not continue" since what you can buy for a modern platform is completely irrelevant to what is available for an Atari ST.

 

What would be of real use is to give exact specs of possible video playback - that's something where can really compare performance. So: resolution, bit depth, frames per second for fluid playback and used audio and video codecs.

You know, I had similar discussions around 2002, when some Amiga user bragged how he can watch video on his accelerator aided Amiga. That PCs are crap, etc. Then it appeared that it was something like 160x100px at 6 fps :)

You can go on youtube and see PLENTY of very recent demonstrations, but since your purpose here is clearly to compare the capabilities of 68k platforms with modern machines, Im not sure it wouldnt be a waste of your time.

 

The point is: Vampire2 brings to the 68k machine over twice the performance of anything thats ever been available before and at about 1/3 (or less) price. Noone ever claimed it would compete with modern platforms. What it does have the potential to do is increase the speed of an Atari ST by 200x or more.. And that's conservatively speaking..

 

Here is an up to the minute update of the current state of the latest core which is about to be released. Some of the latest optimizations concern the MMX and video specific features, as discussed:

http://apollo-core.com/knowledge.php?b=1&note=2700

Edited by MEtalGuy66
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Here are some answers: "Better Video playback with AMMX
AMMX instructions have been improved and instructions optimized for Video decoding have been added. We are optimizing RIVA video player. Both Audio and Video playback are significantly improved. GOLD2 will be bundled with a RIVA version making full use of AMMX instructions. Our goal for the GOLD2/RIVA bundle is to allow smooth (25 FPS) playback of video of 640x360 size.|

It is not MMX but AMMX . Why should I care for such video playback in 2016 ? What I can to do with 200x faster CPU on ST ? Watching that almost no SW work ?

And no way that it will be 200x faster. You need whole new bus, logic in machine for that. How to write to video RAM so fast ? Only complete new Shifter, MMU ...

How much transistors/gates has Vampire 2 ? And how much some modern CPU ?

If you want some serious interest for project start to write seriously, not firing out bombastic numbers and things what are not realistic.

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Here are some answers: "Better Video playback with AMMX

AMMX instructions have been improved and instructions optimized for Video decoding have been added. We are optimizing RIVA video player. Both Audio and Video playback are significantly improved. GOLD2 will be bundled with a RIVA version making full use of AMMX instructions. Our goal for the GOLD2/RIVA bundle is to allow smooth (25 FPS) playback of video of 640x360 size.|

It is not MMX but AMMX.

Obviously, the MMX instructions were for the x86 platform.. AMMX is simply the term being used to describe the similar technology as applied to 68k.

 

 

Why should I care for such video playback in 2016 ? What I can to do with 200x faster CPU on ST ?

Here's a better question. Why are you even reading this forum?

 

Watching that almost no SW work ?

Based on what? It hasn't even been attempted yet. How do you know what percentage of software will/won't work?

 

And no way that it will be 200x faster. You need whole new bus, logic in machine for that. How to write to video RAM so fast ? Only complete new Shifter, MMU ...

You are making quite a few incorrect assumptions about a great many things. The "200X" figure is just a conservative estimate regarding the effective processing speed of the current 68080 core (as tested on the AMIGA)versus a stock 68000. If using the on board HDMI graphics subsystem, the speed that we write video ram has nothing to do with the speed of the Atari's motherboard RAM or the speed of any of it's orginal graphics hardware or even native CPU bus, for that matter.

 

How much transistors/gates has Vampire 2 ? And how much some modern CPU ?

Ok, there you go comparing to modern computing platforms again. Here are the specs for the cyclone III fpga: https://www.altera.com/products/fpga/cyclone-series/cyclone-iii/features.html

 

If you want some serious interest for project start to write seriously, not firing out bombastic numbers and things what are not realistic.

You are the only one making unreasonable/unrealistic claims/expectations. Noone who chooses to use a retro 68k machine expects modern performance levels. The points you keep repeating are irrelevant to the topic of the thread and the whole forum, for that matter. Noone in here cares. If you are interested in Benchmarking modern systems, you should go elsewhere. Continuing this type of irrelevant hypercritical behavior classifies you as a "troll".. Edited by MEtalGuy66
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Said it before and I'll say it again - where do I sign up at? :)

 

PS Metalguy66 and I have had differences of opinion in the past,

but I've always respected his technical expertise and knowledge.

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It makes a 68k AMIGA run faster than any other accelerator I've ever seen. You have my word on that.

Edited by MEtalGuy66

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Did they add the VMA/VPA/E signals support ? If not, it's not going to work on a ST (they are not used on Amiga).

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Yeah. Its a relatively high-end fpga.. It has hundreds of programmable I/O pins.. At worst, your probably talking about a jumper wire or two.. At best, just some VHDL code.. I don't know the particulars as far as which pins of the 68000 socket are connected/orphaned. But that's exactly the kind of insight we need. You should pop over to the IRC channel if you get a chance and have a chat with the developers..

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Last time I had a chat with them it ended up with them telling me to shove it where the sun doesn't shine and that they will never make any effort to make it Atari compatible ... so even though they seem to have changed their mind, I'm not to sure I want to talk to these guys again.

Rodolphe

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I'm sorry to hear about that negative experience. The people you spoke to were undoubtedly not members of the actual Vampire or Apollo-core projects. There are alot of people who hang out in the IRC channel. Unfortunately, sometimes people have silly "hardware rivalry" left over from the 80s. I assure you this is NOT the position of the people who actually count. The project developers are very interested in supporting as many 68k platforms as possible. Right now, Atari ST is the next logical step in that goal, and knowledgable Atari ST veterans are needed.

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METalGuy66 - you should really reconsider your attitude. Because it is easiest to start to cheer some new project, and saying how great it is, that I'm interested and like. What I do here is actually constructive critic. And I posted on your forum too some concrete questions regarding compatibility. All what I seen there, in Majsta presentation in Belgrade (I guess) via YouTube (and I did not need translation), then what you talk here - all it just proves that I see really well weak points of whole idea to use that CPU as Atari accelerator. Will not go here in Amiga case, since I'm sure that years of work were invested into SW and interfacing it with Amiga board(s). But whole attitude how simply will be to tie it with ST shifter is just not serious.

"Here's a better question. Why are you even reading this forum?" - Here I see some more serious people and posts than you(rs) :grin: I hope you will allow me to follow them, and even to discuss there :)

"Based on what? It hasn't even been attempted yet. How do you know what percentage of software will/won't work? " Thats good question (finally) - I have lot of experience in it. Even minor thing - 68030 instead 68000 means problems and some %-age of SW not working. Then, 32 MHz (TT) instead 8 MHz (ST) makes another batch if problems - sometimes it is just that SW works badly only because faster CPU clock, nothing else. And we have case of attempt to make CPU what acts like whole line 68000-68060. As said in your forum it would be possible only with CPU mode selector. I had that idea long time ago, when wandered why Motorola ensured not better compatibility in 68020-30 by having 68000 stackframe, SR register mode.

And this is only top of iceberg. Of course nobody know what is exact %-age of non-working SW. But I tell you now that less than 5% of existing, popular Atari ST SW will work properly, for sure - in high-speed mode. In turtle mode it may be 50%. Talking about case when there is only CPU changed, and all other main chips are original. Some serious OS patching can make that 5% bigger, but that will need some Atari expert. You are not making this attractive for ...

"If using the on board HDMI graphics subsystem, the speed that we write video ram has nothing to do with the speed of the Atari's motherboard RAM or the speed of any of it's orginal graphics hardware or even native CPU bus, for that matter."

You are quite far from having some Hdmi graphic subsystem on Atari, especially some compatible one. So, for now I talk what would be if Vampire will be on org. Atari graphic subsystem - what involves shifter, MMU, Glue, RAM - all slow as year 1985.

"I'm glad you "will not continue" since what you can buy for a modern platform is completely irrelevant to what is available for an Atari ST." . Things are that Ataris will not last long. They are already too problematic and need lot of time and fixing. I have 5 diverse Ataris, and in last 5 years I needed to fix them a lot. Of course, it can be just worse in near future. I even removed some expansions from STE and Mega ST to make them more stable and less load.

Additionally, I really don't care for some speed in case of retro computers. What I care is to pull out max. of existing HW, mass storage (doing that over 24 years), compatibility. If I want speed I will use what is much faster and cheaper.

That's the normal way by me. What you doing is some kind of bragging - my Atari/Amiga is fastest one. And what good I have from that ? Can play Quake 2, watch DVD ? No thanks, I did it already 15 years ago. I can spend 250 Euros on something really powerful. Or just buy MIST. What will allow me to run/emulate much more than Amiga and Atari ST SW .

"You are the only one making unreasonable/unrealistic claims/expectations. Noone who chooses to use a retro 68k machine expects modern performance levels. The points you keep repeating are irrelevant to the topic of the thread and the whole forum, for that matter. Noone in here cares. If you are interested in Benchmarking modern systems, you should go elsewhere. Continuing this type of irrelevant hypercritical behavior classifies you as a "troll".."

:-D troll because I dare to point on some negative things :-D So, compatibility is irrelevant ? Speed is irrelevant ? But you claim movie watching - and then speed IS very relevant, and you need to be close to modern machines, otherwise it is not movie watching, just another bragging, useless one - because no one normal will use it..

You try to ignore my points, to classify me as troll - well, that happens often when people acts not like fan. And I never act like. I went in this because I know lot about related things. Anyway, I think that I'm done here. Time will show some things, and that will be relative soon ...

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PPera, I'm a big fan of your work, Seriously, I am. I use a lot of your hard drive adapted games

all the time.

 

But I can't help think you might be missing the point a bit here. Do I (or anyone else, I would

imagine) honestly think that the Vampire will make an Amiga or Atari run as fast as my 3 month

old HP laptop? No, of course not. That's not the point.

 

It's the sheer exhilaration of seeing just how far (and fast) we can push our retro machines. I

know the first time I successfully booted up my Atari STacy at 40mhz, my jaw dropped open.

The joy of watching TOS boot almost *instantly* to the desktop (with ACC's and AUTO folder

programs running) was great. I was in the streets of Skara Brae with my party before you could

say "Bards Tale" (one of your ports, BTW).

 

We love our machines. We're enthusiasts. It's all about using the old hardware and taking it

places the original designers could only dream about. I actually bought a MiST once. It's a

great piece of hardware, pure genius and well supported. I sold mine. Why? Well, it's just

not the same for me (and I know this is purely subjective), as using the real deal, the original

hardware.

 

So when something comes along that has the potential to up my machine's game, I'm gonna

sit up and take notice. Sure, let's see if they can deliver what's been promised, but I for one am

certainly willing to give their team the benefit of the doubt. I don't have any reason not to, at

this point.

 

Now all of this is of course, "in my humble opinion", so you can take it with a grain of salt,

but there it is. Just sayin'. :)

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ParanoidLittleMan, You are a troll because you have made your point.. You have been told it's irrelevant, and you continue to repeat yourself.

 

You are clearly NOT a hardware expert based on the things you have said, but we have all tolerated several repetitions of it.

 

Everyone here UNDERSTANDS you don't like the ideas being presented here..

 

GO SOMEWHERE ELSE..

 

If everything being said here is lunacy, then let us be lunatics.

 

I'm asking you nicely at this point.

 

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ParanoidLittleMan, You are a troll because you have made your point.. You have been told it's irrelevant, and you continue to repeat yourself.

 

You are clearly NOT a hardware expert based on the things you have said, but we have all tolerated several repetitions of it.

 

Everyone here UNDERSTANDS you don't like the ideas being presented here..

 

GO SOMEWHERE ELSE..

 

If everything being said here is lunacy, then let us be lunatics.

 

I'm asking you nicely at this point.

 

Very nice - calling someone troll, saying go somewhere else ...

Go back to your Amiga cave you ... I was here before you even knew what is Shifter :-D

Ah, and ask Majsta who was who gave him help about IDE port .

Now really finished with this useless thread.

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I am still not 100% sure how the HDMI graphics works vs the normal video out.

 

Let's focus on the Amiga version for a sec, I venture the ST would behave similarly.

Is the HDMI a replacement of the normal video (meaning all normal mode are simulated in FPGA, copper and all) so I can use the HDMI all the time OR the HDMI is only for advanced gfx and for std gfx I need to use the normal video out?

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The AMiga's OS supports retargetable graphics.. So, the HDMI is essentially a "video card" to the amiga OS.. It uses a driver just like say a Picasso IV or Cybervision 64/3D would. Programs that access the amiga's native display hardware directly (mostly games, demos, and stuff) are going to continue to use the stock RGB output.. However, on the Amiga, specifically, there is work being done in the way of various methods of "snooping" the data from the amiga chipset and re-directing the output via HDMI.. This is something that may be feasible due to the flexibility of the fpga based design and the nature of the AMIGA.. It wouldnt make sense to speculate on its application concerning the ST at this point.

 

However... What you should be able to do in all liklihood is run your GEM desktop on an HDMI connected modern device, in much higher color depth and resolution and much MUCH faster than the Atari's native display. Then when running games/demos/etc, the output would appear on the Atari's normal display.

 

I don't want to make this thread about the Amiga, but since you specifically asked for an example of how the HDMI vs stock displays might be used:

 

A500home.jpg

 

The LCD panel display on the left is the Amiga Workbench screen. You can see an IRC client running on it.. The screen on the right is the Amiga's native ECS output, running a .mod player.

clicking the "window cycle" gadget in the upper right of either screen switches your mouse pointer from one screen to another.. There can also be multiple "screens" running per physical display in which case, the cycle gadget also toggles which "screen" is being displayed.. Alot of this is specific to the Amiga and how it's OS/GUI behaves..

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This is an interesting project to me. In order for me to want to buy this a few things would need to work 100%:

 

1. HDMI output is one of the bigger things for me - native output through HDMI would be required if possible. Some things HDMI and other via the regular channel wouldnt be itneresting

2. Support for Spectre 128 - Having the run the Mac emulation faster would be a nice side benefit :)

3. Any improvements to network support

 

Just having a faster ST with low support for current software prob wouldnt be enough to get me to purchase.

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Well, I certainly get the idea that the key people in this project are committed to supporting the Atari ST as fully as possible at as many levels as possible, or I wouldn't be here, wasting your time and mine.

 

Vincent Riviere (Blank Vector) of EmuTOS notoriety came and joined the project today.

 

First "baby steps" being discussed are improved OS CPU detection routines for the 68080 Core in EmuTOS and possible modification of Vampire's onboard SAGA graphics subsystem at the core level to directly accommodate/support FVDI.

 

Support for Spectre 128 - Having the run the Mac emulation faster would be a nice side benefit :)

If you go on Youtube and look at our Mac Emulation videos, it will BLOW YOU AWAY...

 

Any improvements to network support

This is a big concern of the Amiga community as well. The Latest Vampire development boards (being ordered from the PCB manufacturer now) have built-in local ethernet. So, this is a feature that will likely remain standard in future production models.

 

Just having a faster ST with low support for current software prob wouldnt be enough to get me to purchase.

The Vampire/Apollo team is committed to delivering the highest possible level of software compatability. While the ST support fork of the project is relatively infantile at this point, the daily increase in software compatability on the AMIGA is (for me at least) indicative of the constant/continued/tireless commitment of alot of very talented development people to making this the absolute most robust accelleration platform for real hardware that the retrocomputing world has seen in recent years, or possibly ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

Edited by MEtalGuy66
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Well, I am indeed impressed with this. Is there a definitive date for when the Vampire 2 to be released for the ST, or is it too soon to tell? I know it is for the Amiga already, but I am curious. I might just snatch one up in the future just to see what it is like.

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I was wondering when someone would shoehorn a FPGA board into an ST

Very exciting news.

I would love to go Vampire on my A600, and equivelant on my 520STm. Keeping it compact and powerful!

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For me, the acceleration thread is interesting, as I have an STE with a 32Mhz booster from exxos, and testing has proved interesting, you can see comparisons here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1127753703981519&set=gm.10154597711334214&type=3&theater

 

It would be interesting to see where this could go, and if there is the feasability of getting it to a price point that people would consider reasonable, as at present, my ST's and Amiga are a hobby, and i am not prepared to pay large amounts for this sort of thing, especially as you are likely to hit a point where speed of processor becomes irrelevant, because the software is unuseable at the speed the processor is running at.

 

I'd rather see a simpler device, at a better price point, with a lower level of boost. Personal opinion folks, please don't get all fighty like it got earlier in the thread!! :P

Edited by atarifanboi

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