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More AMD rumors

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
AMD rumors are afoot again (MacBidouille).
Now I don't for a second think that Apple will abandon PPC and go x86 (neither 32 nor 64 bit version). There are too many mines in the water that way. On top of that Jobs has said that they are not abandoning PPC and that PPC has a great future. As a CEO of a large company ha cannot say this and then change just a couple of months later.
But:
There were rumors of G5 (64 bit) processors from Motorola last spring and rumors said that last summer Apple would have at least speed equality with Intel come MWNY 2002.
There were just a few weeks ago rumors of Apple boxes with AMD chips in them. The boxes were welded shut so nobody should see what was inside. FCP supposedley "flew" on these boxes.

And:
AMD needs cash. Apple is "pissed" with Motorola.
So what if the AMD-boxes contained AMD produced PPC G5's?

This would give AMD some sorely needed cash and a second revenue stream. It would let Apple get away from Moto, and it would keep Apple competitive with Wintel until the 970 comes along.

Any thoughts?
At all feasible?

Terje
post #2 of 44
I have contemplated the possibility also, but there are some things which you have to take into account (and which make the scernario, to say the least, improbable).

I think mostly of the expertise AND experience needed to make, nay, design such a chip. If I'm correct, though I may not be, Apple doesn't own the hardware design of the PPC chips in their various machines, and though they may have blueprints, these are most likely patented to the very nanometer, meaning, AMD would have to start roughly from scratch to design a processor capable of handling the PPC instruction set.

Suppose they pull this off: they design such a processor, and it is scalable and it is faster than current offerings. They would have already spent some money on this, a little more than pocket change.

Where will they build it? I guess Motorola won't step up and say 'you can use our plant, sure'. For I think a specific processor needs a specific manufacturing installation, and it may just prove very hard to push out PPC's with ease out of their current Athlon/Hammer plants. So, more money to be spent. And time. Lots of time to get all of this done.

Meaning: if AMD were serious about the PPC (and serious to the extent that it'll be released next year), they should be building it somewhere, and I guess somebody would've already known, and rumors would've started, for this kind of thing is apparently so huge that you cannot hide it.

That's just my thoughts, though.
post #3 of 44
A waste of time. Your thread title is misleading. This subject as been discussed ad nauseum on other threads.

[ 11-22-2002: Message edited by: MacsRGood4U ]</p>
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post #4 of 44
this is not a rumour, this is something you thought up last night... <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[No]" />
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post #5 of 44
just a quick thought/question:

i recall reading an article on the differences between AMD procs and Intel procs, where basically the pentium is pure CISC and x86 and all those other geeky words. the AMD system, however, uses a RISC architecture chip (not necessarily PPC, i think), that is nice and relatively "smal", but it has a boat load of other stuff tacked on to the chip, making it "big" and "hot", and acting as a translator for RISC into CISC.

now, this article was before the Athlon's came out, and was talking about the Athlons in specific. apparently, the chip core was fast enough, that even with the translation, it could keep up with native CISC instructions Intel was using.

please bear in mind, i'm having to remember all this, and my memory is not perfect.

now, the big question would be, if this is true, and how AMD does things, could they take off the translator unit, leaving a RISC core, and could that core more easily run Apple stuff?

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post #6 of 44
perhaps the 970 is the new to-be low end chip, what with its low power consumption & heat disbursment it dosen't need all the cooling of the DDR Macs case

but "the" AMD chip would, and could be rolled out sooner

much fanfare in one area leaves the other unexposed.
post #7 of 44
some more fuel to the fire...

see this link

<a href="http://www.appleturns.com" target="_blank">http://www.appleturns.com</a>


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post #8 of 44
[quote]Originally posted by Dylsexic Manupilator:
<strong>some more fuel to the fire...

see this link

<a href="http://www.appleturns.com" target="_blank">http://www.appleturns.com</a>

</strong><hr></blockquote>

Very very interesting, but...this "Amd" in the Jaguar features could not be something other than Advanced Micro Devices?
post #9 of 44
[quote]Originally posted by PB:
<strong>

Very very interesting, but...this "Amd" in the Jaguar features could not be something other than Advanced Micro Devices?</strong><hr></blockquote>

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post #10 of 44
Amd = <a href="http://www.am-utils.org/" target="_blank">http://www.am-utils.org/</a>

Capitalization is important, guys. C'mon, give me a break. There is ZERO evidence for anything between AMD and Apple, and more repetitions of the same rumours doesn't make it more likely to happen.
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post #11 of 44
[quote]Originally posted by Programmer:
<strong>There is ZERO evidence for anything between AMD and Apple, and more repetitions of the same rumours doesn't make it more likely to happen.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Amen!
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post #12 of 44
What's more, we shouldn't want it to happen. AMD is suffering at the moment, and its not clear that they have the resources or market to compete with the giant that is Intel. Developing a PowerPC chip is only going to take resources away from their x86-64 effort and only stands to gain them a very small market share. It certainly wouldn't pay for itself, and therefore they could not sustain it. MacOS9 is still way too fresh for Apple to transition to MacOSX-only on a new processor yet -- perhaps in a couple of years, but its not going to happen anytime soon with the 970 confirmed to be just around the corner.

IBM is a far far better supplier since they have their very substantial business to support their own development efforts, and a leading edge MicroElectronics group (with no x86 history) that needs more customers. These guys want to blow the likes of SPARC, MIPS, and Itanium out of the water in their server market, but they need somebody else (i.e. Apple) to sell volume so that they can fund their own development better.

My guess is that IBM will supply Apple's processors for the next 5 or so years, minimum. Beyond that its too hard to predict. According to published IBM writings, in that kind of a timeframe we could be looking at chips with 8-16 cores (of 970 level complexity) on one chip. The 970's core is pretty well suited to exactly this kind of design -- low power consumption, only ~50 million transistors, high speed synchronous non-multiplexed bus, SMP support for up to 8-way, etc. Smaller processes and the deep pipelines should result in significantly higher speeds. Apple's future is very bright, and it is from IBM.
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post #13 of 44
Programmer, shouldn't we try to keep this thread on-topic? This is about AMD chips, not the IBM 970!

Is it possible that Motorola is unloading it's (desktop) PPC business to AMD? Perhaps with Apple playing matchmaker?

[ 11-22-2002: Message edited by: Locomotive ]</p>
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post #14 of 44
AMD making ppc chips is a joke. Even the first PPC chips where based upon existing RISC technology.

AMD has many projects, including The Barton, the new athlon with 200 mhz FSB bus ,and 512 KB L2 cache, the AThlon 64 (aka the opteron) and the various chipset needed to make it work on new mobos. This is a lot of R&D.
At best AMD may produce Mot PPC on their plants, if this plants are not used at their full potential (but i have some doubt, AMD is not producing on SOI 0,13 for the moment)

but this rumor is a classic one, on these board.

[ 11-22-2002: Message edited by: Powerdoc ]</p>
post #15 of 44
[quote]Originally posted by Locomotive:
<strong>Programmer, shouldn't we try to keep this thread on-topic? This is about AMD chips, not the IBM 970!
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Heh.

It is on topic though... I'm pointing out how AMD chips would be a bad choice for Apple.
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post #16 of 44
[quote]Originally posted by Programmer:
There is ZERO evidence for anything between AMD and Apple, ...[/QB]<hr></blockquote>

Not sure that's completely true. Some of the earliest rumors _claimed_ contact between AMD and Apple... then went off down the speculation path of insisting it was a AMD-powered Mac under dev etc.

What I'm saying is that I could see AMD and Apple spending a LOT of time together discussing, say, HyperTransport... and having the rumormongers insist that was evidence of an AMD-Mac 'any day now, honest'.

Or perhaps they want AMD to make other pieces of the motherboard chipset, who knows. Custom RAID controller? Whatever.
post #17 of 44
Here is my take on the Apple/AMD situation:

Apple has been stuck with Motorola's slow breakthroughs in processor development.

Motorola is considering selling the chip fabrication part of their company.

AMD is also strapped for cash, but eager to stake their space in the processor world.

Apple is working with IBM to produce their future processors, but should always keep their options open. We don't want a Motorola-like situation in the future.

Steve Jobs likes to call the shots, harder to do with a company like IBM, but not as hard with a company like AMD, that needs the boost.

Apple should purchase the Motorola's processing facilities and hire some of the key personnel. Apple in turn hires AMD to run the manufacturing facilities. Steve can have a lot more input into processor development.

AMD get access to the intellectual property that Apple and Motorola have and a healthy cash infusion. Apple gets options in the processor market, including a partner that will be more receptive to input (than Motorola was). IBM signs a collaboration aggreement with Apple and AMD, technology exchange and consulting help the RISC processor design transition.

Looks like a win win situation, as long as IBM is not feeling snubbed in the deal.

Just my suggestion. I like this scenerio better than a quick with to an entirely new chip architecture. AMD can continue with the G3/G4/G4+ design and maybe deliver the "G5" chip that Motorola hasn't been able to deliver.

We will have to wait and see what happens, same as always.
post #18 of 44
I was listening to NPR the other day and the had an audio snipet from an exec from AMD...the story was about how AMD is losing more and more share to Intel and the quote was something like, "We are planning to divest a lot of our resources in manufacturing other types of chips that will not be competing directly with Intel offergins."
post #19 of 44
those 'other' chips are not microprocessors... and no - it is VERY unlikely that AMD would make a PPC ISA compatable chip. Apple could architect a move to another arch, but - to what? 32bit x86? Itanium? the currently unavailable AMD 64 chips? Apple will not make such a change any time soon... We will see steady, moderate performance boosts... and the status will be quo. The earliest moment any concrete info could be learned about future Arch directions will be @ WWDC - so don't hold your breath. early 2003 could be interesting though...
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post #20 of 44
If Apple is getting chips from AMD then I think that the wireless chips Belle has pointed to are the most likely ones. If Apple were to get CPUs from AMD I suspect that they would not be AMD designed chips--that is, AMD would be acting as a contract fab and not as designer. They may like the extra cash flow right now.
post #21 of 44
I doubt Apple will go to AMD. It's just not Apple of them to do that.
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post #22 of 44
Anything would be Apple of them as long as Jobs went on a stage an was 'proud to announce'
post #23 of 44
Apple will not use a AMD chip. Sorry won't happen. I'm sure apple and AMD have talked about business plans since they are in the same position against Intel. However, the IBM PPC970 will be the next chip for apple. By 2004 the G4 will even be replaced in the consumer lineup by the PPC7457-RM. (Ok so it's still a G4 but not the same one we have now.)

Fact:

\tBy second quarter 2003 the 7457 will be out. It will have SOI and a .13u process with a top speed of 1.8Ghz. In another 9 months or so we will see the PPC7457-RM which will have a DDRBus and exceed 2Ghz up to around 2.5Ghz. A year form now we will be at around 2.2Ghz have a DDRbus and SOI. Thats all I know for sure. I know nothing more than any of you on the PPC970 time frame. I would suspect that it will come out in MWSF with a 3 month delay. You can order now but don't expect to get them until march thing. From what I have heard the 970 is going to be quite scalable and will start out with a top speed of 1.8Ghz (but you all know that). By the time the PPC7457-RM is at 2.5Ghz within 16months the PPC970 will be over 3GHz. Remember IBM plans to drop the fab to .9U which should boost the speed by at least 700mhz easy just by doing that.

\tThe AMD rumors sound like a bunch of BS to me. Apple has everything going their way next year. They really don't need AMD. If any one wants proof of my time table I can email you Motorola's own Overview of the PPC department and time tables for the G4 and embedded chips.
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post #24 of 44
Actually, after looking back over these documents I would say I was a little optimistic.

2Q-03: .13U PPC7457, 1Ghz-1.8Ghz, SOI, 166/200Mhz bus

1Q-04: .9U PPC7457-RM: 1.8Ghz-2Ghz+, SOI, DDRBus ?Mhz

These ships will use less power and produce less heat than the current models.
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post #25 of 44
I wouldn't count on AMD fabbing chips. They don't have excess fab space from what I gather.
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post #26 of 44
OK, I agree with programmer that there will absolutely not be any change in architecture for the macintosh platform. While he may come from well understood technical principles, that's all mumbo-jumbo to me. However, IA32 is nearing the end of it's life and the replacement is anything but certain. Will it be IA64 or X86-64 that becomes the defacto standard? Without M$ support either one of these platforms is dead. Apple cannot get left with the loser if the whole point of platform change is to take advantage of mainstream CPU dev/competition in order to ensure an equal footing with windows platforms in the future. Even if you hate the PPC, it's not worth the effort to switch untill this situation has been resolved on the wintelon side. Sorry.

Also, how hot/hungry can CPU's get before they stop getting bigger and faster? Mebbe IBM is a little ahead in concept, but I really think a brace of small cool CPU's is the way of the future (as do some more knowledgeable types than myself). For that matter a G4 could also be such a chip, if it had the FSB to make such an arrangement worthwhile. PPC970 looks set to solve the bandwidth issue in a resounding way, and the future of PPC looks good should MP configs be the way of the future.

Now, all those good reasons why we won't see an AMD based mac aside, I remember, must be almost two years now, that some company claimed to be able to emulate the PPC very effectively using an Athlon chip. The claim was they could deliver 1Ghz g4 performance from a then king of the hill, Athlon 1.2-3, or something like that. Musta been vapour-ware, but the story was on some of the bigger internet tech outlets. Something to think about?
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post #27 of 44
Something's eating all of you...

There's no need for another chip 'until there is PPC970'. The G4 will do good enough. Actually, the Motorola roadmap shows that the PPC 7457-RM will be out at the same time as the PPC970 (late 2003) and outperform it without having to port OS and apps to 64bit to take advantage of a new processor.

My guess is that Apple won't leave the G4 in 2003. IBM's processor looks good. Today. But when it finally appears at the end of 2003, it'll have to compare well against what Motorola, Intel and AMD have to offer by THEN.
post #28 of 44
[quote]Originally posted by fryke:
<strong>Something's eating all of you...

There's no need for another chip 'until there is PPC970'. The G4 will do good enough. Actually, the Motorola roadmap shows that the PPC 7457-RM will be out at the same time as the PPC970 (late 2003) and outperform it without having to port OS and apps to 64bit to take advantage of a new processor.

My guess is that Apple won't leave the G4 in 2003. IBM's processor looks good. Today. But when it finally appears at the end of 2003, it'll have to compare well against what Motorola, Intel and AMD have to offer by THEN.</strong><hr></blockquote>

That was my point. Why would apple switch to AMD when they don't need to? And remember AMD stock is only at $6.86. Lower than Motorola and not the most secure company to place your future in. IBM on the other hand has a stock price of $84.43 and would be a great backer for the PPC. As I posted earlier Motorola has everything under control for next year. And these G4s are going to be fast. A 7 stage pipe line running at over 2Ghz. Man the P4 has a 20 stage just to do that. If AMD ends of making chips for apple I'll buy all of you a six pack. How about that? lol
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post #29 of 44
I'm curious how you guys are so sure about the 7457 / 7457-RM? There have been no official annoucements, and the one Moto document I have seen about it is relatively old and vague. I do expect a 0.13 G4 w/ on-chip memory controller and RapidIO bus eventually, but we don't really have any solid information about how it will perform or when we'll see it. On the other hand we know quite a bit about the 970 (and some of us might know quite a bit more since IBM is clearly willing to talk about it at least a little) since it is POWER4-derived.

My best guess, considering the lack of 7457-RM info, is that the 970 in 32-bit mode will outperform the 7457-RM by a wide margin at the same clock speed (especially when code is recompiled for it). It has way more internal resources and execution units, and its memory interface will be 20% faster than the 7457-RM's on-chip memory controller -- in one direction, ignoring the same amount of bandwidth in the other direction at the same time. And that assumes full DDR333 throughput which is more than your claims for the 7457-RM, nevermind the 7457. The 970 will also be much more efficient in an SMP configuration due to the full MERSI implementation and the fast bus.

The portable and consumer level Macs will continue to use some G4 variant at least until the 970 hits 0.09 micron. At that point the 970 should be low-power enough for and whether it is economical for the low end will depend on how expensive & hot the bus and chipset are. I'm not holding my breath for anything out of Moto, and I'll believe it when I see it.
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post #30 of 44
[quote]
Originally posted by fryke:
Something's eating all of you...

There's no need for another chip 'until there is PPC970'. The G4 will do good enough. Actually, the Motorola roadmap shows that the PPC 7457-RM will be out at the same time as the PPC970 (late 2003) and outperform it without having to port OS and apps to 64bit to take advantage of a new processor. <hr></blockquote>

At the risk of being slightly 'off-topic', how can anyone here believe Apple's processor malaise is near a competitive solution? Since the G4 announcement debacle, we've periodically been expecting great leaps in performance -- but always 6 months (or more) in the future. Well, the future never arrives! I'm from Missouri, please "SHOW-ME".
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post #31 of 44
[quote]Originally posted by Locomotive:
<strong>

At the risk of being slightly 'off-topic', how can anyone here believe Apple's processor malaise is near a competitive solution? Since the G4 announcement debacle, we've periodically been expecting great leaps in performance -- but always 6 months (or more) in the future. Well, the future never arrives! I'm from Missouri, please "SHOW-ME".</strong><hr></blockquote>

Because those in the know indicate there are much faster boxes running under the desks of Apple employees now. Right now. And have been for some time. Whether it's yields, or some other piece in the puzzle is unknown.

Now that Apple has effectively done an Osbourne on the PowerMacs, either they're:

a) happy that they'll never sell another PowerMac until mid next year.

b) Things are much further along than we know

c) Hope to introduce a whole whack of diversionary iPod-esque appliances come January.
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post #32 of 44
[quote]Originally posted by Locomotive:
<strong>At the risk of being slightly 'off-topic', how can anyone here believe Apple's processor malaise is near a competitive solution? Since the G4 announcement debacle, we've periodically been expecting great leaps in performance -- but always 6 months (or more) in the future. Well, the future never arrives! I'm from Missouri, please "SHOW-ME".</strong><hr></blockquote>

This time is different -- we have solid info on the arrival time of the next processor. Normally we are completely in the dark.

And while some forward looking types might defer purchases until the expected introduction of the next machine, many people need a machine now and won't wait. Especially since Apple hasn't officially announced a next generation machine.
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post #33 of 44
[quote]Originally posted by bandalay:
<strong>Because those in the know indicate there are much faster boxes running under the desks of Apple employees now. Right now. And have been for some time.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Maybe simply all of them are too egoistic to tell upper managment and want to have all the goodies for themselves?

Seriously though, where are the rumored 2.4 ghz moto chips now? Could it be that they come in January and the 970 is actually a low end variant?
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post #34 of 44
Those of you disposed to seriously contemplating AMD rumours are clearly in withdrawal from the days when we only had the bare minimum of forward-looking information coming out of A, I & M. But times have changed with the announcement of the PPC970. Listen to Programmer if you want to be sensible and not get caught up in strange geeky fantasies that will never come true.

So: no-one's listening to Programmer, right?
For the rest of us, who badly need a fix of quixotic geek fantasies, I'll revive an old idea: AMD cores + Transmeta translation layers. That is, perhaps AMD might match their RISC-ish
core to an as yet secret Transmeta PPC -&gt; AMD translation layer, suddenly yielding a new entrant to the PPC market, and providing some much-needed cashflow to these two struggling companies. These AMD/Transmeta boxen might have a unique selling point: by activating either the PPC or x86 translation layer at startup, the one box might be used as either a Mac or a Windoze box, depending on the user's needs at the time. The PPC615 returns!

I hasten to add that I don't believe this scenario for a moment, but it is a fun idea to kick around.
post #35 of 44
970 - low end, riiiiiggggghhhhhht. I'll have the bbq flying pig please.
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post #36 of 44
[quote]Originally posted by Matsu:
<strong>Now, all those good reasons why we won't see an AMD based mac aside, I remember, must be almost two years now, that some company claimed to be able to emulate the PPC very effectively using an Athlon chip. The claim was they could deliver 1Ghz g4 performance from a then king of the hill, Athlon 1.2-3, or something like that. Musta been vapour-ware, but the story was on some of the bigger internet tech outlets. Something to think about?</strong><hr></blockquote>

The emulation was unbelievably slow and was only a proof of concept. It didn't achieve speeds even remotely close to an effective 1GHz G4.
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post #37 of 44
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Programmer:
[QB]I'm curious how you guys are so sure about the 7457 / 7457-RM? There have been no official annoucements, and the one Moto document I have seen about it is relatively old and vague.[QB]

-----
I have some very clear tech/time charts of the G4. Although they are a little less clear about the 7457-RM.
\tI still think that the PPC970 will replace the G4 in the PowerMac lines next year. The 7457 will be for the consumer lineup. This way apple's consumer lineup doesn't fall behind their professional lineup.
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post #38 of 44
At the risk of typing something that everyone might know, wasn't there some kind of an agreement about a year or two ago between Motorola and AMD (Moto to contribute some RISC design expertise and AMD some fab expertise)? If true, could this be at play with regard to all of these AMD rumors?
post #39 of 44
[quote]Originally posted by Hudson:
<strong>At the risk of typing something that everyone might know, wasn't there some kind of an agreement about a year or two ago between Motorola and AMD (Moto to contribute some RISC design expertise and AMD some fab expertise)? If true, could this be at play with regard to all of these AMD rumors?</strong><hr></blockquote>

According to Eskimo, AMD got a good luck at who they were partnering with and backed out. So no, I'm not expecting anything from that partnership.
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post #40 of 44
[quote]Originally posted by Programmer:
<strong>The 970 will also be much more efficient in an SMP configuration due to the full MERSI implementation and the fast bus.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I've seen a couple of references for quotes like 'good at SMP up to 8-way' etc. But I haven't found a comment about how much of MERSI the 970 implements. Would a reference be possible? Or at least a confirmation?

[quote]Originally posted by bandalay:
<strong>Because those in the know indicate there are much faster boxes running under the desks of Apple employees now. Right now. </strong><hr></blockquote>
I thought those pointed towards RS6000's running Mac OS X. (or at least Darwin) Making sure things work on a Power3 or Power4 (which would be faster but out of Apple's price line to ship) doesn't necessarily indicate that those 'faster boxes' are ppc970 based. Yet.
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