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How Intel's battle with NVIDIA over Core i7 impacts Apple - Page 2

post #41 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

....These parts, AKA the quad-core "lynnfield" and "clarksfield" CPUs, and the lower-end dual-cores known as "clarksdale" and "arrandale" (these have an on-chip GPU)...

Do we know if those Clarksdale and Arrandale on-chip GPUs come even close to a 9400M level of performance?

And if Lynnfield and Clarksfield don't have on-chip GPUs/ integrated graphics maybe that's what Nvidia is trying to get at.

Even if Nvidia only gets the soutbridge DMI thingy, marketing the motherboard as "Nvidia chipset" is important to then push their on-board graphics and/or discrete GPUs ("this Nvidia motherboard works best with an Nvidia discrete GPU or "this Nvidia motherboard is perfect for slim profile HTPC with powerful onboard graphics")

I think this Intel-Nvidia thing has to do with the whole Nehalem line, not just QuickPath.

Apologies if I sound non-techie and stuff, brain not functioning so optimally today. We need more info from the 1337 forumers following this thread.
post #42 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by italiankid View Post

What Apple needs to do is refresh the price of the iMac...

Bring the prices down by about $200 on each iMac model and more on the Mac Pro...

This will help Apple sell more in the meantime

I agree Apple needs to increase value to customers, but remember, all apple needs to do is make the 20" and 24" have an LED backlight, use the Nvidia 9400M chipset with 9600GT discrete GPU, and Core2Duo Penryns at 2.5ghz and above. Boom! You have a great iMac you can sell at current prices, which have great value and are attractive, and much less re-engineering to be done, can use all the existing case designs! And yes, Core2Duo Quad mobile processor in the highest-end 24" iMac...

It's not technology. The lack of any iMac update so far is indecision on Apple's part. Core i7 can wait. In the current economic climate a Core i7 iMac just does not make sense unless it is that upgradeable "xMac". A super-sexy Core i7 iMac with liquid cooling is just far too "premium" even for Apple to push as their core desktop line.
post #43 of 79
I think apple would sign ( or has already signed ) an argeement with Intel to allow Apple produce Intel Compatible chipset.

Then Apple would just buy Nvidia's Chip and renamed them to Apple's Chip.
post #44 of 79
@ltcommander.data

Thanks for taking the trouble to write such an informative post (and winterspan likewise.) Much appreciated.
Believe nothing, no matter where you heard it, not even if I have said it, if it does not agree with your own reason and your own common sense.
Buddha
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Believe nothing, no matter where you heard it, not even if I have said it, if it does not agree with your own reason and your own common sense.
Buddha
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post #45 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatever00 View Post

Does that mean Apple will be forced to offer discrete GPUs on all Nehalem-based models to promote the adoption of OpenCL given that GMA is too slow and the fact that third party IGPs are not viable? That's good news then.

Well that is the hope since DMI is to low-bandwidth to hang an IGP off of and QPI equipped CPUs aren't the right market for IGPs.

The other option is to do like Sideport in the ATI 780G, 790G, and 790GX. Basically have an IGP with a small amount of dedicated memory, say 128MB, with the rest shared with system memory. Of course, by the time you start giving IGPs dedicated memory, you probably should consider whether you might as well go with a discrete GPU to avoid thermal and transistor budget limitations of sticking the IGP with the rest of the chipset.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

As someone pointed out above, Apple may be Intel's bitch... Well, just like Apple had a long running exit strategy with compiling for x86 (codename Marklar or something)... Apple had better keep in touch with AMD, ATI and PASemi etc. to avoid being painting themselves into a corner with Intel and/or Nvidia.

Well I don't view the decision to integrate the northbridge on the CPU as particularly malicious since it makes sense from a performance perspective. Using only low-bandwidth DMI-links for most chips also makes sense since high-bandwidth QPI is mainly needed for multi-socket setups. In terms of licensing, Intel is probably just holding out hoping to get concessions from nVidia. Afterall, nVidia has agreed to license SLI now which is important since PCIe controllers are going to be integrated on the CPU. If the bus license agreement said FSB, then nVidia will be in the wrong and will need to negotiate a new agreement for QPI and/or DMI.

I don't doubt that Apple will keep their options open. Realistically, ATI is a bigger supporter of OpenCL, since they've said they will support standards like OpenCL and DX11 Compute Shaders over proprietary GPGPU frameworks. nVidia however, is going to continue to promote their proprietary C for CUDA language alongside OpenCL and DX11 CS.

It should be noted too that while Apple may have a lot riding on Intel, Intel has a lot riding on Apple too. With Dell now selling AMD CPUs, Apple is actually the lone major OEM that is Intel exclusive for computer CPUs. With Apple's marketing power, Intel losing Apple as a customer would be a critical blow to Intel's image even if it doesn't directly effect their bottom-line. It's in Intel's best interest to keep Apple if not happy, then at least satisfied.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Do we know if those Clarksdale and Arrandale on-chip GPUs come even close to a 9400M level of performance?.

The GMA X3100 was produced on a 90nm process and the GMA X4500 was produced on a 65nm process. The desktop GMA X3100 was clocked at 667MHz with 8 stream processors and the GMA X4500 was clocked at 800MHz with 10 stream processors with some internal redesign and optimization. Usually, a shrink from 90nm to 65nm would allow the doubling of stream processors, so of that was given up for higher clock speed, but Intel was definitely conservative with the GMA X4500's design. The GMA X4500 is still about twice faster than the GMA X3100.

The IGP on Clarksdale and Arrandale will be built on a 45nm process. I think the most likely configuration will be 16 stream processors clocked at 1066MHz (8 times Nehalem's CPU bus of 133MHz). That's probably conservative and achievable, which is good since this is the first time an IGP has been put on a CPU even if it is on package as a separate die from the CPU. This configuration won't beat the 9400M but will come close, especially if Intel is serious about their drivers which you'd think they will be in the lead-up to Larrabee. Being close to the CPU, and the raw power of Nehalem will only help performance. Intel was also on the working group for OpenCL and made a whole bunch of flowery talk about it in press releases so it's very likely future IGP's will have OpenCL support.

I'm sure if Apple put up enough fuss, Intel may even make versions with overclocked IGPs, like how current iMacs use overclocked Santa Rosa platform chipsets and CPUs specifically made for Apple rather than the newer Montevina platform chipsets and CPUs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by allblue View Post

@ltcommander.data

Thanks for taking the trouble to write such an informative post (and winterspan likewise.) Much appreciated.

Thanks
post #46 of 79
I agree that this argument isnt much about equipment that Apple will use.

However this is more troublesome for all PC users who like to build their own systems. The idea of not being able to use an nVidia motherboard for a core i7 system is disturbing as this rules out the use of core i7 for serious gamers and the like who want standard nVidia features like SLI. This would be a bad blow for nVidia at one of its core markets
post #47 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

That's exactly what I was thinking and maybe that's where Apple is sh*ting its pants right now. Because now that Apple is fairly committed to Snow Leopard, GPGPU/OpenCL, etc... Apple has to pretty much ensure decent GPUs across its *entire* product line. Which may mean even the lower end Macs having *discrete* GPUs (Nvidia or ATI) which may be more expensive and cut into margins compared to having a cost-effective, powerful integrated GPU like the 9400M.

As someone pointed out above, Apple may be Intel's bitch... Well, just like Apple had a long running exit strategy with compiling for x86 (codename Marklar or something)... Apple had better keep in touch with AMD, ATI and PASemi etc. to avoid being painting themselves into a corner with Intel and/or Nvidia.

PASemi is Apple.
post #48 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by allblue View Post

@ltcommander.data Thanks for taking the trouble to write such an informative post (and winterspan likewise.) Much appreciated.

Thanks.. You should know that even short little comments like that really do make it worthwhile...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Do we know if those Clarksdale and Arrandale on-chip GPUs come even close to a 9400M level of performance?

as Itcommander said, it should be close to the 9400, I don't think anyone really knows the details. The good part is that the chips not only have the iGPU on the same CPU package so the connection is much faster than the old FSB, but likewise the iGPU has direct access from the CPU to two channels of fast DDR3 memory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Apologies if I sound non-techie and stuff, brain not functioning so optimally today. We need more info from the 1337 forumers following this thread.

No not at all... I'm no expert either, just a geek.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

..

Thanks for all your input. I do have some questions.

"Well that is the hope since DMI is to low-bandwidth to hang an IGP off of and QPI equipped CPUs aren't the right market for IGPs."

Wikipedia says the newest DMI is basically a modified PCIe x4 link running at 10Gb/s (1.25GB/sec). I'm wondering how much bandwidth an X4500-class integrated GPU would need to perform well? Is it really not feasible at all for them to connect one through the southbridge over DMI?

"In terms of licensing, Intel is probably just holding out hoping to get concessions from nVidia. Afterall, nVidia has agreed to license SLI now which is important since PCIe controllers are going to be integrated on the CPU. If the bus license agreement said FSB, then nVidia will be in the wrong and will need to negotiate a new agreement for QPI and/or DMI."

Thats what it looks like to me as well..

"I don't doubt that Apple will keep their options open. Realistically, ATI is a bigger supporter of OpenCL, since they've said they will support standards like OpenCL and DX11 Compute Shaders over proprietary GPGPU frameworks. nVidia however, is going to continue to promote their proprietary C for CUDA language alongside OpenCL and DX11 CS. "


Do you know how nVidia is going to be pursuing this? Are they writing a CUDA->OpenCL compiler, using an abstraction layer, etc? I haven't fiddled with programming any of the GPGPU stuff yet....

Thanks[/QUOTE]
post #49 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyce9000 View Post

I agree that this argument isnt much about equipment that Apple will use.

However this is more troublesome for all PC users who like to build their own systems. The idea of not being able to use an nVidia motherboard for a core i7 system is disturbing as this rules out the use of core i7 for serious gamers and the like who want standard nVidia features like SLI. This would be a bad blow for nVidia at one of its core markets

I think you guys will be ok.. Nvidia will no doubt eventually give in and just pay Intel whatever they want.. They can't afford to lose all the integrated GPU platforms..
post #50 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

Dan,

Your writing is thorough and thoughtful, as usual.

,dave

I completely agree. I always come to Appleinsider for some excellent in-depth analysis of all things Mac. Thank you Dan and A.I.!
post #51 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyce9000 View Post

I agree that this argument isnt much about equipment that Apple will use.

However this is more troublesome for all PC users who like to build their own systems. The idea of not being able to use an nVidia motherboard for a core i7 system is disturbing as this rules out the use of core i7 for serious gamers and the like who want standard nVidia features like SLI. This would be a bad blow for nVidia at one of its core markets

nVidia has now licensed SLI to work on Intel chipsets just like ATI has long done with Crossfire. So now Intel's chipsets have the advantage of being compatible with both SLI and Crossfire, while ATI and nVidia's chipsets only support their own technology.

Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

"Well that is the hope since DMI is to low-bandwidth to hang an IGP off of and QPI equipped CPUs aren't the right market for IGPs."

Wikipedia says the newest DMI is basically a modified PCIe x4 link running at 10Gb/s (1.25GB/sec). I'm wondering how much bandwidth an X4500-class integrated GPU would need to perform well? Is it really not feasible at all for them to connect one through the southbridge over DMI?

An IGP is not the same as a discrete GPU connecting through PCIe x4. As I understand things, as GPU process data they need a place to hold information to serve as inputs or to temporarily store their outputs before they are reprocessed. Discrete GPUs have dedicated VRAM to store information and the PCIe link only serves to an input source from the CPU and HDD. In an IGP, it relies on system memory as a cache and it needs to be constantly reading and writing to it, which is why IGPs are slower since they are competing with the CPU for memory bandwidth.

Normally, the IGP and memory controller are both on the northbridge of the chipset so the IGP technically has direct access to the memory, while the CPU has to jump through the FSB to access memory. This has been the common complaint with the FSB, because it can often be the bottleneck for CPU performance. In current MacBook and MacBook Pros, the FSB is 1066MHz which equates to 1 channel of DDR3-1066 memory with dual channel largely being wasted since the FSB basically can't allow anymore information through. The whole point of integrating the memory controller on the CPU like in AMD chips and in Nehalem is to remove the FSB bottleneck and allow the CPU to take advantage of the full dual or triple channel bandwidth. (It's even more important in multiprocessor systems like the Mac Pro so that memory bandwidth scales linearly with CPU count since each CPU has their own memory pool.)

The disadvantage of integrated memory controllers is that an external IGP would now have to be 1 hop away from system memory and be bottlenecked by the bus interface, in this case DMI. Anytime the IGP reads or writes something it'll have to go through the DMI link and 10Gb/s or 1.25GB/s is not enough considering the current 9400M has direct access to the northbridge memory controller and has the full 17GB/s of dual channel DDR3-1066 available. What's more, the DMI link is used for all peripherals too like the HDD, USB, ethernet, etc to reach the CPU for processing. DMI just doesn't have the bandwidth if the IGP relies on it exclusively for memory access.

Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

"I don't doubt that Apple will keep their options open. Realistically, ATI is a bigger supporter of OpenCL, since they've said they will support standards like OpenCL and DX11 Compute Shaders over proprietary GPGPU frameworks. nVidia however, is going to continue to promote their proprietary C for CUDA language alongside OpenCL and DX11 CS. "


Do you know how nVidia is going to be pursuing this? Are they writing a CUDA->OpenCL compiler, using an abstraction layer, etc? I haven't fiddled with programming any of the GPGPU stuff yet....

Thanks

You'll need to parse nVidia's marketing. Before there were standardized OpenCL or DX11 Compute Shaders, I believe nVidia just referred to all GPGPU operation on their GPUs as CUDA. They now basically break things down into a language and an interface to convert that language into the machine code that the GPU hardware understands. OpenCL and DX11 CS are two languages, and nVidia now specifically refers to C for CUDA as their proprietary language. CUDA itself is going to be the interface layer to convert GPGPU languages, whichever they are, to something the GPU will understand.

ATI is similar. Their proprietary language is Brook+, and Stream is their broader label for interfacing with the GPU.
post #52 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

Anytime the IGP reads or writes something it'll have to go through the DMI link and 10Gb/s or 1.25GB/s is not enough ...

So I guess the good news is that the only likely integrated GPUs of Nehalem-series chips will be in the budget dual-core models with the on-package GPUs (with direct access to the dual-channel DDR3). So someone like nVidia or ATI can't bolt on a crappy integrated GPU onto the quad-core clarksfield and lynnfield platforms.. Hopefully Apple expands their use of discrete (and more powerful) GPUs in the future with the release of SnowL..
post #53 of 79
When it comes to quick path it really does matter if Nvidia wants to go with an integrated GPU on that bus or not they will likely need some sort of license from intel. Now the question is do they already have one.

With Quick Path the distinction as to what may be considered a integrated GPU will likely become blurred. The thing here is that both Apple and Nvidia would likely want the GPUs to plug directly into Quick Path. That to keep the GPU as close to system memory as possible. Even then I'd expect a Quick Pathe connected GPU to have local memory so they may look more like a descrete GPU no matter the performance. I just have a hardtime seeing a GPU using Quick Path for all its memory accesses, it is not like it would be the only user of the bus.

I can actually see two classes of Quick Path using GPUs. One would be the high integration device that is thought of as an integrated chip today. That is a device with the GPU and all your I/O ports onboard. For the higher performance market I could see a Quick Path connected GPU that is much higher performance and passes the I/O thru to a south bridge. In essence if you are a GPU maker the performance of Quick Path is hard to ignore. If you are Apple you will want that mass of vector processors close to the memory they will work on.

As to what intel thinks it will ship between the Quick Path and DMI ports that has yet to be seen. Quick Pqth does have huge advantages and I can see intel getting all worked up over the DMI interface and then having it's various vendors dismiss it outright. For some apps the DMI based systems will be simple but OK for the intended uses. As a mother board maker though will you have enough options to produce outstanding product. I suspect that if Intel where to allow it to grow Quick Path could have a huge market with respect to support chipsets. It looks like Intel is working overtime to manipulate the market here.

Which brings us to AMD. Yeah their processors are a little slow but maybe not as bad as some think. If intel leaves them a big hole with respect to high speed interfacing to a GPU AMD will fill it. AND already has plenty of experience with on board memory controllers and high speed interfaces, with ATI they also have good GPU tech. It won't take much effort on their part to do an integrated, on the processor die, GPU. One should have much trouble imagining that this would be faster than the Intel solution and supportive of OpenCL. What I'm saying is that even though AMD lags a bit they could still force Intels hand via a much better processor with onboard video. Better in the sense that the GPU is often more important than the i86 unit. So what I'm saying is that it is not a sure thing that intels processor + GPU option will have the market share intel hopes for.

Part of this article is BS in my mind as it speculates as to what is holding up Apples new hardware. None of this speculation about i7 has anything to do with the Mini. At least I've not heard of anyone saying the Mini will get an i7 class processor. The iMac is a different story though as there is more than a good chance i7 could go in there. I just don't see Apple holding up one machine, a low cost one at that, due to issues on another.

As to people thinking Apple has painted themselves into a corner here with Nvidia, I see nothing that implies that. If they went to ATI they likely would have had the same issues. The other problem is that there will be years ahead of us before the GPUs in processor + GPU combos catch up with GPUs outside the main chip. If they ever catch up, though they will be certainly good enough for many apps, Apple won't enhance it's reputation as a producer of great graphics hardware by shipping huge quanities of them.

Dave
post #54 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

....The GMA X4500 is still about twice faster than the GMA X3100...The IGP on Clarksdale and Arrandale will be built on a 45nm process. I think the most likely configuration will be 16 stream processors clocked at 1066MHz (8 times Nehalem's CPU bus of 133MHz). That's probably conservative and achievable, which is good since this is the first time an IGP has been put on a CPU even if it is on package as a separate die from the CPU. This configuration won't beat the 9400M but will come close, especially if Intel is serious about their drivers which you'd think they will be in the lead-up to Larrabee. Being close to the CPU, and the raw power of Nehalem will only help performance. Intel was also on the working group for OpenCL and made a whole bunch of flowery talk about it in press releases so it's very likely future IGP's will have OpenCL support... I'm sure if Apple put up enough fuss, Intel may even make versions with overclocked IGPs, like how current iMacs use overclocked Santa Rosa platform chipsets and CPUs specifically made for Apple rather than the newer Montevina platform chipsets and CPUs...

Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

....as Itcommander said, it should be close to the 9400, I don't think anyone really knows the details. The good part is that the chips not only have the iGPU on the same CPU package so the connection is much faster than the old FSB, but likewise the iGPU has direct access from the CPU to two channels of fast DDR3 memory...

OK, thanks for the info.

To me though, my intepretation of this is that towards the 2nd half of 2009 Intel will have an integrated graphics solution that maybe comes close to what Nvidia had in October 2008.

So we still don't know if Intel can lift its GPU game.

Maybe if Intel holds out against Nvidia maybe this will force Apple to bite the bullet and go full discrete graphics across the Mac line by this 2009's holiday season. Nehalem duals and quads all with discrete GPUs, Snow Leopard, OpenCL, GrandCentral... would be very, very sweet.

*HOWEVER* with the current economy, that dream for 2nd half of 2009 may not materialise. Apple needs to shift its strategy for 2009 and 2010 now, so... who knows what we will see out of them.
post #55 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

...None of this speculation about i7 has anything to do with the Mini. At least I've not heard of anyone saying the Mini will get an i7 class processor. The iMac is a different story though as there is more than a good chance i7 could go in there. I just don't see Apple holding up one machine, a low cost one at that, due to issues on another...Dave

That's what I've been saying. Even with the iMac, think about the 20" and can you imagine what it would take to get a Core i7 in there? Nothing less than some stunning, margin-gobbling engineering.

I mean, the HP Firebird is pretty impressive and it's only a Core 2 Quad and still requires liquid cooling.

If Apple goes liquid cooling on a Core i7 iMac 22" and 26" or something like that, that would be stunning, but the economic conditions in 2009 and 2010, just don't make that feasible no matter what the price. Not without Steve actively in the picture.



post #56 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

.... With Quick Path the distinction as to what may be considered a integrated GPU will likely become blurred. The thing here is that both Apple and Nvidia would likely want the GPUs to plug directly into Quick Path. That to keep the GPU as close to system memory as possible...

Now I am not going to say it's impossible, but at this time it's surely a stretch to envision a GPU that connects through the quickpath interface. There are many reasons for this:

1) Perhaps most relevant, The PCIexpress bus is plenty capable of continuing to handle the job. PCIe 2.0 with a standard x16 connector moves over 8.0 GB/sec, and even the latest ridiculously high-end dual-chip GPUs didn't saturate the old PCIe 1.1 standard with 4.0 GB/sec. The PCIe 3.0 spec which will be finalized this year will bump that up to 16.0GB/sec. The high memory bandwidth requirements of modern GPUs is predominately between the GPU and the dedicated GDRAM on the card itself.

2) As i mentioned in my other post, the vast majority of future Nehalem systems will *NOT* even have quickpath. Only the high-end Bloomfield CPU/X58 platform and the Xeon/server platforms even have Quickpath. All the future consumer/enthusiast focused Nehalems will have the northbridge/PCIexpress bus built right into the CPU die itself and will connect straight to the southbridge chip via DMI --- thus no quickpath.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Part of this article is BS in my mind as it speculates as to what is holding up Apples new hardware. None of this speculation about i7 has anything to do with the Mini. At least I've not heard of anyone saying the Mini will get an i7 class processor. The iMac is a different story though as there is more than a good chance i7 could go in there. I just don't see Apple holding up one machine, a low cost one at that, due to issues on another.

Not only the Mini, it is *incredibly* unlikely the iMac would see an i7. The TDP and power usage is far higher than the currently used Core 2 duos, not to mention it hasn't even seen a low-power Core 2 Quad CPU yet. Also, as I mentioned above, the future Nehalems, namely the quad-core "Clarksfield" and "Lynnfield" are much better suited to the iMac as they use a lot less power and have a smaller 1-chip chipset/motherboard (no northbridge). For this reason I think we'll soon see a Core 2 Quad iMac update, and we won't see a Nehalem variant in the iMac until Q4 2009 or Q1 2010 (or whenever Intel has the new chips ready).
post #57 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

I mean, the HP Firebird is pretty impressive and it's only a Core 2 Quad and still requires liquid cooling....

While I agree that a 100W Core i7 won't see its way into the iMac, a Core 2 Quad would not require liquid cooling. The HP is almost certainly not using Intel's newest low-power variant of the Core 2 Quad, and probably using them at high-frequency too. It also is potentially more for cooling the GPU and reducing fan noise than anything else.

I'd bet we'll see 55W/65W TDP Core 2 Quad iMacs pretty soon, probably running at around 2.5Ghz.
post #58 of 79
ltcommander.data you make some really good points but discrete gfx on mobile Westmere have nothing to do with DMI. The IGP part of the MCM holds the Intel GPU, the integrated DDR3 controller, and a PCIe 2.0 controller, almost surely 16x. Any discrete gpu on the Westmere platform will be connected directly to the cpu through a PCE 2.0 16x bus. Not surprising since Lynnfield will also have a PCIe controller on the cpu, as will all future intel cpu's except the high-end socket 1336 x58 platform, it needs more than 16x. After the IMC, it was the next logical move on the way to total SoC.

http://download.intel.com/pressroom/..._WSM_Press.pdf
page 9, as you can see the DMI connection is to the southbridge only, while another bus comes out of the iGFX die to PCIe Gfx. The next slide (pg 10) clearly says switchable gfx supported, intel isn't dumb enough to force everyone who wants these to use their IGP but then require discrete gpus to go through DMI making said discrete gpu useless, the platform would fail.

Discrete graphics will be just fine on any new westmere-based Macs, hopefully I can resist the urge til then. Never liked apple but after using my gf's new aluminum wonder with the amazing multitouch gestures I'm converted. I found a way to get rid of OS X's wretched mouse acceleration so that's one less obstacle If they only offered the illuminated keyboard on the 2.0ghz model I would probably buy it immediately.

Now the question is will the IGP be as fast as the 9400m because I don't see apple including a discrete gpu on the 13''...
post #59 of 79
"The northern Californian companies have been arguing for a year about whether a deal they inked in 2004 allows NVIDIA to produce chipsets that work with Intel microprocessors that have integrated-memory controller features."

This is reported in most of the news sources.

Therefore, it looks like this applies across the Nehalem line because they will all have integrated memory controllers.

Nvidia is definitely somewhat concerned because Bloomfield, Lynnfield and Clarksfield (in other words Nehalem 45nm) all have integrated memory controllers.

Firstly, Nvidia loses out on the "FSB" parts of the chipset like the memory controller that are now built into the CPU. This is 100% regardless of the squabble. Secondly, Nvidia may lose out on integrated graphics. Even worse. Thirdly is the southbridge (QPI or DMI...??not sure about this part) stuff at risk -possibly bad too for Nvidia.

The MAIN thing is...

For Bloomfield, Lynnfield and Clarksfield (in other words Nehalem 45nm), if the courts rule in favour of Intel and Intel-Nvidia don't hammer out another deal, it means that *any* "integrated graphics" on any Intel-CPU-based motherboard is an Intel. Regardless of whether this Intel integrated is in the CPU (which it isn't, until Westmere) or on the motherboard, if Nvidia is locked out, it is a big chunk of Nvidia's strategy at large risk.

Forget about Westmere 32nm towards the end of the year. We're talking Intel's latest and greatest these three quarters, January to September 2009. What are the best graphics Intel can offer right now? X4500HD with no real roadmap and nowhere near ATI and Nvidia advances.

So the real risk to Apple is not the iMac which wouldn't have integrated graphics anyway or core i7, it is *the very next refresh of the Aluminium MacBook line... in otherwords, between now and September 2009, if Apple goes Nehalem in mobile, they might have to kiss the 9400M/Nvidia chipset goodbye, or, stick with Core 2 for the next 9 months.

And while this legal stuff goes on for a few months, again, Apple in the same position, forget the iMac, talkin' about the Aluminium MacBooks here... No NEHALEM. NO NEHALEM IN MACBOOK PRO until/ unless Apple goes back and throws out the 9400M/Nvidia-whatever chipset.
post #60 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by shiznit View Post

ltcommander.data you make some really good points but discrete gfx on mobile Westmere have nothing to do with DMI. The IGP part of the MCM holds the Intel GPU, the integrated DDR3 controller, and a PCIe 2.0 controller, almost surely 16x. Any discrete gpu on the Westmere platform will be connected directly to the cpu through a PCE 2.0 16x bus. Not surprising since Lynnfield will also have a PCIe controller on the cpu, as will all future intel cpu's except the high-end socket 1336 x58 platform, it needs more than 16x. After the IMC, it was the next logical move on the way to total SoC.

Yep, the on-CPU northbridge will have at least 16 PCIe 2.0 lanes.
post #61 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by shiznit View Post

ltcommander.data you make some really good points but discrete gfx on mobile Westmere have nothing to do with DMI. The IGP part of the MCM holds the Intel GPU, the integrated DDR3 controller, and a PCIe 2.0 controller, almost surely 16x. Any discrete gpu on the Westmere platform will be connected directly to the cpu through a PCE 2.0 16x bus. Not surprising since Lynnfield will also have a PCIe controller on the cpu, as will all future intel cpu's except the high-end socket 1336 x58 platform, it needs more than 16x. After the IMC, it was the next logical move on the way to total SoC.

http://download.intel.com/pressroom/..._WSM_Press.pdf
page 9, as you can see the DMI connection is to the southbridge only, while another bus comes out of the iGFX die to PCIe Gfx. The next slide (pg 10) clearly says switchable gfx supported, intel isn't dumb enough to force everyone who wants these to use their IGP but then require discrete gpus to go through DMI making said discrete gpu useless, the platform would fail.

Discrete graphics will be just fine on any new westmere-based Macs, hopefully I can resist the urge til then. Never liked apple but after using my gf's new aluminum wonder with the amazing multitouch gestures I'm converted. I found a way to get rid of OS X's wretched mouse acceleration so that's one less obstacle If they only offered the illuminated keyboard on the 2.0ghz model I would probably buy it immediately.

Now the question is will the IGP be as fast as the 9400m because I don't see apple including a discrete gpu on the 13''...

My point was never the inability to add a discrete GPU to any Nehalem or Westmere parts because as you noted they have integrated PCIe controllers. The AppleInsider article was concerned about nVidia IGPs on nVidia chipsets, and my point is that even if nVIdia got a license to produce chipsets for Nehalem, those chipsets aren't likely to have viable IGPs like the current 9400M IGP/chipset because the memory controller is no longer on the chipset and an external IGP will need to connect through DMI which as you note is designed for southbridges and doesn't have the bandwidth. My suggestion was that nVidia focus on fast discrete low-cost GPUs, since those will also be faster than an IGP, not necessarily that much more expensive, and will benefit from the integrated PCIe controller allowing the GPU to be closer to the CPU.
post #62 of 79
Well, I read the entire article and every post on the thread and I was still confused as to what was going on. I'm sure much more than half the comments here are absolute bull.

Many thanks to Commander Data for his contribution but it goes far too far into the details of processor architecture to really fill my need, which is simply to get at the basics of what this dispute actually *is*, which CPUs are affected, and how it is going to impact Apple's future products (you know, the actual premise of the article).

Fortunately, I found a comment on this same article reprinted on Dan's own site by a "davebarne"s that itself reprints a newspaper article. I found out more, and in a shorter time by reading this one article that actually *does* get into what is happening in a simple straightforward way.

For the sake of clarity (and sanity), I'm going to reprint it here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monica Chen and Ricky Morris, Taipei; Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES

Nvidia CEO Speaks Out Against Intel Lawsuit [Friday 20 February 2009]

Intel recently filed a lawsuit with the Court of Chancery in the state of Delaware against Nvidia, asking the court to declare that Nvidia is not licensed to produce chipsets that are compatible with any Intel processor that has integrated memory controller functionality, such as Intels Nehalem processors, and that Nvidia has breached its agreement with Intel by falsely claiming that it is licensed. Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of Nvidia, has exclusively sat down with Digitimes to discuss why he believes the lawsuit is groundless, and the importance of the case for the future of the industry.

If the courts rule in favor of Intel it could mean that Nvidia would not only be out of the high-end Nehalem-generation (Bloomfield) segment which utilizes Intels new QPI bus, which Tom Peterson, director of Technical Marketing for MCP products said in August 2008 the company had no plans to enter, it would also be officially prevented from supporting even CPUs that do not rely on QPI, including Lynnfield for mainstream/low-end desktops, Clarksfield for notebooks, and likely even Lincroft, the next-generation Atom series.

In effect the ruling could significantly reduce the scope of Nvidias ability to continue developing chipsets for the Intel segment, at least until a new agreement is signed.

The disagreement is over the fact that they (Intel) dont believe we have the right to design chipsets for CPUs with integrated memory controllers, which we do, said Huang. Nvidia entered into an agreement in 2004 in order to bring platform innovations to Intel CPU based systems, and in return, Intel took a license to our rich portfolio of 3D, GPU, and other computing patents.

Huang revealed that the agreement made with Intel is broad and does not go as far as to name specific technologies. In fact, some of the technologies did not even exist at the time when the agreement was signed, Huang pointed out.

Nvidia has not yet produced or announced any disputable products, and therefore cannot understand why Intel has taken such hostile action, said Huang. Huang pointed out that the trigger point to the disagreement appears to have been Nvidias announcement of the Ion platform.

Huang stressed that Nvidia has been supporting Intel CPUs under the current agreement for several generations, and said that its current generation of chipsets, which support FSB-based CPUs including Atom, Celeron, Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad, are not affected by the dispute. Nvidias motherboard, notebook and system partners currently using these products will not be impacted by the case, Huang reiterated.

Huang said he is confident that the courts will ultimately find that the current license agreement does give Nvidia rights to produce chipsets that support Intel CPUs with integrated memory controllers. Huang added Nvidia will not back down because of the court filing and is not afraid of Intel. This case is about the future and Nvidias ability to continue to innovate and make a difference in the industry by creating its own products, not just those that Intel allows it to create, Huang said.

In other news, Huang also revealed that Nvidia will launch an Ion platform (Ion 2) supporting VIA Technologies Nano CPUs in 2009. The platform is already in development, he added.
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post #63 of 79
My thoughts:

The article is incomprehensible.

1. Apple has always supported multiple GPU architecture with ATI and Nvidia products.

2. How would the Mac Pro be delayed? I don't know of many dual socket Nvidia mobos.

3. OpenCL support is going to be there for Nvidia, ATI and Intel GPU

I think Nvidia support for Corei5 is important but Core i7 isn't likely going to be delivered unless Apple has an epiphany and makes a single socket Mac Pro (which I'd love love love...yes it's xMac)
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post #64 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

3. OpenCL support is going to be there for Nvidia, ATI and Intel GPU

Nvidia and AMD GPUs already support OpenCL. As for Intel, even if they bothered to implement OpenCL on the GMA, it is likely too slow to be useful. The first Intel product capable of supporting OpenCL is Larrabee, which is not coming out until early next and will only be available as a discrete part.
post #65 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

So the real risk to Apple is not the iMac which wouldn't have integrated graphics anyway or core i7, [B]it is *the very next refresh of the Aluminium MacBook line... in otherwords, between now and September 2009, if Apple goes Nehalem in mobile, they might have to kiss the 9400M/Nvidia chipset goodbye, or, stick with Core 2 for the next 9 months.

And while this legal stuff goes on for a few months, again, Apple in the same position, forget the iMac, talkin' about the Aluminium MacBooks here... No NEHALEM. NO NEHALEM IN MACBOOK PRO until/ unless Apple goes back and throws out the 9400M/Nvidia-whatever chipset.

1. Intel is not introducing any Nehalem-based mobile products until Q4 of this year.
2. When they do, only Clarksfield will be based on the 45nm Nehalem. The other processor, Arrandale, will be based on the 32nm Westmere (but has only 2 cores and bundles crappy Intel GMA)
3. Even Clarksfield might be too hot for Apple notebooks. I am guessing it's only suitable for the iMac

Therefore, the next Macbook/Macbook Pro refresh (May/June?) will simply use the latest C2D-M and Nvidia 9400m.
post #66 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatever00 View Post

Nvidia and AMD GPUs already support OpenCL. As for Intel, even if they bothered to implement OpenCL on the GMA, it is likely too slow to be useful. The first Intel product capable of supporting OpenCL is Larrabee, which is not coming out until early next and will only be available as a discrete part.

I hope people aren't expecting miracles in OpenCL performance for integrated GPU. Mac Pro owners will simply purchase the PCI-E card that delivers the desired performance.

I've always thought that Apple would stick with Nvidia for their consumer offerings and use Intel for their Workstations. My experience has found that at the Workstation/Server level people want genuine Intel parts. An Nvidia based Mac Pro isn't going to please everyone IMO.

Thus I have no idea why Apple has delayed the mini and iMac because they are well suited for Nvidia motherboards and graphics.
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post #67 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

...My suggestion was that nVidia focus on fast discrete low-cost GPUs, since those will also be faster than an IGP, not necessarily that much more expensive, and will benefit from the integrated PCIe controller allowing the GPU to be closer to the CPU.

Again, brilliant point. Precisely the focus if Nvidia loses the court case or fails to hammer out a new deal.

In any case I think Nvidia will fight tooth and nail to get as much Nehalem chipset rights as possible, because this goes beyond Nehalem since Westmere has memory controller integrated into CPU as well. Nvidia chipsets is I suspect a big part of their marketing strategy and muscling into "owning" more of the computer. With Apple they're more or less marketing it as an "Nvidia platform" and "oh, BTW, it has Intel CPU". Same with Ion. It's an "Ion Platform" and "oh, BTW, has Intel Atom CPU". Turf war.

Nvidia has a lot to lose if they have to "go back" to just supplying discrete GPUs. Of course, they could counter this, like you said, good point, with really kickass low-cost, low-power, fast discrete GPUs that just destroy whatever Intel IGP comes out. Here's the fly in the ointment though: Nvidia is struggling a little bit. The 8600 M GT fiasco with solder thingys failing. Then if you look at the desktop, eg. GTX 260 or even 9800GTX+, you would really have to wonder, how the heck is Nvidia even going to have a low-power, low-cost discrete version of the GTX 260~280 etc range. Even with the 9600M GT and 9800 mobile versions, they do have a big challenge to really bring down the heat and cost.
post #68 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

...Thus I have no idea why Apple has delayed the mini and iMac because they are well suited for Nvidia motherboards and graphics.

This is the point I have been making all along. There is no reason why the Mac Mini and iMac can't have the Nvida 9400M chipset with fast Penryns and DDR3, etc. Nvidia discrete 9600 and 9800s on the iMac. WTF is Apple doing? That's what many people are asking. What is the hold up? What brilliance is waiting in the wings to be unleashed upon us unsuspecting peons in an explosion of technological shock and awe? A 30"+ LED backlit screen iMac or xMac with Core i7 and Nvidia GTX280? As if.
post #69 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

I hope people aren't expecting miracles in OpenCL performance for integrated GPU...

There is strong evidence that using just the 9400M on the Aluminium MacBook, in CUDA in Windows XP, you can encode H.264 from DVD at 3x faster than a 2.5ghz Penryn CPU (rough estimates). (Badaboom application)

The 9400M when it comes to games is really not that bad. 2007-2008 game titles played at medium to medium-high resolution.

Remember CUDA and OpenCL can give significant boosts. Look at the statistics for Folding (Stanford Uni). The CUDA version absolutely whips the CPU version.

CUDA is showing some distinct promise, and OpenCL is about a year away from really maturing. Finally with Nvidia's 9400 and above integrated or discrete series, GPGPU is starting to become a reality.

It all just shows how horrible even the Intel X3100 is. Just horrible. And what roadmap does Intel have beyond their X4500?
post #70 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatever00 View Post

..Therefore, the next Macbook/Macbook Pro refresh (May/June?) will simply use the latest C2D-M and Nvidia 9400m.

Okay, good point. I didn't know mobile Nehalem was that far away.

So, actually, for the first 9 months of this year, Jan to Sep 2009, what sort of CPU gains in the mobile area are we expecting? a few 0.1 to 0.3 GHZ? Core2 Quad mobile CPUs aren't going to be in any of the "mainstream" Apple or PC laptops. So the 9400M and iLife'09, iWork'09, Aluminium was actually some kind of insurance policy for Apple to keep their mainstream laptops "fresh" throughout 2009 without having to spend on discrete GPUs. Absolutely brilliant strategy, now that it is revealed.

More and more I have to say this article written for AppleInsider is a little too forward looking, and does not really explain Mac Mini and iMac details. For 2009, Apple's Mac desktops need that level of ingenuity in strategy that Apple has shown for the notebook line. Which I really think is lacking/ hindered due to Steve's lack of everday presence.

IMHO, Apple should drop the MacBook Alu prices slightly, just do the obvious but really value-infusing Core2 and Nvidia chipset updates to the Mac Mini and iMac, and for the killer blow roll out the new iPhone 3G *AND* the "Mac Touch" (don't call it a netbook, it is a 10" multitouch e-reader/ e-app tablet/ whatever) ~ the "Mac Touch" has built-in 3G and will be sold through their telco partners so as to continue fat revenue flows and spread risk. For the Pro area, release a stunning, calibrated really Pro-suitable LED-backlit or IPS whatever 30" matte display. Mac Pros with Nehalem in a few months and 30" Pro-suitable display will hold the line in Apple's Pro offerings. WWDC June 2009 full force on Snow Leopard with public gold master late September'09. iPods and iTunes Store? Something sexy by middle of the year, slight refresh in October for holiday season. Can Tim Cook pull all this off? No disrespect, but... we'll have to see. I think Tim has big, big shoes to fill.

<okay that's the end of my rambling on for today. thanks for listening >
post #71 of 79
Well now that all the information is out in the open, this is A LOT less confusing..

1) The Nvidia-Intel dispute involves *ALL* "Nehalem" family and later Intel processors (any processor with an IMC).
2) Even if the licensing is resolved, it is unlikely nVidia will produce chipsets with Integrated graphics because the memory controller/memory are directly connected to the processor, and an IGP on the motherboard would have to connect through the southbridge DMI link. (That's how I understand it... Not sure if they could somehow rig it up for the IGP to interface directly through PCIe to the processor like a discrete part)

What does this all mean? Well, if Apple is serious about supporting OpenCL across the line, it seems unlikely future Macbooks would use an IGP considering it would most likely have to be the Intel-supplied part (which is built in to the processor package anyways). Does this mean a future "arrandale" Macbook would have a discrete GPU? perhaps..

One thing I'm still confused about is whether the quad-core "Lynnfield/Clarksfield" CPUs/platform are going to support IGPs from Intel or anyone else. Unlike the dual-core "arrandale/clarkdale", these quad-core chips don't have an IGP built in to the processor... Wouldn't these chips run into the same problem of having to have an on-motherboard integrated graphics chip go through the southbridge/DMI to the processor and SDRAM?
post #72 of 79
Having IMC on CPU doesn't really matter much for IGP since they are less sensitive to latency. And bandwidth doesn't matter since either way the IGP had never had enough bandwidth anyway.

Quote:
One thing I'm still confused about is whether the quad-core "Lynnfield/Clarksfield" CPUs/platform are going to support IGPs from Intel or anyone else. Unlike the dual-core "arrandale/clarkdale", these quad-core chips don't have an IGP built in to the processor... Wouldn't these chips run into the same problem of having to have an on-motherboard integrated graphics chip go through the southbridge/DMI to the processor and SDRAM?

And too many others to quote.

But i think everyone is mis understanding DMI 2.0 and QuickPath.

Every Nehalem or Westmere based processors will have QuickPath Inside them. The different is, for Dual Core Processors, the QuickPath will be used to connect the IGP inside the same pacakage. For Quad Core, the QuickPath is still available allowing Chipset ( Southbridge ) with IGP.

And again, once and for all, Core i7 is EXTREMELY UNLIKELY to be included inside iMac. TDP is simply too high. ( As i have already stated on 3rd or 4th reply on this thread )
post #73 of 79
I think this whole thread is taking up too much brain power for me to digest. Hmm...
post #74 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

...Every Nehalem or Westmere based processors will have QuickPath Inside them. The different is, for Dual Core Processors, the QuickPath will be used to connect the IGP inside the same pacakage. For Quad Core, the QuickPath is still available allowing Chipset ( Southbridge ) with IGP...

So maybe what winterspan is asking is for Dual Core, who is able to put that IGP in that same package? Can it be an ATI or Nvidia IGP in the same package? Because if it is only Intel, then all graphics on Nehalem/ Westmere Dual Core that is non-Intel have to go through the PCI Express bus [DMI "southbridge"], right?

Because I think this Intel-Nvidia dispute notwithstanding, Intel AFAIK wouldn't allow anyone else to put that IGP in the CPU package.

And as lt.commander.data pointed out already, any IGP that cannot go into that same package as the CPU has to go through the southbridge, and this "IGP" doesn't have its own memory, so it's really hampered. It has to go through the PCI Express, southbridge, to the integrated "northbridge" memory controller then all the way back for all RAM access.

So was the whole thing with the IGP push like we have currently with GMAs and so on ... is it so the manufacturers can save on VRAM for the GPUs? Because they just use shared system memory. Is not having to use dedicated VRAM the big savings Intel/Nvidia/ATI make when it comes to offering integrated graphics?
post #75 of 79
(never mind)
post #76 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

So maybe what winterspan is asking is for Dual Core, who is able to put that IGP in that same package? Can it be an ATI or Nvidia IGP in the same package? Because if it is only Intel, then all graphics on Nehalem/ Westmere Dual Core that is non-Intel have to go through the PCI Express bus [DMI "southbridge"], right?

Because I think this Intel-Nvidia dispute notwithstanding, Intel AFAIK wouldn't allow anyone else to put that IGP in the CPU package.

And as lt.commander.data pointed out already, any IGP that cannot go into that same package as the CPU has to go through the southbridge, and this "IGP" doesn't have its own memory, so it's really hampered. It has to go through the PCI Express, southbridge, to the integrated "northbridge" memory controller then all the way back for all RAM access.

So was the whole thing with the IGP push like we have currently with GMAs and so on ... is it so the manufacturers can save on VRAM for the GPUs? Because they just use shared system memory. Is not having to use dedicated VRAM the big savings Intel/Nvidia/ATI make when it comes to offering integrated graphics?

1. Since Intel manufacture the whole CPU package, there is Zero chance for ATI or Nvidia's chip ( die ) to be included inside Intel CPU.

2. Since Nehalem and Westmere actually have NorthBridge intergated. Therefore there are also PCI-Express included inside CPU. So to directly answer your question.

Quote:
all graphics on Nehalem/ Westmere Dual Core that is non-Intel have to go through the PCI Express bus [DMI "southbridge"], right?

No, It will be a PCI Express directly from the CPU.
post #77 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

My point was never the inability to add a discrete GPU to any Nehalem or Westmere parts because as you noted they have integrated PCIe controllers. The AppleInsider article was concerned about nVidia IGPs on nVidia chipsets, and my point is that even if nVIdia got a license to produce chipsets for Nehalem, those chipsets aren't likely to have viable IGPs like the current 9400M IGP/chipset because the memory controller is no longer on the chipset and an external IGP will need to connect through DMI which as you note is designed for southbridges and doesn't have the bandwidth. My suggestion was that nVidia focus on fast discrete low-cost GPUs, since those will also be faster than an IGP, not necessarily that much more expensive, and will benefit from the integrated PCIe controller allowing the GPU to be closer to the CPU.

right on. I don't have any plans to game on my future macbook (got a nice windows 7 dual monitor desktop with a gtx 285) so I really don't care about igp power as long as it runs the ui and decodes the occasional h264 vid fine. Hopefully the westmere will allow even more battery life, the macbook is already very impressive for a 13''.
post #78 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

...Now the mainstream Nehalem quad core chip is going to be Lynnfield in desktop and Clarksfield in mobile. They are both quad core, 0 QPI, and 2 channel memory. Notice the key detail: 0 QPI. Mainstream desktop and all mobile chips won't have QPI and will only have DMI, because the entire northbridge, in this case memory controller and PCIe controller is integrated into Lynnfield and Clarksfield. DMI is designed as a low-bandwidth link to connect a northbridge to a southbridge. Lynnfield and Clarksfield won't have an Intel IGP on package, but you won't want to attach an IGP through the DMI link since it's low bandwidth, only 10Gb/s, and with the memory controller on the CPU, an IGP running through DMI would basically have 133MHz SDRAM like bandwidth...

OK, now the question I have is why wouldn't Nvidia try and put an IGP off the PCIe interface? Is this not possible? By integrated graphics I mean it's on the motherboard chipset and shares memory with main memory.
post #79 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

1. Since Intel manufacture the whole CPU package, there is Zero chance for ATI or Nvidia's chip ( die ) to be included inside Intel CPU.

2. Since Nehalem and Westmere actually have NorthBridge intergated. Therefore there are also PCI-Express included inside CPU. So to directly answer your question.

No, It will be a PCI Express directly from the CPU.

OK got it thanks. See my question above, are you able to shed some light on that?
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