Overclock.net › Components › Computer Cases & Accessories › be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900

be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900

Posted

Pros: Modularity, features

Cons: quality issues, cable management

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Overclock.net nation, I know I just made a case review yesterday, but I need to make a second one and there are quite a few more to come! I want to thank Be Quiet! for giving me the opportunity to review this case. The raves about this care are the modularity, so let's get to it!


General Specifications


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Right away we can see this is a big case with the ability to house big hardware, but let's carry on.


Packaging


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Full colored box with basically all the content of the manual, huge foam sides and a black cloth bag which seems to become a standard on higher end cases. Judging by the condition of my box, it's made to withstand quite a bit because it wasn't the most well handed box I've gotten (not near the worst though) and everything is still easily readable. This is a box we'd come to expect on higher end boxes.


Exterior


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We can right away see the huge tempered glass panel along with 8 expansions slots. A rear fan option for two 120mm fans placed behind the storage racks. Four big case feet and elevating this case to give it an aggressive look while remaining sleek.


Rear Expansion


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A slot for 120mm or 140mm fan, 8 expansion slots with vented covers and no slot for a PSU, but a plug for power and a switch, more on this later! Worry not!


Top of case


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Holes for ventilation are found on the rear and on the sides in the form of grills. The top itself was warped a bit near the wireless charging pad. I was not expecting such a thin aluminium on such a high end case and I was not expecting it to be so warped.


Tempered glass


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The tempered glass is brown tinted, it reminds me of the tint used in Mercedes Benz and BMWs in the 90's. I wonder how it affects LED colors.


Front filter and features


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Medium coarseness (is that even a word?) of the filters is somewhat the norm from what I've seen, possibly because they (case manufacturers) don't want cases that are too restrictive, which I think is fair. People should clean their cases regularly anyways. We can see above the front 5.25" bays the integrated fan controller and a button. That button serves the purpose of changing the LED colors to fixed presets. The 5.25" bay covers are not filtered thus allow dust to go into the case if the case has a negative pressure setup (you should always aim for slightly positive though, ask @doyll).

The magnets that hold the front panel are not strong enough for the case, everytime I moved the case for another angle the door opened and I think that it presents a risk from breaking it since it's made from aluminium covered plastic.

We can also see two Silent Wings 3, 140mm fans, which are PWM. These are not sleeved, but the retail versions of the fans are sleeved so if you buy more fans of the same type expect cables to not match if they're in sight.

The bottom filter pulls out from the front, this is a great addition that every bottom filtered case should have. (or from the side à la In Win 303)



Inside of the case


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The inside reveals a big roomy area for building you monster PC. Individual storage racks is epic looking really it's like it's own feature instead of being part of the case like it looks like in most other cases. The bottom rear feature a PSU mount for it to be mounted internally, this is a great feature, but more on it later. We can find the third 140mm Silent Wings 3 PWM as rear exhaust on the case.


Fan/LED controller and internal plugs


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The controller on the back of the case is for both LED and fans. It has four PWM headers and four 3-pin non-PWM headers along with two RGB LED headers, quite the assortment of ports! The I/O cables consists of SATA 3.0 29-pin, USB 2.0 9-pin, a PWM plug, power and reset buttons, HDD and power LED's, HD audio and a SATA power plug for the multi-purpose hub. These are all quite standard now-a-days.


Modular storage


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The individual drive bays can hold each two 2.5" drives or one 3.5" drive. Each one of mounted on the panel with three thumb screws and has anti vibration mounts for the 3.5" drives. This makes for quite a bit of thumb screws!


Extensive Modularity


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The case itself can be disassembled in so many pieces, here's a quick list:
  • Rear PSU plate with three spacers of which two are vented serving the purpose of placing the motherboard tray and expansion slots at the desired height.
  • Top, front and bottom bezels. The bottom bezel can have the feet removed with just a big clip.
  • 7 individual hard drive bays, 3.25" bays
  • 5.25" drive bay
  • Front I/O portion with wireless charging pad
  • Motherboard tray
  • Hard drive rack with 9 slot options which can all be used as wished with the removal of the 5.25" bay


Now, all of this is modular, but what would be the benefit if one cannot mount it multiple places? We'll, another feature for this case is that you can mount it in reverse ATX orientation. This means the 3.5" bays need to be in the opposite orientation too!


LED Strips


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Pretty straight forward, the case (Pro model only) features two rigid 12" LED strips that connect to the rear multi-purpose hub.


Build


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I built a quick system into this for testing clearances and seeing what the reverse orientation looked like. I use a non-sleeved PSU to be able to see where cables are and check cable management.

The room for cable management isn't the best I've seen, you have room behind the PSU to store some cables, but overall the case could use more room behind the motherboard tray for more cables as my setup isn't very extensive. I had to bend the PSU bracket to get my PSU to fit inside. It's like they sized it for the PSU, but then added foam pads which make the fit extremely tight. Appart from these two things I couldn't properly hide the SATA 3 header cable because the port is sideways on the motherboard I used which makes the cable easily seen. With the PSU on the bottom and two spacers then the motherboard tray I had just enough clearance for the PSU in relation to the I/O ports on the motherboard. Very, very tight fit. The case includes two 12" LED strips, usually you would mount one on the bottom and one on the top for more even lighting, but the bottom doesn't really have room to install these strips so I had to install them in the front of the case, but most of the light is blocked by a 45mm radiator and its fan.



Conclusion


I like this case very much, but there are quite a few things I'd like changed for their next version of it along with a few quality issues I've found.

I give this case the following score

Aesthetics - 9/10
Features - 8/10
Costs - 7.5/10
Quality - 8/10

Total of 81.25%. This case is currently $249.99 on PcPartPicker. For a case made from steel and plastic with aluminium sheet metal to cover the plastic, I would expect a price more around the $199.99 mark for the PRO model and $159.99 for the non-PRO model.

My issues with this case:

  • Quality issues with the top aluminium sheet being warped
  • Magnets holding the front too weak
  • Cable management room in the back should be wider
  • Room for LED strips on the bottom
  • Rearrangement of the PSU and it's spacing with a reverse orientation layout
  • PSU bracket properly sized
  • Back side panel should have the fans behind the motherboard and not behind the Storage



What Be Quiet! did with this case that I loved

  • Modularity
  • Modularity (it's so good I need to put it twice)
  • Water cooling options
  • Storage possibilities
  • Included high end fans
  • Multi-purpose hub
  • Includes LEDs
  • Includes wireless charging panel on top
  • Has three high end fans, but unsleved like the retail versions.



A big thank you to be quiet!

Next up! Anidees AI Crystal Lite and the White edition for a dual review!

Posted

Pros: Beautiful design, Modular construction, Wide range of compatibility, Qi wireless charging, Included fan hub and LED strips, Quiet optimized design

Cons: Price, Difficult cable management

Introduction and Accessories

Of all the components in a computer build, the case is often the most highly debated. Should you get the cheapest case since it doesn't directly affect performance? Should you get a nice case to show off your build? These questions depend on what is important to you as a consumer. be quiet!, known for their silence focused design and sleek aesthetic, is looking to shake up the market with their top of the line Dark Base Pro 900 case and it certainly isn't your average case. It's got all the bells and whistles you could want and is clearly aimed at the high end system builder who takes pride in their systems inside and out. With big claims like
Quote:
unrivaled flexibility with impeccable cooling and silence features
can it live up to those expectations? Is it worth the hefty price tag of over $230? Come along for the ride and we'll find out!



The package was massive with a with a dark theme, just like the case inside. Looking at any product box, it's easy to see what the manufacturer is focusing on with the design. Silence, airflow, and customization are key elements here. The back of the box highlights more features like the reversible motherboard tray, three included SilentWings 3 fans, tempered glass side panel, Qi wireless charging, and airflow optimized system.



The case came protected in the typical foam end covers but was also wrapped in a cloth-like material. I thought this was a nice touch of quality as opposed to the cheap plastic wrapping that can't be reused. More than likely you'll still throw this cover away, but it could still be useful as a dust cover or scratch protector when going to LANs. The case is fully assembled with the accessories tied down inside. Included with those accessories is a user's manual, two multicolor LED strips, a pump/reservoir mount, a bracket for mounting a third front fan, various case screws, an additional cable management grommet, and finally some velcro wraps for cable management.



Before we get into the case itself I wanted to look at the LED strips. They are about 14" long with sticky pads on the back for mounting, but be careful where you put them since repositioning them won't work very well. The ends plug into the fan controller board on the back of the case and the color can be changed from the front panel. They aren't fully customizable though, with only solid color options of red, green, blue, orange, and white.



This review will follow the disassembly until all modular components are removed. Here is the boring technical data that you may find important. The case measures 22.7" x 9.5" x 23" and weighs in at an impressive 31.7lbs. In terms of radiator support, the front and top both have space for up to 3x120mm or 3x140mm fans with the top also having space for a single 180mm fan. The bottom has space for up to 2x140mm fans and there is a single 120/140mm fan mount in the rear. The front, bottom, and back side panel are all dust filtered. Finally, the case has support for up to a 7.28" CPU cooler, a 12.7" GPU with the HDD cage installed, and an 18.6" GPU with the HDD cage removed.


Physical Tour

Today I am reviewing the silver version but it is also available in orange and black. The black exterior is kept in all versions with the ring of trim around the side panel, the rubber grommets, and the feet changing depending on your color choice. I personally prefer a neutral color with accents over a single solid color so this case appeals to me, but that is all up to your visual preference. The Dark Base Pro 900 has a simple outer design dominated by large flat panels. The front and top both have a brushed aluminum finish. I highly recommend gloves when handling it because it sure is a fingerprint magnet. In the current configuration, the side panel is windowed and the back side panel is more of the matte black aluminum. With the exception of some small slits at the rear of the top panel, you will notice there is no direct openings for ventilation. Instead, be quiet! has opted to push the front, top, and bottom out about an inch with a ring of mesh for airflow. I like this as it gives a clean look overall.



The front door pops open with a push revealing some fans, drive bays, and controls. The latching mechanism was really weak and I would have expected more from a case like this. If you are transporting the case, you'll want to tape the door shut as it doesn't stay closed by itself. At the bottom we start with an extremely snugly fitting dust filter. It extends to the back of the case and is removable from the front for easy cleaning. It must be removed to take the front panel off too. Above that are two of the three pre-installed SilentWings 3 140mm PWM fans. They are pretty weak fans in terms of airflow, but they are extremely quiet. Additional silence is achieved by the generous layer of sound dampening foam that is applied to the inside of the door. Moving on up we have two bays for 5.25" drives. If you aren't planning on mounting any, you can remove the cage at the back and mount a third 140mm or 120mm fan. At the top we have a small control unit for the LED lighting and fan controller. The slider controls the fan speed and the button cycles through the lighting options. Sliding it to the right increases the speed, sliding to the left decreases it, and all the way to the end on the left puts the fans on an automatic mode controlled by the motherboard.



Next is the front panel. The LED lit power button was quite a letdown. It was mushy and hard to press in contrast to the reset button that felt just fine. On the outside there are 2 USB 3.0 ports on the left and 2 USB 2.0 ports on the right. There are also headphone/microphone jacks and a drive activity LED. Above that is one of the more interesting features I've seen on a case: a Qi wireless charging pad. While not all phones are wireless charging compatible, I do think this is a nifty feature for those with that type of phone. I find myself leaving my phone on top of the case if I have it on the floor next to me. Keep in mind that this feature drives the cost up and you may never use it though.



Moving to the back now, there's a lot going on here. All of the drive cages are removable with three thumbscrews each. The whole metal frame that holds them can also be removed with a screwdriver. There are plenty of cable-tie loops and grommets for cable management, but more on that later. The front panel cables are all black which is nice compared to some cases with cables of all different colors. This is a trend we started seeing in PSU cables a while ago and I'm glad it's making its way to cases as well. Next we see the circuit board for fan and LED control as well as a hidden SSD mount. Above that is a very large cutout for installing a CPU cooler. Towards the bottom the metal bends out with two cutouts for routing your cables. You have to put your cables through here or the back side panel won't fit. I was not happy with the space back here for cable management. At the bottom, where most of your PSU cables will go, there is only about 1/2" of space. As you move up towards the motherboard tray it increases slightly to 3/4" and 1" directly around the motherboard tray. Finding ways to jam the necessary cables in while still allowing the panel to fit was a challenge. Either moving the whole assembly away from the back side panel or extending it just 1/2" would have made this so much easier.



The included fan and LED controller is very advanced and I think something like this should be included on all high end cases. With the case supporting up to 10 fans, you won't find any motherboard that supports that many without additional splitters. Starting at the big capacitor in the top right and moving clockwise we have four 3-pin fan headers, the connector for the front panel controller, and the Qi charging connector. At the bottom edge we have the SATA power connector for the whole board and two connectors for the included LED strips. Moving up from the last side we have four 4-pin PWM fan headers and finally the PWM control connector to the motherboard. It is situated in the middle of the case but you may need to purchase fan cable extensions to reach fans in some parts of the case.



Next we'll look at the drive cages and mounting system. There are 7 total cages mounted to a rack behind them in a vertical line. They have rubber vibration dampening mounts for the 3.5" drives as well. There is space on each caddy for two 2.5" drives mounted opposite to each other, but realistically you'll only be able to mount one without bending your SATA power cables too much. Right angle SATA cables are also impractical with this design.



Here are both the top and bottom panels removed. The bottom has four large feet for airflow with rubber pads as well. The top panel can be removed by popping up the tabs on each side but the bottom panel requires two screws to be moved. They were both solid and well built.



The back side panel has a removable cover with space for two 120mm fans and dust cover. You can fully remove the cover for full airflow, insert it partially, or insert it fully for minimum airflow but maximum silence. The inside of the panel is also coated with more of the sound dampening foam as on the front.



The power supply mounting solution is very unique on this case. It is pushed up slightly forward from the back of the case and adjustable. There is an extender cable that plugs in to your PSU from the back of the case. There are three mounting positions left to right as well as two forward and back from the side panel.



The power supply assembly is screwed in externally and then it locks in to the base of the case with 4 protruding screws. There are also two additional spacers above the power supply which can be removed and repositioned at the top. This allows the entire motherboard try to be raised or lowered for thick radiator support or other conflicts with the motherboard.



The last important piece of the case is the side panel window. There is no metal panel that this slides on to or border around it. This is the entire panel. It is a single pane of tempered glass with four mounting holes at the edges. It mounts to rubberized posts on the case with four thumbscrews. It is slightly tinted to help hide fingerprints as well as give the inside of the case a dark look accentuated by the LED lighting. This is one beautiful piece of glass.




Modularity and Building

While most computer cases are held together with many rivets and a few screws, the Dark Base Pro 900 is exactly the opposite. Nearly every piece is fastened with easily removable screws allowing for a high degree of customization. Starting by removing the outer panels, the motherboard tray, the HDD rack, and finally the front panel I/O, you can see the complete shell of the case. I like this aspect since it allows you to build the computer how you want it, not how the case manufacturer thinks you do.



Like I said before, the motherboard tray can be completely inverted but it's not exactly easy. It takes a while at first to figure out where all the screws are since the manual isn't that useful, but I finally got it. If your case is positioned on the left side of your desk but you still want the windowed side panel, this is an excellent option. Both side panels can be positioned on either side of the case. Inverting your motherboard can also help with thermal performance since the graphics card(s), often the hottest component, will be positioned at the top of the case closest to the fans. It can also just look really cool if that is the design you are going for.



Here is the completed build with and without the side panel window. I was really pleased at how it turned out. It took longer than normal to build since so much of the case is customizable, but I'm happy with the final product. My biggest complaint is the lack of cable management for the PSU and difficulty due to all of the moving parts. You can clearly see all of the cables at the bottom since there is no way to hide them. A PSU cover is definitely missing here but I'm sure you could make it look a bit better if you had lots of time and it bothered you. The case was very quiet but you may want to install some airflow optimized fans to help with cooling the huge interior of the chassis. I ended up moving the rear fan to the front and removing all but two drive cages. I installed a 280mm radiator at the top and mounted the motherboard in the traditional orientation. It's not hard to make a good looking build in this case.






Conclusion

With the exception of installation frustration and cable management as well as some minor issues like fan control, I really like this case. It's easy to build the computer you envision and this case has all the extra features to go along with it. The sleek aesthetic, full side panel window, included fan controller, LED lighting, and noise dampening foam are all big pluses in my opinion. I really do think a power supply shroud should be included though. At around $230-$250 retail price, you have to want this case pretty badly to make it practical. It's one of the best if not the best full tower cases on the market but you are definitely paying for it. If you can do without the window, Qi charger, and LED lighting, you can save $50 by stepping down to the non Pro version. If you have the budget and are looking for a beautiful and innovative case that you can build your dream system in, this is the case for you. The price tag may be too steep for many users, but it sure is a nice case.


Here is a link to the forum post for discussion
be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900
Description:

be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900: unrivaled flexibility with impeccable cooling and silence features. It was designed for high-end enthusiasts and individualists – all of those who expect the highest standards when it comes to modularity, compatibility and design for their high-end workstations as well as overclocked and silent water-cooled systems. Dark Base Pro 900 has numerous modularity options to satisfy every desire with lots of features to support special configurations. Aluminum surfaces and steel offer highest stability with a look of extreme elegance. Simply an engineering work of art! Fully versatile thanks to modular construction, offering an relocatable motherboard tray, repositionable HDD slots, support for even E-ATX and XL-ATX as well as the possibility of an inverse layout Three pre-installed SilentWings® 3 140mm PWM fans featuring a smooth-running 6-pole motor, fluid-dynamic bearing and funnel-shaped air inlets Effective full circuit airflow system with innovative noise-reducing vents all around the case Completely sound insulated case with decoupled elements for motherboard, power supply and drives Four areas for water cooling radiators up to 420mm on top, front, back and base of the case Elegant, fully windowed side panel made of tinted and tempered glass Eye-catching LED illumination with five switchable colors that you can freely position in the case Integrated wireless charger for Qi enabled devices such as smart phones Product conception, design and quality control in Germany Applications: High-end workstations and desktop PCs High-resolution gaming and multimedia systems Extremely overclocked systems Super silent water-cooled PCs Feature Details Unrivaled Flexibility Motherboard tray with enhanced possibilities to suit individual space requirements Completely relocatable and usable as a test bench Adjustable to three different heights Installation alongside the left panel for an inverted layout Repositionable HDD tray for individual space requirements inside the case E-ATX and XL-ATX support permits installation of practically any motherboard Installation options of up to 7 decoupled HDDs, 15 SSDs and 2 optical drives Impeccable Cooling and Silence Three virtually inaudible SilentWings® 3 140mm PWM fans offer unrivaled and uncompromising performance with a broad range of amazing features: 6-pole fan motor for very low power consumption and less vibration Fluid-dynamic bearing with copper core enables a super long life span Unique airflow-optimized fan blade design Fan frame with funnel-shaped air inlets produces high air pressure High quality IC motor controller reduces electrical noise Intelligent full circuit airflow system with noise-dampened vents all around the case Advanced PWM hub and manual fan controller supports up to four PWM and four 3-pin fans Installation of up to six additional 140mm fans or up to seven additional 120mm fans possible Ready for water cooling radiators up to 420mm with four mounting slots Front: 420mm – Top: 420mm – Back: 140mm – Base: 280mm Built-in insulation in front, top cover and side panels Decoupled motherboard tray, power supply tray and drive slots for reduced vibration and noise Advanced Assembly and Handling Generous space thanks to repositionable single HDD slots Impressive features permit individual configurations and setups Customizable cable management thanks to carefully placed pass-throughs Two cleanable dust filters that can be conveniently removed from the front High-quality Materials and Elegant Design Premium aluminum surfaces Steel parts from 0.8mm to 1.0mm for highest stability Compatibility with all be quiet! products and all available graphics cards RGB LED illumination with five switchable colors that can be freely positioned Wireless charger for Qi enabled devices (e.g. smart phones) Elegant side window of 4mm tinted and tempered glass ModelDARK BASE PRO 900 | ORANGE General Data PSU form factorATX PS/2 Motherboard compatibilityE-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, M-ATX, Mini-ITX Case size excl. stands (L x W x H), (mm)- Case size incl. stands (L x W x H), (mm)577 x 243 x 585 Dimensions side panel window (L x W), (mm)479 x 525 Color optionOrange Weight (kg)14.39 USB 2.02 USB 3.02 HD Audio I/O1 Expansion slots8 Fan mounting locations10 Qi charger✓ RGB LED illumination✓ Material CoversABS, Aluminium Side panelSteel, ABS Side panel window4mm Tempered Glass Front panelABS, Aluminium StandsABS Drive Bay Capacity 5.252 3.57 2.515 HDD Cage Specifications HDD cages total7 Cage capacity (HDDs)1 Removable HDD cage7 Relocatable HDD cage7 Pre-installed Fans Fan @ front2x be quiet! SilentWings® 3 |140mm PWM / 1,000rpm Fan @ rear1x be quiet! SilentWings® 3 |140mm PWM / 1,000rpm Dimensions (L x W x H), (mm)Front: 140 x 140 x 25, Rear: 140 x 140 x 25 Fan speed @ 12V (rpm)1,000 Noise level @ 12V (dB(A))15.5 Air flow @ 12V (cfm / m3/h)59.5 / 101.09 Air pressure @ 12V (mm H2O)1.08 Voltage range (V DC)5 - 13.2 Input power (W)3.6 Input current (A)0.3 Connector4-pin Lifespan (h / 25°C)300.000 Fan controllerManual/PWM stepless fan controller (4x 4-pin, 4x 3-pin), PWM hub Optional Fan Installation Front (mm)1x 140 (w/o ODD cage) Top (mm)3x 140 / 4x 120 / 1x 180 / 1 x 200 Bottom (mm)2x 140/120 Side panel (mm)- Optional Radiator Installation Front (mm)120 / 140 / 240 / 280 / 360 / 420 Top (mm)120 / 140 / 180 / 240 / 280 / 360 / 420 Bottom (mm)120 / 140 / 280 Rear (mm)120 / 140 Cooling Max.construction height of CPU cooler unit (mm)185 Airflow channelFull circuit airflow system PSU Compatibility Maximum dimensions excl. bottom fan (mm)284 Maximum dimensions incl. bottom fan (mm)150 Graphics Card HDD cage (in height of graphics card) installed (mm)323 HDD cage (in height of graphics card) removed (mm)472 Insulation and Damping Front panel insulation mats✓ Side panel insulation mats✓ Anti-vibration decoupled HDD✓ Anti-vibration decoupled fan✓ Anti-vibration decoupled PSU✓ Anti-vibration decoupled motherboard-tray✓ Removable Dust Filters Front1 Bottom1 Side panel1 Accessories Screw set (HDD/SSD/MB-mounting)✓ Rubber rail (pcs.)- Standoff (pcs.)3 (for E-ATX) LCS bracket (pcs).1 Upper fan bracket (pcs.)1 HDD panel rubber grommet (pcs.)1 LED strips (pcs.)2 Cable ties (pcs.)6 (Velcro) Cable tie holder (pcs.)- Service Warranty (Years)3 International hotline / free of charge✓ / DE, FR Logistics Data, RRP RangeDark Base Pro 900 Article numberBGW10 EAN Code4260052184943 CertificationsCE, RoHS, FCC Dimensions, package (L x W x H), (mm)655 x 325 x 680 Gross weight, package (kg)16,52 Pieces per packaging unit1 RRP (€)249,00

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