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AsRock FM2A88X-ITX+ (FM2+ mITX board "Kaveri Ready") Build

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
This 1st post of this thread will be reedited/updated MANY times.

At any given moment texts and / or pics can be added / altered / removed.
















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I love the old fashion color schemed I/O Panel backpanel...and in special the black background with chrome strip around it, perfect for my case that is full black with thin chrome vertical strip in the front...notice the 3 antenna connection places no matter WiFi uses only 2 ...3rd is for a card (also) with DVB(-T) ?!?


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See that pair of golden Caps ?
They interfere with chosen cooler but i knew from the start before ordered anything...i will need to shave a bit the cooler.
You can see also the miniPCIex1/mSATA connector....the fact that it works also as mSATA as opposite to Gigabyte MoBo was one major point to buy this mobo...that and the Sub-D VGA connector that i need.


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BIOS version is 1.0...it's official , i'm a "AsRock Guinea Pig" biggrin.gif
Will flash it ASAP...but i wonder if its safe to do so with APU undervolted and underclocked but i don't see why won't be...correct me if i'm wrong.


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Space bellow APU for a backplate is better than in previous AsRock FMx mITX MoBos but i will still need to be creative or not use a backplate at all.


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Brand new A6-5400K to work as a placeholder till Kaveri are on market.
In any case, be it a Trinity, Kaveri or Carrizo (...rumors say that Carrizo will use FM2+ socket ...) APU used in this build can not exceed a max TDP of 65 W.
I also want to use the stock DC/DC converter and brick that is included in the chosen case...this means that i have to underclock and undervolt the A6-5400K or any other 65 W APU unless i buy a PicoPSU 160-XT with a FSP 150 W brick (because i want a safety margin and because i know that APUs have power drain spikes at least with Turbo Mode enabled (i gonna disable it)).
However i want to avoid buy the PicoPSU and FSP brick to lower costs and because i want to run the build with a temperature and power drain as low as possible.


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Unboxed A6-5400K....whatever happens in this build, stock cooler will NOT be used....
BTW, stock cooler is 39 mm tall including stock fan.



This is my "Standard-Issue" case model for all my mini-ITX builds: LC-POWER 1350MI
I like it a lot because it's very small (and yet can accept 1x2.5" HDD/SSD and 1xODD or a single 3.5" slim HDD) , sturdy (SECC 1 mm), have a nice PSU (external) rated for 75W , essential connections on front and some extra connections in rear panel, enough ventilation....and no stupid doors that we all know that will fail sooner or later.




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...but nothing in this world is perfect...this case have only two flaws (IMHO):
1- No Reset switch.
2- HDD and Power LEDs are EXTREMELY bright...careful with your eyes !
...so...


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I salvaged from a mATX case some cables and got a pressure switch and some resistors.
I experimented with different values and depending of light conditions where these cases are used, i recommend 47K , 22K or 10K resistors for the LEDs .
I went with with 22K for this bulid and that's what i usually use.







Notice that rear of the case have places for an antenna and two sub-D connectors.
Because this MoBo already have all possible holes for mounting antennas i gonna use the antenna place in this case for the Reset switch.




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Here it is the copper heatsink..remember i said that it will interfere with a golden Capacitor ?
I just shaved the interference area and will post a pic later showing what i did...pic will be inserted after this text.


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Plastic protection of the TITAN heatsink backplate....i was thinking to reuse it to make plastic washers but i didn't (it would be easy to do with correct tool but i didn't have it and was too late to buy it in a Sunday)...


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The Stock backplate of the TITAN heatsink can't be used in this MoBo...


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...so , i was thinking to punch out the "screw holders" and no matter it can be done...


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...and i did it, as soon as i punched out 1st one it was clear that their hex head is too thin....no way i can use them to hold heatsink using some standard washers...so....


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...I made my own mounting system...
For that i used 3/16 screws (don't use M5 screws because they won't fit properly inside stock heatsink springs...but you can use M4...again , i used 3/16 screws because that was the ones i could find) , these screws have a total length of 38 mm including their head.
The washers are SS M6 washers.
Then i used a vinyl cutter to make some vinyl washers from ORACAL 641 vinyl....i use 8 vinyl washers per each M6 washer.
Notice that production system of the SS washers make them have a side with sharp edge and another with round edge...
Put vinyl washers to the round side....we should avoid sharp edges pressure MoBo.
Notice vinyl washers extend from the edges of SS washers.
Notice also what i made with shrinking tube to the screws.


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Here are Reset switch and the two 40 mm fans ready to install.
Notice that i connected both black wires to a a single one, the two red wires to a single one BUT the i'm only using a single yellow (blue in some 3 pin fans) wire from one of the fans....this is to avoid BIOS problems in measuring fans RPM.


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Everything essential (and some of the non-essential) connected and ready for 1st run and to downclock and undervolt APU....it has to be done with ATX PSU because stock PSU from the case can't handle a A6-5400K with stock settings.
UPDATE:
This was only true with stock 1.0 BIOS version.
Since i updated to 1.20, it can make 1st boot with case stock PSU and no longer needs a more powerful ATX PSU.
I'm now using BIOS 1.40.

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PS/2 Y cable from LINDY.
Now, this didn't worked out as expected...in the begin.
When i booted build 1st time , both ps/2 keyboard and ps/2 mouse were not working, they only worked connected one at time connected directly to ps/2 connector of the MoBo.
After checking with a multimeter , i discovered that this Lindy ps/2 Y cable was incorrectly color coded !
I had to connect mouse to purple connector and keyboard to green connector of this Y cable and then both keyboard and mouse started to work flawlessly !


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No matter the TITAN Heatsink includes thermal paste, i decided to use ARTIC paste...i was to use MX-2 but it didn't arrived on time and i used MX-4 instead.



Almost done...notice the Reset switch installed, the cut in the corner of the copper heatsink because of the gold cap and final position of the WiFi connectors in the WiFi board...


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Better view of above points...notice also how much are nuts are screwed down...again, particular attention to WiFi connectors in the card...why ? because...


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....no matter what the instructions say, there is NO freaking way the connectors fit in the card the way it's shown in the darn instructions !
I figured out that only way they fit is if you fit them pointing to the middle of card like it's shown in the pic with the left cable connector , and then, use your finger to rotate the connector till it stands in final position like it's shown in the pic with the right cable connector.


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LEDs cables with resistors inserted in them...


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All set, rear view...i believe that sooner or later i gonna use the Sub-D places for two USB 2.0 or 3.0 connectors...or for a DVB-T tuner...



Plenty of space between fan and ODD...don't recall exact value but might be around 8 mm minimum.


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Ready do close case...for now....expect more modifications wink.gif





BIOS SETTINGS (it never fails a boot , great performance and nice temps) :

APM:
Disabled

Cool 'n' Quiet:
Disabled

HDMI Audio:
Disabled
(i use analog outputs)

WiFi Card:
Disabled
(I have, for now, no use for it)

Ethernet:
Disabled
(I connect to Net via USB 2.0 3.5G Pen so no reason to have Ethernet on)

USB 3.0:
AUTO
(I also don't use it for now but i prefer not to disable it)

CPU:
3200 MHz
1.275 V

iGPU:
608 MHz
1.00 V

RAM (G.Skill ARES 8GB DDR3):
2133 MHz
1.60 V


Some Power Drains (measured between power grid and AC/DC external converter):

Battlefield : Bad Company 2 (Multiplayer using 3.5G USB Pen)
Max: 62 Watts

VLC VOB Play from HDD (Net was still on):
Max: 35 Watts

UPDATE 1

Original HDD was a SEAGATE with 500GB
Now it was replaced with a HDD from Western Digital with 1TB.

UPDATE 2

I wanted to increase performance of this little APU , and i did...
Now i'm running with previous setting modified in these points:


CPU:
3600 MHz
1.275 V

iGPU:
800 MHz
1.00 V

RAM (G.Skill ARES 8GB DDR3):
2133 MHz
1.58 V

Yeah, i undervolted also the RAM biggrin.gif
...and performance is much better, will test power drains soon and update again...

However, before applying these settings i was concerned with temperatures, in special when we reach our hot Summer (still many months till then but)...


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I started to look to the A6-5400K Stock cooler...


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and the real size of the fan , not counting with the plastic build-in "spacers" is 70x70x15, so...


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...so i cut them...


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...and installed fan with same 2 screws of the 70x70x10mm TITAN fan....it's a bit on the limit to say the least , so we have to be careful to not damage threads in heatsink...notice that this fan is, at most, at same level than heatsink mounting screws or the G.SKILL ARES RAM...


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...and here it is installed !
Still "plenty" of space to the ODD...

Now this fan brings several advantages, for starters is a PWM Fan, it also delivers a slight bigger CFM and a slight bigger static air pressure...it also let's me use BIOS option Performance instead of Standard.

The result of all this is that, no matter CPU and iGPU are running at higher clock rates, the temperatures are lower than ever no matter APU fan actually is rotating slower than with 70x70x10mm fan !

Will be enough to keep temperatures low in very hot Summers ?
I hope so...but if not....i'm already planning my next step biggrin.gif

By "Popular demand".....temperature readings !

After i made the modifications in UPDATE 2 , both cooling, frequencies and RAM voltage (BTW, RAM is working ROCK SOLID !) i made last Sunday some gaming (perfect day to do so taking in account the Storm that was hitting my Country...not a good day to stay out) so a played some games and recorded temps....

About Software...i 1st experiment with several programs and i discovered the following...I tested AIDA64, Open Hardware Monitor, A-Tuning, HWMonitor and another one that right now i don't recall name...will check later...

I discovered that only these 5 are reliable as for readings...

All of them give only two reliable temp sensor readings per program...but as long as you use use 2 of these 5 programs and one of them is ASRock A-Tuning , the combination of all readings is a total of 3 temp sensors.

Only one can read the temperature of the motherboard , as in APU socket area, and that program is ASRock A-Tuning.

ALL of them read APU temperature correctly , some however give it cryptic names like Open Hardware Monitor....i only discovered OHM meaning after comparing with other programs readings at same time smile.gif)

ALL of them, except A-Tuning, give a 3rd reading...it's not clear about what is that temperature reading....Chipset ? VRMs ? (AIDA calls it Motherboard but i'm sure is not the same "Motherboard" sensor than A-Tuning calls for because that one is always cooler than APU) in any case, that usually is the sensor that goes up in temps faster but in the end, it doesn't stands out....

I 1st played BFBC2 for 2 hours , then switched to ET:QW for 43 minutes, then gone back to BFBC2 for 2 hours and 10 minutes....these times are actual non stop gameplay, there wasn't also any break except the strict time to get out of game, record results, reset reading and launch next game.

Notice also that CPU FAN in BIOS is set to Performance mode....this means that even at idle , it's always at 60%...if it was set to Standard mode it would be at 49.7% or even less.


So, here it goes...


BFBC2 1st run:

CPU
Max: 54.5C

NB/VRM/whatever
Max: 54C

HDD
Max: 35C

CPU FAN
Max: 73%

Sys FAN:
Max: 53.7%





ET:QW run:

CPU
Max: 50C

NB/VRM/whatever
Max: 50.5C

HDD
Max: 34C

CPU FAN
Max: 69.8%

Sys FAN:
Max: 49.8%






BFBC2 2st run:

CPU
Max: 55C

NB/VRM/whatever
Max: 55.5C

HDD
Max: 37C

CPU FAN
Max: 74.5%

Sys FAN:
Max: 54.5%


Well, for now, i'm pleased but....will this be enough for our Summers ?
I have some doubts...sure there is margin for temperature rise and fans spin faster...but...

Extreme measures might be needed including new fans solution and...a word is playing in my mind...DELID devilsmiley.gif


Delid APU is noting new to me...i did it in the past with a A10-5800K....very easy but you have to be careful...i will make a tutorial if it comes to those extreme measures wink.gif
Edited by AJSB - 2/11/14 at 11:00am
post #2 of 50
Subscribing
post #3 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJSB View Post

This thread/post will be reedited/updated MANY times.

Explanations and other info will be added later.








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Does that board just come in a cardboard box?No anti-static or sturdy foam packaging?
post #4 of 50
Hooray for Kaveri!

-subbed
Genesis
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Windowed SSD
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
AMD FX6300 - 4.6GHz ASRock Extreme4 990FX Galaxy GTX 670 2GB PNY GTX 670 2GB 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
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AMD Athlon 5350 - 2.05GHz ASUS AM1M-A Integrated Crucial Ballistix Tactical 1x4GB (low-profile) ... 
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Samsung 840 120GB (OS) ADATA Premier Pro SP900 64GB (hot-swap) Linux Mint 16 Samsung S20D300H - 900p 
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Cooler Master Quickfire TK Cherry MX Blue PicoPSU 120-WI-25 Custom aluminium box Generic USB trackpad, undecided 
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Genesis
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Windowed SSD
(11 photos)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
AMD FX6300 - 4.6GHz ASRock Extreme4 990FX Galaxy GTX 670 2GB PNY GTX 670 2GB 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Kingston Blu Red 2x4GB - 1600MHz Seagate 600 240GB Samsung 840 250GB WD Caviar Blue 1TB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
WD Scorpio Blue 1TB ADATA Premier Pro SP900 64GB (hot-swap) 3.5" Black Floppy Drive Cooler Master Hyper 212+ 
OSOSMonitorMonitor
Windows 7 64-bit (on Seagate 600) Linux Mint 16 (on Samsung 840) Asus VE247H - 1920x1080 Gateway FPD1960 - 1280x1024 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Rosewill RK-9000I Cherry MX Blue Rosewill Hive 650W Semi-modular Cooler Master HAF 912 Razer DeathAdder 2013 
Mouse PadOtherOtherOther
M1 Garand TekMat CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD NZXT Aperture M Syba SY-MRA55005 Hot-swap bay/slim ODD combo 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Athlon 5350 - 2.05GHz ASUS AM1M-A Integrated Crucial Ballistix Tactical 1x4GB (low-profile) ... 
Hard DriveHard DriveOSMonitor
Samsung 840 120GB (OS) ADATA Premier Pro SP900 64GB (hot-swap) Linux Mint 16 Samsung S20D300H - 900p 
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Cooler Master Quickfire TK Cherry MX Blue PicoPSU 120-WI-25 Custom aluminium box Generic USB trackpad, undecided 
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post #5 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by waveaddict View Post

Does that board just come in a cardboard box?No anti-static or sturdy foam packaging?

[The board was/is in a anti-static bag of course but i didn't see reason to make a specific shot of it....

You will notice in a pic some of of thick dark foam also used to protect the board....

Board is of the usual thickness used by AsRock....

Board color is a very dark brown...you only notice the dark brown in the copper tracks because the parts of the board w/o copper it's so dark that is as good as black...i made my best to avoid flash of camera to make the brown look too light (the flash have that effect if we are not careful ) to avoid giving the wrong idea about MoBo color.

ps: Edited Photo gallery...now includes shot of board inside anti-static bag...i actually made the shot and forgot about it biggrin.gif
Edited by AJSB - 11/7/13 at 5:09am
post #6 of 50
Thread Starter 
There was a typo in title of thread and i fixed it...dunno if it will affect subscriptions...
post #7 of 50
Thread Starter 
Updated with more pics and text about the I/O Panel backpanel antenna connections...
post #8 of 50
Thread Starter 
1st post in thread was updated w/ new pics...more will be added today and also a lot of texts will be added later today.
Edited by AJSB - 11/8/13 at 4:01am
post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJSB View Post

There was a typo in title of thread and i fixed it...dunno if it will affect subscriptions...

It does not. Does the mSATA/mPCIe slot only fit half-height cards, or will it fit standard height cards too?
Genesis
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Windowed SSD
(11 photos)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
AMD FX6300 - 4.6GHz ASRock Extreme4 990FX Galaxy GTX 670 2GB PNY GTX 670 2GB 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Kingston Blu Red 2x4GB - 1600MHz Seagate 600 240GB Samsung 840 250GB WD Caviar Blue 1TB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
WD Scorpio Blue 1TB ADATA Premier Pro SP900 64GB (hot-swap) 3.5" Black Floppy Drive Cooler Master Hyper 212+ 
OSOSMonitorMonitor
Windows 7 64-bit (on Seagate 600) Linux Mint 16 (on Samsung 840) Asus VE247H - 1920x1080 Gateway FPD1960 - 1280x1024 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Rosewill RK-9000I Cherry MX Blue Rosewill Hive 650W Semi-modular Cooler Master HAF 912 Razer DeathAdder 2013 
Mouse PadOtherOtherOther
M1 Garand TekMat CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD NZXT Aperture M Syba SY-MRA55005 Hot-swap bay/slim ODD combo 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Athlon 5350 - 2.05GHz ASUS AM1M-A Integrated Crucial Ballistix Tactical 1x4GB (low-profile) ... 
Hard DriveHard DriveOSMonitor
Samsung 840 120GB (OS) ADATA Premier Pro SP900 64GB (hot-swap) Linux Mint 16 Samsung S20D300H - 900p 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Cooler Master Quickfire TK Cherry MX Blue PicoPSU 120-WI-25 Custom aluminium box Generic USB trackpad, undecided 
OtherOtherOtherOther
TP-Link WDN4800 StarTech expansion slot hot-swap bay OpenUPS Turnigy Nano-Tech 8Ah LiPo battery 
  hide details  
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Genesis
(24 items)
 
Windowed SSD
(11 photos)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
AMD FX6300 - 4.6GHz ASRock Extreme4 990FX Galaxy GTX 670 2GB PNY GTX 670 2GB 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Kingston Blu Red 2x4GB - 1600MHz Seagate 600 240GB Samsung 840 250GB WD Caviar Blue 1TB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
WD Scorpio Blue 1TB ADATA Premier Pro SP900 64GB (hot-swap) 3.5" Black Floppy Drive Cooler Master Hyper 212+ 
OSOSMonitorMonitor
Windows 7 64-bit (on Seagate 600) Linux Mint 16 (on Samsung 840) Asus VE247H - 1920x1080 Gateway FPD1960 - 1280x1024 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Rosewill RK-9000I Cherry MX Blue Rosewill Hive 650W Semi-modular Cooler Master HAF 912 Razer DeathAdder 2013 
Mouse PadOtherOtherOther
M1 Garand TekMat CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD NZXT Aperture M Syba SY-MRA55005 Hot-swap bay/slim ODD combo 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Athlon 5350 - 2.05GHz ASUS AM1M-A Integrated Crucial Ballistix Tactical 1x4GB (low-profile) ... 
Hard DriveHard DriveOSMonitor
Samsung 840 120GB (OS) ADATA Premier Pro SP900 64GB (hot-swap) Linux Mint 16 Samsung S20D300H - 900p 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Cooler Master Quickfire TK Cherry MX Blue PicoPSU 120-WI-25 Custom aluminium box Generic USB trackpad, undecided 
OtherOtherOtherOther
TP-Link WDN4800 StarTech expansion slot hot-swap bay OpenUPS Turnigy Nano-Tech 8Ah LiPo battery 
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post #10 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CynicalUnicorn View Post

It does not. Does the mSATA/mPCIe slot only fit half-height cards, or will it fit standard height cards too?


Aaah thanks for info, i was affraid that i had broken the subscriptions biggrin.gif

As for the *miniPCIex1* / mini-SATA card *length* (i'm not sure if you are making some confusion with PCIex1 where *height* might be an issue...in miniPCIex2 the issue can be the *length* of the card and not the height ) , this AsRock MoBo supports Full Length cards in that connector.

OTOH, Gigabyte MoBo is limited to half-length cards and , AFAIK, the only protocols supported are miniPCIex1 and doesn't support mini-SATA (AKA mSATA).

I will take a better pic of the connector where you clearly will see the screw hole to hold full length cards (you actually can see it in the official pics at AsRock site but it's not very clear).
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