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TazD's 2008 Budget Build featuring Intel's E2180 and Abit's IP35-E

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
What's a new year worth without an upgrade, right?!
In keeping with my personal tradition, it's time for a system upgrade, complete with the latest and greatest in overclocking adventures.

A little over 18 months ago, I went on a similar journey with the Intel Pentium D 805 (the once reigning king of Intel overclockers) and decided to create a little blog/diary of my journey. If you want a fun blast-to-the-past, you can check it out here: http://intel805.blogspot.com/

Of course, then was then and now is now. After countless work-hours spent researching, forum banter and the final check of available cash, I decided upon the following:
  • Intel Dual Core E2180 Processor
  • Abit IP35-E Socket 775 Motherboard
  • 2GB (2x1GB) Crucial Ballistix DDR2 6400 (4-4-4-12 Timings)
  • Arctic Cooler Freezer Pro 7
  • Corsair VX550W ATX12 Power Supply

This will join my already existing components:
  • CoolerMaster Centurion 5 ATX Mid-Tower Case
  • Hitachi Deskstar TK750 250GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive

Oh yeah, and I finally made the leap to DX10 with the: BFG 8800GTG 512 PCI-E 16x Video Card

Love me that video card!!

Total cost in upgrades is a wee-bit under $500 (rebates galore this time of year)!

I'll be posting regular updates on both the system build AND the overclocking journey. Stay tuned for more!!
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
E2180 @ 3.2GHz Abit IP35-E BFG 8800GT Corsair Ballistix DDR2 6400 2GB (2x1GB) 
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E2180 @ 3.2GHz Abit IP35-E BFG 8800GT Corsair Ballistix DDR2 6400 2GB (2x1GB) 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Hitachi Deskstar 250GB SATA Pioneer DVD-RW XP / Vista (Dual Boot) Samsung 19" Widescreen 
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post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 
DAY# 1 - "Out with the Old"

First Step: Remove old components. I never really enjoy this part. It's like moving, you have to pack up all your old crap. Plus, no matter how often I clean my rig, I find that dust bunnies are reproducing at an alarming rate.

After some near-death, previous experiences, I come prepared to this year's hardware process. A pair of anti-static gloves not only keep me from prematurely ending this upgrade process, but they also keep my hands free of those nasty little cuts and scratches that come courtesy of those great heatsinks that could double as ninja weapons.

After 30 minutes, I have most of my old components scattered from here to eternity. Since I'm giving most of these components to a friend, I have to be a little more careful not to trash them. The motherboard puts up the biggest fight, but in the end, I am victories and with nary a scratch on me.

Computer 0, Tazd 1.

Next up...preparing the NEW motherboard and CPU!
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
E2180 @ 3.2GHz Abit IP35-E BFG 8800GT Corsair Ballistix DDR2 6400 2GB (2x1GB) 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Hitachi Deskstar 250GB SATA Pioneer DVD-RW XP / Vista (Dual Boot) Samsung 19" Widescreen 
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Corsair VX550W CoolerMaster Centurion 5 Black/Blue ATX Logitech G7 Wireless 
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E2180 @ 3.2GHz Abit IP35-E BFG 8800GT Corsair Ballistix DDR2 6400 2GB (2x1GB) 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Hitachi Deskstar 250GB SATA Pioneer DVD-RW XP / Vista (Dual Boot) Samsung 19" Widescreen 
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Corsair VX550W CoolerMaster Centurion 5 Black/Blue ATX Logitech G7 Wireless 
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post #3 of 11
sounds good, ur going to notice a huge difference in performance i think
    
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post #4 of 11
Excellent choices on the hardware, great budget overclockers! Once you overclock that 2180, you'll really unleash the beast that lies within that 8800
White Whale
(14 items)
 
  
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Intel i7-4770K Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD4H MSI TwinFrozrIII 7950 2x8GB Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
250GB Samsung Evo Noctua NH-D14 Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 24" Samsung ToC T240 1920x1200 
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Saitek Eclipse (Blue LED) 660W Seasonic Platinum SS-660XP Corsair 600T (white) OCZ Equalizer 
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White Whale
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250GB Samsung Evo Noctua NH-D14 Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 24" Samsung ToC T240 1920x1200 
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Saitek Eclipse (Blue LED) 660W Seasonic Platinum SS-660XP Corsair 600T (white) OCZ Equalizer 
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
System Build

From previous experiences and recommendations, I've decided to go with Arctic Silver for both my prep work and compound. Specifically, I'm using the Arctic Clean solutions (http://www.arcticsilver.com/arcticlean.htm) that help to enhance thermal "interface"...whatever the heck that means!

That means, I have to remove the PRE-applied compound on my Arctic Cooler Pro 7. Now I'm no expert, but I'd guess that the pre-applied gunk is probably effective enough for most Intel 2XXX users who are doing standard, air-cooled overclocking. However, I'm a geek, so I have to take the following extra steps:
  1. Apply ArctiClean 1 Thermal Material Remover (it literally dissolves ANY existing thermal compounds from a processor or heatsink).
  2. Apply ArctiClean 2 Thermal Surface Purifier (Based on the website, it allows for a "more intimate contact between the thermal interface material and the heatsink". Intimate usually means good, so I'm game!

Once my Arctic Cooler Pro 7 is cleaned and purified, I apply my Arctic Silver Céramique thermal compound. The website gives some pretty detailed instructions that I try desperately to follow (http://www.arcticsilver.com/ceramique_instructions.htm)

In a few minutes, I've attached my Arctic Cooler Pro 7 to my E2180 (which has already been installed into my Abit motherboard). I took the advice of many and did this part OUTSIDE of the case. For all those who have tried to install a heatsink onto a motherboard ALREADY INSTALLED into a case, you know the pain they can be.

Needless to say, outside of the case, the installation goes without a hitch. Securing the Arctic Cooler (even with those darn clips) goes without a problem. After installing the memory and connecting my case cables (you know what I'm talking about...those damn cables for your HDD light and "speaker"). One day, I hope all case makers and motherboard companies come together to create one universal cabling method. Sure would save all us system builders a few headaches.

Still, within an hour, I've installed all of my NECESSARY components into the case including the motherboard, CPU, memory and power supply. By the way, I've already installed the SATA Hard Drive and DVD-ROM drive, but HAVE NOT YET CONNECTED THEM TO THE MOTHERBOARD. I like to work out any kinks in the bios first before I introduce drives to the occasion!

Next up...my first boot, XP install and the joys of fans!
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
E2180 @ 3.2GHz Abit IP35-E BFG 8800GT Corsair Ballistix DDR2 6400 2GB (2x1GB) 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Hitachi Deskstar 250GB SATA Pioneer DVD-RW XP / Vista (Dual Boot) Samsung 19" Widescreen 
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Corsair VX550W CoolerMaster Centurion 5 Black/Blue ATX Logitech G7 Wireless 
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E2180 @ 3.2GHz Abit IP35-E BFG 8800GT Corsair Ballistix DDR2 6400 2GB (2x1GB) 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Hitachi Deskstar 250GB SATA Pioneer DVD-RW XP / Vista (Dual Boot) Samsung 19" Widescreen 
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Corsair VX550W CoolerMaster Centurion 5 Black/Blue ATX Logitech G7 Wireless 
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post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
DAY# 2: Do you smell something burning?!

And so the fun begins. Don't get me wrong, I love "building" a system just as much as the next overclocker. There is something exciting about pulling out old cards, CPUs, power-supplies, etc. and replacing it with shiny, new things that smell like they just came off a factory!!

But when it comes to overclocking, the rubber meets the road on performance and stability. And so, after a late night of mounting motherboards, lathering CPUs with thermal compound and tying back extra cables from my shiny new Corsair 550VX Power Supply (actually, it's more of a flat black than shiny).

FIRST BOOT UP AND MY FIRST LOCKUP!

One flip of the switch and all is well with the world. A low hum resonantes from the three four fans currently doing their best to the rapidly increasing temperatures of the CPU. A quick look in the BIOS and everything looks normal. CPU and Memory detected properly. No beeps or boops to speak of.

I jump over the PC HEALTH screen to take a look at my temps. So far, so good. Holding steady at 30C or so, which is expected since this is the first time the thermal compound, CPU and heatsink are working together.

All of a sudden, my keyboard locks up. Strange. The numlock key still responds, but I am unable to move in the BIOS...my keyboard cursor is stuck. Nothing works...no ESC...no F10...nothing. I quickly reboot the computer, using the trusty reset key.

Everything boots up normal...again, no beeps or boops. I return to BIOS and head back to the PC HEALTH screen and, lo and behold, my keyboard locks up again!!

After a quick google search on my laptop, I come across someone else who's run into this same issue. Evidentially, it's an issue with the SYS FAN 1 plug on the motherboard. I quickly move that fan's power to the SYS FAN 2 position and move my other 120mm fan to an auxillary power cord.

Reboot and return to BIOS. I head directly to my PC HEALTH screen and...
Everything's great! No keyboard lock ups. A strange problem...and hardly end-of-the-world inducing. However, it's an annoying bug.

Next...BIOS update. I notice that my board (newly shipped from NEWEGG) appears to be running version 15...however, I never trust anything, so I decide to FLASH it with the v15 downloaded from Abit's website. I use the USB flash drive update procedure which works perfectly.

Moments later, I've flashed my BIOS to the most recent v15 and everything's running solid. I'm tempted to return the fan to SYS FAN 1, just to see if the BIOS "revision" has solved the problem, but I feel the need to stick with the old adage: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". So I move on.

WINDOWS XP INSTALLATION:

I whip out my trusty Windows XP disc, already streamlined with SP2 and a host of hotfixes. Within a matter of moments, I'm installing away! I must say, this XP install goes without a single issue. First time, in a long time for me. However, few of you are reading this log to find out how to install XP, so I'll move on to the juicy stuff...

FIRST TESTS

First of all, I'm a big fan of creating a baseline before overclocking. While some may just want to get right to it...I want to ensure that I'm running a stable system FIRST before I go blowing off the heatsink on my new CPU. Call me old...call me careful...call me whatever, it's my money and I'll burn-in if I want to (see what I did there?? )

After installing the latest and greatest in drivers, I run my first test using the following:
  1. Orthos ("Blend" Mode)
  2. Core Temp
  3. CPU-Z
Just to keep future postings shorter, I'll be using these three programs for all my tests.

For this test, I'm keeping things at Stock, so the only settings I've changed in the BIOS are:
  • DRAM Voltage: 2.2V (default for my Corsair Ballistix)

Everything else has been left on AUTO. No reason to change things yet, I think.

Since it's already 1:30 in the morning, I decide to let Orthos run through the night. I figure 8 or 9 hours of stability will give me the peace of mind that things are working well.

9 hours, 18 minutes and 42 seconds later, I wake up to find Orthos still running. Even better, CoreTemp puts me at a balmy 39C!! (see screenshot below)

Since things appear to be stable, I reboot and run MemTest for about an hour (or at least through one pass of all tests). No errors!

All is indeed well in TazD land!

Finally, I decide to set a baseline for my 3DMark06 scores.
Stock 3DMark06 Score: 8712

Nothing to write home about...however, I haven't even brushed the surface on this overclock, so my hopes remain high!

Next up...straight to 275 on the FSB!!
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
E2180 @ 3.2GHz Abit IP35-E BFG 8800GT Corsair Ballistix DDR2 6400 2GB (2x1GB) 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Hitachi Deskstar 250GB SATA Pioneer DVD-RW XP / Vista (Dual Boot) Samsung 19" Widescreen 
PowerCaseMouse
Corsair VX550W CoolerMaster Centurion 5 Black/Blue ATX Logitech G7 Wireless 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
E2180 @ 3.2GHz Abit IP35-E BFG 8800GT Corsair Ballistix DDR2 6400 2GB (2x1GB) 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Hitachi Deskstar 250GB SATA Pioneer DVD-RW XP / Vista (Dual Boot) Samsung 19" Widescreen 
PowerCaseMouse
Corsair VX550W CoolerMaster Centurion 5 Black/Blue ATX Logitech G7 Wireless 
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post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
DAY# 3: FINDING THE SWEET SPOT

It's time to wrap this log up...I've had enough double posts to kill an elephant (hmm...that phrase may not work afterall!) In any case, I'm sure most of you have probably skipped everything else and just want to know what I finally ended up with in terms of speed and stability. So, here goes nothing...or everything...or something.

FIRST TO 275FSB
Word to the wise, don't bite off more than you can chew. In this particular case, I was so excited about my system stability right off the bat, that I decided to go straight to 275FSB. Based on what I've read on the forums, post E2180 users have been able to reach 2.8GHz, so I thought starting off just below that would be safe.

I head straight to the BIOS and change ONE setting:
  • FSB: 275

I hit F10 and wait patiently...for nothing.
While I can POST, Windows XP won't even boot in at 275 FSB at stock voltages. Bummer.

I head back to the BIOS and change the following:
  • FSB: 250

A more manageable number...and a little less dramatic. I hit F10 and wait. This time, I'm rewarded with the sweet blue colors of the Windows XP Welcome screen! Time to stress test!

Since this step-by-step process is quite time consuming, I'll skip all the play by play and go straight to the highlights using the following outline:
  • BIOS SETTINGS: Settings that were changed or altered, everything else was left at Auto or Default
  • ORTHOS TEST: PASS OR FAIL (Each test was run for AT LEAST 30 minutes)
  • IDLE/LOAD: (I didn't capture ALL tests at full load...sorry)
  • 3DMARK06 SCORE: (note: I didn't run it for all settings)
  • MEMTEST+86: (note: I didn't run it for all settings)

2.50GHz
  • BIOS SETTINGS:
  • FSB: 250 x 10
  • VCORE: Stock (1.325 - lowest on the Abit IP35-E Board)
  • MEMORY: Timings: 4-4-4-12 @ DRAM Freq of 500Mhz
  • ORTHOS: PASS
  • IDLE/LOAD: 29C / 51C
  • 3DMARK06: 10259
  • MEMTEST+86: n/a

2.70GHz
  • BIOS SETTINGS:
  • FSB: 270 x 10
  • VCORE: Stock (1.325 - lowest on the Abit IP35-E Board)
  • MEMORY: Timings: 5-5-5-15 @ DRAM Freq of 540Mhz
  • ORTHOS: PASS
  • IDLE/LOAD: 29C / 52C
  • 3DMARK06: 10735
  • MEMTEST+86: n/a

3.00GHz
  • BIOS SETTINGS:
  • FSB: 300 x 10
  • VCORE: Stock (1.345 - two steps up)
  • MEMORY: Timings: 5-5-5-15 @ DRAM Freq of 580Mhz
  • ORTHOS: PASS
  • IDLE/LOAD: 30C / 54C
  • 3DMARK06: n/a
  • MEMTEST+86: n/a

3.10GHz (This is where it starts to get interesting!)
  • BIOS SETTINGS:
  • FSB: 310 x 10
  • VCORE: Stock (1.375 - five steps up)
  • MEMORY: Timings: 5-5-5-15 @ DRAM Freq of ?? (I wrote this down somewhere)
  • ORTHOS: PASS
  • IDLE/LOAD: 30C / 57C
  • 3DMARK06: n/a
  • MEMTEST+86: n/a

3.20GHz (This is where it starts to get interesting!)
  • BIOS SETTINGS:
  • FSB: 320 x 10
  • VCORE: Stock (1.405 - eight steps up)
  • MEMORY: Timings: 5-5-5-15 @ DRAM Freq of 480 (2:3)
  • ORTHOS: PASS
  • IDLE/LOAD: 30C / 62C (Max - Average is 59.5C)
  • 3DMARK06: 11601
  • MEMTEST+86: PASS

3.30GHz First Pass
  • BIOS SETTINGS:
  • FSB: 330 x 10
  • VCORE: Stock (1.455 - thirteen steps up)
  • MEMORY: Timings: 5-5-5-15 @ DRAM Freq of 330 (1:1)
  • ORTHOS: FAILED AT 58 MINUTES
  • IDLE/LOAD: 30C / 64C
  • 3DMARK06: n/a
  • MEMTEST+86: n/a

3.30GHz Fourth and Final Pass My ceiling?!
  • BIOS SETTINGS:
  • FSB: 330 x 10
  • VCORE: Stock (1.485 - sixteen steps up)
  • MEMORY: Timings: 5-5-5-15 @ DRAM Freq of 330 (1:1)
  • ORTHOS: STABLE THROUGH 1 HR, 58 MIN TEST
  • IDLE/LOAD: 33C / 69C
  • 3DMARK06: 11833
  • MEMTEST+86: n/a

When all is said and done, LOAD temps of 69C is too hot for me. Especially with only a 2% increase in benchmarking scores, it doesn't seem worthwhile to risk the chip long term.

After doing some OC work on my new BFG 8800GT, I settle on the following:

FSB: 320
MULTI: x10
VCORE: 1.405V
DRAM VOLTAGE: 2.2V (stock for the Corsair Ballistix)
FSB : DRAM RATIO: 2:3
DRAM TIMINGS: 5-5-5-15 @ 2T
DRAM FREQ: 480
All other settings/voltages set at Default or Auto.
CPUz VALIDATION LINK: http://valid.x86-secret.com/show_oc.php?id=320328

ORTHOS BLEND TEST: Solid for almost 9 hours (see screenshot below)
MEMTESTx86: Passed all 7 Tests

IDLE TEMP: 29C
LOAD TEMP: 58C (Max)

8800GT OC SETTINGS:
CORE CLOCK: 675MHz
SHADER CLOCK: 1675MHz
MEMORY CLOCK: 1000MHz

3DMark06 Score: 12075
http://service.futuremark.com/compare?3dm06=5423558

Not too shabby. I may try and further tweak my memory timing and increase the DRAM FREQ to squeeze out a few more marks...but in the end, I'm happy where this chip has stabilized. If someone happens to GIVE ME a Tuniq Tower, I may try and find the ceiling with this chip as 3.30GHz was possible with 1.485 VCore. However, based on the VCore increases I had to make to stablize it at that settings, I doubt I'd get more than 3.4 out of this chip. And I wouldn't risk that unless I had a much higher specc'd cooler on my CPU.

CONCLUSIONS

At the end of the day, I was able to get a 60% boost on a pretty in-expensive cooler (AC Pro 7). Add the 8800GT 8% OC boost and I'm looking at 3DMark scores more than double my old comp (D805 OC'd to 3.8GHz). Considering the overall cost in my upgrades (see below), I think this was well worth every penny!!

FYI, I ran Crysis for the first time...and it even auto-detected all settings to HIGH! Ran the first mission using the built-in FPS meter and I average 34FPS throughout! Not too shabby on a single card system with a ::cough:: $60 Processor!!

Here's a cost breakdown of my upgrades (including final cost when rebate is applied):
  • Intel Dual Core E2180 Processor - $60
  • Abit IP35-E Socket 775 Motherboard - $60
  • 2GB (2x1GB) Crucial Ballistix DDR2 6400 (4-4-4-12 Timings) - $40
  • Arctic Cooler Freezer Pro 7 - $27
  • Corsair VX550W ATX12 Power Supply - $64

Grand Total: $251 (yes...I abuse the smiles!)
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
E2180 @ 3.2GHz Abit IP35-E BFG 8800GT Corsair Ballistix DDR2 6400 2GB (2x1GB) 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Hitachi Deskstar 250GB SATA Pioneer DVD-RW XP / Vista (Dual Boot) Samsung 19" Widescreen 
PowerCaseMouse
Corsair VX550W CoolerMaster Centurion 5 Black/Blue ATX Logitech G7 Wireless 
  hide details  
Reply
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
E2180 @ 3.2GHz Abit IP35-E BFG 8800GT Corsair Ballistix DDR2 6400 2GB (2x1GB) 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Hitachi Deskstar 250GB SATA Pioneer DVD-RW XP / Vista (Dual Boot) Samsung 19" Widescreen 
PowerCaseMouse
Corsair VX550W CoolerMaster Centurion 5 Black/Blue ATX Logitech G7 Wireless 
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Reply
post #8 of 11
Very nice to read
     
CPUGraphicsRAMOS
i7 4710q Nvidia GT840M 8GB DDR-3 1600 Windows 8.1 
Monitor
17" 1600x900 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i7 930 D0 ASUS P6T-SE Sapphire 5750 1Gig @ 820/1275 Asus 6770 DirectCU 1Gig @ 908/1150 
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveOS
Kingston Value 18 Gigs 1086mhz CL8 Western Digital 640GB Black LG GH24LS50 24x Windows 7 Home Premium 64 
MonitorPowerCaseMouse
ASUS VW266H 26" 1920x1200 Antec True Power New 750 watts Thermaltake V3 Black Edition Logitech G5 V2 
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CPUGraphicsRAMOS
i7 4710q Nvidia GT840M 8GB DDR-3 1600 Windows 8.1 
Monitor
17" 1600x900 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i7 930 D0 ASUS P6T-SE Sapphire 5750 1Gig @ 820/1275 Asus 6770 DirectCU 1Gig @ 908/1150 
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveOS
Kingston Value 18 Gigs 1086mhz CL8 Western Digital 640GB Black LG GH24LS50 24x Windows 7 Home Premium 64 
MonitorPowerCaseMouse
ASUS VW266H 26" 1920x1200 Antec True Power New 750 watts Thermaltake V3 Black Edition Logitech G5 V2 
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post #9 of 11
I found if I nudged the NB up a little I got a definite boost in stability and speed with the same Mobo and Processor.
Great read!
post #10 of 11
great read!

I was wondering if getting one of those processors would be worth it until I can afford a better one...you definetly made me think yes it would be.
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