Xbox One Expansion Drive is Here

Running out of room on your Xbox One internal hard drive? Many are. The Xbox One gives you 500GB of internal game storage… or does it? On a fresh Xbox One we took a look at the internal storage and found only 364.8GB of usable space! If you’re a game fanatic, you might find that’s no where near enough for a console lifetime of gaming! Blu-ray based games and game downloads now take anywhere from 18GB to 45GB of hard drive space, and each game requires loading to the hard drive to play.

Xbox One internal Hard Drive is limited to 364.8GB

Xbox One internal Hard Drive is limited to 364.8GB

And what about if you want to bring a game over to a friends house? You bring the Blu-ray game disc, but then you have to wait for the game to install on their system before you can play. More and more we see the need to expand our Xbox One hard drive and make our main storage mobile ready.

Many know DIGISTOR for our series of PS3 and Xbox 360 Portable Hard Drives, and we’re happy to announce we’ve expanded our line of products to include the Xbox One Expansion Drive by DIGISTOR. The new expansion drive is available in 500GB and 1TB size formats, and connects to your Xbox One through a single USB 3.0 cable, no wall adapter needed!

Simply connect the portable drive to your Xbox One, and now you’re able to move or copy game installs or apps to the DIGISTOR drive instead of the internal drive. You can even choose the DIGISTOR drive as the default install location to make sure all future downloads go to the right place.

To learn more or buy the Xbox One Expansion drive for your console visit our Gaming Hard Drives product page.

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How to use an external hard drive with PS3

Today’s video game systems are leaps and bounds ahead of their progenitors, offering an array of high-tech features that would have been unthinkable just a decade ago. In addition to high-definition graphics and incredible AI, recent platforms such as the PlayStation 3 leverage the ubiquity of Internet networks to connect gamers and allow them to purchase and download new games, music, movies and episodes of their favorite television shows from the convenience of their home. These capabilities have transformed consoles from strictly video game-playing hardware to all-in-one media centers.

While being able to download, store and play videos, music and games on the PS3 enhances its value and usefulness, it also places a significant strain on the machine’s internal hard drive. Exacerbating this issue is the need to temporarily copy data from a game disc to the console’s hard drive in order to lower load times and increase responsiveness. While previous systems simply read data straight from the disc, the PS3 requires gamers to store that information on the hard drive in certain instances. This can take up multiple gigabytes of storage space for a single game. When accounting for the various downloaded games, music, movies and other video media, it becomes clear that PS3 owners will need an alternative method of data storage to alleviate the strain placed on their internal hard drives.

The best way to supplement PS3 data storage is by attaching an external hard drive to offload video and audio files. This way, gamers can clear space off of their hard drive and make more room for their sizeable game downloads. When choosing a particular solution, it’s important that PS3 owners go with a product that has been specifically designed to interact with the console’s operating system and software. Some third-party options will not be optimized to interface with the PS3 platform. DIGISTOR’s line of portable PlayStation 3 external hard drives is 100 percent compatible with the PS3 OS, making it a reliable solution to gamers’ storage concerns. Furthermore, that compatibility extends to every generation of the PlayStation 3, including the original, “Slim” and “Super Slim” models. This coverage ensures that the Portable HDD works with every PS3 system on the market.

In addition to storing additional video, music and image files for PS3 owners who have overtaxed their internal hard drives, the DIGISTOR Playstation 3 external hard drive can also back up the console’s entire system, including game saves. This way, gamers can be absolutely certain that their irreplaceable save states and downloads remain accessible even if their PS3 suffers a critical error or has its storage device wiped.

Working through the connection process
Given the sensitivity of data storage and well-founded concerns regarding data loss among gamers, it’s imperative that users follow the proper steps when connecting an external hard drive to their consoles. The first step is knowing how to move content from a desktop or laptop onto the hard drive for PS3 playback. When the device is connected to a PC or Mac, three media folders titled “MUSIC,” “VIDEO” and “PICTURE” will appear. Users can simply drop the files they want to play through their PS3’s in the corresponding folders. Once the external hard drive has been inserted into the PS3’s USB port, the option “USB Device” should appear under the Picture, Music and Videos tab. When this is done correctly, the PlayStation’s system will be able to easily identify and categorize documents as various types of media, enabling quick and painless navigation. If users choose to use a different file structure when organizing their USB device folders, those changes will be reflected when the hard drive is connected to the PlayStation 3.

Backing up game saves, systems
One of the more useful features offered by the DIGISTOR Portable USB 3.0 PS3 drive is the ability to copy and store game saves. The PlayStation 3’s user interface XMB allows gamers to copy their save states to a USB device, providing a safety net in case those files are corrupted or accidently erased. It should be noted, however, that this feature extends only to the save states and not the games themselves. In addition, XMB does not offer data reading compatibility with USB drives, meaning individuals can store game saves on their external hard drives, but they cannot launch them directly from those devices. To load these saved games, users must transfer them back to the PS3’s internal hard drive.

To copy these files to the DIGISTOR Portable USB 3.0 PS3 drive, gamers must first select the saved game from the console’s memory and then press the triangle button Triangle button icon on their PS3 controller. This will enable a copy function that can be used to back up important files to the PlayStation 3 external hard drive. Another great application for this feature is to share game saves with friends. If PS3 owners want to pick up where they left off in a game when visiting a friend, it can be easily stored on their portable drive and copied onto the friend’s console.

Another important use for the PlayStation 3 external hard is the ability to back up the entire console. Given the sensitivity of spinning disk HDD based consoles, it’s far more common for systems to suffer critical errors that require repair from the manufacturer. In many instances, the machine’s entire system is wiped, erasing important files and documents. By using DIGISTOR’s portable drive, gamer can ensure that this data is not lost for good in the event of a hardware issue. To complete the back up process:

  1. Go to Settings icon(Settings) > System Settings icon(System Settings) and press the X button iconbutton.
    Backup Utility screenshot 1
  2. Go to [Backup Utility] and press the X button iconbutton.
    Backup Utility screenshot 2
  3. You will be given three options:
    Backup Utility screenshot 3

This should launch the back up process and copy the entire PS3 system for later use. This will ensure that gamers have access to everything they need in the event of a critical system shutdown.

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Video game enthusiasts seek more versatile storage options

Hard disk drives used for backing up gaming data are becoming increasingly versatile by moving away from a strict focus to offering storage solutions for other media as well. Users seeking all-inclusive data archiving solutions can now turn to options that were formerly market-specific.

One case in point is DIGISTOR's Xbox 360 500GB hard disk drive, which also comes in a 1TB version. The device has been enhanced to provide 32GB of game content, while the rest of the drive can store movies, music and photos. Game storage is partitioned from other data in order to make it easy to transfer from one console to another. Other content stored on the drive can be accessed through the Xbox console and played on a television.

The drives allow users to store their game data, arcade titles and Xbox 360 and original Xbox games. A variety of other game-related content can also be stored on the drive, including game contents, avatar items, themes, icons, demos and trailers. Video files can be played back as standard or high-definition DivX or MPEG files, while users can listen to audio files and display album cover art.

The Xbox has been a popular and resilient gaming platform since its first generation was introduced in 2001. In the ensuing years, the platform's consoles have moved through their sixth through eighth generations, according to Statistic​ Brain. As of June, about 59.4 million Xbox 360 consoles and 384 million games have been sold. It has far outsold the original Xbox platform, which moved only about 24.7 million units.

Transformative gaming
The original Xbox served as an introduction to the platform and a stepping stone on Microsoft's way to introducing 3-D graphics, Chris Kohler wrote in Wired. When the Xbox 360 was introduced in 2005, it ushered in an era in which more storage space became necessary for console gamers. Gamers found that they could back back up their data through external drives and that they needed the extra capacity as games became increasingly complex.

"Online multiplayer gaming was about to transition from an experimental add-on feature to a key component of the console gaming experience, and the next-gen Xbox would be built around the idea of delivering a consistent, system-level experience," Kohler wrote.

The Xbox 360 is expected to remain on the market through 2016, and 100 new games are planned for it, Wesley Yin-Poole wrote in EuroGamer. The platform will work side-by-side with the recently released Xbox One console. DIGISTOR's Xbox 360 hard drive will continue to fill a vital need for gamers who need more storage space.

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Keep game saves available with PlayStation 3 external hard drive

With Sony’s PlayStation 4 set to be released in November, common thought might indicate that its predecessor’s user base is primed to jump ship and make the transition to the newer hardware. However, recent console releases suggest that this might not be the case at all. For example, Nintendo’s Wii U system sold approximately 400,000 units within its first week of release last year, according to The Verge. That figure represents roughly two-thirds of the sales recorded by the original Wii during its initial week on retailers’ shelves in 2006. Given the incremental tech upgrade from the PlayStation 3 to its successor, consumers may be less willing to plunk down their hard-earned money on a new system when the latest hardware is released.

The story of Sony’s current console isn’t quite finished yet, as evidenced by reports that a new SKU has been made available to North American consumers. According to Engadget, a 12 gigabyte flash-based unit that was previously exclusive to the Europe and Hong Kong markets has now landed on American shores. Although this release demonstrates the continued consumer interest in Sony’s product, storage concerns relating to this particular SKU abound. Because the system can only hold 12 gigabytes of data, there will not be much room for numerous media files. This is of particular concern for users who own high-definition videos, which can easily take up that much space in no time.

External storage solutions offers media flexibility
Current Sony customers who are interested in this new product but do not want to lose access to their stored system data, including game saves, music files and movies, will need to find an alternate solution to their storage concerns. DIGISTOR’s PlayStation 3 external hard drive allows gamers to quickly, easily and safely transfer or copy saved content to a backup device. This way, consumers can alleviate potential hard drive and flash memory issues before they develop. Some content, including images, audio files and videos, can be launched straight from the hard drive’s disk, meaning the meager storage capacity of Sony’s latest SKU won’t be an issue for DIGISTOR users.

Investing in DIGISTOR’s portable external hard drive for PS3 allows gamers to have a greater degree of flexibility regarding how they access their media files and game saves. For example, PlayStation 3 users may want to pick up where they had left off in a game on a friend’s system. Under normal circumstances, their game saves would be siloed on an individual system, but using DIGISTOR’s portable PlayStation 3 hard drive, gamers can taker their files on the go. This way, they can jump right back into a game from any compatible system and share the gaming experience with friends and family.

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Back up aging hardware with a DIGISTOR PlayStation 3 external hard drive

When the PlayStation 3 was first released in 2006, it was the pinnacle of console gaming technology. However, seven years later, the system has begun to show its age, creating concerns about the long-term stability of its storage capabilities. As noted by Daily Game contributor Wade Wheeler, the PlayStation 3 – along with its main competitor, the Xbox 360 – was prone to catastrophic hardware failure early in its product life. Although Sony has since taken steps to alleviate these issues, gamers continue to report instances of equipment malfunction.

"An overheated console has largely been blamed for both the Xbox 360′s 'red ring of death' and the PS3′s 'yellow light of death,'" Wheeler wrote. "Those issues predominantly occurred early in each console's life, although it's not unheard of to hear of them even as the Xbox 360 and PS3 begin to wind down their time as their respective manufacturers' headline act."

Sony learns from its mistakes with new system
Sony has already promised that the system's successor, PlayStation 4, will operate more reliably out of the box and should result in fewer instances of abrupt hardware failure. Citing the company's recent filing with the Federal Communications Commission, Wheeler explained that the yet-to-be-released system will run at a considerably lower internal temperature than its predecessor. According to the documents filed by Sony, the PlayStation 4 should top out at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, current PlayStation 3 models have been known to run at an average temperature of 113 to 131 degrees, with hardware failures more likely to occur once temperatures rose above 140 degrees.

The continued threat overheating poses to the integrity of PlayStation 3 hardware should give current gamers pause, as this issue appears unlikely to ever receive a permanent fix. As Sony allocates more attention and resources to the system's successor, PlayStation 3 users will largely be on their own when it comes to hardware upkeep. Gamers who store various forms of media on their systems, including music, videos and video game saves, should have a backup solution in the event of internal hard drive failure. According to Exit Strategy, even users who decide to outright replace their existing internal drive should back up their saved data with an external device.

"Back up your old stuff before installing the new hard drive," the source stated. "The easiest way to do this is to find/buy/borrow a FAT32-formatted external hard disc drive and save all of your old files on your old HDD (the one that's in your PS3 still) to the external drive. This means that you'll be able to restore all of your info back on to the new HDD after installation."

The importance of a reliable external backup
When backing up a PlayStation 3, consumers should be careful to choose a storage device that is 100 percent compatible with the system's operating system and hardware. DIGISTOR's external hard drive for the PS3 provides the peace of mind needed when attempting to transfer or copy existing files to another storage solution. The device is pre-formatted to work with any existing PlayStation 3 console, so gamers can be certain that it will be compatible regardless of which SKU they own. With both a 500 gigabyte and 1 terabyte model available, users can back up an incredible number of music, video or game save files and have them readily available when needed.

The functionality of DIGISTOR's PlayStation 3 external hard drive isn't merely limited to backing up information, as it also allows individuals to launch their music, image and video files directly from the disk. This way, they can play back video files in either standard or high definition, listen to music on the system or view saved images from the PlayStation 3's photo album rendering system. Because DIGISTOR offers superfast USB 3.0 and 2.0 data connections, these files can be copied, transferred or launched quickly and conveniently.

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A closer look at video codecs and containers

A DIGISTOR Professional Video SSD provides a convenient, reliable and high-capacity medium for capturing and storing uncompressed video. When using an SSD for video capture, however, a videographer may often work with a variety of different video formats, so it is key to know the differences between them, and what their implications are for writing to storage.

Videomaker contributing editor Kyle Cassidy pointed out that videographers typically have a large, high-quality digital file that serves as the master copy. From that, they can make a variety of copies suitable for different distribution methods, such as DVD, Blu-ray or online streaming. The original file should be kept at its uncompressed size. Copies may need to be compressed in order to be more readily sharable, but videographers should avoid additional compression that can produce low-resolution images.

"While digital files do not degrade in quality during copying, every time they are compressed with a 'lossy' compression they lose data, so converting your uncompressed DV formatted files even into a high-quality MP4 will result in a loss of quality," explained Cassidy.

Understanding codecs and containers
Video applications have a container that encases the data, as well as a codec that permits the compression and decompression of the file, usually in a lossy way. When creating a file version for a particular medium, videographers may need to consider the aspect ratios, usable bit​ rates and platform-specific support of these containers and codecs.

For example, the popular Audio Video Interleave container does not have a method for specifying an aspect ratio, meaning that videos meant to be seen in 16:9 could show up in 4:3. However, this issue is less prevalent on video players that allow users to select an aspect ratio.

The H.264 codec, which uses the Advanced Video Coding High Definition container, is a standard way for compressing Web video and Blu-ray data, and is notable for its ability to work at both low and high bit​ rates. In the case of Web video, it sends a low resolution stream for quick loading, whereas with a home HD movie it would instead use a high bit​ rate for maximum quality.

In a paper for Media Matters, Texas Instruments' Jeremiah Golston underscored the importance of being comfortable with a wide range of codecs. He characterized modern codecs such as H.264 and WMV9 as offering up to twice the quality of their predecessors, with improved compression ratios.

"The proliferation of multiple standards and proprietary algorithms make it difficult to select one standard especially since hardware decisions are often made far in advance of the product deployment," wrote Golston. "Also t]he growing trend toward networked connectivity means that many products will increasingly have to support more than one standard." 

DIGISTOR's SSD drives ensure that videographers can capture uncompressed video for editing and reproduction. Specifically optimized for Blackmagic hardware, these SSDs are available with up to 480 GB of capacity and can be bought in convenient multi-drive packs.

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The advantages of working with uncompressed video

For videographers and media professionals, uncompressed video recording is the best way to capture accurate and high-quality footage, whether for filmmaking or documenting an event like a wedding. In addition to offering better color accuracy, clarity and file stability than compressed instances, uncompressed videos are also increasingly easy and efficient to store, using a Professional Video Series SSD from DIGISTOR, which ensures rapid writing and reliable long-term storage. With up to 480 GB of capacity, these SSDs are the perfect way to record in uncompressed HD, which is not supported on most off-the-shelf SSD drives. Drives from other manufactures may also lack the specific optimizations that DIGISTOR SSDs feature for Blackmagic hardware. 

The advantages of uncompressed video
Why is uncompressed video the ideal for the professional videographer? In the simplest terms, uncompressed video recording produces higher-quality images. Compressed video often has issues with slightly off-color gradients and electronically generated backgrounds, which are created during the compression process. Videomaker contributing editor Kyle Cassidy explained that compression, while not always noticeable in small doses, can become a major distraction when overused. Typically, compression is utilized for representing redundancies as a single unit.

"[C]ompression is a bad idea in the long run precisely because of its success in removing redundancy," explained compression expert Kevin Marks.  "If you have a single bit error in a compressed stream it will make the rest of the frame, or possibly many frames, corrupt. In the worst case it can destroy the rest of the file from then onwards."

A Creative Planet Network article sounded a similar note in assessing the videography community's attitudes toward compression, adding that special image effects may suffer when using compressed video. Similarly, chroma key compositing, or the replacement of an image like a background with a different one, may be more difficult to perform with compressed footage. Although the source stopped short of declaring a definitive link between compression and shallow bit-depth in audio, it noted that compression may compound many of the issues traditionally attributed to bit-depth problems.

Uncompressed video in postproduction
With storage continually increasing in capacity and affordability, the practical need for compression may also be disappearing, giving videographers greater freedom in how they film and edit. A key benefit of shooting uncompressed video is that it is easier to apply postproduction techniques to it later.

Speaking to Creative Planet Network, Discreet product manager Maurice Patel explained that much of the value in a video is often added during postproduction. To make the most of color correction, filters and chroma keying, videographers need access to as much file data as possible, and they can only get that by working with uncompressed video.

"If the service you sell is one of also changing images [pixel by pixel] then compression will be a significant handicap and can cause a rapid decline in image quality," said Patel. "Compression reduces the freedom and flexibility to make any change you want to the image, whenever you want to, in the postproduction process."

With a DIGISTOR SSD, videographers can capture uncompressed video for high-quality editing and reproduction.

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SSDs becoming more cost-effective than magnetic storage

While many users experience the benefits of NAND flash storage via the SSD drives that ship with their notebooks or mobile devices, aftermarket drives are also viable ways to revitalize PCs with speedier performance. Similarly, external SSD drives, such as a DIGISTOR Portable SSD Hard Drive, can provide speed and extra storage to any Windows or Mac OS X laptop via convenient USB connection.

SSDs have a number of advantages over HDDs, including the absence of mechanical heads and quicker access times. However, even as they become more prevalent across numerous devices, consumers may not be regarding them in the right way, often viewing SSDs as too expensive compared to magnetic storage. For now, SSDs do come in generally lower capacities than HDDs, but they are catching up, plus they are already more cost-effective in terms of their effects on productivity and bandwidth usage, according to InfoStor contributor Greg Schulz.

"A better comparison [than capacity differences between SSDs and HDDS]  is the cost for performance or productivity, such as how many [input/output operations per second], or bandwidth per second, or value of response time, transactions, files or videos and web pages or other work done," wrote Schulz. "For example, while a HDD-based solution might have a cost of doing some work of $2.58 per transaction, an SSD device could be in the $0.18 range."

At the same time, SSD buyers must consider what type of flash cell arrangement fits their needs. Multi-level cell technology is less expensive than single-level, albeit with less durability and slower write performance.

SSD longevity
Writing for The Straits Times, Vincent Chang examined the recent impact of SSDs on both slimline Ultrabook laptops and older computers, arguing that flash storage is becoming more popular due to recent declines in per gigabyte cost.

While PC OEMs may put high price tags on laptops that ship with SSDs, aftermarket options can provide all of the same benefits in a more affordable package. SSDs write at up to four times the speed of a 7,200 RPM HDD, and they are lasting longer than before.

"[M]odern SSDs offer between three and five years of warranty, which is fairly conservative," wrote Chang. "The actual write endurance varies between the type and make of SSDs, but unless you find yourself copying more than 100GB of data daily, you are unlikely to reach the limit in 10 years."

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Correctly backing up data when moving from HDD to SSD

Users like SSD drives because they offer speedy, reliable storage that fits comfortably into a PC, Mac, camera or mobile device. With no moving mechanical parts or fragmented storage blocks, SSDs enable quick boot times and improve the performance of even complex applications like desktop video editors, which launch almost instantly and can copy and read files with ease.

"Overall, the feeling is that the system [on an SSD] is faster and much more responsive than with just a SATA drive," wrote the editors of KitGuru, about their testing of a 64 GB SSD. "You can actually tell when you hit a task that is CPU-dependent rather than data-flow driven."

Some SSDs have smaller capacities and higher costs per gigabyte than commodity HDDs, but flash storage has become gradually more affordable and roomier in recent times, widening their appeal. However, the daunting prospect of reinstalling the operating system and moving applications from an HDD to an SSD may still discourage some individuals from procuring SSDs for their PCs. Luckily, data archiving tools and optical accessories, such as a Blu-ray burner, can make this process easier.

Making backups and consolidating data
Since an SSD may have less capacity than an old HDD, efficiently moving data requires focus on essential applications. According to Lifehacker's Adam Dachis, it is advisable to move the operating system first, followed by critical system files. What about items such as MP3s, videos and documents, which can fill up a sizable portion of the new drive but are not essential to the system?

One option is to retain the old HDD for occasional access to those files, which may be most feasible in the case of laptops that have room for two hard drives. On these PCs, users can swap out the optical drive for a new SSD, and then use an external DVD drive both to restore optical functionality and facilitate disc-based backup. Non Retina MacBook Pro models also support this optical/SSD drive switch. However, users may need to use a caddy or similar device to slot the new drive into the optical bay.

Alternatively,data archiving solutions can simplify matters by securing the data in other storage, so that it is safe if and when users decide to return to it. Used in conjunction with cloud-based options, this approach may be more realistic for individuals or small business owners who routinely handle large volumes of high-density files.

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Overclocking SSDs: Benefits and possible risks

SSD drives are becoming more commonplace among consumers, thanks to increased affordability and their noticeable performance edge over HDDs. Future adjustments to NAND usage, such as overclocking, may make them more appealing to specific clienteles like gamers.

However, manufacturers working on SSD overclocking may still have work to do in order to ensure that the cutting-edge technology does not wear out the drive. Likewise, users must take care to maximize the life of their SSDs, by minimizing the number of read/write operations and devising smart strategies for where to store particular types of data.

SSDs and overclocking
SSDs are already fast in comparison with even the highest-performing HDDs, since they do not utilize mechanical read/write heads and platters. According to PCWorld's Brad Chacos, some SSD manufacturers may also be looking into SSD overclocking, that is, manipulating machine clock speeds and SSD firmware to push performance beyond typically recommended limits, as a way to provide additional speed.

Although utilized for other PC components, overclocking would be a new phenomenon on SSDs. Computerworld's Lucas Mearian explained that it may appeal to gamers or others who require extraordinary speed, and that it would try to provide such a boost by allocating more resources for data compression. The recently introduced SATA Express specification may help to enhance these speeds.

Impact on SSD longevity and stability
Overclocking an SSD could be risky. Its impact on storage I/O is mostly untested, and as such it could be a step too far for users looking to maximize the life of their SSDs.

"The scarcity of solid-state overclocking tools isn't necessarily a bad thing," wrote Chacos. "Any time you overclock a component, you run the risk of stability issues — and an unstable storage drive is no storage drive at all."

Aside from avoiding possibly risky overclocking, users can take several key steps to ensure the longevity of their drives. Also writing for PCWorld, Alex Cocilova stated that drive performance may be affected by the types of files residing on it. SSD performance is most applicable to complex applications, such as video editors or games, so it may be advisable to save its read/write operations for those cases, rather than throw them away on indexing MP3s or documents.

In those cases, users may opt for data archiving solutions or disc-based backups to keep their files safe. Additionally, putting a computer into sleep mode – rather than hibernation – can save additional write operations.

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