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Computing

Best Nvidia Control Panel Settings: Gaming, Work, Creativity

Whether you’re into gaming, creative work, or just some day-to-day computing, the graphics card plays a key role in many tasks. What many people don’t know is that getting the most out of your Nvidia GPU involves knowing the best Nvidia Control Panel settings.

Are you looking for the ultimate gaming experience with higher frame rates and better visuals? We’re here to help.

Keep reading to optimize your Nvidia settings in a few quick steps.

Step 1: Update your drivers

Keeping your drivers up-to-date is the key to getting the best out of your graphics card. Before delving further into the Nvidia Control Panel, make sure that you’ve got the latest drivers that Nvidia has to offer.

Downloading Nvidia drivers is simple and can be done in two ways: via the Nvidia website or through the GeForce Experience program.

Downloading via the Nvidia website

If you’re downloading straight from the Nvidia website, simply select your graphics card, press Search, and download the latest driver. If you’re not sure about the exact model of your card, check your PC specifications first.

Once the file has been downloaded, double click it and let the installation commence. During that time, your screen may go black at times — don’t worry about it.

Downloading via GeForce Experience

Nvidia GeForce Experience.

GeForce Experience is a program that helps you update drivers, optimizes in-game settings, and more. It also alerts you when new drivers are available for download.

To use this method of updating your drivers, download the program and then install it. You may be prompted to create an account. Once that is done, simply launch GeForce Experience.

The program will automatically begin searching for new drivers. If any are found, you will be alerted at the top of the screen.

Choose Express Installation and let the drivers install. Your screen may occasionally go black during the installation — this is perfectly normal.

Step 2: Launch the Nvidia Control Panel

Before you proceed, make sure to restart your computer after the installation of new drivers.

Most owners of Nvidia graphics cards will have the Control Panel installed by default. This means that you likely won’t need to download it. However, if you will need to download it at any point, you can get it here: https://downloads.digitaltrends.com/nvidia-control-panel/windows

There are two ways to launch the Control Panel. The easiest way is to simply right-click on the desktop and choose Nvidia Control Panel from the dropdown menu.

Finding the Nvidia Control Panel.

Alternatively, launch the Windows Start menu by clicking the Windows icon at the bottom-left of your screen. You can also press the Windows button on your keyboard, located similarly near the bottom-left side.

With the Start menu open, type in Nvidia Control Panel and then press Enter.

Best Nvidia Control Panel settings for gaming and performance

You can use individual games’ settings menus to decide your GPU settings, but optimizing the settings of your Nvidia card in the Control Panel may have a huge impact on your gaming experience. Smoother gameplay and better, sharper, brighter visuals are all a possibility when the settings are properly adjusted.

The Nvidia Control Panel is easy enough to navigate, but there are so many options to choose from, it may seem confusing at first. In order to find the best Nvidia settings for gaming or simply day-to-day performance, you will need to navigate the list of settings explained below.

If you don’t need a long explanation of what each setting does and how it can improve the performance of your graphics card, refer to the bite-sized guide below:

Nvidia Control Panel — 3D Settings

The 3D Settings tab on the left-hand side of the Nvidia Control Panel is arguably the most important when it comes to gaming, but it’s equally important for creativity. To access all the options, simply click on Adjust Image Settings With Preview.

Below the moving Nvidia logo, select Use the Advanced 3D Image Settings and then click Apply at the bottom.

Switch to the Manage 3D Settings tab on the left side in order to edit all the available 3D settings.

Editing 3D Settings in the Nvidia Control Panel.

Image sharpening

This setting enhances the visuals in your games, making them appear sharper and clearer. For the best performance, turn it On.

The sharpening level should be set to around 0.50 and the film grain to around 0.17, but feel free to play around.

If you see the option to turn on GPU Scaling, do that by ticking the box. This will enable scaling to the native resolution of your display.

Ambient occlusion

This setting is responsible for the shadows and environmental lighting in your games.

For the best balance between GPU load and great gameplay, set this to Performance.

Anisotropic filtering

Anisotropic filtering increases the visual quality of game textures when your camera is at a steep angle.

This setting should be set to Application-controlled.

Antialiasing — FXAA

This stands for Fast approximate anti-aliasing which is Nvidia’s screen-space anti-aliasing algorithm. You can turn this setting Off.

Antialiasing — Gamma correction

This corrects the brightness values in images enhanced by antialiasing. It’s usually best to turn this setting On.

Antialiasing — Mode

This is a general setting related to antialiasing, which in itself is a technique that smooths out images. Leave this at Application-Controlled.

Antialiasing — Transparency

The last AA setting applies to Nvidia’s technology of applying antialiasing to transparent textures. You can usually turn this Off.

Background Application Max Frame Rate

This controls the frames per second (fps) that your games and other applications will have when minimized. If you don’t have any performance issues, you can leave this Off.

If you feel you’d rather limit background frame rates, turn this on and set it to the bare minimum frame rate you want to target, such as 60 fps, or on older or weaker GPUs, 30 fps.

CUDA – GPUs

This setting should always be set to All, as it refers to which of the CUDA cores in your graphics card can be used.

DSR – Factors

DSR stands for Dynamic Super Resolution. This technology improves image quality by rendering the images and upscaling them to a higher resolution.

While this sounds good on paper, it’s a killer for your frame rates (fps), so it’s best to turn this setting Off.

DSR – Smoothness

Much like the previous DSR setting, this will only decrease your fps. As such, it’s better to turn it Off.

Low Latency Mode

Low Latency Mode ensures that the frames in your game are submitted into the render queue just when the graphics card requires them. Nvidia refers to this as “just in time frame scheduling”. This results in, as the name itself suggests, lower latency and higher frame rates.

To increase your fps, turn this setting On.

Max Frame Rate

This setting limits your fps to a certain number. Different games will be able to achieve different fps, and though the true limit of what you can experience will always be your monitor’s refresh rate, some games have heavily unlocked frame rates in menus, which can result in undue power drain on your GPU.

If you don’t want to limit your frame rates in any way, simply turn this setting Off. If you’d like to adjust this setting to match your monitor, keep reading.

Some competitive gamers like to set this option to double that of their monitor’s refresh rate. If you’re not sure about the refresh rate of your monitor, you can check it in Windows Settings.

In order to check your display’s refresh rate, click the Windows logo on the bottom-left side of the screen. Next, type in Advanced Display and click on View Advanced Display Info. Check the refresh rate and adjust this setting to match it. In our example, the limit would be 75.

Checking monitor refresh rates in Windows 10.

Monitor technology

This setting will not be visible to all users. If you can see it, you can use it to turn on Nvidia’s G-Sync. Nvidia G-Sync is responsible for adjusting your monitor’s refresh rate to become dynamic, causing display refreshes only when a frame is sent from the GPU. It solves issues such as screen tearing.

G-Sync is a welcome addition on budget computers, but it’s not needed on modern desktops and monitors. If you’re using a mid-to-high-end setup, it’s best to leave this Off. Otherwise, turn it On.

Multi-Frame Sampled Anti-Aliasing (MFAA)

This setting removes jagged edges and smooths out graphics, resulting in improved visuals. Unfortunately, this is a small gain for the price that your frame rates may have to pay.

For gaming, we recommend that you turn this setting Off.

OpenGL Rendering GPU

This option lets you choose which one of your graphics cards (if you have more than one) will be used for OpenGL. Pick your GPU from the dropdown menu and select it.

Power Management Mode

As the name implies, this setting is responsible for optimizing the power vs performance ratio of your graphics card.

If you don’t mind letting your GPU use maximum power and perhaps run a little hotter, select Prefer Maximum Performance.

Shader Cache

When turned on, this setting reduces processor usage. It’s optimal to turn it On.

Texture filtering — Anisotropic sample optimization

Anisotropic sample optimization limits the number of samples that are used by your GPU. Turn this setting On.

Texture filtering — Negative LOD bias

When turned on, this setting makes stationary images sharper and enables texture filtering. Toggle it to Allow.

Texture filtering — Quality

This setting lets you optimize texture filtering to value performance. Switch it to High Performance.

Texture filtering — Trilinear optimization

Trilinear optimization will usually be on by default. It smooths out textures in your games. If it happens to be turned off, make sure to switch it to on.

Threaded optimization

Threaded optimization allows your computer to utilize several processor cores at once. Turn this to Auto.

Triple buffering

When triple buffering is enabled, frames are rendered in one back buffer. Although there are some games that benefit from this setting, it’s best to turn it Off.

Vertical sync

Vsync synchronizes the frame rate with your monitor’s refresh rate. As it can limit your fps, it’s better to turn it Off unless you experience severe screen tearing issues.

Virtual Reality pre-rendered frames

This setting limits the number of frames that your processor prepares ahead of your GPU being able to process it.

For optimal performance, set this to 1.

Finishing up

Once you have adjusted all of these settings, click Apply on the bottom right-hand side to save the changes.

Nvidia Control Panel settings – Configure Surround, PhysX

Go back to the menu on the left-hand side and navigate to Configure Surround, PhysX.

Nvidia Control Panel.

On the right part of this section, you will find PhysX Settings. Switch that from Auto to the model of your GPU.

Nvidia Control Panel settings – Display

This section will help you optimize your display settings. Navigate to it on the left-hand side and go down the list as required.

Change resolution

Select the monitor that you are using at the top of this section. If you have multiple displays, you will have to repeat the steps for all of them.

Under Resolution, scroll down until you find the highest possible resolution in the PC section. Next, adjust the monitor’s refresh rate to the highest available.

Scroll down to the color settings and click on Use Nvidia Color Settings. Make sure that the desktop color depth is set to Highest (32-bit) and that the Output Dynamic Range is set to Full.

Nvidia Control Panel.

Click Apply to save all your changes.

Adjust desktop color settings

This section lets you play around with the color settings on your display. All the settings here are down to your personal preference. You can adjust Brightness, Contrast, and Gamma in the first row. Feel free to move the sliders and press Apply to see the result, as the changes are easily reverted.

You can also try out Digital Vibrance. This setting will increase color saturation and make the shades brighter. A value of around 70% to 80% may look best, but this depends on the game.

Nvidia Control Panel.

If you’ve made any changes, press Apply.

Adjust desktop size and position

You will notice that we’ve skipped over the next three sections: Rotate display, View HDCP status, and Set Up Digital Audio. All of these have no impact on gaming and won’t require adjustments.

In the Adjust Desktop Size and Position tab, pick the display you want to make changes to, and then look down toward the Scaling section.

Nvidia Control Panel.

You can choose the correct setting to pick here based on your needs.

  • For the highest fps possible at native resolution, pick No Scaling.
  • If you want the best mix of performance and visuals, make sure you Enabled GPU Scaling in 3D settings, and then set this option to Aspect ratio.
  • For games with low resolutions and pixel games pick Integer Scaling.

Don’t forget to make sure that the scaling is performed on the GPU by selecting that option in the dropdown menu below. Lastly, tick the box that says Override the Scaling Mode Set By Games and Programs.

Once you’re done, press Apply.

Set up G-Sync

Look back at the menu on the left-hand side. If this section is not visible to you, simply move on to the next step. If it is, it will let you decide whether or not to use Nvidia G-Sync.

Nvidia’s G-Sync synchronizes your monitor’s refresh rates to match the graphics card. However, on modern computers with powerful graphics cards and gaming monitors with higher refresh rates, this setting is almost obsolete. It can actually lower your gaming performance.

If you are playing on a budget or mid-range computer that is several years old, you can try out G-Sync by ticking the box next to Enable. However, if your PC is somewhat new, you should keep G-Sync off.

Set up multiple displays

This section is only useful to users who run multiple monitor setups. If that’s not you, jump down to the next step.

In this part of the Control Panel, you will be able to change your display configuration and which displays to use. If you have two or more monitors, you can drag their icons using your mouse. This lets you pick which display will act as your primary monitor.

In general, you should drag the icons to match the physical setup of your displays. You can move them above, below, to the right, or to the left, so all kinds of monitor setups can be configured here.

Adjust video color settings

This setting will help you optimize the color palette used in videos and games.

Nvidia Control Panel.

In the second question about color adjustments choose the second option — Nvidia Settings. Switch over to the Advanced tab below. Pick Full (0-255) and press Apply to save all changes.

Finalize the changes

As the last section dubbed Adjust Video Image Settings doesn’t require any changes, you are almost done. Your PC is now running on the best Nvidia Control Panel settings for gaming and overall performance.

In order to finalize the changes, quickly restart your computer. Once that’s done, run your favorite game and check to make sure that everything is stable. Feel free to go back to the Nvidia Control Panel to tweak the settings further if needed.

Quick guide to Nvidia Control Panel settings for gaming

If you want to quickly adjust your settings to increase frames per second and offer smooth gameplay, but don’t necessarily need to know what each setting does, follow the guide below.

Start by referring to steps one and two above: download the latest drivers and launch Nvidia Control Panel. Afterward, apply the following settings:

3D Settings

  • Image sharpening: Turn this On. Set the sharpening level to 0.50 and the film grain to 0.17.
  • Ambient occlusion: Set this to Performance.
  • Antialiasing — FXAA: Turn this Off.
  • Antialiasing — gamma correction: Turn this On.
  • Antialiasing — mode: Set this to Application-controlled.
  • Antialiasing — transparency: Turn this Off.
  • Background application max frame rate: Turn this Off.
  • CUDA – GPUS: Set this to All.
  • DSR – Factors; DSR – Smoothness: Turn both of these Off.
  • Low latency mode: Turn this On.
  • Max frame rate: Turn this Off or synchronize it to your monitor’s refresh rate.
  • Monitor technology: Turn G-Sync On if you are on a budget PC/monitor combo; otherwise, turn it Off.
  • MFAA: Turn this Off.
  • OpenGL Rendering GPU: Pick your GPU from the dropdown menu and select it.
  • Power Management Mode: Select Prefer Maximum Performance.
  • Shader Cache: Turn this On.
  • Texture filtering — anisotropic sample optimization: Turn this On.
  • Texture filtering — negative LOD bias: Set this to Allow.
  • Texture filtering — quality: Set this to High Performance.
  • Texture filtering — trilinear optimization: Turn this On.
  • Threaded optimization: Set this to Auto.
  • Triple buffering: Turn this Off.
  • Vertical sync: Turn this Off.
  • Virtual reality pre-rendered frames: Set this to 1.
  • Configure surround, PhysX: Switch PhysX to the model of your GPU.

Press Apply to save all changes.

Display settings

Press Apply after completing each step.

  • Change resolution: Set the highest possible resolution and the highest refresh rate available. Select Use Nvidia Color Settings and set the color depth to the Highest, and the dynamic range to Full.
  • Adjust desktop color settings: Set Digital Vibrance to 70-80% and see if you like it.
  • Adjust desktop size and position: Refer to our full explanation to pick the right setting in this section.
  • Set up G-Sync: Turn G-Sync On if you are on a budget PC/monitor combo; otherwise, turn it Off.
  • Adjust video color settings: Select the option to Use Nvidia Settings. Pick Full (0-255).

Restart your computer to finalize the changes.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

Alienware’s New Aurora Adds Clear Side Panel, Better Airflow

Alienware is celebrating 25 years in business by looking back and forward. The company announced the new Aurora, a desktop squarely focused on improved airflow, acoustics, and thermals by utilizing an open-air design and a new layout of components.

For most, the biggest difference is the clear side panel. Breaking from the closed design of the Alienware Aurora R10 and R12, this new design features an optional scratch-resistant clear side panel, which will be available on all Alienware Auroras.

Alienware hid the internals in the past for a reason — our Aurora R10 review showed an unsightly blue PCB for the motherboard. The new Aurora pays more mind to the aesthetics, with black components across the board and eight lighting zones (double what was available on the R12).

The new internal layout helps the visuals, too. Now, the power supply won’t cover up all of your components like it did on the R10. Alienware says there was a practical reason for changing the layout, though. The new design features around 50% more internal volume compared to the R10 and R12 “without significantly expanding the overall footprint of the chassis.”

That’s not entirely true. The new case is 23.2 inches long, 20.1 inches high, and 8.86 inches wide. The width is almost identical to the Aurora R12, but the new design is 6 inches longer and 1 inch taller. Length doesn’t usually make a case feel bigger, though, and the extra length is due in part to the new Aurora’s angular design.

Alienware says the new case has positive implications for performance.

More space means better opportunities for airflow. With the help of up to four 120mm fans, Alienware says the new case is anywhere from 13% to 16% quieter than the previous generation. In addition, Alienware says the new case can lower CPU temperatures by up to 3% while reducing noise by up to 15% when overclocked.

Cooler and quieter is great, but Alienware says that has implications for performance. Testing the same RTX 3090 in the new and old case design, Alienware says it achieved a 5% higher score in 3DMark Time Spy than the Aurora R12.

We don’t have word on specs yet, but it seems the new Alienware Aurora will initially be available with what the R12 currently offers. That is up to an Intel Core i9-11900KF CPU, 128GB of RAM, and an Nvidia RTX 3090. In the future, we expect to see models sporting Intel’s upcoming Alder Lake processors, too.

Alienware hasn’t announced the pricing or release date yet, either. That said, we know that the new Aurora is coming in the same Dark Side of the Moon and Lunar Light colors featured on previous models. Alienware is hosting a livestream at noon PT (3 p.m. ET) to celebrate its anniversary and offer a deeper look inside the new Aurora.

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Alienware shared a slew of retro photos dating back to the first Alienware desktop released in 1996. It’s a trip down memory lane for Alienware, but also a dose of nostalgia for anyone who remembers how PC gaming was in the late ’90s and early 2000s, with loud case designs screaming on the sleeves of a local Fry’s.

The new Alienware Aurora shows that the company’s crazy case designs aren’t going anywhere soon. Now, though, it seems those designs are better optimized for airflow to hold up to the best gaming PC cases.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

How to Open the Nvidia Control Panel in a Few Steps

The Nvidia Control Panel allows you to access all the features of your graphics card, so knowing how to open the Nvidia Control Panel allows you to quickly change your monitor and graphics card settings.

Although the Nvidia Control Panel isn’t readily apparent on your desktop, opening it is simple. We have a handful of ways to access it, as well as some tips for how to get the most out of the software.

How to open the Nvidia Control Panel

Before getting started, make sure to download the latest version of Nvidia Control Panel. Even if you have a previous version installed, we recommend selecting the Clean Installation option to make sure you don’t have any conflicting drivers or software.

If you’ve recently updated your graphics card drivers, you shouldn’t need to worry about that. When you update your drivers, Nvidia Control Panel should automatically install. Regardless of how you got it, you can open the Nvidia Control Panel by following these steps:

Step 1: Right-click anywhere on your desktop.

Step 2: (Windows 11 only) Select Show More Options. 

Step 3: Select Nvidia Control Panel. 

That’s the quickest and easiest way to pull up the Nvidia Control Panel, but there are a few other ways to access it. It should be open any time you’re using your graphics card, so you can also find it by following these steps:

Step 1: Expand the system tray in your taskbar.

Step 2: Find the Nvidia logo (called Nvidia Settings).

Step 3: Right-click it, and select Nvidia Control Panel. 

You can also find the Nvidia Control Panel through the Control Panel in Windows 10. However, recent versions of Windows have adopted a different look, making this route the most difficult. If you’re a hotkey fanatic, you can also use Windows Key + S and quickly search for the Nvidia Control Panel to pull it up.

What you can do in Nvidia Control Panel

Nvidia Control Panel is focused entirely on your graphics card. That includes the card itself, how it uses settings in games and applications, and how your monitor behaves. It’s a dense piece of software, so we can’t cover everything here, but we’ll hit the most important parts.

The Manage 3D Settings area is where you’ll spend a lot of your time. Here, you can tweak global settings like your antialiasing mode, max frame rate, and if you want to use G-Sync with your monitor. You can change these setting globally or on a program-by-program basis by switching the tab.

Resolution settings in the Nvidia Control Panel.

After that, the Change Resolution section is very important. As the name implies, you can change the resolution of your display here. More importantly, you can also change the refresh rate and color settings of your monitor. It’s important to check this section out when you buy a new monitor, especially if it has a high refresh rate.

Finally, the Set Up Multiple Displays option is critical if you have a multi-monitor setup. It allows you to quickly identify displays and drag them around to match how they’re sitting on your desk. You can also manage Nvidia Surround settings here if you want to stretch applications across multiple screens.

Nvidia Control Panel vs. GeForce Experience

The games page in Nvidia GeForce Experience.

If you install Nvidia Control Panel with a GeForce graphics card, you’ll get GeForce Experience as well. Unlike Nvidia Control Panel, GeForce Experience is focused on gaming. You can’t tweak your graphics card or display settings. Still, GeForce Experience unlocks all the features available on Nvidia graphics cards.

The most important area is the Drivers tab, which allows you to see and install the latest drivers. We recommend checking here often, as new drivers add support and additional features to games as they’re released. If you’re experiencing a problem with your graphics card, this is the first place to look.

Over in the Settings area — found by clicking the cog icon next to your username — you’ll find a host of useful information about your PC. In addition to your specs, you can see if features like Nvidia GameStream, Ansel, and Freestyle are working on your graphics card. If you have one of the best graphics cards from the last few years, you should have all the features available.

Also in this area, the Games & Apps section is important. Here, you can point GeForce Experience to where you install your games and apps. GeForce Experience will automatically optimize your settings in supported games, so it’s worth scanning your computer for new additions occasionally.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

Acer’s Predator Triton 500 gets a 300Hz panel and beastly internal upgrades

Intel and Nvidia blitzed the technology world with the simultaneously launch of 10th-gen Core CPUs and GeForce RTX Super GPUs on Thursday, and now Acer’s Predator Triton 500 gaming laptop is adding to the shock and awe.

The Predator Triton 500 has long been coveted for its fairly light weight and thin body. The newest iteration takes it to the next level with Intel’s latest 10th-gen Comet Lake H chips. The 14nm Comet Lake H CPUs bump some Core i7 chips up to 8-cores, and bumps up the boost clock on the Core i9.

What’s inside of the Predator Triton 500 wasn’t made clear though—does the Triton 500 feature an 8-core chip or 6-core chip like its predecessor? We hope it moved up the chain, as the Triton 500’s nemesis—MSI’s GS66 Stealth—will offer an 8-core chip in a similar 4.6-pound frame.

predator triton 500 pt515 52 gaming logo rgb key backlit right facing Acer

Acer’s Predator Triton 500 gets upgraded with a 10th gen Intel Comet Lake H, GeForce Super chips and Killer 2.5GbE plus a 300Hz panel.

The previous Triton 500 offered up to a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q so the GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q in the latest Acer may not impress at first glance. But the Super-series packs more CUDA cores than their vanilla counterparts, and Nvidia made some key advancements in this new generation of Max-Q tech to improve both performance and power efficiency, so the new model could be a good step faster.

The 15.6 screen in the Triton 500 also gets a nice buff courtesy of a 300Hz IPS screen, Acer said. That screen, interestingly, supports Nvidia’s G-Sync, but it’s not clear if it supports Nvidia’s new Advanced Optimus feature that lets you switch from G-Sync (which consumes more power since the GPU is on all of the time) to the integrated graphics chip. Advanced Optimus was introduced as part of the Max-Q enhancements in this new breed of GeForce GPUs, but it’s an optional feature for laptop makers.

e3100 badge 002 1 Killer

Killer’s E3100 controller will be used in Acer and MSI laptops and offer 2.5GbE to consumers.

A nice touch for people into high-speed networks is the inclusion of Killer’s E3100G ethernet chip, which supports 2.5GbE. Plain old wireless people will also get Wi-Fi 6 using a Killer AX1650i controller.

Acer said the laptop will be offered with up to 32GB of DDR4 and also up to 2TB of space using NMVe RAID 0. That pretty much tells us there’s space for two drives inside.

For those who want something a little more down to earth, Acer is also offering the Nitro 5 with Intel’s newest 10th-gen Comet Lake CPUs. Decidedly more affordable, the Nitro 5 will offer options up to a GeForce RTX 2060 as well as a more wallet friendly GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU. Even though it’s friendlier to your credit card, the Nitro 5 will still pack up to two M.2 SSDs, plus a 2.5-inch drive. RAM tops out at 32GB in standard SO-DIMM slots and the 15.6 FHD IPS screen will be offered with both 144Hz and 120Hz options.

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