Best Value 360mm AIO?
be quiet! has perfected its top-tier cooling solution in the form of Pure Loop 2 FX 360. This cooler is competing against the major players in the market and offers comparable performance at a much better price point and a good set of features. The only downside would be a 3-year warranty. The cooler comes recommended by us.
Build Quality - 9/10
Design - 9/10
Performance - 9/10
Features - 9/10
Value - 9/10
- Thermal Performance
- Sandblasted Block Top
- Digital RGB Lighting (FX)
- AMD AM5 socket support
- Intel LGA1700 socket support
- Standard Connectors
- Mediocre Warranty
- Trivial Installation
- Non-Magnetic Hub
be quiet! is based in Germany and they manufacture PC Components, which is well known for the good quality products. They are famous for their PC Cases and PSUs in particular. However, that is not all as be quiet! is also making fans, liquid coolers, thermal pastes, air coolers, and M.2 SSD Coolers, you name it. They have been in the industry for over 17 years and have earned the customer’s confidence and trust. FX series from be quiet! is their take on form and function together. The FX series products feature digital RGB lighting effects without compromising the noise and performance, which are their hallmark. So far, the following products have been launched under the FX naming convention:
- Pure Base 500 FX
- Pure Loop 2 FX [240mm, 280, and 360mm]
- Pure Rock 2 FX
At the heart of these products sit their Light Wings series fans in 120mm and 140mm sizes in various configurations such as:
- 120mm PWM
- 120mm PWM High-Speed
- 140mm PWM
- 140mm PWM High-Speed
These fans are available in a single fan pack and triple fan pack. They are available in white and black colors with a digital RGB ring for lighting effects.
In this content, we are taking a look at be quiet! Pure Loop 2 FX 360mm liquid cooler. As the name suggests, this is a 360mm size liquid cooler which has a be quiet! second-generation pump design and Light Wings fans. be quiet! has kept the pump on the tubes as is in the first generation of Pure Loop coolers. As per their website, this is be quiet! own design. We are not sure about the OEM. The block features the same design, but this time we have a digital RGB ring on the block’s housing for lighting effects. In the previous generation, there was a single static white color on the block. The be quiet! Pure Loop 2 FX 360 is compatible with Intel LGA 1150, 1151, 1155, 1200, 1700, and 2011(-3) square ILM sockets. From AMD’s point of view, this cooler is compatible with AM4 and AM5 sockets.
|Model||Pure Loop 2 FX 360mm|
|Dimensions radiator, incl. fan (H x W x D), (mm)||397 x 120 x 52|
|Dimensions Cooling block (H x W x D), (mm)||94.5 x 83 x 42|
|Total weight (kg)||1.54|
|Socket compatibility Intel||1700 / 1200 / 2066 / 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 2011(-3) Square ILM|
|Socket compatibility AMD||AM5 / AM4|
|Noise level (dB(A)) @ 50% / 75% /100% rpm||20.1 / 28.3 / 34|
|Number of fans||3|
|Lighting Connector||3 Pin 5V Addressable|
|Tube length (mm)||400|
the above picture shows the dimension of Pure Loop 2 FX series coolers. 52mm is shown to be the overall height of the units with the fans.
be quiet! is using a paperboard packing box to ship this cooler. be quiet! has used a bold tagline, “Impressive Lighting, Superior Cooling”. We will see how this cooler performs. There is a Rainbow mode RGB lighting effect in the shown picture on the packing box representing FX series.
The backside of the main packing box has some key features highlighted. We will cover them later in this article. To sum up, these are:
- Doubly Decoupled PWM Pump [Gen 2]
- Refill port to service the unit
- Light Wings 120mm PWM High-Speed Fans
- Faceplate with digital RGB lighting effects
- Digital RGB PWM Hub
We can see a serial number sticker as well as a part number label.
On one side of the main packing box, there is a table showing the specifications of be quiet! Pure Loop 2 FX 360 cooler. The contents of the box are also printed at the bottom. This cooler is designed in Germany.
There is an egg carton inside the main packing box. The components of the cooler are safe and nicely placed in this carton. This helps to safeguard the contents during shipping and prevents damage. We need to slide this carton out of the main packing box.
What is in the box?
It is time to take a look at what is provided by be quiet!.
There is a brown color accessory box. It has all the mounting hardware inside. 360 is printed on a label indicating the mounting hardware for the 360mm cooler.
There is a user guide provided with the cooler that helps the users in installing this cooler on supported sockets.
be quiet! has provided the following for the Intel platform:
- 1x Backplate
- 1x set of Mounting Brackets for Intel LGA 17xx and 18xx sockets
- 1x set of Mounting Brackets for Intel LGA 115x and 1200 sockets
be quiet! has provided the following for the AMD platform:
- 1x set of Mounting Bracket
- 4x Backplate Screws
- 4x Spacer Nuts
be quiet! has provided the following:
- 4x Intel Spacer Nuts A [For Intel LGA 20xx socket]
- 4x Intel Spacer Nuts B [For Other Intel Sockets]
- 4x Mounting Brackets Fastening Screws
- 4x Intel Backplate Screws
- 4x O-Rings
be quiet! has provided the following:
- 12x Radiator Screws
- 12x Fan Screws [Long ones]
be quiet! has emphasized servicing this cooler. For this purpose, they have provided a 100ml coolant bottle with this cooler. There is a refill port integrated into the radiator housing. Users can refill the unit should the coolant level drop in the long run.
Normally, AIOs don’t have this feature, with the exception of ALPHACOOL Eisbaer and Reeven NAIA 240 coolers. The provided coolant is made of water and Propylene Glycol and supports anti-freezing to -5°C. However, there are no instructions or guidelines on how to know if the coolant level is dropped.
In addition, be quiet! has provided a small thermal paste tube and 3x zip ties for cable management.
be quiet! has also provided a 6-port RGB PWM hub with this cooler. We will cover this unit in more detail later in this article. There are 4x screws to install this hub in the PC Case, or a user can use self-adhesive tape to install this hub. I wish this hub has a magnetic installation feature instead.
Let’s start with a statement from be quiet! about this cooler. “Pure Loop 2 FX offers impressive illumination and very high cooling performance. Up to 3 Light Wings PWM high-speed fans with numerous effects make for a high airflow and air pressure. Thanks to the PWM function, the doubly decoupled pump can be equally adjusted for silent and performant operations. Further features like the easy-to-access refill port and the ARGB-PWM-Hub round-up Pure Loop 2 FX and make it the perfect choice for illuminated systems.”
Here are some key features of be quiet! Pure Loop 2 FX 360 cooler:
- Impressively high cooling performance for all consumer CPUs
- 3 Light Wings 120mm PWM high-speed fans offer equally high air pressure and vibrant ARGB illumination
- Doubly decoupled PWM pump for quiet operation and minimal vibration
- ARGB-PWM-Hub enables synchronization of up to 6 ARGB components and PWM fans
- Combination of ARGB illumination, all-black design, and aluminum style for an unmistakable and stylish look
- Easy-to-access refill port and included coolant bottle guarantee a long lifespan
- 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
The be quiet! Pure Loop 2 FX 360 has a black color finished radiator. This unit is made of aluminum material. The dimension of this radiator is 397x120x27mm. Here 27mm refers to the thickness or height of this radiator. Installing 120x25mm fans would make an overall height of 52mm. This radiator has an FPI count of 20. There is a gap of 105mm between two opposing mounting holes on the radiator’s frame. There is a gap of 15mm between any two adjacent mounting holes on one side of the frame. The total assembly is black color spray painted. This radiator has 12 channels for coolant flow. be quiet! has done a good job in fin stacking.
The far end or chamber of the radiator has a length of 22mm. We can spot a screw in the middle there. This screw is over a refill port. Users can service this unit by adding coolant from this dedicated port to increase the life of the cooler. be quiet! has provided a bottle of 100ml coolant for this purpose. There is no branding or sticker over this end of the radiator.
As we mentioned above, be quiet! has integrated the pump into the tubes. This is be quiet! own design and is a second-generation pump design taking over the Pure Loop series coolers. This integration would help to reduce the vibration on the CPU socket. This is a doubly decoupled pump, and a salient highlight is that it is PWM controlled. This pump is rated to spin between 4000 to 5500 RPM. According to be quiet! this pump has effective damping, which helps in reducing overall noise and vibration.
The doubly decoupled pump is powered by a 4-pin PWM connector cable. This is another difference between the first-generation Pure Loop coolers and second-generation Pure Loop 2 coolers, where the predecessor has a 3-pin cable to power the pump.
The above picture shows the tube end of the radiator. The tube connections are concealed in metal clamps which are also black in color. There is a serial number sticker over this side. This near chamber of the radiator has a length of 14mm. We can see that the power cable is coming out from the base of the pump housing in the midsection.
The above picture shows a side of the radiator housing. PURE LOOP 2 FX is printed in white color on both sides of the frame.
As can be seen, there is no protective plating under the mounting holes of the housing. This plate prevents damage to the fin stack from excessive torquing. It would be better if you use bundled fan screws to be safe. Also, take note of the gap between the fin stack and the mounting side of the frame. We mentioned in our take on CORSAIR iCUE H150i Elite Capellix XT White and iCUE H100i Elite Capellix XT White coolers that there is almost no gap between the fin stack and the frame sides.
That is why CORSAIR coolers actually have more surface area on the fin stack compared to other AIOs. This be quiet! cooler is a perfect example of a standard or traditional design. An actual fin stack would have like 22mm or so thickness.
be quiet! is using low-permeability rubber tubes. This is the same design we have seen on CORSAIR coolers. These tubes have a nice textured sleeve in black color wrapping them. The length of these tubes is approximately 400 mm.
The Pure Loop 2 FX 360 features the same block design as is on the Pure Loop series (first generation) coolers. It is quite sleek, stylish, and lightweight design. Since the pump is no longer in this housing hence lightweight. The housing seems to be made of ABS material. There is a brushed aluminum sandblasted top plate with be quiet! branding over it. It is not an RGB backlit design because there is a sleek ring running around the main body, which is digital RGB backlit. It has a dimension of 94.5x83x42mm.
be quiet! Pure Loop 2 FX 360 (Image By Tech4Gamers)[/caption]
This block looks good with digital RGB lighting effects.
As we can see, there are two pre-installed screws on both ends of this block. This block is using two screws based mounting though we would like to see a four screw-based mounting for better and even mounting pressure. The above picture shows the diffuser up close.
Looking at the base, be quiet! has done nickel coating on a copper base plate measuring 54x54mm. There is a protective sticker on the base to protect the base from any damage during shipping. Remove this sticker before installing the block. This is a mirror finish.
Looking at the backside of the block, the tubes are found installed in 90° orientation. They can be rotated slightly to make room or fit them as per aesthetic requirements. There is a certain gap between both tube connections. There is a flat cable coming out from the middle.
be quiet! has provided a standard 3-pin, 5V RGB connector on the cable. This cable powers the digital RGB LEDs in the housing.
be quiet! has provided three Light Wings 120mm PWM High-Speed fans with this cooler. Their salient features are:
- ARGB lighting on the front and rear
- Multiple colors and modes for an individual look thanks to 18 LEDs
- 9 silence-optimized fan blades for high-pressure and low noise-generating turbulences
- Remarkable performance-to-noise ratio with 31dB(A) at 2,500rpm
- Long-life rifle-bearing gives an operating lifetime of 60,000 hours
- 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
These fans have 9x black color blades with a layered design for even and enhanced airflow and reducing air turbulence. The center has a small size diameter since there are no LEDs in the hub. We can see a thick ring in a circle design surrounding the blades. This ring houses 18 digital RGB LEDs for lighting effects. The frame is designed in such a way that maximum exposure is provided to this ring.
Each mounting corner has a cut-to-size black color anti-vibration pad.
There are two arrow symbols. These are there to provide a visual aid for novice users in identifying the direction of airflow through the fan and the direction in which blades will spin. Notice the upper side of the frame where a large inset is provided to expose the digital RGB ring.
Looking at the backside of this fan, we can see a 4-arms assembly with one arm having an inset on which the wires are routed from the hub towards the frame of the fan. Take a closer look; there is a thin diffuser lining around the frame. These fans have a subtle digital RGB lighting exposure on the backside as well. The power rating of these fans is also mentioned over here. They are made in China.
These fans use Rifle bearings with a life expectancy of 60,000 hours. These fans use a 4-pole fan motor.
Each fan has a 4-pin PWM connector cable and a standard 3-pin, 5V RGB cable connector cable.
The specification of the fans is:
|Type||4-pin PWM Connector|
|Air Pressure||2.60 mmH2O*|
|Lifespan||60000 hours at 25°C ambient|
*There is no performance data provided in the cooler’s specifications for these fans. We have provided the performance data taken from the be quiet! website page of Light Wings 120mm PWM High-Speed edition fans. This data will only be true of be quiet! is using the standard configuration of these fans.
We have tested the be quiet! Pure Loop 2 FX 360 cooler on Intel platform using Intel core i7 13700k on GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS ELITE AX motherboard. Installation is not as straightforward as we have seen on the CORSAIR coolers. Some key steps are:
- We have to prepare the Intel backplate first.
- Pass the Intel screws through the outermost notches on the mounting corners of the backplate.
- Secure these screws using rubber O-rings.
- Place the backplate on the motherboard’s backside aligning the mounting holes around the socket area with the threaded portion of the Intel screws.
- Use Intel Spacer Nuts B to secure the backplate on the CPU socket.
- Place the Intel mounting brackets for LGA 1700 socket on top of the Intel Spacer Nuts B.
- Secured these mounting brackets using the 4x screws.
- Apply the thermal paste on the CPU.
- Place the block on the CPU aligning the 2x screws on the block with the holes on the mounting brackets. Start tightening the screws until threads run out.
- Install fans on the radiator.
- Install the radiator assembly in the PC Case.
- Connect the cables to the bundled RGB PWM hub.
- Connect the SATA connector of the hub with the PSU Cable.
- Install the hub in the desired location.
- Connect the 4-pin PWM connector cable to the CPU_Fan Header or any other PWM header.
- Connect a 3-pin, 5V RGB connector cable to the header on the motherboard.
- Installation is completed.
This cooler has a dimension of 397 x 120 x 27mm without fans. With fans, this size is 397 x 120 x 52mm. We did not observe any clearance issue with this cooler. You would need to check that your PC Case has clearance for this size radiator. The tube side does not hinder DIMM slots. The real challenge will come from cable management using the bundled hub.
Digital RGB Lighting
be quiet! has provided a digital RGB PWM Fan hub with Pure Loop 2 FX 360 cooler. Let’s first take a look at this hub before moving to the next section.
This hub has plastic-made housing. Each side has a total of 6 headers which are grouped in two. One header is a standard 3-pin 5V digital RGB interface, and the other has a 4-pin PWM interface.
There are two headers on one end of this hub. One has a label RPM. This header is used to report the tac signal to the hub to regulate the speed of connected fans. The other header is a simple 4-pin PWM one to which you can connect the pump’s 4-pin PWM connector cable.
The other end of the hub has three cables coming out of it. The left-most cable has a SATA connector to power the hub. ARGB labeled cable has a standard 3-pin, 5V digital RGB female connector to be connected to the motherboard. The last cable labeled PWM has a 4-pin PWM connector which needs to be connected to the motherboard as well.
The above picture shows three connectors on the cables coming out of the hub.
This hub is not magnetic and you will either have to use the self-adhesive tape or 4x screws (both provided in the box). Since this hub is using a standard interface on the connectors, you can expect the lighting to be compatible with leading motherboard manufacturers’ solutions. We have tested the lighting effects on GIGABYTE RGB FUSION 2.0 app and found the lighting working flawlessly. Here are a few pictures.
We have used the below-mentioned configuration for this testing:
- Intel i7-13700K
- GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS ELITE AX
- Kingston Fury Renegade DDR5 2x16GB 6400MT/s CAS32
- GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3060 VISION OC [For Display]
- Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB NVMe SSD
- be quiet! Straight Power 11 850W Platinum PSU
- Thermaltake Core P6 TG Snow Edition converted into an open-frame layout
Here is the settings table for testing:
|P-Cores Clock (MHz)||Auto [5300 All Cores]|
|E-Cores Clock (MHz)||Auto [4200 All Cores]|
|Voltage (V)||Auto [Ranged between 1.27 to 1.30V]|
|Thermal Paste||Noctua NT-H1|
|Thermal Paste Application||Dot Method|
|Test Run Time||30 minutes|
|Idle Time||10 minutes|
|Fan Speed||100% PWM Duty Cycle|
|Pump Speed||Full speed|
|Stress Software||CINEBENCH R23.2|
Before we move on to the results, let me write a few lines on the new platforms from both camps. We have seen AMD AM5 and Intel Alder Lake S CPUs taking more power, and this time, both sides have aimed at reaching the maximum clocks regardless of the thermal limit. The thermal density on these CPUs is high due to the fabrication node process of 7nm or less. In fact, they run into thermal limits right away depending on the cooling solution and the clocks being used. This has made testing of CPU coolers challenging because viewers/readers are not used to a new nomenclature which is what clocks are sustained under a given load using a particular cooler. That is if the cooler is capable of providing enough cooling head to sustain the high frequencies. Traditionally we are used to going the other way around, that is, which cooler is better in terms of thermal capacity. Despite this, we are using temperatures as a base for measuring this unit.
The ambient temperature was in the range of 30°C to 31°C. Since the variation in the ambient temperature is within 1°C, we are reporting absolute temperatures in the graph. The testing is done on an open-air bench system. Once inside the chassis, the temperatures are expected to rise and would largely depend upon the optimal airflow inside the chassis.
Disclaimer: Every silicon is different; hence no two same SKUs are likely to take the same voltage to yield the same performance at the same thermals per se, but the margin would be close. Not every stress test run may yield the same result, which could be due to various reasons like thermal paste application, ambient temperature variation, the mounting pressure of the cooler, etc. This is very why we have listed our variables and their settings. Variables not mentioned are on the Auto setting. We are actually testing the cooler on all Auto and stock settings.
The above graphs are taken from be quiet! webpage of Pure Loop 2 FX 360. These graphs seem to be made after internal testing by be quiet! We are not sure about sample size i.e. how many SKUs they have tested before generalizing the data in categories of i7, i9, R7, R9, etc. We have seen almost the majority of the 360mm coolers struggle on Intel 13th gen platform and even on AMD Ryzen 7000 series, not because these coolers have a lackluster performance but how these new platforms behave thermally (given the high thermal density on these CPUs).
I am not sure that this cooler can handle overclocking on Intel core i7 13700k in high ambient temperature. On the AMD side, the new CPUs will hit 95C immediately to provide maximum headroom for boosting the clocks. Testing coolers on that platform in such a condition is pointless.
Let’s take a look at the results.
This test was done using Intel’s default settings with power limits imposed. The CPU was drawing roughly 225W power, so this is a 220W domain result.
The maximum temperature under heavy workload was 91°C. There is no other cooler in the graph due to different thermal pastes used for testing since we have used the pre-applied thermal paste on the CORSAIR iCUE H150i Elite Capellix XT cooler when it was tested. This cooler has performed almost the same as the CORSAIR iCUE H150i Elite Capellix XT White cooler. Let me dare say it again that it is normal given how the new platform behaves and the high ambient temperature.
As per our sound meter, these fans were making 53 dB(A) sound output at an ambient sound level of 34 dB(A).
In this article, we have tested be quiet! Pure Loop 2 FX 360 cooler. Pure Loop 2 is a second-generation liquid cooler from be quiet! and be quiet! has mentioned that the second-generation pump is an in-house design. be quiet! has this series of coolers in FX branding. FX series from be quiet! has a focus on form as well as function. be quiet! is using digital RGB lighting on the products under the FX series. The Pure Loop 2 FX series coolers are available in 240mm, 280mm, and 360mm sizes. The be quiet! Pure Loop 2 FX 360 is a 360mm size cooler. It is compatible with Intel LGA 1150, 1151, 1155, 1200, 1700, and 2011(-3) square ILM sockets. From AMD’s point of view, this cooler is compatible with AM4 and AM5 sockets.
This cooler has a 360mm radiator having a dimension of 397x120x27mm. This radiator is made of aluminum material, and the complete housing is black color spray painted. After installing 120x25mm fans, the overall height of the unit will be 52mm. This radiator has an FPI count of 20, making it a dense fin stack. be quiet! has done a good job in fin stacking. We did not observe any bend or broken fin. There are 12 channels for coolant flow. There is a standard gap of 105mm between two opposing end mounting holes and 15mm on two adjacent mounting holes.
There is a refill port integrated into the radiator housing on the far block or chamber. This camber has a length of 22mm. be quiet! has provided a coolant bottle in the box that has 100ml coolant. It is a premix solution that the user can use to refill the loop should the coolant level drop in the long run. One thing that remains to be mentioned to the user is how to know if the coolant level has actually dropped.
The tubing and fitting connections on the radiator are concealed using black color clamps. Another key design aspect is the integration of pump housing in the tubes instead of having it in a block. The use of damping reduces the noise and vibration as per be quiet! This cooler has rubber tubes which are low-permeation design. These tubes have a length of 400mm, and they are wrapped inside nylon braided sleeves. The pump on Pure Loop 2 FX 360 has a 4-pin PWM connector that has a speed range of 4000 to 5200 RPM.
The block has the same design and layout as on the first-generation Pure Loop coolers. The overall housing is made of black color ABS material. There is an outer layer having 2x pre-installed screws surrounding the main body. There is a sandblasted aluminum top plate that has be quiet! branding on top. There is a diffuser running on the entire sides of the top portion, and it is digital RGB backlit. The Pure Loop series coolers have static white color lighting. The copper base has a dimension of 54x54mm. It is nickel plated with a mirror finish. The tubes are installed in a 90° orientation to make them rotatable up to a certain extent.
Another striking difference between the first generation of Pure Loop and the second generation is that be quiet! is using Light Wings 120mm PWM High-Speed fans in the Pure Loop 2 FX series coolers. These fans feature a digital RGB ring on the front side of the fans and a thin diffuser on the backside of the fan. Additionally, the frame is designed such as the maximum exposure is provided on the sides of the main ring. Each fan has 9x blades with a layered design for efficient airflow and reducing air drag.
Each mounting corner has an anti-vibration pad. Each fan has two cables. One has a 4-pin PWM connector to power the 4-pole motor of the fan, and the other cable has a standard 3-pin, 5V digital RGB connector. These fans have a dimension of 120x120x25mm. They have a maximum speed of 2500 RPM with a maximum of 52.3 CFM airflow at 2.60mmH2O static pressure. The noise level is rated at 34 dB(A) maximum. These fans are using Rifle bearings with a life span of 60,000 hours at 25° ambient.
be quiet! has provided an RGB and PWM fan hub with this cooler. This hub is SATA powered. The user can connect up to 6x fans to this hub. There are a total of 13x ports on this hub for 6x fans and a pump. There are 6x digital RGB headers and 7x 4-pin PWM headers on this hub. There are two cables out of this hub that need to be connected to the motherboard’s 4-pin PWM header and 5V, 3-pin header. This hub is not magnetic and users would either have to use 4x screws or self-adhesive tapes.
There is no dedicated software from be quiet! which in my opinion is a wise decision. By using standard connectors, be quiet! has ensured that this hub can work with leading motherboard manufacturers’ digital RGB solutions. We have tested the digital RGB lighting on the GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS ELITE AX motherboard using RGB FUSION 2.0 app. The lighting effects were working flawlessly.
The basic installation of this cooler is not as convenient as we saw on the CORSAIR iCUE ELITE Capellix XT series coolers. Since we have tested the cooler on Intel LGA 1700 socket, we needed 19 mounting items to install the block on the CPU socket. This is almost the same for be quiet! coolers (air and liquid) as be quiet is trying to use a standard mounting design across the cooling solution except where it is mentioned.
be quiet! Pure Loop 2 FX 360 is listed on AMAZON at $154.90. This is a good price point for this cooler as this cooler is competing straight up against the likes of the CORSAIR iCUE H150i Elite Capellix XT cooler. be quiet! is offering a mediocre warranty on this cooler which is 3 years. This cooler was put on an Intel Core i7 13700k for testing. The ambient temperature was in the range of 30°C to 31°C. This cooler, under heavy workload, managed 91°C on this platform. This is not surprising, given how these new platforms thermally behave.
We have tested a few other 360mm AIOs, and all these coolers are sitting in the same range of 90°C to 92°C. But this cooler has an advantage over the expensive coolers giving the same result in its effective pricing. Plus, it has digital RGB lighting, which may not be as vivid and brilliant as on CORSAIR coolers, but still having a digital RGB solution in this price range is too good.
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