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Review of the ASUS VG236HE 120Hz 3D-capable LCD Monitor

November 15th, 2010 · 48 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision


It has been a while since I’ve tested a 3D-capable LCD monitor with the LG W2363D being the last one back in July. And now, finally, I had the ASUS VG236HE available for some time to test, so below you will find the review of the monitor and as usual my focus will be on the stereo 3D performance, although I’ll also cover some other aspects when using the monitor in plain 3D mode too. ASUS VG236HE is the version of the VG236 model that does not come with the 3D Vision glasses bundled, the other available version VG236H comes with the glasses bundled which makes the total price a bit more attractive than buying the two products alone, but the both monitors are exactly the same. So now let’s start with the ASUS VG236HE…



Asus VG236H Specifications:

Panel Size: 23″ (58.4cm) Wide Screen 16:9, TN
Native Resolution: 1920×1080 pixels
Pixel Pitch: 0.265 mm
Brightness(Max): 400 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio (Max.): 100000:1 (dynamic)
Viewing Angles (CR≧10): 170°(H) /160°(V)
Response Time: 2 ms (GtG)
Video Inputs: Dual-link DVI-D (support NVIDIA 3D Vision*), Component (YPbPr), HDMI
Power Consumption: < 60W operating, < 2W in standby Monitor stand: tilt +15°~-5°, swivel and height adjustment Dimension (WxHxD): 550.2x419.5x250mm Weight: 7 kg

* Have in mind that the stereo 3D mode is only usable with a Dual-Link DVI cable and through that interface on the monitor, as neither the Component, nor the HDMI do support stereo 3D!!!



Asus VG236HE is one of the latest 120Hz 3D-capable LCD monitors compatible with Nvidia’s 3D Vision technology, but what sets it apart from all other such products is the fact that this is the first 3D-capable 120Hz LCD monitor with a glossy screen, as all others so far were with matted screens (not counting the 120Hz LCD panels used in 3D-capable laptops that are also glossy). Now this kind of reflective coating over the screen can create some reflections when darker image is being displayed and some people do not like that much, although more and more monitors in general are being made like that, but you can get used to that or just avoid it by choosing another product.



The reflections on the glossy screen are visible only when you have dark image shown on screen and you have some light coming either from the lamp in the room or from the sun outside. However following Nvidia’s recommendations you should play in stereo 3D with no external light and in a dark room for best results and in such case the glossy surface should not be an issue whatsoever. Of course you can get used to it after a while, so the occasional reflections you will see won’t bother you, but it is a matter of personal preference and it is not like you don’t have a choice of other 120Hz 3D-capable LCD monitors with a matte surface. With that said, the glossy screen has some advantages too and these are in the form of more vibrant colors you get, deeper black and brighter white as well as more sharper looking image and these do have their own appeal for the users that are Ok with the side effects in terms of the occasional reflections in some conditions. But how does the glossy screen affect the monitor when you are using it in stereo 3D, well I strongly suggest that avoid playing in S3D mode on a darker games where you have reflections on the screen as it creates a weird feeling and may lead to faster tiring for the eyes. So just keep up with the recommendations to use the monitor in a darkened room with no external lights or best experience when playing in stereo 3D mode. Another thing worth mentioning is that the Asus monitor barely has any backlight bleeding, aside from the top and bottom edges of the screen, where it is kind of expected to have a bit higher brightness.



Now let me just show you how the monitor performs in terms of input lag. I’ve compared it to the LG W2363D-PF, as this model from LG is the last Full HD 3D-capable 120Hz LCD monitor that I’ve tested and that does not have input lag when the special THRU Mode is active. I’ve used a DVI splitter cable I connected both the Asus VG236HE and the LG W2363D-PF and started testing for input lag with the LG in its THRU mode and the Asus set in its gaming mode. As you can see from the photo above, there were moments when the LG and Asus were performing the same, meaning that there was no input lag at the specific moment, unfortunately the situation was not like that all the time. The minimum input lag measured on the Asus was indeed 0 milliseconds, meaning no delay at all from the moment of receiving the image and displaying it on the screen, however the average and maximum delay was more than zero.



The maximum input lag I was able to measure was 17 milliseconds which is not that bad, but for a high-end gaming monitor with 120Hz refresh rate and intended for playing games in stereo 3D mode one would expect to have no input lag at all, right? And the average delay measured was about 8 milliseconds for the Asus as compared to the LG, that has no input lag at all or at least it is much less than one millisecond making it really insignificant and hard to measure anyway. 8 milliseconds was the average input lag measured from the sequence of over the 300 photos, taken in high-speed mode with a digital camera, of the timer you see shown on both displays. So the Asus doesn’t seem so appealing anymore for more demanding gamers, looking to use it in 2D mode with the full 120Hz refresh rate instead to play in stereo 3D mode.



Measuring the color accuracy of the display with factory settings revealed that there are some quite high deviations from the reference values of a color calibrated display. That however is to be expected as the Asus VG236HE is a high-brightness display (400 cd/m2 by specifications) and it is designed to be used for gaming in stereo 3D mode. That is why Asus probably have decided to turn up the default settings for higher brightness instead of color accuracy, as when wearing the 3D Vision active shutter glasses some of the light coming from the monitor is blocked. So instead of being optimized for use in 2D or plain 3D mode, the default settings are definitely designed for stereo 3D mode and the colorimeter has show quite high brightness level – 383 cd/m2 with the factory settings. The level of the black color measured with the factory settings was quite high at about 0.44 cd/m2, but that is to be expected with such high brightness, but still the contrast level was quite good with a ratio of 944:1.



You can however calibrate the color accuracy of the Asus VG236HE to a pretty decent levels as you can see from the image above, just compare the deviation (delta E) before and after the calibration and an average of Delta E of 1 you can say that the colors are quite good for a TN panel. However there is a side effect after the calibration and that is the fact that you need to significantly lower the brightness in order to improve the color accuracy. The maximum brightness was just 142 cd/m2, with a black point measured at 0,29 cd/m2 and a bit disappointing contrast level of just 503:1. But this was completely expected as all 120Hz 3D-capable displays are mostly designed for gaming (plain 3D and stereo 3D) and multimedia use and not for working with colors. So calibration is in order only if you need it and will not play in stereo 3D mode, but then again why would you need to buy this monitor, instead of a cheaper 60Hz model?



And now it is time for some testing of the stereo 3D capabilities of the display. I’m starting with the crosstalk (ghosting) as this is currently one of the major issues that all 3D LCD monitors have more or less trouble with. The first test is with the sailboats 3D video that I find great for testing crosstalk as it has higher separation and higher contrast and is thus prone to having more ghosting than usual videos that were shot and post-processed to minimize all possible issues. Looking at the sails of the boat you can barely see some ghosting on their left side (the photo was taken through the right lens of the shutter glasses) and that shows quite good performance in terms of crosstalk. So far things look a bit better than on the LG W2363D and the Acer GD245HQ that I’ve tested earlier this year in terms of crosstalk, it seems that Asus were able to further lower the negatives from that.



Switching to a game in stereo 3D mode and that game being Tomb Raider Underworld I’m going for further testing of the crosstalk exhibited by the Asus monitor. TRU is one of my favorite test tools for that, because the game looks and performs great in stereo 3D mode with 3D Vision, but it also has some great scenes that work perfect for checking out the level of ghosting. Of course in order to make the ghosting more visible the level of separation has to be increased quite a lot. As you can see from the photo above, the ghosting at the top of the screen is not that much as on previous monitors I’ve tested, although it is still present as expected.



The bottom of the display also reveals more ghosting then for example the center of the display, but that is also to be expected. Here the level of crosstalk is pretty much the same as on the LG and there is also some visible color ghosting and the responsibility for that goes to the OverDrive function used to drive the pixels’ response time to a lower value. This monitor does not feature an OverDrive control function that will allow you to disable and enable it at will, although disabling it in stereo 3D mode will significantly increase the level of ghosting, so there is no point for that. In 2D mode you have the “Trace Free” option that apparently can influence the OverDrive function in some way, but changing it hardly makes any visible change int he performance. The good news here for the people that are not happy with the over-sharpening of some other monitors in 2D mode is that here we don’t have that problem.

In general I can say that I’m quite satisfied with the performance of the ASUS VG236HE monitor. It shows good potential and works well enough, with further reduced crosstalk as compared to the competition. The rotating and height adjustable stand as well as the presence of component input also makes the monitor more flexible, although these are not directly related to the performance in stereo 3D mode, they just contribute to the overall picture. I was a bit disappointed from the presence of some input lag even in gaming mode, something that is not desirable for a higher-end gaming product such as this display, but is not actually that much of an issue for stereo 3D gaming for most people. The glossy surface of the screen adds in some advantages, but also comes with a disadvantage and that is the reflections that you may see, but liking that or preferring a matte screen is a matter of personal preferences and following the guidelines for best results in stereo 3D mode that shouldn’t be much of a bother anyway (ie playing in a dark room with no external light). So all in all a ASUS VG236HE is a good monitor for use with stereo 3D with both pros and cons, so whether you like it or not depends more on your personal preferences than on the performance and the results it displays.

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48 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Helifax // Nov 15, 2010 at 20:21

    Nice review! Bloody I’ve looked everywhere on the blog but can’t seem to find the same tests made on the “classic” Samsung 2233rz monitor. Have you made the same tests on it? If so, pls share a link:)) thanks

  • 2 Rhialto // Nov 15, 2010 at 20:37

    Bloody, can you do a test for me since you’re more experienced and better equipped for taking pics with 3D glasses?

    Wait for the glasses to signal they are about to shut down, the left eye will blink on 1 second, off 1 second for a few seconds.

    In the dark condition, try to take a picture (should be easy, you have 1 second) and you’ll see that it’s not totally black. I’m sure the crosstalk comes from the glasses. They are not able to completly blocks the light. Until they improve the glasses there will always be crosstalk. That’s also why about every monitor gives similar results, the glasses are not totally black thus you will always see an image in both eyes, one clear (5% darkened) and one very dark (97% darkened) where whites on dark background are easier to see.

    If you’re waiting for THE monitor to be comletly crosstalk free, I can tell you it will never come.

  • 3 Bloody // Nov 15, 2010 at 22:29

    Helifax, no I haven’t, I’ve started with the Acer, but since I own the Samsung I can do some comparison with it.

    Rhialto, yes I know that the glasses are responsible for some part of the crosstalk, but it is not only caused by them.

  • 4 tritosine // Nov 15, 2010 at 23:07

    -glasses are innocent at crosstalk, any DLP user going to confirm that.

    neither MEMS, OCB LCD , or OLED display would ghost.

    So that sentence above ( never came) is bs. If I had a blog like this I would tell everyone to stay away from LCD , but hey this is not my blog.

  • 5 Bloody // Nov 16, 2010 at 00:01

    Ok, let me paraphrase the above… the combination between the shutter glasses and an LCD panel leads to crosstalk, the synchronization of the glasses with the image displayed on the screen. Then the slow response time of the pixels of the LCD panel is another reason for having crosstalk. And since I’m reviewing an 3D-capable LCD monitor here I’m talking only about that technology and what is responsible for the crosstalk in the specific case.

  • 6 MartinM // Nov 16, 2010 at 00:42

    May I have the Tridef Crosstalk test on the LG W2363D-PF?
    http://img192.imageshack.us/i/dddalt.jpg/

    If you have any other 3D display, I will take it too. :)

    Monitors:

    2233RZ
    http://img153.imageshack.us/i/2233rzl1.jpg/

    GD245HQ
    http://img512.imageshack.us/i/865162201.jpg/

    Asus VG236H
    http://img189.imageshack.us/i/79604127.jpg/

    Lots of 3DTVs:
    http://img25.imageshack.us/i/48801174.jpg/

  • 7 Bloody // Nov 16, 2010 at 01:06

    MartinM, unfortunately I don’t currently have access to the LG, I had to return the unit I used to compare to the Asus a while ago…

  • 8 rz // Nov 16, 2010 at 01:36

    Thanks for the review!

    Do you have any plans to review the new BenQ XL2410T? The BenQ looks pretty good to me. Unfortunately, there are no reviews of it at all.

    Regards.

  • 9 Adz3000 // Nov 16, 2010 at 01:47

    Looks like it has a much better overdrive function which is a step foward i suppose shame about the glossy screen tho… I’d much prefer for manufactuers to relise the appeal for a ghostless desktop pannel… i dont even think price would have a big impact.

    From the research ive done as well is that the majorty of the ghosting is caused by the pannel due to it not refreshing as a blink but insted as a scan and ontop of that is it being not quick enough due to the pixel coulour change times. The ultra high fps cams on youtube show this.. :(

    on another note!
    Would be awesome if you could get your hands on the alienware aw2310! i’d like to know ur impresions lol :P

    Awesome site btw!

  • 10 Ryan McClelland // Nov 16, 2010 at 01:58

    Thanks for the review Bloody. I’ve been thinking about getting this monitor, but I think the ghosting will drive me nuts. I’ll have to go for the projector option. I really appreciate the photos of ghosting. Any chance you could review the Acer H5360 projector?

  • 11 mihabolil // Nov 16, 2010 at 03:12

    Good review
    Now i don’t regret that i bought the LG :))

  • 12 arnold schwartz // Nov 16, 2010 at 08:37

    actually the 3d vision glases ARE the source of the brightness ghosting, because they are only fully opaque in the middle, with the opaqueness diminishing as you get to the sides, so the thing you are looking at directly will have no brightness ghosting, while the periphery will have significant amounts.

  • 13 poirot // Nov 16, 2010 at 10:46

    Where can I download that time displaying software?
    I need it to test my lcd monitor.
    Thank you very much!

  • 14 Bloody // Nov 16, 2010 at 13:30

    rz, yes if I’m able to get one for testing when it becomes available…

    Adz3000, I’ve been trying to get one for a while now, but it is hard to get anything from Alienwhere where I live.

    Ryan McClelland, I can try to get one to review it, but it is harder with the projector testing as they have a limited number of hours of use for the lamp and the local companies are not very willing to give them for testing because of that.

    arnold schwartz, following your thought it would mean that if you look through the center of the glasses at the top or bottom of the display you will see no ghosting at high contrasting areas, but that is far from true.

    poirot, I’ll publish it here on the blog in the next few days.

  • 15 arnold schwartz // Nov 16, 2010 at 14:52

    i meant that ASIDE from the top/down ghosting (which is because the entire screen doesnt refresh at the same time) and the overdriv induced ghosting on the bottom (because the pixels have been overdriven, but not given enough time to settle back to their normal value), there is luminosity ghosting introduced by the imperfections of the 3d vision glasses LCD (which basically has a linear gradient opacity, with the most opaque spot in the center, fading to the sides (but not top/bottom, because that would then be circular gradient) )

  • 16 MartinM // Nov 16, 2010 at 15:18

    mihabolil, could you take picture of the LG, with the TriDef Crosstalk test, posted earlier?

    Thanks

  • 17 mihabolil // Nov 17, 2010 at 02:23

    MartinM, this is it the LG W2363D-PF
    http://img337.imageshack.us/i/dsc03214l.jpg
    You’re welcome

  • 18 TheOwnmaster // Nov 17, 2010 at 21:28

    If I Hook A HDMI Cord to This Will I get 120 hz ? Or is that with Other hookups. If It does I might Buy A new monitor.

  • 19 Bloody // Nov 17, 2010 at 21:36

    No, for 120Hz and 3D mode you can only use the Dual-Link DVI interface…

  • 20 TheOwnmaster // Nov 17, 2010 at 21:41

    Ok, What about With 3d off And Just 120 hz (If thats even Possible)? Or is it just not Going to happen With HDMI?

  • 21 Bloody // Nov 17, 2010 at 23:00

    I meant it is a no go with either of them… over HDMI that is.

  • 22 TheOwnmaster // Nov 18, 2010 at 02:54

    Thank you for those answers Bloody I Appreciate It.

  • 23 kakarot // Dec 1, 2010 at 16:36

    is ASUS VG236HE the best choice for me or ZM-M240W

  • 24 Bloody // Dec 1, 2010 at 18:36

    kakarot, do you think I or anyone else can tell you with the limited information you are providing which one will be the best choice for you? :)

  • 25 kakarot // Dec 2, 2010 at 17:31

    no,I mean in your opinion what is the best choice for me to buy it ?? :)

  • 26 Hoboman // Dec 8, 2010 at 09:01

    thanks for the very informative review Bloody.
    im wondering how will a regular blu ray movie (not 3d) play on a 120hz monitor, lets say compared to 120hz HDTV. I read elsewhere that HDTV take 60hz input, and create extra frames to ‘improve’ picture quality, so how will the 120hz input monitor display that movie? will you get a similar effect? or even smoother quality?

    im planning for a new pc next year, and a new monitor as well, im not that big of a gamer, but if these 120hz monitors can give me the similar smooth movie effect those 120hz/240hz HDTV created, then i’m definitely getting one.

    thanks

  • 27 keLston // Dec 28, 2010 at 01:22

    Any chance you’d be willing to put up your calibration settings/color profiles for the monitors you do test?

  • 28 Bloody // Dec 28, 2010 at 18:30

    The problem with sharing settings is that they do vary a bit from one to the next monitor, even though the product is the same. But besides the setting on the monitor itself, there is also a color profile that is created for the specific combination of a monitor and a video card (the GPU also is important). So in the end color calibration is something that you need to do specifically on your own system with your own hardware… at least for getting the best possible results. Although I would not recommend color calibration on a 3D monitor for use in stereo 3D mode… and if you need good colors for work in 2D mode, then you should go for a product that is better suited for that – has a better panel than TN.

  • 29 Phil // Feb 2, 2011 at 04:55

    Nice job with the review, but in having both monitors, i can assure anyone here, the input numbers are very equal, in fact i seen 5ms diff. from both panels, in different games/apps, as far as input lag is concerned.

    I have to be honest, this review seems slanted, as the Asus has more pro’s then the LG’s, from better color accuracy, deeper blacks, brighter whites, higher contrast, alot less 3D ghosting(ie..Metro 2033).

    Please explain why the article was so fosused in on lag, and why not more examples of in game latency? Heck, i tested both panels from games like Metro(in 2D, 120hz) to GTAIV(with the highest graphical mods added), to BF:BC2, COD:B. Ops..ect

    Now yes there is reflections with the glass front on this panal, and damn are the buttons hard to even push in..lol, but the Asus panel is the better one, overall.

    Here’s a review(below) from one of the most respected sites on the web, and pay notice to the comparisions to CRT’s, in terms of lag, and it’s at most 12ms, and that’s compared to a CRT monitor!.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3842/asus-vg236h-review-our-first-look-at-120hz/11

    I’m sure you tested you best, but the 17ms difference you stated is just impossible..heck i never seen more then a 9 ms difference, eithier way from both panels. And that site proved a 12ms difference from a CRT, so ther’s no way a LCD TN panel has lesser lag then a CRT. ;)

    btw: I love the matte of the LG, but i can deal with Asus’s reflections..easily, when the overall color/black-white, and contrast, and 3D is better done.

  • 30 Bloody // Feb 2, 2011 at 11:07

    Phil, I’m sure you’ve noticed that here the reviews of monitors are focused mostly on their stereo 3D performance and not overall performance. Measuring input lag is not 100% accurate when using a timer to compare between two monitors, there are CRTs that also have some input lag. And measuring a CRT at 75Hz refresh with an LCD at 120Hz is a bit disadvantageous for the first monitor, don’t you think so. They say they’ve got about 12ms with 14 samples, I’m using more than hundred (some times up to 300) and my average was about 8 ms with 17ms being the maximum captured.

  • 31 Oscar // Feb 23, 2011 at 23:20

    Hi bloody in terms of quality and capabillities witch one is the Best the ASUS VG236HE or The Acer GD235HZbid

    tnx

    Oscar

  • 32 Bloody // Feb 24, 2011 at 12:56

    The Asus is performing a bit better in stereo 3D mode, it has less crosstalk/ghosting, however it uses a glossy screen, so it is prone to reflections.

  • 33 unnamed // Mar 16, 2011 at 15:15

    Bloody please tell me what settings to use on my Asus monitor – brigittines, contrast, normal mode or what…. I can’t adjust monitor to work good :( for my needs. If you remember what settings you use when reviewed the monitor, please tell me to try with them.
    And one more question – in 2D mode how is good to set Trace Free – at 100% or less?

    sorry for my english :(

  • 34 Bloody // Mar 16, 2011 at 16:26

    There are no general settings that will provide the same result on all Asus monitors, even being the same 3D model does not guarantee that there are no slight differences between two monitors that came after each other from the production line. And when you add in a different video card in the mix, things become more specific in each case, so the best way to get things more accurate is to do a color calibration with a special hardware – a colorimeter, that besides changing some settings on the monitor with also generate a color profile for each specific case. Other than that you can play with the settings until you find ones that look best to you…

  • 35 unnamed // Mar 16, 2011 at 23:07

    okay, thank you! I will keep trying :)

  • 36 James // Apr 5, 2011 at 13:24

    So, Is this monitor better then the LG W2363D for 3d gaming? What is the best monitor for 3d gaming? Also anything that will work with AMD HD3D?

  • 37 Bloody // Apr 5, 2011 at 14:09

    James, yes, you can say it is slightly better in terms of stereo 3D performance, however it is with a glossy screen. And it is not compatible with AMD HD3D technology either…

  • 38 Mayday // Apr 15, 2011 at 11:34

    Thank you very much for your reviews Bloody! I hesitated for months to buy a 3D screen. This review has just convinced me to make it happens :)

  • 39 RK // Jun 8, 2011 at 13:30

    Can I use AMD HD3D and a universal Xpand 3D glasses with asus VG236HE?
    The asus does not know and asked me to contact AMD but I think there is no support for AMD customers in my country.

  • 40 Bloody // Jun 8, 2011 at 13:36

    No, the monitor will not work with such a setup…

  • 41 RK // Jun 8, 2011 at 16:23

    But in the future may be no way to work?
    With an update…?

  • 42 Bloody // Jun 8, 2011 at 18:37

    Don’t have high hopes for that…

  • 43 Zofyhr // Jun 27, 2011 at 21:11

    Hi Bloody. First of all congrats for this nice review. I was looking for a monitor only for 2d gaming with low latency and high frequency. Sadly I ordered this Asus VG236HE without knowing about this input lag… Actually wich monitor would you recommand for FPS (Modern Warfare, Black Ops, Counter-Strike…) games knowing the 3D is not important ? Was some 60hz more fitting for that kind of use ?

  • 44 MirceaP // Oct 8, 2011 at 00:12

    I’m also really interested about the latency times for 2d games like Counter Strike, Black Ops etc. I used to play professional CS 1.6 and i know that every little detail counts. Is the 8ms latency really noticeable?. It would be o choice between this and the LG2363 .
    Cheers

  • 45 MichaelM // Feb 2, 2012 at 15:08

    Hi Bloody, great review. Do you know where I can purchase the glasses and receiver for this monitor as I bought it without realising that the glasses were not in the box.

  • 46 Bloody // Feb 2, 2012 at 15:45

    You just need to get a 3D Vision Kit (glasses and emitter), they are available directly from Nvidia and most big online retailers such as Amazon…

  • 47 RK // Feb 3, 2012 at 21:00

    But I have an ATI graphics. is there any way to use 3D from vh236he?

  • 48 Adam // Mar 6, 2012 at 23:23

    Just purchased the Vg236HE and tested it for 3 hours. Very fast monitor and even 75hz looks nice and smooth under Win7 Desktop. Unfortunately I had an IPS Panel Monitor for 2 years and now the Asus with TN Panel. Colors are awful….orange looks strange, yellow is too yellow, green ist strangly off. my friend came over and we used his Pro-Calibration Sensor device for better colours but It still looks not realistic. Well, then I wanted to try the 100hz-120Hz Option…….Win7 says “max 75hz”…I used the Dual-Link Cable from the asus package and another DVI-Dual-Link Cable (3rd Party)…nope….it says only 75hz. My Graphics Card is an Asus HD 6950 with latest driver and Tools…..nothing. I tested…played some games..watch HD movies and used Windows7 Desktop…for 3 Hours and finally my personal opinion > Very fast Display…smooth at 75hz….almost no Ghosting/Tearing….very bright (it burns your eyes off at 100%) but some colors (red, orange, yellow, green) are off or to saturated…calibrating fixes red and green to “ok-ish” but orange and Yellow looks still crappy. Decision is made > it goes back to the shop…..I think I got a new IPS Panel with 60hz and the lowest lag, ghostung and approx. 8ms GTG as replacement…..I need perfect colors more than insane brightness, fast Panel and almost no ghosting. I am sad!

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