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#1 Jul 29 2010 at 9:31 AM Rating: Good
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Oh knowledgeable folks of =25, I wish to purchase a new video card in the next month or two. I currently own a GeForce 8500, and while it works ok it seems to be getting more and more outdated with new games (most evidently with SCII). I built my computer 2.5 years ago, so I figure it's about time I start upgrading and figure video card is a good place to start. However, I'm not really sure what to look for or what I need to consider with my current system (e.g. any compatibility issues I should be wary of).

I'm expecting to spend $150-300 on a decent card that will last me a few years; is this reasonable? I don't mind waiting a little longer if there is something new on the horizon that would be worth the wait. Any thoughts, advice, or opinions are welcome.

Thanks!
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#2 Jul 29 2010 at 10:51 AM Rating: Decent
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I think the price point is good for a decent video card but I really don't know that much about them.

It might help if you list the rest of your system here too. So people can make a better informed reply.
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#3 Jul 29 2010 at 10:56 AM Rating: Good
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The relatively new GTX 460 is a great buy at the $220ish (for a 1GB version) price point. They're quite potent in SLI as well if your system supports it, if you find you need a bit more oomph later.

I know that at least some of the driver revisions have issues with FFXI though, if you are actively playing that.
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#4 Jul 29 2010 at 11:04 AM Rating: Decent
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Isiolia wrote:
The relatively new GTX 460 is a great buy at the $220ish (for a 1GB version) price point. They're quite potent in SLI as well if your system supports it, if you find you need a bit more oomph later.


So am I right in understanding when you say
Quote:
(for a 1GB version)
that means that video cards come with RAM on card? I thought I heard that was were it was going (I really don't know much about hardware) to take a load of the system ram.
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#5 Jul 29 2010 at 1:20 PM Rating: Good
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I second the Nvidia GTX 460, its one of the best of the cards in your price range. There is also the GTX 460 [768 MB] version as well for 200$, but its worthwhile just paying 20 more for the 1GB version. Avoid purchasing the GTX 465 as it is actually weaker than the the GTX 460.

A review of the card can be found here

The only new cards on the horizon in your price range seem to be the GTS 450 in September 2010, and maybe the GTX 475 in Q3 2010.
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#6 Jul 29 2010 at 2:53 PM Rating: Good
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that means that video cards come with RAM on card? I thought I heard that was were it was going (I really don't know much about hardware) to take a load of the system ram.


Any discrete card has at least some RAM of its own. Basically anything past the low, low end will use all its own memory, but there are cards that have a little RAM built in, and then use some of the system memory as well. Integrated graphics commonly will not have any of their own memory, and will simply use a chunk of the system memory.

Another possible point of confusion is that 32-bit Windows (without workarounds) can only actually address 4GB worth of memory registers...so it typically uses a chunk of those to address hardware instead of system RAM. More memory on the graphics card will mean Windows needs to use more of those addresses to talk to the card, so instead of say, using 3.5GB of 4GB of memory, it might only be able to use 3GB.

The GTX 460 comes in 768MB and 1GB flavors, but the price difference isn't that great, so the general recommendation is to go for the 1GB version.
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#7 Jul 29 2010 at 7:22 PM Rating: Excellent
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I third the 460 GTX. It has muuuuch overclock room in it, ruuns pretty cool too comparativly.
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#8 Jul 29 2010 at 10:11 PM Rating: Good
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Thanks, that sounds like a good option.
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#9 Jul 30 2010 at 8:12 AM Rating: Decent
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Isiolia wrote:
All that stuff above.


Right on, thanks.
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#10 Jul 30 2010 at 10:19 AM Rating: Good
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So, searching Newegg for said card gives a handful of results, all of which I can only assume are the same card but different manufacturers (or just sellers?)... or are they actually different? If so, which should I go for? I haven't really heard of any of these before (the top two results are Palit and Sparkle).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007709%20600007323%20600062521%20600007779&IsNodeId=1&name=1GB
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#11 Jul 30 2010 at 10:21 AM Rating: Good
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Of those, the only one I recommend is the EVGA. And they arent all the same. Look at core speed, shader speeds, core processors and memory speeds
#12 Jul 30 2010 at 10:24 AM Rating: Good
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KTurner wrote:
Of those, the only one I recommend is the EVGA. And they arent all the same. Look at core speed, shader speeds, core processors and memory speeds


The ones that are out of stock? Which one is best? These two seem to have the same specs... the only difference I can see is in the model #. Also, what do you think about this one? It seems to have the best and most numerous reviews.
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#13 Jul 30 2010 at 10:34 AM Rating: Good
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Vataro wrote:
KTurner wrote:
Of those, the only one I recommend is the EVGA. And they arent all the same. Look at core speed, shader speeds, core processors and memory speeds


The ones that are out of stock? Which one is best? These two seem to have the same specs... the only difference I can see is in the model #. Also, what do you think about this one? It seems to have the best and most numerous reviews.


No its not out of stock -> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130568

And no, I personally wouldnt buy a Gigabyte, plus its not as good as the one i linked.

Edited, Jul 30th 2010 9:36am by KTurner
#14 Jul 30 2010 at 10:40 AM Rating: Good
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So, SLI has to do with Crossfire, correct? And that is where you basically have 2 video cards for increased performance? I don't plan on actually doing this, but for general knowledge's sake, do they have to be the same card or can they be different?

Thanks again for your help and answers, it is greatly appreciated.
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#15 Jul 30 2010 at 10:46 AM Rating: Good
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AFAIK it has to be same card type, ie 2 GTX460s. I think the detailed specs and even manufacturer can vary. Not positive though.


SLI = nVidia, Crossfire = ATI


Edited, Jul 30th 2010 9:48am by KTurner
#16 Jul 30 2010 at 11:58 AM Rating: Good
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KTurner wrote:
Vataro wrote:
KTurner wrote:
Of those, the only one I recommend is the EVGA. And they arent all the same. Look at core speed, shader speeds, core processors and memory speeds


The ones that are out of stock? Which one is best? These two seem to have the same specs... the only difference I can see is in the model #. Also, what do you think about this one? It seems to have the best and most numerous reviews.


No its not out of stock -> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130568

And no, I personally wouldnt buy a Gigabyte, plus its not as good as the one i linked.

Edited, Jul 30th 2010 9:36am by KTurner


Out of curiosity, what are some of the issues with Gigabyte cards? I know in terms of motherboards they're fairly decent, but not too sure on video cards. I ask since I was thinking of buying one around October.
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#17 Jul 30 2010 at 12:09 PM Rating: Good
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nothing specifically. From what ive read on nvidia video cards the best, common cards are EVGA, XFX and BFG. So i just stick with those to try to get as good a product as possible.
#18 Jul 30 2010 at 5:26 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
nothing specifically. From what ive read on nvidia video cards the best, common cards are EVGA, XFX and BFG. So i just stick with those to try to get as good a product as possible.

I've had good results with PNY. I try and buy all PNY components, and only had 1 bad stick of RAM, that I think I might have even fried.
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#19 Jul 30 2010 at 7:26 PM Rating: Decent
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I've gotten a couple of video cards from PNY that I've also never had issues with. It's anecdotal at best, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy from them again. (That's in-store though, I have no idea how their shipping is if you get it from their site.)
#20 Jul 30 2010 at 11:25 PM Rating: Excellent
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A bit more info about SLI and crossfire. SLI (Scalable Link Interface) is Nvidia's multiple graphics card linking technology. It is theoretically possible to link up to 4 of specific models of cards on specific motherboards (The EVGA SR-2 motherboard for example) Most "gaming" motherboards will take 2 or possibly 3 cards. You generally want to have identical hardware, with identical bios revisions and hardware revisions, but that is not a 100% requirement. The Intel X58 chipset also supports "Asynchronyous SLI" where you can link2 different types of video card in SLI mode. This is an unstable, unholy abomination unto all the gods of computing, never do this. Ever. Yeah, I'm looking at you Apple.

Crossfire is also capable of going to up to at least 3 cards. I've never seen a 4 card crossfire array, but the SR-2 might be able to do it. You again would want to match hardware and bios revision, but crossfire plays a bit easier with differing cards in the same family. It's still a horrible affront to computer kind and your computer will explode out of shame if you do this. but you could if you want to.

Video card manufacturer ranking, in order of personal preference:
EVGA - best warranty support assuming you remember to register the card, best hardware overall in terms of components used on the board
PNY - occaisonal hardware issues, but almost as good warranty as EVGA
XFX - Comparable to PNY
BFG - tends to use really nice copper heat syncs, rest of the components are sometimes lacking.
Asus - good hardware, warranty can get annoying on the video cards.
Leadtek - not so much recently, but i've had good luck with their hardware in the past.

If your potential card isn't on that list, I wouldn't buy it.
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#21 Jul 31 2010 at 9:39 AM Rating: Good
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Thanks for all the replies. I think I'll buy the EVGA one as soon as I get my extra paycheck this month. I don't think I want to buy 2 at the moment though... but perhaps down the road (say in a year) this would be a better option than waiting a few years and replacing it again?
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#22 Jul 31 2010 at 12:13 PM Rating: Excellent
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Vataro wrote:
Thanks for all the replies. I think I'll buy the EVGA one as soon as I get my extra paycheck this month. I don't think I want to buy 2 at the moment though... but perhaps down the road (say in a year) this would be a better option than waiting a few years and replacing it again?


Yeah. The trick is making sure you can get the exact same model number for best performance. but it is doable.
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#23 Aug 03 2010 at 9:56 PM Rating: Good
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Hey Vataro, long time no see.

Sorry Kaolian, I have to disagree. There has been a lot of talk on overclock.net about how Asus is now top dog when it comes to quality, because of the binning proceedures at EVGA, and while on paper the EVGA warranty looks better, a lot of people have been having trouble getting things RMA'd with them lately. I've also heard that for a lot of their products, they have recently changed from lifetime warranty to 5 year warranty.

The general consensus on overclock.net seems to be that the Asus binning process tends to yield better cards on average. They also allow voltage tweak out of the box, something most others don't allow (this is why so many enthusiasts who buy other brands flash their bios using an Asus bios).

Back to the matter at hand, I believe there is a deal going around that gets you 20% off GTX4xx series cards from gamestop. Someone was posting on the FFXIV boards a few days ago that they work at gamestop, and had a tonne of redemption codes that they would give away, all you had to do was PM them. Dunno if it's still going on, but worth looking into. I think one person actually managed to get a GTX 480 for around $250-300after the 20% off code, plus rebates.

I've recently myself moved from a HD 5870 to a GTX 480, and I'm getting a 2nd one for SLI next week when my tax refund arrives. Good times.
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#24 Aug 04 2010 at 9:32 AM Rating: Good
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Interesting, I'll look into that. Thanks.

So, can someone explain to me what the difference between the one linked above for $249 and this one for $199 is?

edit: Specifically, the $249 one is "superclocked"... what does that mean? Is that different than just overclocking it myself?

Edited, Aug 4th 2010 10:34am by Vataro
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#25 Aug 04 2010 at 12:05 PM Rating: Good
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Vat, did you even read the specs?

For starters, the cheaper one has 768MB memory, the other has 1 gig. the cheaper has slower clock, slower shader, slower memory, while the other has faster clock faster shader and faster memory.

Is it the same as overclocking? no idea. Comes out of the box at that speed, means its covered at that speed. Dont know how EVGA treats hardware failures due to user overclocking - ive never done it.
#26 Aug 04 2010 at 12:22 PM Rating: Good
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KTurner wrote:
Vat, did you even read the specs?

For starters, the cheaper one has 768MB memory, the other has 1 gig. the cheaper has slower clock, slower shader, slower memory, while the other has faster clock faster shader and faster memory.

Is it the same as overclocking? no idea. Comes out of the box at that speed, means its covered at that speed. Dont know how EVGA treats hardware failures due to user overclocking - ive never done it.


Haha, I feel retarded. I could have sworn that other one also said 1 gig... thanks for pointing out my idiocy.
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#27 Aug 04 2010 at 12:23 PM Rating: Good
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Just pull the trigger already and buy it dude. i know you want to.
#28 Aug 04 2010 at 12:25 PM Rating: Good
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I do, but the problem is the extra paycheck I was expecting this month hasn't arrived... so I have to keep an eye on funds. I'll probably order it on Friday if I haven't heard about the paycheck by then.

edit: And as I go to actually buy it I find it to have been sold out sometime in the last hour. **** my indecisiveness!

Edited, Aug 4th 2010 4:16pm by Vataro
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#29 Aug 04 2010 at 5:17 PM Rating: Good
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If you are going to get a GTX 460, get the 1gb version.

I wouldn't bother getting any of the "superclocked" editions. You can just overclock it yourself.


Also, were I you, I would only buy reference design cards.
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#30 Aug 04 2010 at 6:08 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:

Also, were I you, I would only buy reference design cards.


I don't know what this means.
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#31 Aug 04 2010 at 6:47 PM Rating: Good
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Reference cards are cards that are built to ati and nvidias exact design. Non-reference cards are when companies (evga,asus,pny,gigabyte,etc) make changes to it, like the housing, cooling, etc.

And example using 5870s:

Reference:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150456&cm_re=xfx_5870-_-14-150-456-_-Product&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&AID=10446076&PID=3754110&SID=skim1132X509988

Non-reference:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150476&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&AID=10446076&PID=3754110&SID=skim1132X509988

Note the differences in the case and cooling design.

Edited, Aug 5th 2010 12:48am by Fetter
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#32 Aug 05 2010 at 12:30 PM Rating: Good
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Ordered :). Hopefully it won't be too much of a hassle to install; is there anything I should know other than plugging it in where the other one was?
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#33 Aug 05 2010 at 1:30 PM Rating: Good
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should be pretty straight forward assuming it will physically fit in the case.
#34 Aug 05 2010 at 5:42 PM Rating: Good
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Download driversweeper. Install it.

Uninstall your current drivers the normal way (not using driversweeper).

Reboot into safe mode.

Run driversweeper. Analyse your system, and clean out anything related to your old graphics card.

When it's done, it will ask you if you want to reboot. Say yes.

Boot up, and install your new drivers, etc.

By the way, what PSU do you have?
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#35 Aug 05 2010 at 8:17 PM Rating: Decent
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LOL, I got rated down for disagreeing with Kaolian?

W/e, I'll stay out of this section and stick with pro boards to talk about computer builds etc.
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#36 Aug 06 2010 at 5:27 PM Rating: Decent
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Vataro wrote:
Ordered :). Hopefully it won't be too much of a hassle to install; is there anything I should know other than plugging it in where the other one was?


I didn't see anyone ask this before, but I do hope your PSU has 2x 6 pin connectors or a 6 pin and 2x 4 pin connectors that you can combine to a single 6 pin connector, because that is what the GTX 460 requires. I also hope your PSU is powerful enough to power the 460.

What PSU do you have?
#37 Aug 07 2010 at 10:26 AM Rating: Good
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My PSU is a 500W. It's a few years old but as far as I can tell still works just fine. And I do have a 6 pin connector.
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#38 Aug 07 2010 at 7:21 PM Rating: Decent
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A GTX 460 requires two (2) 6 pin connectors. If you only have 1 connector then you need two (2) 4 pin connectors to combine into another 6 pin connector.
#39 Aug 11 2010 at 8:36 AM Rating: Good
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Hmm.

So, I uninstalled my old drivers, used driversweeper, installed the new video card (I only had 1 6 pin connector as it turns out, but the card came with an adapter to plug the other into 2 4 pin connectors), and went to install my new drivers (from the CD), and my computer froze about a third of the way into installing the drivers. So I manually shut the computer down, and let it rest overnight. When I booted it up this morning, my desktop resolution was back to where it normally is... but I still get messages saying I need to install drivers for my new hardware (in fact, it's always 4 separate messages for some reason). Trying to reinstall drivers produces the same freezing, be it from the CD or from a driver installer from the Nvidia website. Should I try uninstalling the drivers before reinstalling, or do I need to try something else? :(
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#40 Aug 11 2010 at 9:37 AM Rating: Good
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go to device manager and make sure all video adapters are uninstalled unless they are onboard video drivers (if applicable), restart computer, install new drivers when prompted. I dont **** around with drivesweeper crap. the standard device manager interface is more than adequate.
#41 Aug 11 2010 at 9:40 AM Rating: Good
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When I initially went to the device manager after the problem first happened, the only thing that showed up under video adapters was my new card. Do I need to look at the specific driver files associated with that, or is there somewhere else I should look to make sure there's nothing left over?
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#42 Aug 11 2010 at 10:26 AM Rating: Good
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if you had a problem with the install on the new card, you should delete the drivers and do it again.
#43 Aug 11 2010 at 11:13 AM Rating: Good
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Yea, I'm hoping the subsequent problems were just because I never uninstalled whatever got installed on the initial attempt. I still don't know why that initial install would have caused the computer to freeze though...
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#44 Aug 11 2010 at 11:18 AM Rating: Good
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i dont know either. I would skip the CD install and just do the install from nvidia this time. See if that works. If you have any problems with future installs just make sure to have it totally uninstalled before trying again. just to make sure.
#45 Aug 11 2010 at 11:30 AM Rating: Good
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Yea, I should have done that initially. I'll be trying this again when I get home in a couple of hours, and will update then. :)
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