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Computer Build Thread

TransparentTransparent Registered User
Moe Fwacky wrote: »
So I've noticed a lot of threads around where people ask for help picking out parts, or for comments on a build they are thinking about buying. Born from those threads is this, the Computer Build Thread. If you have a build you would recommend to others, post the specs here, for those who are looking to build.


The original thread has become too large, it's time for a new one. I'll start it off with a couple of builds just like Moe did, but I intend to keep these builds updated, and will modify them based on suggestions. I also want to include a build guide in the op when I have time to write one or if someone posts one.

These systems are suggestions, if you're ordering from Newegg it's always good to pay attention to the current combo deals and discuss the options here.

The bang-for-the-buck box. 12-14-08
This system is the general recommendation. A great gaming PC keeping value in mind.
$656.88 + tax and shipping.
Spoiler:
The extreme budget gamer box. 12-15-08
This goal of this system is to be the cheapest way to play modern PC games.
$393.90 + Tax and Shipping The E-Penis i7. 12-15-08
When yours has got to be bigger.
$2042.92 + tax and shipping.
Spoiler:
Budget media center box 10-17-08
Gaming isn't a consideration here, this is a PC with just enough horsepower to watch high definition video on your TV
$316.44 plus tax and shipping, no TV tuners included until I can get some advice or do some research
Spoiler:

Transparent on
PAXtrain '10, let's do this!
«13456763

Posts

  • CryogenCryogen Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Heres what i'm planning on going with:

    Core2Duo E8500
    Asus P5QL Pro Mobo
    Seagate 250GB HD
    2x 1GB Kingston DDR2-800

    I'll be cannibilising from my current machine:
    9600GT 512Mb
    200GB HD
    DVD drive
    case/PSU (PSU is actually quite new, Thermaltake 550W)

    I dont ever intend to SLI, or RAID. Everything look ok?

    The main thing i'm unsure about really is the ram. So what say ye, internet advisors? Go with just the 2GB i have? Up it to 3? Go to 4 even though i'm not getting all of that final GB? Go to 4 and get Vista 64bit? Keeping in mind i'll be buying 32bit Vista to go on this machine anyway. (home premium)

  • TokledTokled Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Cryogen wrote: »
    Heres what i'm planning on going with:

    Core2Duo E8500
    Asus P5QL Pro Mobo
    Seagate 250GB HD
    2x 1GB Kingston DDR2-800

    I'll be cannibilising from my current machine:
    9600GT 512Mb
    200GB HD
    DVD drive
    case/PSU (PSU is actually quite new, Thermaltake 550W)

    I dont ever intend to SLI, or RAID. Everything look ok?

    The main thing i'm unsure about really is the ram. So what say ye, internet advisors? Go with just the 2GB i have? Up it to 3? Go to 4 even though i'm not getting all of that final GB? Go to 4 and get Vista 64bit? Keeping in mind i'll be buying 32bit Vista to go on this machine anyway. (home premium)

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the E8400 pretty much the same as the E8500 except for a lower multiplier (E8500 has 9.5x and E8400 has 9x). If that is the case then the E8500 is really only worth the extra money if you want to do some serious overclocking. Otherwise you can quite easily do a small overclock on the E8400 to get it up to the stock speed of the E8500 (or higher, I OC'd my E8400 to 3.6ghz with a $30 aftermarket cooler.) These things overclock like champs, you would have no issues increasing the E8400 to 3.16ghz on the stock fan/heatsink.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Desert_Eagle25Desert_Eagle25 Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Tokled wrote: »
    Cryogen wrote: »
    Heres what i'm planning on going with:

    Core2Duo E8500
    Asus P5QL Pro Mobo
    Seagate 250GB HD
    2x 1GB Kingston DDR2-800

    I'll be cannibilising from my current machine:
    9600GT 512Mb
    200GB HD
    DVD drive
    case/PSU (PSU is actually quite new, Thermaltake 550W)

    I dont ever intend to SLI, or RAID. Everything look ok?

    The main thing i'm unsure about really is the ram. So what say ye, internet advisors? Go with just the 2GB i have? Up it to 3? Go to 4 even though i'm not getting all of that final GB? Go to 4 and get Vista 64bit? Keeping in mind i'll be buying 32bit Vista to go on this machine anyway. (home premium)

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the E8400 pretty much the same as the E8500 except for a lower multiplier (E8500 has 9.5x and E8400 has 9x). If that is the case then the E8500 is really only worth the extra money if you want to do some serious overclocking. Otherwise you can quite easily do a small overclock on the E8400 to get it up to the stock speed of the E8500 (or higher, I OC'd my E8400 to 3.6ghz with a $30 aftermarket cooler.) These things overclock like champs, you would have no issues increasing the E8400 to 3.16ghz on the stock fan/heatsink.

    My E8400 is pushing 4.1Ghz with a Thermalright heatsink. <3

  • CryogenCryogen Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Tokled wrote: »
    Cryogen wrote: »
    Heres what i'm planning on going with:

    Core2Duo E8500
    Asus P5QL Pro Mobo
    Seagate 250GB HD
    2x 1GB Kingston DDR2-800

    I'll be cannibilising from my current machine:
    9600GT 512Mb
    200GB HD
    DVD drive
    case/PSU (PSU is actually quite new, Thermaltake 550W)

    I dont ever intend to SLI, or RAID. Everything look ok?

    The main thing i'm unsure about really is the ram. So what say ye, internet advisors? Go with just the 2GB i have? Up it to 3? Go to 4 even though i'm not getting all of that final GB? Go to 4 and get Vista 64bit? Keeping in mind i'll be buying 32bit Vista to go on this machine anyway. (home premium)

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the E8400 pretty much the same as the E8500 except for a lower multiplier (E8500 has 9.5x and E8400 has 9x). If that is the case then the E8500 is really only worth the extra money if you want to do some serious overclocking. Otherwise you can quite easily do a small overclock on the E8400 to get it up to the stock speed of the E8500 (or higher, I OC'd my E8400 to 3.6ghz with a $30 aftermarket cooler.) These things overclock like champs, you would have no issues increasing the E8400 to 3.16ghz on the stock fan/heatsink.

    The difference in price was about $15 so i thought i might as well get the slightly quicker chip. edit: And now i'm thinking about just saving the $15 as per yours and Desert Eagle's advice. Could buy myself a couple of lunches with that money!

  • TransparentTransparent Registered User
    edited September 2008
    No one's really addressed your RAM issue yet. I'd either stay with your 2 gigs or get Vista 64 and go to 4 gigs. RAM is cheap these days.

    I ran Vista 64 for a while, and the only problem I've encountered is that there isn't a 64 bit version of Haali media splitter, I couldn't find a splitter so media player could open .mp4 videos. There's one on the same server as the matroska splitter, but it didn't work. Then I figured out if I renamed the files to .mkv they'd open just fine. Weird.

    PAXtrain '10, let's do this!
  • zanetheinsanezanetheinsane Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    And speaking of RAM, these babies here: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail are still $40 off, bring them down to $72.99 with free shipping!

    If you're going to go cheap on parts, the two things you can never, ever, ever afford to go "offbrand cheap" on are your RAM and your Hard Drive. The cheaper and more offbrand you go, the more likely you'll be seeing an RMA.

  • TransparentTransparent Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Word, but the same is painfully true for power supplies.

    PAXtrain '10, let's do this!
  • zanetheinsanezanetheinsane Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I was going to list power supplies as a close third, but if you know what you're looking at you can get away with cutting corners sometimes on wattage and brand.

  • Desert_Eagle25Desert_Eagle25 Registered User
    edited September 2008
    I was going to list power supplies as a close third, but if you know what you're looking at you can get away with cutting corners sometimes on wattage and brand.

    Yea. The only thing that matters is the number of rails and the amps on each rail. Lower numer of Rails + High Amps = Dependable PSU.

  • DefunkerDefunker Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Newbie here: I noticed a lot of builds either seem to go for 2 gigs of ram, or 4 gigs of ram. I know I've heard XP can only recognize 3.somethingsomething gigs of ram. If I put in three sticks, is the third not going to be recognized?

    I don't get why someone wouldn't spring for the extra gig of RAM, and I'm betting it's because I'm missing something important.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Bobkins FlymoBobkins Flymo FF69B4 Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited September 2008
    Looking at buying this but still nervous about compatibility issues. Trying to find a cheaper (under $100) upgrade.

    Mobo chipset is a GeForce 6150 (Rev. A2) and Southbridge is a nForce 410/430 MCP. AM2 Socket.

    If anyone can help me see if that processor will work, it'd be appreciated. Not going to dump a ton of info here, so ask if you need more information and I'll post it. Of course, I'd also take advice on any other cpus that'd be a better fit.

    73zrBvC.png
  • ArcticMonkeyArcticMonkey Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Defunker wrote: »
    Newbie here: I noticed a lot of builds either seem to go for 2 gigs of ram, or 4 gigs of ram. I know I've heard XP can only recognize 3.somethingsomething gigs of ram. If I put in three sticks, is the third not going to be recognized?

    I don't get why someone wouldn't spring for the extra gig of RAM, and I'm betting it's because I'm missing something important.

    Most builds go for dual channel memory. Which doubles memory bandwidth if you use 2 (or 4) identical RAM sticks. This removes RAM as a bottleneck in most cases which is why so many people use 800MHz DDR2 RAM when faster memory is not that much expensiver.

    "You read it! You can't unread it!"
    venstre.giflobotDanceMiddle.gifhoyre.gif
  • Desert_Eagle25Desert_Eagle25 Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Defunker wrote: »
    Newbie here: I noticed a lot of builds either seem to go for 2 gigs of ram, or 4 gigs of ram. I know I've heard XP can only recognize 3.somethingsomething gigs of ram. If I put in three sticks, is the third not going to be recognized?

    I don't get why someone wouldn't spring for the extra gig of RAM, and I'm betting it's because I'm missing something important.

    Well, the issue is Windows Vista 32-bit (and XP) can only manage up to 4096mb (4GB) of physical RAM - ALL RAM, including video. So, if you have a video card with 512mb of RAM, that means you can now only have up to 3584mb (3.5GB) of physical RAM.

    People either go 2gb or 4gb because people want to run their RAM dual channel, and dual channel only works in sets of 2 (2, or 4 sticks). Theoretically you can get 2x1GB sticks and 2x512MB sticks and still run in dual channel, they'll just need to be compatible.

  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Yay, new thread with the Standard Gamer's Build! :D

    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
  • darleysamdarleysam Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    So my younger brother got a bunch of parts to build himself a new computer, everything should've been fine and dandy, apart from the behemoth of a 9800 he picked up. What the hell were nVidia thinking with that? It was long enough to hang over into the HDD bay, meaning we eventually had to carve a niche out of this to slot the card in.

    Still though, it's all up and running now, although he's been on the phone to me to say the lead from the new monitor he's got seems to be the older style connector, not DVI. I think I've got an adapter, but this is a little surprising.

  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    darleysam wrote: »
    So my younger brother got a bunch of parts to build himself a new computer, everything should've been fine and dandy, apart from the behemoth of a 9800 he picked up. What the hell were nVidia thinking with that? It was long enough to hang over into the HDD bay, meaning we eventually had to carve a niche out of this to slot the card in.

    Still though, it's all up and running now, although he's been on the phone to me to say the lead from the new monitor he's got seems to be the older style connector, not DVI. I think I've got an adapter, but this is a little surprising.

    They were probably thinking "We really don't want this thing overheating."

    That, or the 3dfx guy who greenlighted the V5-6000 designed it.

    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
  • darleysamdarleysam Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    That's what I was thinking the whole time I was trying to 'negotiate' it into the motherboard.

    "OH how everyone laughed when that monstrosity of a card was released. Look at the pictures, isn't it so big and funny. THANKS NVIDIA, YOU SACK OF MORONS"

    edit: also he's got an Intel quad core processor (somehow got it cheap, it's a pretty neat CPU) and I have to say that I can't stand the way the heatsink and fan attach to the motherboard. I've used AMD for the longest time, and while the locking mechanisms I've seen have never been easy, you at least know the thing is attached and going nowhere. This one? Some flimsy plastic clips that push through some holes and then you hope it stays attached. Great. Thin plastic and optimism lying between a functioning CPU and massive internal destruction.

  • osietraosietra __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    Would £1500 buy me a decent desktop that'd run Crysis maxed out?
    Are Chillblast any good?

  • BandytBandyt Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Hey, new to the PA Forums. I posted this in the main section and what re-directed here. Well, I just ordered a new Gaming Rig and wanted some opinions on it. Here we go:

    Power: THERMALTAKE Toughpower 750W Model: W0116

    Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 3.16ghz

    Motherboard: ASUS P5Q Intel P45 Express FSB 1600 Mhz Dual Channel DDR2 1200Mhz 8 Ch. HD Audio EXPRESS GATE

    RAM: SKILL Twin Pack 2x2 gig (4gig Total) CL5 DDR2 1066Mhz (PC2-8500) Model: F2-8500CL5D-4GBPI

    Graphics: PALIT HD4870 SONIC 512MB GDDR5 HDMI Adapter DISPLAY PORT DUAL DVI CoreClock:775MHz TURBO

    CD/DV ASUS 20x DRW-2014L1T BLACK and WHITE Faceplate SATA LIGHTSCRIBE NERO Software Retail

    HD SAMSUNG 1TB SATA-2 32meg Cache 7200rpm Model: HD103UJ

    Case: LIAN-LI PC-A09 Middle Tower BLACK Special Series NO Power

    Mouse: Logitech G9 Laser Mouse

    Keyboard: Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard

    OS: Windows Vista Premium 64bit

    Well? What's the verdict? ^_^

  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Bandyt wrote: »
    Well? What's the verdict? ^_^

    Just as long as you didn't get ripped off on any components, you definitely nailed the optimal parts.

    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
  • BandytBandyt Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Bandyt wrote: »
    Well? What's the verdict? ^_^

    Just as long as you didn't get ripped off on any components, you definitely nailed the optimal parts.

    It cost me $1,700 AUD Also, I think computer parts are alot more expensive here than they are in Canada and America.

  • Desert_Eagle25Desert_Eagle25 Registered User
    edited September 2008
    darleysam wrote: »
    That's what I was thinking the whole time I was trying to 'negotiate' it into the motherboard.

    "OH how everyone laughed when that monstrosity of a card was released. Look at the pictures, isn't it so big and funny. THANKS NVIDIA, YOU SACK OF MORONS"

    edit: also he's got an Intel quad core processor (somehow got it cheap, it's a pretty neat CPU) and I have to say that I can't stand the way the heatsink and fan attach to the motherboard. I've used AMD for the longest time, and while the locking mechanisms I've seen have never been easy, you at least know the thing is attached and going nowhere. This one? Some flimsy plastic clips that push through some holes and then you hope it stays attached. Great. Thin plastic and optimism lying between a functioning CPU and massive internal destruction.

    All parts werent made to fit all chassis :-\ He should have checked out the chassis measurements before hand.

  • darleysamdarleysam Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Yeah, it was a schoolboy error. Figured if everything was ATX, then it'd all fit. How would you go about checking if everything will fit the chassis though? It was all ordered online.

  • Desert_Eagle25Desert_Eagle25 Registered User
    edited September 2008
    darleysam wrote: »
    Yeah, it was a schoolboy error. Figured if everything was ATX, then it'd all fit. How would you go about checking if everything will fit the chassis though? It was all ordered online.

    I pretty much built my setup by eye. Looked up the chassis measurements and googled the measurements for my video card. Took me all of 10 minutes to get the numbers and figure out how much board room I had.

  • darleysamdarleysam Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Well it's good advice for the future! And at least the graphics card has some added support now, by way of the notch cut out for it.

    And my biggest issue is with that damned CPU fan and heatsink. That would honestly put me off going Intel if it's going to stay like that.

  • Desert_Eagle25Desert_Eagle25 Registered User
    edited September 2008
    darleysam wrote: »
    Well it's good advice for the future! And at least the graphics card has some added support now, by way of the notch cut out for it.

    And my biggest issue is with that damned CPU fan and heatsink. That would honestly put me off going Intel if it's going to stay like that.

    Jeuss christ yea. This is my Thermalright heatsink:

    130_2_full.jpg

    Imagine installing that via pushpins. Christ did I have a heart attack, each time I pressed the pins down I thought I was going to break my mobo.

  • Dunadan019Dunadan019 Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    just gonna point out that in the op (bang for your buck) you can find cheaper ram than kingston 1gb sticks.

    for example this ocz 2x1gb set is currently 20 bucks after rebate with free shipping...

    this G-skill changes between 40-45. just saying you can easily do better.

  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I'd like to chime in with my usual recommendation for the E7200 over the E8400. It's significantly cheaper and should overclock to be at least as fast as the E8500.

    vvvvvv-dithw.png
  • TransparentTransparent Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Dunadan019 wrote: »
    just gonna point out that in the op (bang for your buck) you can find cheaper ram than kingston 1gb sticks.

    for example this ocz 2x1gb set is currently 20 bucks after rebate with free shipping...

    this G-skill changes between 40-45. just saying you can easily do better.
    That Kingston was on the motherboard's qualified vendor list, which I haven't had a chance to go through for better deals. I know that's not really a requirement, but I wanted to be resonably sure the recommendation would be stable.

    Daedalus wrote: »
    I'd like to chime in with my usual recommendation for the E7200 over the E8400. It's significantly cheaper and should overclock to be at least as fast as the E8500.
    Good point, the E7200 is probably a better price point for this rig.

    PAXtrain '10, let's do this!
  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    My starting suggestions for the budget-gaming rig:

    CPU - E5200. 2.5GHz, 2MB cache, 800FSB, Wolfdale core, OC's like a mother in most cases.
    MBD - Gigabyte G31-based. Yes, it's old tech - but it supports the 45nm processors and has good enough FSB/voltage options to push the E5200 over 3GHz easily.
    RAM - 2GB only if it's cost-effective; 4GB is so cheap these days it might just be better to go that route.
    VID - The 9800GTs are getting to the $100 range, they might work well here.

    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
  • TransparentTransparent Registered User
    edited September 2008
    For this rig is $130 for a NVidia 9800gt worth it over $80 for an ATI 4670?

    I don't really know enough about the new ATI card to know how they compare.

    PAXtrain '10, let's do this!
  • Desert_Eagle25Desert_Eagle25 Registered User
    edited September 2008
    For this rig is $130 for a NVidia 9800gt worth it over $80 for an ATI 4670?

    I don't really know enough about the new ATI card to know how they compare.

    LOL yea. The 4600's of ATi are like the 8600's of nvidia.

  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    For this rig is $130 for a NVidia 9800gt worth it over $80 for an ATI 4670?

    I don't really know enough about the new ATI card to know how they compare.

    LOL yea. The 4600's of ATi are like the 8600's of nvidia.

    The 4670 actually runs pretty much like the previous-generation 3850, and comes close to a 9600GSO; its main benefit/target market should be "those with OEM systems and no PCIe plugs" though.

    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    For this rig is $130 for a NVidia 9800gt worth it over $80 for an ATI 4670?

    I don't really know enough about the new ATI card to know how they compare.

    LOL yea. The 4600's of ATi are like the 8600's of nvidia.

    Not at all, they compare favorably to the 9600. Not as good as a 9800, of course, but great for very low-budget builds.

    vvvvvv-dithw.png
  • Desert_Eagle25Desert_Eagle25 Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Daedalus wrote: »
    For this rig is $130 for a NVidia 9800gt worth it over $80 for an ATI 4670?

    I don't really know enough about the new ATI card to know how they compare.

    LOL yea. The 4600's of ATi are like the 8600's of nvidia.

    Not at all, they compare favorably to the 9600. Not as good as a 9800, of course, but great for very low-budget builds.

    The same way an 8600 was favorable in low budget builds, but not favorable for any major gaming, i would expect :-\

  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Daedalus wrote: »
    For this rig is $130 for a NVidia 9800gt worth it over $80 for an ATI 4670?

    I don't really know enough about the new ATI card to know how they compare.

    LOL yea. The 4600's of ATi are like the 8600's of nvidia.

    Not at all, they compare favorably to the 9600. Not as good as a 9800, of course, but great for very low-budget builds.

    The same way an 8600 was favorable in low budget builds, but not favorable for any major gaming, i would expect :-\

    No, the 8600 wasn't really "favourable" to anything short of holding down stacks of paper, and even then it was pretty poor. The previous-gen 7600GT was a better option in most cases.

    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
  • Dunadan019Dunadan019 Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Dunadan019 wrote: »
    just gonna point out that in the op (bang for your buck) you can find cheaper ram than kingston 1gb sticks.

    for example this ocz 2x1gb set is currently 20 bucks after rebate with free shipping...

    this G-skill changes between 40-45. just saying you can easily do better.
    That Kingston was on the motherboard's qualified vendor list, which I haven't had a chance to go through for better deals. I know that's not really a requirement, but I wanted to be resonably sure the recommendation would be stable.

    Daedalus wrote: »
    I'd like to chime in with my usual recommendation for the E7200 over the E8400. It's significantly cheaper and should overclock to be at least as fast as the E8500.
    Good point, the E7200 is probably a better price point for this rig.


    you mostly dont have to worry about compatability with ram. timing and frequency need to be supported but there is almost no way the manufacturer is going to make a difference. the manufacturer ensures quality and warranty, g-skill kingston and ocz are all good.

    i do stand by my 2x1gb is better than 2 1gb strips

  • TransparentTransparent Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Dunadan019 wrote: »
    you mostly dont have to worry about compatability with ram. timing and frequency need to be supported but there is almost no way the manufacturer is going to make a difference. the manufacturer ensures quality and warranty, g-skill kingston and ocz are all good.

    i do stand by my 2x1gb is better than 2 1gb strips
    Yeah, they are a better deal, I'll update when I get home tonight.

    PAXtrain '10, let's do this!
  • TrippyDKTrippyDK Registered User
    edited September 2008
    problem solved. sorry.

  • SyngyneSyngyne Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Anyone have experience with Arctic Silver Alumina or a similar thermal adhesive? The Thermalright T-Rad2 has hit stateside, and I'm going to replace the stock cooler on my 4870. Only thing is it comes with replacement RAMsinks, and I've never fiddled with replacing those before.

    How hard is the thermal adhesive to apply?

    5gsowHm.png
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