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back to article Apple signals disk free notebooks way to go

Apple's new MacBook Air is as cheap as the MacBook at £849, signalling the end of premium pricing for Apple's slim hinged flash slab. When it was introduced two years ago the MacBook Air was priced pretty high but it had a great spec. It still does but the smaller 11-inch screen model is now priced like the entry level MacBook. …

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Joke

So...

Apple does do Flash?

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Jobs Halo

Apple sycophants

Sycophantic drivel. Mac Airs are hugely overpriced for what they are, and therefore not main market.

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Coat

Jealousy and Inferiority Complex? Maybe Synonymous?

So here you are, reducing something because you find it expensive.

Not because of Engineering you have yet to experience nor understand.

Not because of an AntennaGate public Reality Distorting style brou-ha-ha going viral with comments likes yours.

Not because the "Main Market" has done what it did to the Zune, similar price as the "iPod Clasic" but never understood that rapid, successive refreshes keeps things cool

(random side note, Look up how Jean-Chretien, Canadian Liberal Prime Minister during the 90's (suck it Harper-ites and Neo-cons), he ran this country; the same way Jobs sells his vision and people lap it up like soup, elections every 3 years. Constant brand F5. Funny, business logic applies to politics too, might want to look up social engineering.)

Not because you actually held it, dis-liked it and said no THEN decided to post your drivel.

you bash it because you can't afford it. Whine B**ch Moan and complain, why not save. Now counter with predictable "I no like nothing coming from fake prophet Jobs." *dueling banjos* and we can all go home.

Dont interpret this as pro-Jobs either, he's got the business sense to charge 200% markup on the same pool of chips as Dell, Acer, HP et al. are not so they charge 299 and make nothing. Their Bread and butter is Services like IBM. Everyone wants to be like Mike. The race to the bottom is not a race you want to win.

Rather lacking your post was. Please return the electrons wasted on your post. I'll wait 'till AirGate starts.

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FAIL

Whiney Apple fanboy plays the jealousy card and fails.

It always amazes me the arrogance of the Jobs gobblers who believe that the only reason people don't kiss his worships fondle products is due to financial difficulties.

Then they gloat in deluded self satisfaction that we are all pressing our noses at the window of the Jobsian cult with tears in our green envious eyes.

Get over yourselves you pompous overbearing twits.

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FAIL

@Marcus Dubious

It always amazes me how people see what they want to see, not what was written. OP said that the product was hugely overpriced - and the reply accused him of 'reducing something because you find it expensive' - I'd say the criticism was fairly accurate, given that the OP didn't offer any other reason for disliking the kit. Neither did either one of them suggest that the OP as an individual couldn't afford it - in the same way as I could afford a VW Golf, but I wouldn't, because I think they are overpriced for what they are.

Neither did he really imply that he was a fanboy - I know of many apple-haters who will begrudgingly admit to admiring the level of engineering, user experience and product management thinking that go into Apple products.

Perhaps the lady doth protest too much...?!

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Grenade

NOES!!

OMGOMG there's like so TOTALLY gonna be this big Apple / No Apple opinionwar kicking off now!!

Can we have a Propellerheads feat. Shirley Bassey icon, please?

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Thumb Down

Let's compare

Show me a 2.3 lbs PC laptop with a Core 2 Duo, SSD, and 5 hours of battery life. Then let's compare prices.

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Yaeah, Let's compare...

Dell M101Z

1K325 Dual 3 Ghz

4 GB RAM

11.6" 1366x768 LED display

It does not come with a SSD but with a 320GB 7200RPM hard drive.

Anyway since it costs 618EUR including 3 years warranty, I guess you could buy a decent SSD and still spend less.

The MBA is a nice machine, but boost the RAM, boost the SSD and you will spend slightly less than buying a MBP 13".

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Megaphone

@Marcus dubious

I surprises me the surprising amount of oxygen that gets sucked out of the room by the Internet At Large who believe bashing an opinion because it dosnt fit their reality distortion field.

they be-little thoes who speak passionately about something they like, You bemoan that it actually sounds intelligent and see the issue and post not for what it is but for what your reality distorion thinks it is, through your green jaded eyes.

get over yourself, my 3 y/o can make a more constructive argument and she can barely say "dada"

Bull-Horn for blowhards like you!

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This post has been deleted by its author

Jobs Halo

apple, gravity, etc.

Shame about the 1.56 Kg weight... the *comparable size* MBA (11.6") is 1.04 Kg. That's less than two thirds the weight. If you look at price vs. weight, it's a steep curve. You may not care as I happen to, but still do please compare apples with apples.

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Silver badge
Linux

Out of touch Billionaires...

Engineering is about learning to live with economic constraints, not completely ignoring them.

So yes "it's too bloody expensive" is a valid criticism.

This is another fine example of Jobs living as if it is 10 years in the future.

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Linux

...ignoring important details.

> Show me a 2.3 lbs PC laptop with a Core 2 Duo

Make mine something not so weak that you wonder why not just get an Atom?

1.4Ghz? Indeed.

It's little wonder you left that little detail out.

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1K325 to be read as...

K325 Dual 1.3 Ghz

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Surpised?

Was there any question that as soon as it became affordable that flash would take over? Most people use a tiny fraction of the disk space given to them. I predict the sweet spot for switch over from disk to flash will be when 128GB drives get into medium or high/medium end laptops.

64GB just isn't quite enough when Windows can take 30GB. An 80GB flash drive might just be enough but gives enough breathing room for as much music as 95% of the population have plus a good quantity of video and pictures.

Given Moores law and this announcement by Apple (who have a huge advantage given how much flash they already consume) expect that by next Christmas.

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Anonymous Coward

OSX

I have a Dell Mini 9 with 16 Gb of SSD. I have installed OSX 10.6 onto it, after some trimming I now have 6 Gb left, with applications installed as well. So a 64 Gb would leave me with roughly 55 Gb of free space (if I install some more apps). That's hardly enough for a decent movie/music collection, but for a secondary ultra-portable machine it will do just fine.

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64GB surprisingly adequate for a Mac

Agreed. Looking forward to the prices coming down.

64GB is sufficient for OS X and a notebook that is not your primary computer. It requires nothing like the 30GB you say is required for Windows. 5GB is the minimum for OS X but you use a bit more in practice.

Many of us use a lot of multimedia files so 64GB isn't anything like enough if you wanted to use an 11" air as your primary computer. That said, it would probably only be the lightest type of computer user who would choose the 11" model as a primary computer anyway.

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WTF?

a

What the hell are you on about? 30 Gigs?

I have windows 7 ultimate installed on my 16 gig solid state drive and there's enough space for a bunch of games and office.

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Use case designed

Considering it;s not upgradable, I'm very surprised there was even a 64GB version. Except for people with very specific use cases, 64GB is tiny. People who pretty much use it exclusively for business. Then again, that's the target market, so BAM.

also, again, class 10+ SCXC is on offer there, and there are rumored 1TB capacities coming within 2 years (which will cost more than the MBA on release, but the 128 and 256GB ones might be under $100-200 by then)

Maybe this isn;t so bad. For $200, I'd go 128GB minimum, but for $200 I'd buy a 15" Pro instead and carry the extra 2 lbs...

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WTF?

How?

I have bare-bones Vista & 7 VMs that I can't get below 12Gb - that's *only* for testing browsers, compared with XP's 2.5 GB. Something to do with Microsoft's inability to sort out DLL hell; save every DLL in the winsxs directory. Google for "huge windows folder".

The new Air machines, particularly the small one, will rarely be used as a primary machine and probably used as a lightweight secondary "proper" machine to take on the road (e.g. where an iPad isn't sufficient). You're unlikely to need loads of space for music/videos, OK, a few Windows VMs might need some room.

I'm really looking forwards to seeing the small one. I might just buy one to upset the second poster! It looks so pretty, I could get one just to put on the wall to look at a thing of beauty. Chuck another acer/hp/tosh on the fire...

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Stop

64 gigs is may not be enough.

If I were to get one of these things (new mb airs - and I wouldn't!) I would probably go the whole hog for 128. They are extremely costly for portable machines, and appear to have no user accessable parts allowing for DIY upgrades... but who knows, they may be sweet to use.

For perspective:

My two macs have 1/2 gig winchesters with tons of crap aboard.

I've got an Eee with a 64 gig SSD and things, JUST about fit (ok I double boot win/linux) very SNUGLY.

Right so I've got an essentially full dev (gcc/gtk/gnome/xfce no kde) capable linux install and windows xp with visual studio.

Remember OS updates tend to take up a couple of hundred megs. Mac case in point - the recent java patch was over a hundred megs to 022. Consider that you'll probably want to put MP3's on it for your own entertainent perhaps... My own collection is in the order of 10 gigs.

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Silver badge

Aggressive pricing?

Only against "designer product" and Mac.

it's twice to three times as much as the average punter needs to speed for ordinary laptop/netbook but inferior spec to £800 gamers laptop like an MSI "desktop replacement".

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WTF?

Gamers laptops

Totally different market.

How many 'gamers laptops' do you see in airport business lounges or conference halls?

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Gamer Laptop?

M11X!!!!

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wrong.

Spec for spec, yea, it's way overpriced, if you call the specs the CPU and storage and screen. BUT, the spec of this machine it NOT it;s performance class, it;s the fact it weighs under 3lbs, AND has a long lasting battery, and is thin enough to fit in a folio let alone a bag.

The "instant on" function is also VERY nice for business people, and un-offered on anything other than phones and the iPad. "off" or "sleep" is technically ON, for up to 30 days, CONNECTED to the web and getting mail and other messages all the time.

People pay HIGE rpemiums to get a device in a certain size/weight class, especially one that is also durable, and more so if it has 5+ hour active use battery life (this has 7, and yes, that's a real number..., my wife's MBP gets 6 hours playing an MMO in a VM over WiFI and near 7 hours just surfing.).

Add to this that this mac actually has a GPU, one capable of limited 3D gaming (think WoW), and can drive a 30" cinema display, and there is no machine on the market in its class. At $1399 it will FLY off shelves to businesses.

the CPU is a bit weak, but the flash storage makes up for some of the lag. The CPU can actually handle running a VM fairly well, or lots of multi-tasking. Its not going to do video editing of 1080p content in real time, but that's not its design point. A C2Duo is really not a bad CPU. My main gaming and VM rig at home is only a C2Duo 2.3GHz.

Find me a 3lb ultra-compact machine with over 800 vertical line screen (this has 900), a GPU, and a 5 hour battery at a lower price. throw in WiFi N and Bluetooth, which most business customers need and are rarely both offered on the same machine even in full weight laptops?

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Anonymous Coward

What about all those business...

apps written in Java?

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Anonymous Coward

They'll still work

~For now anyway.

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Silver badge

Faster?

Some SSD are slower, much slower on Write. Huge improvement on Aspire one swapping standard SSD module for ZIF -CF adaptor + Compact Flash card.

Ironically SSD will perform better than HDD for Multi-user server than on a notebook as the weakness of HDD is random access, but can easily beat most SSD/Flash on sequential writes.

Decent RAID5 though over 5 or 6 drives with a stripe size cache on bus and controller/software that truly does parallel commands on the disk will make most SSD writes look very slow.

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Anonymous Coward

Decent RAID5?

There's no such thing as "decent RAID5". If you have R5 that seems "decent" it's because there is a big RAM cache sitting between you and the disks and it hasn't been saturated yet because you aren't doing anything serious.

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slow writes?

Your information is a bit out of date. The earliest SSDs were not too fast on sustained writes, but the current generation of retail SSDs, typically using the SF1200 controllers, are kicking out around 270MB/sec, which is considerably faster than the fastest mechanical drives. And that's without even considering the real advantages of SSDs - the huge improvement in IOPS (which you did mention) and the almost complete removal of latency.

And as for RAID - SSDs can be set up in RAID configurations too. There are some issues with TRIM and RAID, but these will be resolved soon as modern controllers are increasingly doing their own garbage collection without needing TRIM.

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Bronze badge

"no such things as decent RAID5"

Yes there is, but not in anything at the retail level. To make it work well you need NV RAM (lots of it) and lots of controller optimisations like asynchronous write staging.

However, it's hardly a solution for the average person.

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Anonymous Coward

"The entry level MacBook has a 50 Gb HD"

It's a 250 Gb HD.

http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_mac/family/macbook?mco=MTM3NjU3MDM

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Thumb Up

Flash is the way forward...

I fitted a 256GB Crucial C300 SSD to my computer. I use it as my boot drive and have a couple of games in it. My "user files" like music, photos and videos are kept in a standard 1TB Drive.

From a purely user-centric perspective, I willl never, if I can help it, go back to rotational media as my primary storage. Steve Jobs is right on this one.

Of course, if you want decent performance (both for reads and writes)from your SSD, you certainly have to pay the premium at the moment. But I think it's definitely the future.

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Bronze badge

Agreed

I have something very similar with a 256GB SSD for the system plus some of the more volatile work areas. The rest I have on a pair of 2TB drives setup as a RAID-0 pair. The RAID-0 gives slightly more than double the number of read IOPs as a single disk (although only for multi-threads - any single thread will not see anything faster than a single disk). The other big thing was moving to Windows 7 and the machine just flies along - close down and reboot to fully ready is less than 80 seconds, 30 seconds of which is down to the BIOS. This is despite a very large number of apps.

The hard drives are find for video, large photos, music but you want your meta-data on the SSD. I run LightRoom with the catalogue on SSD and the photos on RAID1 and it's pretty near perfect.

Of course this is hardly a cheap set-up, but fortunately it's the sort of thing you can grow to and, at a push, an 64GB SSD is enough.

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Boffin

TRIM

Has MacOS X implemented TRIM yet?

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Not yet...

... but rumor has it that it may be implemented in the next revision of Snow Leopard (10.6.5) or Lion (at the latest).

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Silver badge
Happy

Sounds Familiar ?

No CD or DVD, no hard drive ... how long until it boots from the net connection?

I'm looking around for a machine for my 12 year old's birthday and in general something like this would be nice except that ... without a DVD, how's she going to watch The Matrix and Rome box sets? Oh, sure, it's possible with rip and transfer but she's going to want a simpler solution than that.

Nope - it's just another overpriced iPad ... all Apple gear seems to be converging towards the consumer entertainment market ... I wonder is Apple are going to buy AOL? The circle would be complete.

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Silver badge

For situations like that...

...a portable DVD drive is recommended and available at your nearest electronics store.

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Troll

title is here

You can buy a cheaper laptop for your 12yo, not really an issue. But if I recall The Matrix was rated 15 and Rome 18, are you sure that's appropriate viewing?

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Pirate

Well...

...you could just download them, which I think is fair enough if you already own the DVDs.

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Re: Sounds Familiar

It's ironic (in the idiotic American sense) that your comment ends with the observation that "all Apple gear seems to be converging towards the consumer entertainment market," while you complain about the struggle of your kid to watch The Matrix and Rome videos.

Perhaps you should ask your kid if she wants an iPad instead?

-dZ.

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Simple solutions

In the home, the MBA connects to any PC or Mac hosting DVD drive through a simple driver. You can even boot from that remote DVD over WiFi.

On the road, when you really need a drive, you'll have an external kicking around in your travel bags.

Stream it. No need to own it. You only need a drive if you already plopped down the cash for physical media in the past.

Don't buy a 12 year old a machine designed for traveling class business users, buy then a more durable, more flexible machine that costs less and has more performance and can adapt to their changing needs, and has the storage to handle a 12-16 year olds needs.

Oh, and if you;re thinking about a machine for a 12 year old, it REALLY should have a discrete GPU. preferably closer to the top of the class. If your kid both doesn't play games, and you don't expect them to for the next 4+ years, you are a very rare case.

The MBA costs half again what a regular Mac costs because of it;s form factor, not it's capabilities. Small costs more.

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Silver badge
Happy

Ratings

She likes them - they're discussing The Matrix in her English class at school and while Rome has it's share of amusements we'd rather she watched it with us (her parents) than snickered about it behind our backs ...

Antony: I'm not rising from bed until I f*ck someone.

Atia: Fine, fine. Merula, fetch that German slut from the kitchen.

Anyway - I can remember what I was reading at 12 ...

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WTF?

"they're discussing The Matrix in her English class at school"

Good to see the education system still teaching the classics - Shakespeare, Orwell, Tolstoy, Wachowski...

Thank God they're not dumbing down.

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Why are Apple getting any credit?

My couple-of-year old EEEPC has flash storage only, and a quick google tells me Sony have had flash-based notebooks out since at least 2007.

As has been mentioned above, the move to flash was obvious for all to see -- the only reason netbooks don't now hve flash by default is that windows is bloated and crap, otherwise you can bet that most would be shipping with flash storage already.

Steve Jobs did not predict anything here and is not leading in any way. Why is it that anyone believes that Apple innovate when all they do is follow market trends in a clever way?

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Flame

Re: Why are Apple getting any credit

For the same reason everyone pretends there were no hard disk based MP3 players before the iPod.

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disk/disc-less Macs

I don't agree with Jobs' idea that this is the way forward. I definitely don't agree with his idea that Blu-ray is a world of pain either.

I am a person who still enjoys buying movies on disc. It's the tactile enjoyment of it all. Plus the fact that you can't really easily bring a movie over to watch in a mate's house if it's a download.

Also, most of the HD downloads are not full 1080p, which is what Blu-ray is.

So this is all pointing me to the fact that I don't download, and won't be for quite some time too.

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Stop

Get off your lawn

Old much?

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'Tactile Enjoyment.."

Sure you're not thinking of vinyl? I love my record collection - from the cover art, the slight crackle of the needle when you put one on - and the fact you had to hunt for the good ones. However, CD's and DVD are just an accident waiting to happen in terms of data security (CRC errors anyone..). I have no fondness for spinney media of any sort, including hard drives (and blue ray is a BIG accident waiting to happen..). I just can't afford SSDs at the mo, so it'll be hard drives for a wee bit yet. Chips for the win!

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BR is pain

it's called HDCP. Do some research. reading from and writing to BD media, including all the HDCP required chipsets in between, and ensuring encryption standards, is VERY much a pain. The very vast majority of notebooks and desktops with BR drives do NOT support HDCP. You have to have a discrete GPU first of all, thats a minimum requirement, plus certified drivers soup to nuts, specific chipsets, and limited output options. That means most notebooks "appear" to play BD media fine, but as soon as you find a disk with the appropriate flag set (original copies of Spiderman 2 and a few dozen other "accidental"releases) it WILL NOT PLAY. (or you get SD only, and no stereo surround). The industry is set to flip the bit for ALL disks starting in 2012 (unless they delay again), and that means any machine that does not supprot HDCP will be incapable of playing an new media after that point. Apple will NOT put their users in that situation.

Then, there's the still evolving spec. BR is NOT a complete spec. It;s still in development. Any change to it could render back hardware incompatible with future features.

Then, it's fracking expensive. Not the drive, the license to make software. We're not talking small amounts of money. to a hardware company like Dell, they donl;t write read/write software, or develop Br players. Apple (does (even Microsoft stayed out of that game!). The fees are PER RELEASE, not per title, so a Mac version of an app incurs a royalty in addition to the Windows version of the same app, and that meansd little support from OEM drive makers to write apple native players.

this is much the same reason Linux support also wanes for BR media. There are some "qustionably" legal aps out there, for which the correct royalties or licensing was never paid), but there is no official supprot for Br media in Linux. the cost is simply too high.

Apple solved the issue of moving media. iPod/iPad. Sync it, bring it with you. You can play with either with a cable, or via the AirPlay compatible device (ATV) they have. But why sync it at all, when you can just leave your Mac or PC online at home and stream over the net anything in your entire collection through your phone? Physical media is pretty much dead with this generation. It really isn;t needed anymore unless you hold onto the "physically in my hand" aspects (which are irrelevent and just preference). I can agree with book people that physical books are better (they serve aesthetic purposes, fill walls, etc), but video footage is so east to come by, and so easy to share (and cheaper) without media.

Also, when BR players were $300-400 (and more) and PC drives were significantly cheaper, it was acceptable to considder the PC an option. BD players in PCs come at more of a premium than a set to box, and set top boxes also stream.

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