Top 11 External SSD For Sample Libraries 2022 (Kontakt & Others)

Top 11 External SSDs & HDDs For Kontakt/Sample Libraries | integraudio.com

This article will discuss the best external storage devices (HDDs and SSDs) for storing and accessing Kontakt/Sample Libraries in 2022.

Some producers prefer storing sample libraries & Kontakt instruments’ data within the system, while some prefer loading them from an external device in real time while working on a project. However, your workflow requires an external drive to store and back up your samples and audio data; if not, extract them on the go.

So we have created a list of storage devices of all types, price ranges, varying compatibilities, performances, and features to find the most suitable external drive for you. However, before we discuss the list, let’s discuss the main pointers you should consider before purchasing.

The first and hottest consideration for 2022 is thunderbolt compatibility. In collaboration, ThunderboltThunderbolt is a hardware interface for external peripheral connection devices by Intel and Apple, and it helps with faster data transfer. Thunderbolt 3 is preferable over USB-C for SSDs and isn’t compatible with a USB-C slot. However, the USB-C connector is compatible with a thunderbolt jack.

The second considerations are the read and write speeds. The average reading speed of an SSD is 2400 Mbps and can go up to 3200 Mbps. Apart from that, it’s important to ensure that the hard disk doesn’t make much noise and doesn’t heat much, as that may disrupt the recording and monitoring process.

In addition, physical size for portability and memory for storage matter, as your libraries and project backups will keep increasing daily. Space and budget are inversely proportional when it comes to SSDs. You can afford more space in HDDs, but SSDs also have superior performance.

So it’s your choice, depending on what you prioritize between space, performance, and price. Lastly, you should consider the frequency/RPM (Rotations per minute) if you’re considering a hard disk. Now, with that in mind, let’s discuss the best storage devices for music production, Kontakt and for storing samples in 2022.

Product
Size
Speed
Price
Samsung X5 Portable SSD
0.5-2 TB
2.3 – 2.8 Gbps
$199.99 – $599.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2
1 – 4 TB
2 Gbps
$169 – $555
Lacie Rugged SSD Pro
0.5 – 2 TB
1.05 Gbps
$169 – $499

SanDisk Professional GDrive SSD

4 – 22 TB
0.28 Gbps
$200 – $649
WD My Cloud Home 
2 – 20 TB
55-60 Mbps
$200 – $599

OWC Envoy Pro SX SSD

0.24 – 2 TB
2.85 Gbps
$179 – $469
Atom Portable SSD
0.5 – 2 TB
0.48 Gbps
$149 – $399
Samsung T7 Portable SSD
0.5 – 2 TB
1.05 Gbps
$72 – $199
LaCie Rugged Mini HDD
1 – 5 TB
0.1 Gbps
$79 – $169
Toshiba Canvio DHH
1 – 4 TB
0.15 Gbps
$46 – $85
Plugable Thunderbolt 3 SSD
0.5 – 2 TB
1.8 – 2.4 Gbps
$199 – $449

Top 11 External SSD & HDD For Sample Libraries 2022 (Kontakt & Others)

1. Samsung X5 Portable SSD

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X5 Portable is the first NVMe-based SSD from Samsung. 

It features a Thunderbolt 3 interface and is available with 2 TB, 1 TB, and 500 GB of space. It does sequential reading, up to 2800 Mbps speed, and writing up to 2300 Mbps, and features a full metal body with a glossy texture and a bottom mat with a firm hold. It claims to have 40 Gb/s of transfer speed and 20-25 times faster than a hard drive.

Key Features:

  • Thunderbolt 3 Interface
    The theoretical limit for the transfer rate of a thunderbolt interface is 4 GB/second. However, the device delivers up to 2.8 Gb/second. That makes it the perfect device to store Kontakt libraries, Omnisphere libraries, Nexus samples, and other sample libraries so that they are easily and efficiently accessible in real time while you’re working on a project.
  • Safety & Comfort
    Samsung is a trusted electronics company, and you can surely trust the X5 for keeping your data safe. Furthermore, the company extends a three years warranty on the device. On top of that, you can also trust its good build for keeping your samples safe. Lastly, hardware encryption ensures you can easily recover your data if you lose it somehow.
  • Magnesium Metal Solution
    The device has a magnesium metal body, which is lighter, more durable, and has better heat dissipation. That makes it a good quality portable device that is suitable for touring musicians to carry around and for studio purposes.

Pros:

Its exceptional performance, sturdy build, three years of warranty, and hardware encryption are huge pros. Apart from that, it weighs just 150 gm and is 2.4 x 0.8 square inches. It’s compatible with Windows 7+, macOS 10.9+, Android KitKat 4.4 +, has a SATA interface, is shock resistant, and has lightning-fast speed.  

Cons: 

The biggest con of the Samsung X5 is that it is not compatible with a traditional USB device. Apart from that, it’s expensive and is not waterproof. The next thing to remember is that Samsung charges a $70 restocking fee if you return the device. Lastly, storage capacity may be too low for your needs, so keep that in mind. 

2. SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2

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SanDisk Extreme Pro is a portable SSD with a data transfer rate of 2000 Mbps. 

The external drive is super fast because of its powerful NVMe solid-state performance feature and wide range of compatibility. In addition, SanDisk has been creating the most advanced hard drives for a long time and can be trusted with your audio/production data.

Key Features:

  • Secure
    It has a 2m drop protection, IP55 water and dust resistance, and a metal enclosure. On top of that, it has a 5-year limited warranty, a forged aluminium chassis silicone shell, two-meter drop protection, IP55 water and dust resistance, and a handy carabiner loop as a protection layer.
  • Protect your private data
    The added advantage is keeping your data safe using password protection featuring 256-bit AES hardware encryption. That will keep your classified projects and session safe so that no one can steal your creative ideas.
  • Easy connectivity
    The device is compatible with PC, Mac computers, tablets, and smartphones and also connects with USB Type-A and Type-C, making it easily accessible and versatile. Hence, you can easily carry your audio workflow around and across different devices & systems.
  • Space
    You can have storage from 1 TB to 4 Tb, which is a good capacity for an SSD at the given price point. You can store any amount of samples, libraries, sessions, and more in a single device, without compromising on speed. 

Pros:

The waterproofing, fast data transfer speeds, password protection encryption algorithm, space, and ease of connectivity are some pros of the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable. In addition, it is small, rugged, and easy to carry around, with an overall protective build and a rubberized black slab layer with rounded edges. 

Cons:

The 2×2 expansion card costs extra and is only available for use if you’re a desktop user. In addition, the drive’s full speed cannot be exploited using normal USB ports, and the native support for the top version of USB (the 20Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2×2) is hard to find. 

3. LaCie Rugged SSD Pro

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Available as a one and 2-TB storage device, the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro has USB-C Thunderbolt connectivity. 

It has thunderbolt 3 with 1TB or 2TB Seagate FireCuda NV Me SSD and a reading/writing speed of up to 2800 Mbps. In addition, it has IP67-rated water resistance, three-meter drop tolerance, two-ton car crush resistance, and dust resistance

Key Features:

  • Connectivity
    The best part about the hard drive is that you can enjoy the lighting-fast speed of Thunderbolt while still having the option of easy connectivity with USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports on both Mac and Windows computers.
  • Data Protection
    You get a five years warranty on the product with a product protection plan featuring Rescue Data Recovery services so that you can be peaceful and worry-free about all your Kontakt libraries, samples, and audio data.
  • Lightening fast speed
    The 2800 Mbps mark is something that very few SSDs commit to, and LaCie commits to that. That makes it great for video editors and sound designers for video games and films. So when you’re cutting or editing samples or composing film soundtracks, folie, or sound design, you have the freedom to explore deeply without worrying about speed.  

Pros:

The biggest pro of the LaCie Rugged is that it is compatible with USB C 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 2 and is of great build quality with its water, dust, and pressure-resistant material. In addition, you get a free subscription to all Adobe creative cloud apps for one month. 

Cons: 

The SSD cable is a bit short, and the price is high. Next, the maximum storage space you get on the device is 2 GB, which may be less for many music producers, as the libraries for Kontakt, Nexus, Omnisphere, etc., can be huge. Lastly, it lacks 256-bit AES hardware encryption

4. G-DRIVETM PRO Ultra-Rugged Portable External NVMe (SSD)

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G-DRIVETM PRO SSD is a versatile and expansive hard disk for techies and professional music producers. 

The drive is perfect for carrying out uninterrupted and high-quality audio digital signal processing, as it is an NVMe-based SSD with up to 4 terabytes of storage space and 1000-1050 Mbps of reading and writing speeds. In addition, it comes with a five years warranty and weighs just 90 grams. 

Key Features:

  • Connectivity
    The components packed in the device include ‎a G-DRIVE SSD, USB-C to USB-A Cable, USB-C Cable, and Quick Start Guide. However, it can only communicate with a Mac 10.11+ and Windows 10+ machine and requires 3600 watts of power.
  • Portability
    The drive is just 1.97 x 0.59 square inches and weighs less than a hundred grams, which makes it highly portable. You can use it as a touring musician/producer/engineer, and it is especially great for live sound engineers, as it’s also rugged and tough with P67 water and dust resistance, up to 3-meter drop protection, and 2000lb crush resistance., and hence reliable.
  • High-grade performance
    The drive has a cooling aluminium core to help deliver sustained, pro-grade performance and high transfer speeds, so it can work for hours in the studio without heating up or making any noise and losing its durability.

Pros:

It’s compatible with Mac Time machine backup and includes Mac and Windows software for 256-bit AES encryption. Other than that, it’s rugged and comes with half a decade of the warranty period. Lastly, its portability and high storage capacity for an SSD are also some pros. 

Cons: 

For the given price, there are faster and more efficient products in the market, and you could get a thunderbolt machine at the same rate. But secondly, it has to be reformatted to be used for Windows and is not readily usable for a Windows machine

5. WD My Cloud Home (HDD)

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The My Cloud Home HDD is one of the best budget storage devices. 

You should go for this if you’re short on budget but require huge space or if you’re looking for a reliable HDD to act as a backup for your SSD. It comes as a single and dual device and takes auto backup for photos and videos on your phone, and everything is saved twice with mirror mode. 

Key Features:

  • Unique and Efficient Core technology
    The company sells it as a personal storage device that plugs directly into your Wi-Fi router at home/workplace so you can store/backup and park all your digital content in the My Cloud Home HDD, and hence it is optimized for all kinds of files. You will never lose your samples, recordings, and session data.
  • Mobile App
    You get access to its mobile app so you can view the data on the go, which makes accessing your samples quite mobile, and you need not always have your hard drive to download or use your samples.
  • Team oriented workflow
    If you’re a team of producers/artists working together or under a label, this is the perfect device, as it lets you cross-access data. Also, each user can have their private spaces on the same hard disk, so the users have the option to share their files or keep them private. So, producers, artists, and engineers can easily communicate on a single drive.
  • Immense Storage
    You get storage of up to 16 TB on the duo mode and 6 TB on the individual mode of the HDD, so that’s plenty of space for all your sample libraries and Kontakt data. 

Pros:

It’s highly compatible as it has USB 3.0 ports for importing and exporting content. Apart from audio data, it’s also good for personal use, storing your movies, TV shows, music files, pictures, videos, etc., in one reliable place. The packaging includes ‎Personal Cloud Storage, Ethernet Cable, AC Adapter and Quick Install Guide

The best thing about it is that it’s easy to set up and can be accessed from literally any geographical location, and on top of that, there are no recurring subscription charges for cloud storage. So the value for money is great in the product, and it is a highly affordable cloud-based drive.  

Cons: 

It’s huge, especially the dual device, and weighs about 2.4 kg, which makes it difficult to carry around. As a result, it’s good for studio use but not for LIVE or touring. Also, aesthetically it’s not very pleasing and doesn’t have a good enough performance to be used in real-time in the workflow. 

6. OWC Envoy Pro SX (SSD)

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The OWC Envoy Pro SX is a price-efficient NVMe and thunderbolt-based SSD. 

It’s a highly efficient and fast storage device with TRIM support, in combination with ThunderboltThunderbolt, and delivers up to 2847MB/s of reading and writing speeds. It’s a great device to handle audio production and real-time sampling needs due to its reliable build and speed but it is also good with video, photography, graphics, and gaming. 

Key Features:

  • Connectivity & safety
    It comes with thunderbolt and USB 4.0 connectivity and hence can communicate with almost every laptop and computer, both Windows and Mac. It also has built-in data encryption for data recovery and security purposes.
  • Flexible & Efficient Workflow
    The fanless and heat-dissipating aluminium housing provides a quiet studio environment and helps with distraction-free monitoring and recordings.
  • Specially designed for audio libraries & steam engine
    The device is designed for faster load times for audio samples and steam engines for Omnsiphere, Keyscape, Trilian, and other Spectrasonics instruments and Kontakt and Komplete-based .nks and other Native instruments’ data.
  • Portability & durability
    The device is bus powered and is even smaller than most smartphones when it comes to size. It’s also dustproof, drop-proof and waterproof and comes with a three-year warranty, making it great for touring, live music mixing, DJ sets, festivals, and studio-based artists

Pros:

The Envoy Pro SX’s matte black aluminium chassis makes up for an efficient heat sink and a silent & distraction-free workflow, with no overheating and noise issues. It’s also fully compatible with macOS and Windows built-in encryption so you can enjoy a carefree creative workflow. It’s also not too pricy for an SSD with top-notch performance. 

Cons: 

It has very few cons, but if I have to find one, it has to be the short cable length, and that’s about it. Apart from that, it has the generic problem of a questionable capacity-to-cost ratio as an SSD.

7. Atom Portable SSD

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The Atom Portable is an affordable USB 3.1, USB 3.0, or Thunderbolt 3-based solid-state drive. 

Smaller than a mobile phone and built with an aluminium body, Atom Portable SSD is highly compatible with traditional and newer electronic devices. It’s available in 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB capacities and has a read speed of 480 Mbps. 

Key Features:

  • Fanless design
    That is great for audio work, as there’s no unnecessary fan noise while using the device. As a result, you can have better recordings and monitor samples without any filters & disturbance from the external environments.
  • Efficient Workflow
    The Atom Portable SSD is bus powered, backward and forward-compatible, and pre-formatted for Time Machine backups. The included cables are USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB 3.0, and the SSD is compatible with Mac OSX 10.4+ and Windows Vista+.
  • Affordability
    It offers great speed and space at a price lesser than what exists in the market, along with great compatibility, quality, overall build and features. It’s easy on the budget and perfect for bedroom producers and studios. 

Pros:

Its rugged design, small size and USB type C connectivity make it highly compatible and efficient. Secondly, the price point is quite attractive, with a backing of three years of warranty by the manufacturer. The stylish removable rubber bumper and its protection against impulses & shocks are also huge pros. 

Cons: 

It has a fairly low read speed, which kills the entire point of using an SSD. That makes you question why not use an HDD for the same price and speed but with better capacity. It’s not a real thunderbolt device with that reading speed. Customers have also complained about its issues of getting disconnected from the laptop after long usage. 

8. Samsung T7 Portable SSD

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The T7 SSD by Samsung is considered one of the best storage devices for Music producers & sound designers. 

It’s affordable, has a great speed of up to 1050 Mbps, is USB 3.2 Gen 2 compatible, and is available in sizes ranging from 500 to 2,000 GB. In addition, it’s durable and shock resistant, with an internal frame that lets the T7 withstand falls from up to 2 meters. Compatible with Windows 7 and higher, Mac OS X 10.10 and higher, or Android 5.1 (Lollipop) and higher, the device is highly versatile

Key Features:

  • High Security
    The device offers optional password protection and AES 256-bit hardware encryption, which keeps your data secure. On top of that, Samsung is a reliable manufacturer and backs the device with a three years long limited warranty. You also get the option to unlock the device with your thumb or fingerprint.
  • Compact & sharp
    The T7 has a sleek body and design, with just 8 mm of depth, and 58 grams of weight, with a case so small that it can fit into your hands. That makes the device highly portable and usable for live performances, live DJ & producer sets, studios, and more.
  • Management Software
    The management software on both mac and windows lets you set up a password and fingerprints and get the latest firmware update so that you can easily manage your sample libraries and Kontakt data. The app is also available on Android for phones and tablets.
  • Connectivity
    The T7 touch can be used with Windows machines, mac computers, gaming devices, tablets, smartphones, etc., which makes it highly compatible with its USB Type C to Type C and Type C to Type A cables.

Pros:

The device is highly portable and cost-efficient, given its functionality & features. In addition, the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) data transfer protocol used in the SSD is a huge pro. Lastly, it offers great performance at a decent price point and is worth considering for your production needs

In addition, it uses triple-bit multi-level cell (MLC) flash memory technology, making it great for efficient data transfer. 

Cons: 

The only drawback the device has is the three years warranty instead of five; as a device, you trust your data has to fulfil security demands competitively. 

9. LaCie Rugged Mini (HDD)

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Rugged Mini is a USB 3.0 portable mini hard disk by LaCie. 

The primary quality of the storage device is its ruggedness, as suggested by its name, and its sock resistance, which protects against 4 feet of drops, dust, and water and is created for all-terrain use. As a result, LaCie is the favourite hard disk company for many music producers and audio engineers. 

Key Features:

  • Triple Interface
    The LaCie Rugged Triple Hard Disk has versatile connectivity, as you get the advantages of faster USB 3.0 and FireWire 800 data transfer with full backward compatibility with FireWire 400 and USB 2.0, which gives it a 100 Mbps of transfer speed. 
  • Hardware Secure
    In terms of physical properties, the hard disk is supported by the military standard 810-F layering, with its shock-absorbing sleeve, aluminium anti-scratch casing, internal rubber bumpers, and 1000 G shock resistance.
  • Software Security
    The AES 256-bit encryption software allows you more security and lets you create password-protected areas on your drive. It also creates automatic backups, which are easy to set up and execute

Pros:

It includes a one-month free adobe cloud subscription for all adobe apps. Apart from that, its orange-coloured physical aesthetic is attractive and eye-pleasing. You can trust it as a reliable backup for all your audio data, loops, samples, and Kontakt libraries. 

Cons: 

The hard disk requires formatting to be able to use it with a Mac and is not readily usable with Mac computers. Apart from that, the processing speed of the hard disk is slow, and its performance-to-price ratio is not that much. 

10. Toshiba Canvio

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Canvio is a price-efficient and portable USB 3.2 external hard disk.

Available in 1, 2, 3, and 4 TB of storage, it has a matt finish compact casing, a super-fast USB 3.0 port, and an internal shock sensor. In addition, it has a simple plug-and-play workflow with no need to install external softwares to run it

Key Features:

  • High Storage Capacity
    You can find the hard disk with 4 TB of storage, which is great for producers with huge chunks of sample library data, especially regular Kontakt users who work with orchestral & ensemble sounds for film or game sound design. In addition, you can keep backups for all your libraries on the device.
  • Attractive price point
    If you’re a producer at a beginner stage or do not have much budget, this is the hard disk for you, as it gives you good space and decent speed for a low price. It’s one of the most affordable external storage devices you can find in the market.
  • Compatibility
    The HDD can function with Unix, PC and Mac and has USB 3.0 Type C and USB 2.0 Type A connectivity. It’s also small, and the 4 TB drive has a 0.15 Gbps data transfer rate. 

Pros:

‎Its frequency of 5400 RPM makes it a fast and efficient device which you could use for your projects in real time. Moreover, it has a good performance-to-price ratio and a one-year warranty from the manufacturer. Alongside decent speed results, the HDD is free of errors and is readily available for use

Cons: 

The chances of the device getting heated up while users are high due to its build material. The device may also make noise during the workflow. In addition, HDDs have the drawback of being sower compared to SSDs. 

11. Plugable Thunderbolt 3 External SSD NVMe Drive

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Plugable has its own flagship thunderbolt three and NVMe-based external solid-state drive. 

It’s available in 512 GB and 2 TB of storage capacities, has up to 2400 and 1800 Mbps reading and writing speeds and features a 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 technology. It’s an absolute beast in terms of performance and is perfect for storing and accessing huge Kontakt libraries on the go. 

Key Features:

  • Performance
    Kontakt libraries with deep articulations and huge chunks of libraries, and even physically modelled instruments & synthesizers like those of Arturia, Chromaphone, Keyscape, etc., require an external storage device that is capable of fast data processing and transfer speeds. The thunderbolt-3 and NVMe technology are perfect for that.
  • Durable & Portable
    The body is made out of metal, and it dissipates heat, keeps cool, and the device is easy to carry around. That makes it suitable whether you’re a studio rat or a travelling musician.
  • Compatibility
    The device works across platforms and connects well with different devices, as the drive is pre-formatted in exFAT for Windows, Linux, and Mac. In addition, it’s bus powered and doesn’t need external batteries or power sources. 

Pros:

The three years warranty is a huge plus, combined with the super-fast data transfer speeds because of its NVMe technology & sequential writing algorithms, and rugged build with self-cooling physical design. In addition, the SSD is quiet and offers uninterrupted performance with no disturbances. 

Cons: 

Anything other than Thunderbolt 3 is not supported with the device. Hence, you cannot use it with USB ports, which limits its connectivity. Also, the device doesn’t come with 1 TB of storage capacity. So it’s either available at 512 GB or 2 TB of storage. 

How much space is enough for music production?

Generally, 500 GB – 1 TB of space should be sufficient for storing your audio sessions, samples, recordings, and instrument data. However, Kontakt libraries can be huge, especially if you’re a film composer, orchestral composer, game sound designer, or use heavy sample-based physical modelling instruments or synthesizers.

If that is the case, you may need more storage, but it’s unlikely that those needs will exceed 2 TB of hard disk or SSD space.  

Can you run Kontakt Libraries from an external hard drive?

As long as you have the Kontakt plugin (VST, AU, AAX, etc.) installed in your system, in your main drive or the C: Drive, you can source the samples, and the instruments’ data from an external or internal hard drive or SSD plugged into your system

That means you can store the content library of the Kontakt instrument anywhere other than the C Drive, but you can install the main plugin on your computer’s primary hard disk. The same is true for any other instrument that uses samples, wavetables, or data to create its output. We have covered this topic in full detail, which you can read here.  

Can I use Native Instruments on an external hard drive?

You cannot run Native Instruments on an external drive but can run its content, samples or libraries from an external drive. To run any software or plugin by NI, you need to have it installed in the main drive or the C Drive, as mentioned above. 

Is external SSD good for music production? 

Yes, external SSDs can improve your music production workflow, as your system may have storage limitations, and the given storage may not be big enough for your needs. Compared to an external Hard Disk or HDD, the Solid State Drive or SSD is a better alternative in terms of reading and writing data on the go, but it is an expensive solution.

SSD is also more efficient than HDD because it stays cooler and doesn’t heat up or make noise. 

Conclusion

In my opinion, the OWC Envoy Pro SX is the most flawless external drive for your music production and sampling needs, whether you need it for Kontakt or any other plugins/instruments. It’s SSD, has fast & true thunderbolt connectivity, has a great data transfer speed, is portable and rugged, and the price for its value is reasonable. 

Other than that, the T7 portable SSD by Samsung is a great alternative, given its efficiency and price point. In terms of hard disks or HDDs, WD My Cloud Home offers a unique and interesting workflow and could be considered if you’re a startup of audio engineers working on podcasts or a team of music producers, artists and composers taking up jingles, film sound, etc., as your main project(s). 

 The LaCie rugged mini is also a good HDD and can be considered a good investment. Hope the article was of help and cleared all your queries. Thank you for reading. 

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