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Old 07-28-2013, 02:39 PM   #1
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30" gas cooktop: Wolf, Viking, or ???

When I was buying my new house everybody told me the cooktop (GE Profile) would work okay, all it needed was a little cleaning and all the igniters would work just fine. Well, wrong! I can't get a single burner to light itself. Only one of the knobs even activates the igniter system and it won't light its own burner! I don't see any way to get inside the cooktop without removing it from the counter.

Well anyway, even before I bought my house I had decided I wanted a professional or high end consumer stove. I'm planning on living here for the rest of my life so I figure it will be worth it to get the best even though I expected the price to be steep.

I don't know much about appliances at this level but my searching the Internet seems to indicate that the choice is Wolf or Viking, both of them are legendary brands. Please let me know if there are any other brands I should consider.

The choice seems to be either the Wolf CT30G or the Viking VGSU104. I'm amazed at the specifications! The features are impressive! I probably shouldn't be surprised, but near as I can tell they very nearly match up. Both have sealed, dual burner systems with automatic reignition. The Viking seems to put out a bit more BTU at both high and low (a lot more at low). Both are almost exactly the same MSRP.

Wolf: one 15,000/950 BTU burner, one 12,000/950, two 9,200/300.

Viking: one each 16,000/3,400... 12,000/1,700... 8,000/1,200... and 6,000/950.

The maximum outputs are close enough that I don't think there would be any difference for me, both probably put out 3-4 times more BTU than any stove I've ever had. I never even heard of dual burner systems but it makes sense to me, it's probably difficult to design a high output burner that will go low enough for simmer, too wide a range. Wolf's concept seems to be that chefs don't need much heat at simmer. Or maybe their high output burners go lower than Vikings at the minimum setting...

I like the look of the Wolf better but I can't say why. I'll know better when I've seen them in the showroom. It seems there's only one dealer around here (Pacific Sales) and they sell both. As far as I can tell they're both about $1,800 (not including tax or installation).

I suspect probably the products are so similar that there won't be any practical difference which I pick. What do you think?



Also, follow up question: I would have preferred a more traditional free standing range but in this real estate market you're lucky to get a house, let alone pick individual features. Housing inventory is so low that bidding wars are rampant, houses are few (some weeks there weren't any for me to see, sometimes even for 2-3 weeks). The only choice I had was can I enjoy living in this house for the rest of my life? And could I win the bidding war? Of course I'm living in the house where both answers were yes!

So I got a gas cooktop and a separate electric oven because that's what the house had. I don't like the electric oven although I haven't used it much (and the broiler is broken although eventually I'll get the home warranty company to send somebody out to fix that. (They won't fix the cooktop because my home inspection said "cooktop needs servicing.)

The question is, should I replace the electric oven with a gas oven? The oven temperature can be set up to 550 F maximum but who knows if it will go that high? The practical aspect for me is that I want to be able to cook good pizza and I'm not sure 550 is enough. Although I did passably with my old oven at about 450... I just started a max heat test and I'll post my results.

One big difference between gas and electric ovens is that gas combustion produces water vapor so it humidifies the oven. Is this going to make a difference when I bake bread? (I doubt the difference would matter cooking things like turkeys, or would it?)

Maybe I should get a fancy oven too, although after spending about $2K on the cooktop, getting a high end oven too might be a bit too pricey for me. Certainly I'd rather have the gourmet cooktop and an ordinary oven than a gourmet oven and an ordinary cooktop.

If I replace the oven do you think I should get one with fancy features? Convection? Steam injection?

Anyway my mind is made up, I'm going to get either the Wolf or the Viking cooktop. Or maybe somebody will add another brand to the list? Anyway I'm pretty excited. I'm not even cleaning the present cooktop (much) because I'm getting the Viking or Wolf as soon as I can make up my mind and get them to install it. (The darned showroom is closed today.)

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Old 07-28-2013, 02:58 PM   #2
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The consensus seems to be that electric ovens are more precise in temp management and the lack of moisture is seen as an advantage. I use a gas oven and get good results. My sister uses an electric oven and gets good results. I believe you can get good results with either fuel. Folks have been doing so for some time now.

Around her electric is a LOT more costly than gas so that's a possible factor.

My gas oven does not go above 550F and I'm happy with my pizzas. I have changed my pizza making process based on what I saw on ATK. I put the stone on a shelf about 6"- 8" from the top of the oven to mimic the low ceiling of pizza ovens. The heat reflects off the top surface of the oven and cooks the top faster so you can cook the crust faster. It seems to work pretty well.

Does DCS (Fisher and Paykel) offer what you need?
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:07 PM   #3
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I don't know if there is an alternative but the two you linked wouldn't accommodate large footprint cookware well.
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:07 PM   #4
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In Denmark, enough people like electric for oven and gas for stove top, that you can buy stoves like that.

I think you should seriously consider getting an oven that has the steam self-cleaning feature.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:02 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice Andy. I'm pretty sure gas is cheaper than electricity here but other considerations may make that irrelevant.

Viking's website has a FAQ question: "Q: Can an oven be installed underneath the cooktop? A: Yes, an electric oven can be installed underneath a Viking gas or electric cooktop." It seems to me they would have said "gas or electric" if it was okay to install it over a gas oven. Maybe... And from Wolf's website apparently they don't even make gas built-in ovens. Must be a reason for that, although Viking has a few gas models.

I'm afraid I've made a serious mistake... I checked out Wolf's 30" Built-In Oven - L Series, and AFAIK it would drop in to my old GE oven's spot and make a perfect match. And quite a deal at only $4,800! Once you go off the deep end it doesn't matter how deep the water is, right?

Okay I've accepted that 500 F is good enough to make pizza. I surrender! BTW I completed my test and my GE oven can be programmed to 550 F and it thinks it got there, but my oven thermometer says it's only 500.

As far as the large footprint cookware, I don't think I have much of a choice other than a major remodeling of that section of the counter because the present cooktop is 30" and anything bigger is going to cost me drawers on both sides.

I checked out the Fisher and Paykel website and apparently they make only 36" cooktops, no 30" in their line-up.


Taxlady, as far as I can tell Wolf ovens don't feature steam cleaning. At that price I bet the self cleaning works pretty good though.


I think convection steam ovens sound interesting, but the one Wolf makes isn't the same width as the cooktop. I could probably shop around and mix brands...


Some further thoughts: the whole project might cost about maybe $7,500 but it's the last expensive thing I want in life that I don't already have. Everything else I want either money can't buy it or it's inexpensive since I don't have any expensive tastes or hobbies.

My only other planned expense is getting a top brand cookware set, Calphalon or something like that.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:19 PM   #6
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Would it be possible (if you even want to) to cut the countertop, take out a cabinet and slide in a gas range? I did that in my first home.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:28 PM   #7
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Greg, you are getting younger. Consider the benefits of having the oven at a level where it's easy to put stuff in and take it out, instead of bending over to get it in an out, from under the cook top. It's one of the things I like best about a separate, built in oven.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:32 PM   #8
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Would it be possible (if you even want to) to cut the countertop, take out a cabinet and slide in a gas range? I did that in my first home.
Yeah, sure I could remodel the counter and there might be room enough for a 30" Wolf gas range (or perhaps Viking if I get the Viking cooktop). Wolf's GR304 is $4,900, less than separate cooktop and oven but I'd have to add the cost of the remodeling and probably end up at the same price. And now that I think about it, built in has the advantage of not needing to clean behind it, or on the floor on either side or under it.

Anyway you already got me convinced that electric or gas is a toss up.


Some further thoughts: Oops I just remembered one more expensive thing I covet. The kitchen has tile counters. I covet granite or something similar. I haven't priced that out yet but I know already that it won't be cheap!
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:37 PM   #9
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Go with electric for the oven, I really don't see any advantages to a gas oven unless electricity is very expensive where you live and gas is cheap.

Go with electric with a convection option. I have an electric range with a convection oven, roasting is amazing, it has a convect roast option where the broiler element cycles on and off during cooking producing nicely browned and crispy chicken, vegetables, etc.

I'm with you with the Wolf, if only for looks, I wish that I had the budget for a high end range, but not now. I'm lucky to have a range that I really love and works well.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:39 PM   #10
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My suggestion that gas or electric are equal was for ovens only. Cooktop has to be gas.

Not to beat a dead horse, but if you're going to replace the countertop anyway, a dual fuel range (gas cooktop and electric oven) may be a more viable alternative.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:47 PM   #11
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Dual fuel would be the best of both worlds!

I've never seen the appeal of consumer grade gas cooktops, or maybe I've never used a good one. Water seems to boil slower, they throw off a lot of heat. I will say that they are much more responsive than an electric burner. Something like this Wolf or Viking seem like they would be a good step up from the run of the mill gas cooktops though.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:39 PM   #12
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Bakechef, I think you're right, even though gas is cheaper than electricity here. Andy already convinced me, although youd convince me too. There are people here on the forum that you can get authoritative advice from and you two are both in that group.

The Wolf does have convection, in fact it has 10 cooking modes! "Ten cooking modes—bake, roast, broil, convection bake, convection roast, convection broil, convection, bake stone (accessory required), dehydrate (accessory required) and proof." The Wolf oven cycles just like yours does in at least one of its modes.

You wish you had the budget for this kind of high end cooking gear, I wish I was your age. My career is over, I have all I'll ever have. I've got my dream house, something I worked the last 30 years of my career for. My income is small (only Social Security) and thanks to the government my savings is dwindling as fast as they can print money. I might as well buy everything durable right now (anything that will last for the rest of my life, perhaps 25-30 years if I'm lucky). One really big factor with going with the high end is that I'll live in this house for the rest of my life and I'm buying gear that is very likely to outlast me. It's the last cooktop and oven I'll ever need or want, and I'm young enough to get years of use out of it. It's like the LED lighting I wrote the other article about. Might not work for people who are going to move in a few or several years, makes perfect sense for somebody who is retired in their last home and planning on living there long enough to get the full return on their investment. I might as well get everything I want that is durable right now, because money is going out of style thanks to our stupid government's policies, thanks to a stupid Congress, thanks to voters who let these clowns run the show. (But I'm digressing into areas not appropriate for the forum so that's all I'll say.)

Andy, I didn't think for a minute you were equating gas and electric cooktops. I'm sure you'll agree that nobody above novice chef level would even consider an electric cooktop. Without going into detail, even the single quality that you can go from zero to 100 mph in only an instant, and that you can see how hot it is by the size of the flame, no serious chef would ever consider cooking on anything but gas. That will never happen until we have mass replicators and we can just purchase gourmet recipes that instantly replicate with the touch of a button (probably voice control by then). But there'll still be people like us who enjoy going through the steps of cooking as some sort of meditation or hobby or enjoyable activity.

Bakechef, the appeal of consumer cooktops is the price. They start around $300 or so. And my analysis of the situation is that the difference between professional gear (or high end consumer gear) is the amount of heat they put out, I haven't researched it but I'll bet there are few if any ordinary consumer cooktops that can put out 15,000-16,000 BTU. Let alone all the other features including the double burners, totally sealed cooktop, continuous grate (so you can slide pots and pans easily), and the solid "lasts forever" construction.

Oh and another really sweet deal I just discovered on Wolf's site: they have a "Take your dream kitchen campaign home" program going that offers $1,000 savings on various products or product combinations, including $1,000 off the Wolf cooktop and oven I've discussed above. That takes the estimated $7,500 down to $6,500!
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:51 PM   #13
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I have a 36" free standing Wolf. We bought it when we remodeled the kitchen in our old house 28 years ago and it came with us when we built this house 18 years ago. It's been a faithful work horse. Two sisters and a niece have the same stove in their homes after we got ours. I would buy the same stove today. It's a stove, not a gimmick.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:33 PM   #14
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Thanks for the reply Oldvine! Yeah I can tell that just because. I don't know. I just know that I'll be 100 in somewhat over 30+ years and that I strongly believe this Wolf cooktop and oven will last more than 30+ years. I'm going to live here until/unless I either need assisted living or I croak. It will surely be the last money I ever spend on a cooktop, oven, range, etc. For me this is a permanent solution.

It will solve my cooking needs for the rest of my life or at least as long as I'm capable of living on my own (unassisted). And if I move to assisted living this investment will contribute to the value of selling my house. And one of my goals in life--I have no children--is to spend my last penny on the same day that I breathe my last breath. That's why I will buy this expensive cooking setup. You live only once--as far as I know, and if you live more than once it's sure you can't take it with you.

I'm going to research a bit more, but at this point unless somebody convinces me otherwise I'm going to buy he Wolf gas cooktop and electric oven, apply the $1K offer, and I'll be cooking on Wolf in a few weeks.

So that's why I'm not keeping my current cooktop clean. It will be out of here within a week or 10 days.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:38 PM   #15
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Bakechef, I think you're right, even though gas is cheaper than electricity here. Andy already convinced me, although youd convince me too. There are people here on the forum that you can get authoritative advice from and you two are both in that group.

The Wolf does have convection, in fact it has 10 cooking modes! "Ten cooking modes—bake, roast, broil, convection bake, convection roast, convection broil, convection, bake stone (accessory required), dehydrate (accessory required) and proof." The Wolf oven cycles just like yours does in at least one of its modes.

You wish you had the budget for this kind of high end cooking gear, I wish I was your age. My career is over, I have all I'll ever have. I've got my dream house, something I worked the last 30 years of my career for. My income is small (only Social Security) and thanks to the government my savings is dwindling as fast as they can print money. I might as well buy everything durable right now (anything that will last for the rest of my life, perhaps 25-30 years if I'm lucky). One really big factor with going with the high end is that I'll live in this house for the rest of my life and I'm buying gear that is very likely to outlast me. It's the last cooktop and oven I'll ever need or want, and I'm young enough to get years of use out of it. It's like the LED lighting I wrote the other article about. Might not work for people who are going to move in a few or several years, makes perfect sense for somebody who is retired in their last home and planning on living there long enough to get the full return on their investment. I might as well get everything I want that is durable right now, because money is going out of style thanks to our stupid government's policies, thanks to a stupid Congress, thanks to voters who let these clowns run the show. (But I'm digressing into areas not appropriate for the forum so that's all I'll say.)

Andy, I didn't think for a minute you were equating gas and electric cooktops. I'm sure you'll agree that nobody above novice chef level would even consider an electric cooktop. Without going into detail, even the single quality that you can go from zero to 100 mph in only an instant, and that you can see how hot it is by the size of the flame, no serious chef would ever consider cooking on anything but gas. That will never happen until we have mass replicators and we can just purchase gourmet recipes that instantly replicate with the touch of a button (probably voice control by then). But there'll still be people like us who enjoy going through the steps of cooking as some sort of meditation or hobby or enjoyable activity.

Bakechef, the appeal of consumer cooktops is the price. They start around $300 or so. And my analysis of the situation is that the difference between professional gear (or high end consumer gear) is the amount of heat they put out, I haven't researched it but I'll bet there are few if any ordinary consumer cooktops that can put out 15,000-16,000 BTU. Let alone all the other features including the double burners, totally sealed cooktop, continuous grate (so you can slide pots and pans easily), and the solid "lasts forever" construction.

Oh and another really sweet deal I just discovered on Wolf's site: they have a "Take your dream kitchen campaign home" program going that offers $1,000 savings on various products or product combinations, including $1,000 off the Wolf cooktop and oven I've discussed above. That takes the estimated $7,500 down to $6,500!
I'm not arguing that gas can be superior to electric, but with sub $1000 ranges coils outperform gas when it comes to heat output. This comes from Consumer reports testing. You need pro-sumer or professional grades to get the needed btu for truly superior cooking compared to electric. Induction is the only thing that comes close to gas for responsiveness. There is a common misconception that gas is always superior to electric but that isn't at all true with consumer grade ranges. Now in the sub $1000 range there are terrible electric stoves as well as terrible gas ranges. My experience with electric has been mostly GE brand and those rate consistently good in tests. With my Samsung electric smooth top, I have no problems getting a pan ripping hot and keeping it there for good searing, same with the GE coil that I had in an apartment, they both boil water very fast. I do find that I need to move the pan off the burner at times, which I wouldn't likely need to do with gas. My mom's Kenmore (fridgidaire) I'm much less impressed with the cook top, it's slow. One thing that I really love about electric is simmering, because the heat isn't always on, it can maintain a slow simmer for long periods of time without scorching, something nearly impossible with lower end gas stoves (think tomato sauce and chili) . I can bet that what you are looking at will have a simmer function where the burners go on and off. I have a friend with a big Wolf range that has this feature.

It's all about what works well for you. For me right now in my kitchen electric is the way to go, I can set the burners to the pan size which helps keep them from heating up my small kitchen, I don't have a vent that vents to the outside to pull out that extra heat. If I had a larger home or was setting up my last home like you are, and had the budget, I'd have an awesome gas cook top, and a big vent!
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:09 PM   #16
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We have a 30" Jenn-Air gas stove/oven that has pretty much all the features you mentioned (I'm not at home, so I can't check). It has one burner that has 14,000 btus and a simmer burner that does a great job. It also has a double ring burner that has a wide range of heat levels. For me, the extra 1 or 2,000 btus wouldn't be worth the extra $4k. But I don't have that kind of money to spend :-)
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:57 PM   #17
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Thanks all for the advice...

Garlic, either solution (Wolf, Viking) is only 14-15 KBTU, and virtually the same price within mere dollars. AFAIK both are sold only at my local Pacific Sales (store). The store is closed on Sunday, I feature a trip to their store tomorrow. I see no reason why I can't order my stuff tomorrow.

I hope I can get a consult on whether the cooktop and oven will fit into my kitchen design, and of course how much it will cost. But I'm up for $7K if that's what it takes. This is the last gear of this type I'll ever need for the rest of my life. If it takes $7K to settle the matter, then as Charlie says, "Bring it!"
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:18 PM   #18
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Thanks all for the advice...

Garlic, either solution (Wolf, Viking) is only 14-15 KBTU, and virtually the same price within mere dollars. AFAIK both are sold only at my local Pacific Sales (store). The store is closed on Sunday, I feature a trip to their store tomorrow. I see no reason why I can't order my stuff tomorrow.

I hope I can get a consult on whether the cooktop and oven will fit into my kitchen design, and of course how much it will cost. But I'm up for $7K if that's what it takes. This is the last gear of this type I'll ever need for the rest of my life. If it takes $7K to settle the matter, then as Charlie says, "Bring it!"
Keep us posted, I'm excited to find out what you pick!
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:27 PM   #19
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Thanks all for the advice...

Garlic, either solution (Wolf, Viking) is only 14-15 KBTU, and virtually the same price within mere dollars. AFAIK both are sold only at my local Pacific Sales (store). The store is closed on Sunday, I feature a trip to their store tomorrow. I see no reason why I can't order my stuff tomorrow.

I hope I can get a consult on whether the cooktop and oven will fit into my kitchen design, and of course how much it will cost. But I'm up for $7K if that's what it takes. This is the last gear of this type I'll ever need for the rest of my life. If it takes $7K to settle the matter, then as Charlie says, "Bring it!"
Have you read any reviews on the two cooktops and oven?
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:41 PM   #20
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Oh I will Bakechef!

I've gone from 0 to 100 MPH just today, and I realize that (1) I'll have to pay $? to get my GE Profile cooktop fixed (my home inspector warned me, "needs service," and my RE agent assured me, "it probably just needs cleaning." My oven will require $60 for the home warranty people to even come out, although I'm pretty sure that will cover it...

Or I can just go for the Wolf. I don't know why I've built up a preference of Wolf over Viking. But they're both sold at the same store (Pacific Sales, here in Valencia) and they're open tomorrow morning. I hope they have both models in their showroom.The only remaining obstacle is getting their assurance and commitment for installation price.

As far as I'm concerned I could be cooking on Wolf or Viking by this next weekend. It's never going to be less expensive and I have all the money I'll ever have for the res of my life, and living in the house I intend to live in for the rest of my life. According to the advice in the topic it looks like a simple choice: Wolf or Viking?

I should have an answer by tomorrow (Monday) or Tuesday, and a planned installation date. Unless somebody brings up a wild card (another leading brand) it looks like either (1) Wolf or (2) Viking. And I don't know why, I'm leaning to the Wolf. I've had to make so many intuitive decisions the last 5-6 weeks that I'm leaning towards my left/intuitive brain decision: Wolf. I've made so many intuitive, non-analytic decisions in the last several weeks and my intuition has not failed me once.

Maybe being intuitively clever is better than being analytically smart? I've been an engineer in my career and analystic thinking has ruled my life. I'm retired now, and maybe I should hark to intuition.

I intuit that I'll be cooking on Wolf in about a week...
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