What Are The Risks with Compatible/Cloned TPM Modules?


Mycenius

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Hi All,

Just signed up (but was a previous lurker and occasional poster on Sevenforums and Tenforums). I'm a little late to the party upgrading to 11, as I have an older machine that failed the Win11 minimum requirements on a couple of fronts (Processor & GPU) so hadn't rushed to do anything about it. Anyway I am now (for full background read below, but my main question is in this first paragraph). The main point/question of my post, in the event I don't have fTPM and need to get a hw module (Gigabyte 20-1 pin GC-TPM2.0), is that due to the age of the MoBo it looks like there are essentially no Gigabyte OEM ones available anymore (mainly because I've waited 2 years to do this). So what are the risks or dangers (if any) with buying the "compatible" or cloned units from China - obviously they just might not work properly to start with (from a manufacturing quality perspective) or be faulty. But what about the security/encryption side, is there potential for these to be compromised or otherwise unreliable - or is their operation essentially secure due to their nature regardless of who or where they are made?

That's my main concern as I may have only the option of getting a cloned unit for my MoBo. You don't need to read further, BUT If you want the full background as to why I might need to go down this route read on...

I recently got a new game (BG3), first in some time, and didn't want to buy or build a whole new machine for it. So I had to upgrade my graphics to run it (and hopefully in the process help extend the PC's life a bit longer than I had been expecting). As a result I'm now only 'below-minimum' on the processor for Win11 so looking to upgrade; however the TPM2.0 requirement is flagged as a 'maybe' I presume (i.e. it's orange)? With regard to TPM, my Gigabyte H110 Motherboard's BIOS shows (it is updated to the latest version of fw) Intel PTT enabled and also Gigabyte TPM2.0 enabled as well. However it shows no device installed for the latter (which is correct as I currently don't have a TPM module physically fitted to the motherboard, obviously). The Windows 10 TPM control panel/console also shows TPM capability but no TPM source/device present. This suggests to me there is no fTPM.

I was presuming MoBo should have had fTPM via Intel PTT, especially with the latest fw, however:
  1. the MoBo BIOS & Manual say for the Hardware PTM2.0 to be enabled then Intel PTT must be enabled first (which is contrary to my understanding of this - you either have Intel PTT enabled or you have the MoBo Manufacturer Hardware PTM enabled, not both?), and
  2. the Gigabyte press releases in 2021 suggest the '100' series MoBos were excluded from the firmware updates that implemented Intel PTT via fw post the Win11 announcement). My full MoBo model is H110M-S2H-CF (U3E1) so if anyone knows for sure its got the fTPM would be nice to know...
It's not major enough to not go ahead if no fTPM, but would mean I'd want/need to install a module sometime after upgrading - hence my question(s) in the first paragraph...

(P.S. I've read through a few threads here, such as If you are going shopping for a TPM 2.0 module, here are some things to know, Windows security, and Changing from firmware TPM to discrete TPM for example to see if there's been much coverage but couldn't see anything notable.)

Appreciate any insights and TIA.
Gigabyte 19-pin GC-TPM2.0 Module
 
Windows Build/Version
Windows 10 Pro 22H2 (looking to upgrade to W11)

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Hi,
If you have a bios setting for PTT it's fine
Do you intend on ever using bitlocker if the answer is no don't worry about tpm chips just the bios setting will suffice MS.
 

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Hi,
If you have a bios setting for PTT it's fine
Do you intend on ever using bitlocker if the answer is no don't worry about tpm chips just the bios setting will suffice MS.

Thanks TZ. I thought it might likely be if its there it's there but then saw the couple of points I made which made me think its possibly not as obvious as it looks. :rolleyes:

And Yeah, I am planning on probably enabling bit locker in near future (or an alternative if such a thing is practical) - still researching. I'm pretty security conscious and very active with logon encryption/password management/etc. Been slow to get to the hardware side as my PC gets only limited use last 3-4 years (at least until recently). There's no rush but I am still keen to understand around the TPM modules, as if I am likely to want one eventually (due to the age of my MoBo) I am thinking I'm better getting one now rather than later even if I don't install it for a while...?
 

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Hi,
Bios updates are the worst part of PTT I assume but if you know a process it gets easier because if you know your about to wipe you PTT with a bios update you'd prepare and decrypt your drives before.
Once all is done start over.
Having a tpm chip not sure if a bios update would effect that one.

For the record all these items come from China so just try a reputable source which I have none to offer there
I use PTT disabled I have no interest in bitlocker
Maybe a third party but never MS offering.
 

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    z490-Apex & x299-Apex & x99-Sabertooth
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    Onboard Realtek x3
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    1-AOC G2460PG 24"G-Sync 144Hz/ 2nd 1-ASUS VG248QE 24"/ 3rd LG 43" series
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Bios updates are the worst part of PTT I assume but if you know a process it gets easier because if you know your about to wipe you PTT with a bios update you'd prepare and decrypt your drives before.
Once all is done start over.
Having a tpm chip not sure if a bios update would effect that one.

Yes - that's a secondary reason I was thinking the discrete TPM chip might be better, especially if in conjunction with drive encryption.

For the record all these items come from China so just try a reputable source which I have none to offer there

Yes I was conscious they are all made in China, and some of the clones/compatibles might simply come out of the same factory as the OEM ones for Gigabyte, ASUS, etc...

I use PTT disabled I have no interest in bitlocker
Maybe a third party but never MS offering.

Yes - certainly part of why I have not rushed to do so. Prefer a reputable third party one.
 

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    Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-7700K 4.20Ghz 14nm
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte H110M-S2H-CF (U3E1)
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    2 x Crucial 8GB 2400 DDR4 (CL17)
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    Gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 AERO OC 8GB GDDR6
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    Integral Realtek Hi-Def Audio and GPU NVIDIA High Def Audio
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Hi,
Yes I believe support would be best from third party rather than ms
Ever posted on answers.microsoft.com this is as bad as it gets lol (n)
 

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    z490-Apex & x299-Apex & x99-Sabertooth
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    Trident-Z Royal 4000c16 2x16gb & Trident-Z 3600c16 4x8gb & 3200c14 4x8gb
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    Titan Xp & 1080ti FTW3 & evga 980ti gaming
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    Onboard Realtek x3
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    1-AOC G2460PG 24"G-Sync 144Hz/ 2nd 1-ASUS VG248QE 24"/ 3rd LG 43" series
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:thumbsup:
 

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    Windows 11 Pro 23H2
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    Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-7700K 4.20Ghz 14nm
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    Gigabyte H110M-S2H-CF (U3E1)
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    2 x Crucial 8GB 2400 DDR4 (CL17)
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    Gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 AERO OC 8GB GDDR6
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    Integral Realtek Hi-Def Audio and GPU NVIDIA High Def Audio
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Hi,
If you have a bios setting for PTT it's fine

Thanks TZ. I thought it might likely be if its there it's there but then saw the couple of points I made which made me think its possibly not as obvious as it looks. :rolleyes:

P.S. I just figured out what was going on FWIW and for anyone reading this later - with the last BIOS update I did (basically I jumped from about v5 to v25) it's added and enabled the Intel PTT fTPM (in addition to the TPM hardware option being enabled but no chip module installed), but it obviously didn't fully activate properly for some reason. I disabled it and rebooted then reenabled it and a whole heap of additional status data, etc, showed in the BIOS under Trusted Computing that (wasn't there previously and) is obviously the encrypted virtual fw drive for the PTT.

I then ran my Win 11 Upgrade and it was happy as Larry about the TPM2.0 support now it was properly activated in the BIOS. But still may need to go down the hw module route eventually... :unsure:

[EDIT] But still keen to hear any one else's thoughts (or real world experience or expertise) on my original question about the substitute chip module reliability?
 
Last edited:

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  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2
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    Manufacturer/Model
    Bespoke Home Build
    CPU
    Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-7700K 4.20Ghz 14nm
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte H110M-S2H-CF (U3E1)
    Memory
    2 x Crucial 8GB 2400 DDR4 (CL17)
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 AERO OC 8GB GDDR6
    Sound Card
    Integral Realtek Hi-Def Audio and GPU NVIDIA High Def Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    DELL S2721QS 4K and DELL S2721DS QHD
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160 and 2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    1 x 500GB Samsung SSD 750 EVO (Windows OS)
    1 x 500GB Samsung SSD 870 EVO (Gaming Installs)
    2 x 2TB Seagate Barracuda SATA 6Gb/s 64MB 5,900rpm (User Data, etc)
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    Thermaltake 750W
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    SilverStone Temjin TJ06 (black)
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    NOCTUA NH-D9L CPU Cooler (single fan)
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    Cooler Master CK550 RGB Mechanical Gaming
    Mouse
    Logitech M150 3-Button (wireless) and Razer Copperhead 7-Button Green Mouse (wired)
    Browser
    Brave
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    QNAP TS-421 NAS (12TB RAID5)
    QNAP HS-453DX NAS (4TB RAID1)
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    Apple MacBook Pro 18.3 (14" 2021)
    CPU
    Apple M1 Pro
    Motherboard
    Apple
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    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Apple M1 Pro integral GPU
    Sound Card
    MacBook Pro Integral
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    14" Liquid Retina XDR Display
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    3024 x 1964
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    2TB
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    MacBook Pro 2021 14"
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    MacBook Integral and Logitech K380 Multi-Device Compact Bluetooth Keyboard
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    QNAP TS-421 NAS (12TB RAID5)
    QNAP HS-453DX NAS (4TB RAID1)
P.S. I just figured out what was going on FWIW and for anyone reading this later - with the last BIOS update I did (basically I jumped from about v5 to v25) it's added and enabled the Intel PTT fTPM (in addition to the TPM hardware option being enabled but no chip module installed), but it obviously didn't fully activate properly for some reason. I disabled it and rebooted then reenabled it and a whole heap of additional status data, etc, showed in the BIOS under Trusted Computing that (wasn't there previously and) is obviously the encrypted virtual fw drive for the PTT.

I then ran my Win 11 Upgrade and it was happy as Larry about the TPM2.0 support now it was properly activated in the BIOS. But still may need to go down the hw module route eventually... :unsure:

[EDIT] But still keen to hear any one else's thoughts (or real world experience or expertise) on my original question about the substitute chip module reliability?
Hello, I have a compatible TMP module on my motherboard and it is working fine. I bought it because the technology was new to me, and I had heard of people experiencing difficulty in updating BIOS when using fTMP - so I opted for a hardware module instead.
Bought it on Amazon marketplace. The motherboard manufacturers module was out of stock, so I bought this compatible chip, and I have never had any issues with my computer. (I cannot remember the manufacturers name, but it was made in Taiwan, or somewhere in that part of the world.)
It needs setting in BIOS, for the module to take over. In BIOS, the default is always fTMP, even when you have installed a motherboard module. So, you need to override the fTMP in BIOS, for the firmware to find your module. Once you have selected your module in BIOS, then you need to Save your changes, and re-boot the computer, for the changes to take effect. Then after that, you can install Windows 11. Otherwise, you will find yourself installing to fTMP.
 

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    Acer A114
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    Intel Celeron N4020
(y)

Hello, I have a compatible TMP module on my motherboard and it is working fine. I bought it because the technology was new to me, and I had heard of people experiencing difficulty in updating BIOS when using fTMP - so I opted for a hardware module instead.
Bought it on Amazon marketplace. The motherboard manufacturers module was out of stock, so I bought this compatible chip, and I have never had any issues with my computer. (I cannot remember the manufacturers name, but it was made in Taiwan, or somewhere in that part of the world.)

Cheers @iko22 I figured that's the case, and in many cases its either (a) the exact same module & chip from the same factory just not sourced through the OEM, or (b) its at least the same chip on a cloned module from another manufacturer. However this obviously may not always be the case and some may just be poorly made or cheap imitations, or more seriously actually compromised or otherwise unsafe. I guess its a case of making sure you get it from as reputable a reseller as possible as there seems little the average person can do to verify if its genuine or not other than visual inspect and then plug it in and see if it works as expected! :cautious:

It needs setting in BIOS, for the module to take over. In BIOS, the default is always fTMP, even when you have installed a motherboard module. So, you need to override the fTMP in BIOS, for the firmware to find your module. Once you have selected your module in BIOS, then you need to Save your changes, and re-boot the computer, for the changes to take effect. Then after that, you can install Windows 11. Otherwise, you will find yourself installing to fTMP.

Cheers. I ended up doing my W11 upgrade last night just with the fTPM enabled, while I decide whether to go the module route. I probably will do that, as I do want to eventually encrypt the local drives in my PC, and don't want long-term to deal with the whole fw update to BIOS wipes your encryption keys thing (although as my LGA 1151 socket MoBo is older likely the updates will be quite rare from now on...

I did gather from a previous thread I linked to (Changing from firmware TPM to discrete TPM) its normally not that onerous or difficult to change back and forth between a hardware module TPM 2.0 and a Intel TPP fTPM solution - at least for most people/motherboards...
 

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    Windows 11 Pro 23H2
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    Bespoke Home Build
    CPU
    Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-7700K 4.20Ghz 14nm
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte H110M-S2H-CF (U3E1)
    Memory
    2 x Crucial 8GB 2400 DDR4 (CL17)
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 AERO OC 8GB GDDR6
    Sound Card
    Integral Realtek Hi-Def Audio and GPU NVIDIA High Def Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    DELL S2721QS 4K and DELL S2721DS QHD
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160 and 2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    1 x 500GB Samsung SSD 750 EVO (Windows OS)
    1 x 500GB Samsung SSD 870 EVO (Gaming Installs)
    2 x 2TB Seagate Barracuda SATA 6Gb/s 64MB 5,900rpm (User Data, etc)
    PSU
    Thermaltake 750W
    Case
    SilverStone Temjin TJ06 (black)
    Cooling
    NOCTUA NH-D9L CPU Cooler (single fan)
    Keyboard
    Cooler Master CK550 RGB Mechanical Gaming
    Mouse
    Logitech M150 3-Button (wireless) and Razer Copperhead 7-Button Green Mouse (wired)
    Browser
    Brave
    Other Info
    QNAP TS-421 NAS (12TB RAID5)
    QNAP HS-453DX NAS (4TB RAID1)
  • Operating System
    macOS 14 Sonoma
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Apple MacBook Pro 18.3 (14" 2021)
    CPU
    Apple M1 Pro
    Motherboard
    Apple
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Apple M1 Pro integral GPU
    Sound Card
    MacBook Pro Integral
    Monitor(s) Displays
    14" Liquid Retina XDR Display
    Screen Resolution
    3024 x 1964
    Hard Drives
    2TB
    PSU
    MacBook Integral
    Case
    MacBook Pro 2021 14"
    Mouse
    MacBook Touchpad and Sony VAIO N50 Aluminium 3-Button Compact Bluetooth Mouse
    Keyboard
    MacBook Integral and Logitech K380 Multi-Device Compact Bluetooth Keyboard
    Browser
    Brave
    Other Info
    QNAP TS-421 NAS (12TB RAID5)
    QNAP HS-453DX NAS (4TB RAID1)
Bios updates are the worst part of PTT I assume but if you know a process it gets easier because if you know your about to wipe you PTT with a bios update you'd prepare and decrypt your drives before.
Once all is done start over.
You don’t need to decrypt the drive. When we update the BIOS on our encrypted machines, we suspend BitLocker, update BIOS, and resume BitLocker. In fact, we’re a Dell shop, and their BIOS updaters do this for us.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2 [rev. 3447]
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Intel NUC12WSHi7
    CPU
    12th Gen Intel Core i7-1260P, 2100 MHz
    Motherboard
    NUC12WSBi7
    Memory
    64 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    built-in Realtek HD audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell U3219Q
    Screen Resolution
    3840x2160 @ 60Hz
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 990 PRO 1TB
    Keyboard
    CODE 104-Key Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Clears
  • Operating System
    Linux Mint 21.2 (Cinnamon)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Intel NUC8i5BEH
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-8259U CPU @ 2.30GHz
    Memory
    32 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Iris Plus 655
    Keyboard
    CODE 104-Key Mechanical Keyboard - Cherry MX Clear
Thanks @pseymour didn't understand that subtle distinction previously! :-)
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Bespoke Home Build
    CPU
    Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-7700K 4.20Ghz 14nm
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte H110M-S2H-CF (U3E1)
    Memory
    2 x Crucial 8GB 2400 DDR4 (CL17)
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 AERO OC 8GB GDDR6
    Sound Card
    Integral Realtek Hi-Def Audio and GPU NVIDIA High Def Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    DELL S2721QS 4K and DELL S2721DS QHD
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160 and 2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    1 x 500GB Samsung SSD 750 EVO (Windows OS)
    1 x 500GB Samsung SSD 870 EVO (Gaming Installs)
    2 x 2TB Seagate Barracuda SATA 6Gb/s 64MB 5,900rpm (User Data, etc)
    PSU
    Thermaltake 750W
    Case
    SilverStone Temjin TJ06 (black)
    Cooling
    NOCTUA NH-D9L CPU Cooler (single fan)
    Keyboard
    Cooler Master CK550 RGB Mechanical Gaming
    Mouse
    Logitech M150 3-Button (wireless) and Razer Copperhead 7-Button Green Mouse (wired)
    Browser
    Brave
    Other Info
    QNAP TS-421 NAS (12TB RAID5)
    QNAP HS-453DX NAS (4TB RAID1)
  • Operating System
    macOS 14 Sonoma
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Apple MacBook Pro 18.3 (14" 2021)
    CPU
    Apple M1 Pro
    Motherboard
    Apple
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Apple M1 Pro integral GPU
    Sound Card
    MacBook Pro Integral
    Monitor(s) Displays
    14" Liquid Retina XDR Display
    Screen Resolution
    3024 x 1964
    Hard Drives
    2TB
    PSU
    MacBook Integral
    Case
    MacBook Pro 2021 14"
    Mouse
    MacBook Touchpad and Sony VAIO N50 Aluminium 3-Button Compact Bluetooth Mouse
    Keyboard
    MacBook Integral and Logitech K380 Multi-Device Compact Bluetooth Keyboard
    Browser
    Brave
    Other Info
    QNAP TS-421 NAS (12TB RAID5)
    QNAP HS-453DX NAS (4TB RAID1)
Not sure of the point on a 110 motherboard. The cpu doesnt pass the official test irrespective of tpm.

as I do want to eventually encrypt the local drives in my PC
ah. Not something I ever do, luckily one of the posters above is familiar with it.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win7
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    i5-8400
    Motherboard
    gigabyte b365m ds3h
    Memory
    2x8gb 3200mhz
    Monitor(s) Displays
    benq gw2480
    PSU
    bequiet pure power 11 400CM
    Cooling
    cryorig m9i
  • Operating System
    win7
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    pentium g5400
    Motherboard
    gigabyte b365m ds3h
    Memory
    1x8gb 2400
    PSU
    xfx pro 450

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