09 May 2016

Review of Seagate SSHD 1TB (32GB NAND) Drive ST1000LX001

Review of Seagate SSHD 1TB (32GB NAND) Drive ST1000LX001
hdtvsg 2 May 2016

Seagate is one of the first to pioneer hybrid drives. In fact, the first hybrid drive comes with a 8GB NAND flash that functions as a cache. Seagate calls such drives Solid State Hybrid Drive.
With the price of NAND flash coming down, Seagate introduces a newer version of the Hybrid drive that surpasses the previous generation in terms of performance with a 4X increase in the amount of flash memory.
This new SSHD comes with 1TB of Hard drive and a 32GB NAND Flash in a 2.5" drive at 9.5mm thickness. This new drive is targeted in replacing single bay aging notebooks HDD as it boosts performance in terms of boot time, application loading etc. With the lower cost per Terabyte, users can store larger files or archives while enjoying better performance over traditional HDDs.
Seagate DiscWizard (which should be a Acronis OEM) for Windows allows one to clone your existing HDD to the new HDD with ease.
As Seagate SSHD utilises Adaptive Memory Technology that tracks data usage and prioritises data for faster access in the NAND flash. It is transparent to the end user. There is no need to install additional drivers for the Operating System. Thus the drive will function just like any conventional HDD in a PC, MAC or PS/4.
In the next few pages, we will take a look at the specifications and benchmarks, comparing it as an upgrade option to existing notebook HDD.

The Seagate SSHD ST1000LX001

The ST1000LX001 looks no different from a traditional 2.5" HDD. The only difference is the internals as it comes with a 32GB NAND and serves like a cache for commonly accessed files. That is through this adaptive technology, it is able to speed up access to applications, games and file access.


IMG_20160416_192124 copy IMG_20160416_192132 copy seagate internals

Specifications

Seagate-Laptop-SSHD-1TB-32GB-NAND-specs

Benchmarking

To test the Hybrid drive, we compared it with our old Seagate Momentus 7200.4 7200RPM 500GB HDD which came with the HP Envy 14 notebook.
  • HP ENVY 14
  • 6GB SODIMM DDR3-1333
  • ATi Radeon Mobility HD 5450
  • Seagate ST9500420AS 7200.4 Mementus HDD 500GB
  • Seagate ST1000LX001 SSHD 1000GB
In our first tests, we will use the commonly used HDD Benchmark test CrystalMarkInfo and ATTO

CrystalDiskMark on Seagate SSHD

The CrystalDiskMark gives a rough gauge of the performance of HDD or SSD with 5 runs of the tests in Sequential read/write and random 4K tests. The results are thus the average of the 5 runs.
As we can see from the results below, the SSHD is faster in terms of sequential read and write. This is probably due to the large cache of 32GB NAND. The numbers show that it is  56% faster in sequential read and 42% faster in Sequential Write for Q32T1 tests.
As adaptive caching will boost performance in commonly accessed files, this might not be so for random reads and writes. As it is reflected in the numbers below, the differences aren't just a few percentage points away.
CrystalDiskMark of Seagate SSHD
CrystalDiskMark of Seagate SSHD
CrystalDiskMark of Seagate 7200.4 HDD
CrystalDiskMark of Seagate 7200.4 HDD

ATTO Disk Benchmark on Seagate SSHD

Although both screen shots appeared slightly different, the numbers are comparable for 8K to 8MB tests for read and write speeds.
Again, the Seagate Hybrid drive performs better than the HDD. At 8MB block, the score is 120MB/s and 92MB/s for read and write versus that of 89MB/s and 92MB/s for read and write on the older HDD.
atto benchmark
ATTO Benchmark for Seagate SSHD
ATTO Benchmark for Seagate 7200.4
ATTO Benchmark for Seagate 7200.4

PC MARK 7 Benchmarks on Seagate SSHD

PC Mark 7 is a commonly benchmark suite for testing overall PC performance. It can also be used to do sub level tests targeting the IO, Graphics, Disk Performance etc.
In this test, we focused on the Secondary HDD test suite of PC Mark 7. This test will run the suite of test 3 times and log down the time taken and an average score will be generated.
As the SSHD uses adaptive caching, we should be able to see an improved speed.
Here is our result :
secondary storage speed test

As we can see, for both Raw secondary storage and secondary storage,  The traditional HDD only scored 341 vs 1397 on the SSHD, 309% improvement. In Secondary Storage, the scores are 3436 versus 1614, a 112% improvement over the conventional HDD.
Let's take a look at the detail scores for one of the tests for Gaming.
The left hand column are test results on the Seagate momentus 7200.4 HDD and the right column is the scores for the Hybrid drive.
The final score is 4.5MB/s vs 11.23MB/s
If we look carefully at the three iterations of the tests, The first column shows that the three tests gives an almost consistent score of 4.5MB/s. As for the tests done on the Hybrid drive, the scores were 8.81MB/s, 12.13MB/s and 12.75MB/s in the 3 iterations.
Secondary storage - gaming / Secondary storage - gamingSecondary storage - gaming / Secondary storage - gaming
4.5019 MB/s11.23373 MB/s
Secondary storage - gaming iteration 1Secondary storage - gaming iteration 1
4.49132 MB/s8.81735 MB/s
Secondary storage - gaming iteration 2Secondary storage - gaming iteration 2
4.52141 MB/s12.13458 MB/s
Secondary storage - gaming iteration 3Secondary storage - gaming iteration 3
4.49298 MB/s12.74925 MB/s


Real time workload tests on Seagate SSHD

In our real world tests, we did 4 simple tests on both drives. They are Windows 10 Boot up time, OpenOffice Write Launch time, OpenOffice Writer loading 7 documents total 116MB (selecting all, drag and drop) and Paint.net (opening of 2 TIFs by drag and drop) total 413MB.

Windows 10 Boot Up Time

We test the two drives using the smartphone's stop watch to time the boot up time of the Windows 10. The timings were taken starting after we press the button button on the notebook till the Windows 10 login screen appears.
The orange bar indicate the timings of our old HDD and the yellow is the Hybrid drive.
The system was shut down in between the 3 rounds of tests.
As we can see the original HDD took 32s, 21.95s, 20s to boot up. As for the Hybrid drive, we can see it almost halved to 17s in the first boot. The subsequent timings are 14s and 15.35s which are still 5s faster than the hard disk.
windows 10 boot up time
As for OpenOffice Writer, we time it once we click on the icon and stop after the menus appear. The timings are taken thrice. The HDD in this case took 4.41s, 4.7s, 3.39s in 3 tries. As for our Hybrid drive,  the timings are shaved down to 1.59s from the 1st try of 3.12s.
It is 41% faster on first try and 113% faster on the third try. The speed improvement is quite apparent.
openoffice write launch timing
Upon opening of the Writer, 7 documents DOCX files were loaded and timed from start to completion. The timings show that the Hybrid drive on the 3rd run is almost 3s ahead of the HDD. That is an 18% improvement.
openoffice writer loading time
We load 2 TIF image files into the PAINT.NET application and timed the duration it takes to open both TIF files.
Again, we see that in the 3 runs, the HDD takes almost the same timing at 9s, but on the third run for the test on Hyrbid HDD, the time taken has sped up to 7.1s. That is a 27% speed improvement using the Hybrid HDD.
paint net open two 2 files

Conclusion

The Seagate SSHD Hybrid HDD is definitely an innovative product that marries fast speed NAND with conventional HDD to give it speed boost. This is especially important as Hard Disk has been the proven and tested platform for data storage over decades.
With the advancement of technology, photos taken using smartphone or cameras aren't that small in size. Videos taken in HD, 4K will require a higher capacity drive and a HDD provides that capacity and safer storage compared to SSD in a single unit.
Yes SSD provides the speed of access, but that is at the expense of higher capacity. With the NAND flash built into the HDD, it somewhat bridges the needs for faster speed and higher capacity but at a lower price.
At the moment, a 1TB SSD, costs around USD 300 while this Seagate SSHD 1TB ST1000LX001 only costs USD 116. That is almost 33% of a same size SSD.
I would recommend this product for notebook users who needs that extra HDD space as it is less pricey and offers a safer storage solution with a 5 years warranty. (Can your SSD last you 5 years ? )

07 May 2016

G.SKILL Introduces 5 New Color Schemes to Trident Z Series DDR4 Memory

G.SKILL Introduces 5 New Color Schemes to Trident Z Series DDR4 Memory

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Taipei, Taiwan (6 May 2016) – G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world’s leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is introducing 5 new color schemes to the highly popular extreme performance Trident Z series to select specifications. Aside from the classic Trident Z design of silver and black brushed aluminum heatspreader with a red top-bar highlight, the new color schemes include a black brushed aluminum body paired with orange, yellow, or white top-bar or a silver brushed aluminum body with white or black top-bar.

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With a rise in popularity of modding and cases with window designs, these 5 new Trident Z color schemes are developed for enthusiasts, gamers, and modders who not only wish to include high performance memory in their systems, but also to add attractive visual appeal and show off their unique selection of hardware. Available in yellow, orange, white, and black highlights, these new color schemes pair exceedingly well with modern motherboard designs based on the X99 and Z170 chipsets.

These new colors are expected to be available at the end of May 2016. At launch, the new color schemes will be available in select specifications only. Please see the chart below for details.




NVIDIA Introduces GeForce GTX 1080

NVIDIA today announced the NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1080 -- the first gaming GPU based on the company's new Pascal™ architecture -- providing up to 2x more performance in virtual reality compared to the GeForce GTX TITAN X.1
Pascal offers massive leaps in performance, memory bandwidth and power efficiency over its predecessor, the high-performance Maxwell™ architecture. And it introduces groundbreaking graphics features and technologies that redefine the PC as the ultimate platform for playing AAA games and enjoying virtual reality.
"The PC is the world's favorite gaming platform, and our new Pascal GPU architecture will take it to new heights," said Jeff Fisher, senior vice president of NVIDIA's PC business. "Our first Pascal gaming GPU, the GeForce GTX 1080, enables incredible realism in gaming and deeply immersive VR experiences, with dramatically improved performance and efficiency. It's the most powerful gaming GPU ever built, and some of our finest work."
Five Marvels of PascalNVIDIA engineered the Pascal architecture to handle the massive computing demands of technologies like VR. It incorporates five transformational technologies:
  • Next-Gen GPU Architecture. Pascal is optimized for performance per watt. The GTX 1080 is 3x more power efficient than the Maxwell Architecture.
  • 16nm FinFET Process. The GTX 1080 is the first gaming GPUs designed for the 16nm FinFET process, which uses smaller, faster transistors that can be packed together more densely. Its 7.2 billion transistors deliver a dramatic increase in performance and efficiency.
  • Advanced Memory. Pascal-based GPUs are the first to harness the power of 8GB of Micron's GDDR5X memory. The 256-bit memory interface runs at 10Gb/sec., helping to drive 1.7x higher effective memory bandwidth than that delivered by regular GDDR5.
  • Superb Craftsmanship. Increases in bandwidth and power efficiency allow the GTX 1080 to run at clock speeds never before possible -- over 1700 MHz -- while consuming only 180 watts of power. New asynchronous compute advances improve efficiency and gaming performance. And new GPU Boost™ 3 technology supports advanced overclocking functionality.
  • Groundbreaking Gaming Technology. NVIDIA is changing the face of gaming from development to play to sharing. New NVIDIA VRWorks™ software features let game developers bring unprecedented immersiveness to gaming environments. NVIDIA's Ansel™ technology lets gamers share their gaming experiences and explore gaming worlds in new ways.
"We were blown away by the performance and features of the GTX 1080," said Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games. "We took scenes from our Paragon game cinematics that were designed to be rendered offline, and rendered them in real time on GTX 1080. It's mind-blowing and we can't wait to see what developers create with UE4 and GTX 1080 in the world of games, automotive design, or architectural visualization -- for both 2D screens and for VR."
VRWorks: A New Level of Presence for VRTo fully immerse users in virtual worlds, the enhanced NVIDIA VRWorks software development kit offers a never before experienced level of "VR presence." It combines what users see, hear and touch with the physical behavior of the environment to convince them that their virtual experience is real.
  • 2x VR Graphics Performance: VRWorks Graphics now includes a simultaneous multi-projection capability that renders natively to the unique dimensions of VR displays instead of traditional, 2D monitors. It also renders geometry for the left and right eyes simultaneously in a single pass.
  • Enveloping Audio: VRWorks Audio uses the NVIDIA OptiX™ ray-tracing engine to trace the path of sounds across an environment in real time, fully reflecting the size, shape and material of the virtual world.
  • Interactive Touch and Physics: NVIDIA PhysX® for VR detects when a hand controller interacts with a virtual object, and enables the game engine to provide a physically accurate visual and haptic response. It also models the physical behavior of the virtual world around the user so that all interactions -- whether an explosion or a hand splashing through water -- behave as if in the real world.
NVIDIA has integrated these technologies into a new VR experience called VR Funhouse.
"GeForce GTX 1080 promises to be the ultimate graphics card for experiencing EVE: Valkyrie," said Hilmar Veigar P├ętursson, CEO of CCP Games. "We are looking forward to bringing NVIDIA's new VRWorks features to Valkyrie to take the game's visuals and performance to another level."
Ansel: Capturing the Artistry of GamingNVIDIA also announced Ansel, a powerful game capture tool that allows gamers to explore, capture and share the artistry of gaming in ways never before possible.
With Ansel, gamers can compose the gameplay shots they want, pointing the camera in any direction and from any vantage point within a gaming world. They can capture screenshots at up to 32x screen resolution, and then zoom in where they choose without losing fidelity. With photo-filters, they can add effects in real time before taking the perfect shot. And they can capture 360-degree stereo photospheres for viewing in a VR headset or Google Cardboard.
Availability and PricingThe NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 "Founders Edition" will be available on May 27 for $699. It will be available from ASUS, Colorful, EVGA, Gainward, Galaxy, Gigabyte, Innovision 3D, MSI, NVIDIA. Palit, PNY and Zotac. Custom boards from partners will vary by region and pricing is expected to start at $599.
The GeForce GTX 1080 will also be sold in fully configured systems from leading U.S.-based system builders, including AVADirect, Cyberpower, Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, Geekbox, IBUYPOWER, Maingear, Origin PC, Puget Systems, V3 Gaming and Velocity Micro, as well as system integrators outside North America.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 "Founders Edition" will be available on June 10 for $449. Custom boards from partners are expected to start at $379.
More information on the GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 is available at www.geforce.com.
Ansel will be available in upcoming releases and patches of games such as Tom Clancy's The DivisionThe WitnessLawbreakersThe Witcher 3ParagonNo Man's SkyObduction, Fortnite and Unreal Tournament.

02 May 2016

Japan might intervene with JPY

Japan's finance minister has warned the recent sharp rise in the yen is "extremely worrying", adding Tokyo will take action when necessary.

The remarks, which suggest Tokyo's possible market intervention, came after the Japanese unit surged to an 18-month high against the dollar in New York on Friday.

It extended the previous day's rally, which was boosted by a surprising monetary decision made by the Bank of Japan (BoJ).

On Thursday, the central bank shocked markets by failing to provide more stimulus, confounding expectations it would act after a double earthquake and a string of weak readings on the world's number three economy.

The dollar tumbled to 106.31 yen in New York at the end of last week, its lowest level since October 2014, from 108.11 yen.

The greenback had bought 111.78 yen in Tokyo before the BoJ announcement on Thursday.
Haruhiko Kuroda, Bank of Japan Governor "The yen strengthened by five yen in two days. Obviously one-sided and biased, so-called speculative moves are seen behind it," said Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso.

"It is extremely worrying," he said. The finance minister left on a trip, which will also take him to an annual Asian Development Bank meeting in Germany. "Tokyo will continue watching the market trends carefully and take actions when necessary," he added. A strong currency is damaging for Japan's exporting giants, such as Toyota and Sony, as it makes their goods more expensive overseas and shrinks the value of repatriated profits. Aso has reiterated that Japan could intervene in forex markets to stem the unit's steep rise, saying moves to halt the currency's "one-sided, speculative" rally would not breach a G20 agreement to avoid competitive currency devaluations. Japan last intervened in currency markets around November 2011, when it tried to stem the yen's rise against the greenback to keep an economic recovery on track after the quake-tsunami disaster earlier that year.






22 April 2016

UOB mighty app gets blocked on rooted android devices

If you are a UOB customer, you might have downloaded an installed their latest Google App from the App Store.

As spywares and backdoors are rampant among the Android smartphones, UOB took a step and blocks out users who are suspected of using rooted devices to access internet banking.

This is a good move as it protects both parties from the hackers.

A pop up will be displayed when your device is supposedly compromised.

Source


21 April 2016

INTEL will slash up to 12,000 jobs worldwide as it seeks to shake up its business to reduce dependence on the slumping personal computer market,

INTEL will slash up to 12,000 jobs worldwide as it seeks to shake up its business to reduce dependence on the slumping personal computer market, the United States tech giant said on Tuesday.

Known for its role as the leading PC chipmaker, it has in recent years been seeking to shift to mobile and emerging technologies.

The restructuring will cut about 11 per cent of the workforce by mid-2017 and aims to "accelerate evolution from a PC company to one that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices", it said.

"Our results over the last year demonstrate a strategy that is working and a solid foundation for growth," said chief executive Brian Krzanich.

"The opportunity now is to accelerate this momentum and build on our strengths."

Intel will be increasing investments in key growth areas, which include the range of smart home and other connected devices known as the "Internet of Things", as well as its data centres and computer memory operation.

Mr Krzanich has spoken frequently about the shift in computing and laid out his vision more than a year ago, telling the Consumer Electronics Show that the industry would be "unleashed" by wearables.

"So, computing becomes unwired and everything becomes smart and connected," he noted at the time.

Intel said the job cuts will come from "a combination of voluntary and involuntary departures" and a re-evaluation of its global operations.

It will set aside US$1.2 billion (S$1.6 billion) to cover the costs of the job reductions and expects the programme to save US$750 million this year and US$1.4 billion by mid-2017.

How to prevent Ransomware from installing in your system

Lately I heard of friends seeking help as their computers were affected by RansomWare. Ransomeware is some sort of backdoor application or script that is installed into your PC. They usually comes as attachements in ZIP files.

If you unknowingly installed it, it will execute the Windows Host Script and starts encrypting your important Documents, Excel spreadsheets etc.

When you try to open it, it will pop up a message asking you to pay to 'unlock' the important file.
Ransomware seems to be rampant these days. It not only encrypts your data files and ask you for money by holding you ransom for the important files. So, how can one avoid installing ransomware unknowingly?



So how do you prevent it ?

To resolve this, you can try to disable the Windows Host Script by following the instructions here by disabling the WSH in REGISTRY using REGEDIT.

Read more.



Catch the Latest, Hottest Content on StarHub Go Game of Thrones’ Season 6 to premiere concurrently with US Ramped up catalogue includes express titles from Asia, US and UK New intuitive features for an even more superior user experience

Catch the Latest, Hottest Content on StarHub Go
- Game of Thrones’ Season 6 to premiere concurrently with US
- Ramped up catalogue includes express titles from Asia, US and UK
- New intuitive features for an even more superior user experience

Singapore, 21 April 2016 – Fans of Game of Thrones are in for a real treat! The brand new season of HBO’s Emmy® Award-winning drama series returns on 25 April—with a whole new season of duplicity and treacheryconquest and triumph—and Singaporean audiences can catch all that exciting action on StarHub Go, at the same time it debuts in the US. This is thanks to an enhancement on the online video streaming service which features an even bigger and more current catalogue. Viewers can expect exclusive content ranging from top Asian broadcasters such as TVB, CJ Media, and Sanlih Entertainment Television to Hollywood’s finest networks like DreamWorks, HBO and Sony. Sports fans will be thrilled with ‘live’ sporting action from top drawer properties including UEFA Champions League and National Basketball League.

To ensure a superior user experience, the latest version of StarHub Go also offers new, intuitive features such as a search function, making finding content a fuss-free affair. Based on users’ past viewing preferences, the recommendation feature will highlight related entertainment options to customers. Watching TV will also become more social—users can share and comment on their favourite programmes with friends on the social media platform.

“StarHub Go is a personal online video service where customers can catch first-run series such as Sherlock and Orphan Black, watch the brand new season of Game of Thrones concurrently with their US counterparts, or simply indulge in hours of the latest hit Korean drama on their preferred smart devices,” expressed Ms Lin Shu Fen, Head, Family Segment & HubLife, StarHub. “To make the viewing experience even more enjoyable, we go one step further to ensure that StarHub Mobile Postpaid customers will not be charged for data usage while streaming their favourite content on StarHub Go. We will continue to expand the catalogue on StarHub Go, so that customers can be assured of always catching the latest and most compelling content here.”

Supersized Catalogue
There are myriad channels that can now be accessed via two packs on StarHub Go: Go Select and Go Sports. At $9.901 per month (including GST), the Go Select Pack will offer unlimited, on demand, commercial-free viewing of the best in US and British productions, the latest and hottest Asian dramas and variety shows, as well as intriguing documentaries and engaging kids programming. In addition to the latest season of Game of Thrones, anyone with a Hub ID can watch all of the five earlier seasons at no cost from now till April 30. Drama aficionados will appreciate the latest original productions from BBC First, including the critically acclaimed adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, all three seasons of Sherlock, the one-episode special, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride as well as the latest season of dramatic conspiracy series, Orphan Black—available within 24 hours after its original telecast.

Fans of Asian programming can catch TVB’s latest trial drama, My Dangerous Mafia Retirement Plan, concurrently with their Hong Kong counterparts on 25 April. The comedy drama sees popular silver screen actors Kent Cheng and Tommy Wong, making a comeback as a gang of old, retired triad bosses.  Meanwhile, popular Taiwanese artistes Aaron Yan and Joanne Tseng will delight fans in their latest idol drama Refresh Man, which will premiere on 23 April. Top-rated Chinese period dramas to catch include the currently showing Imperial Doctress and Nirvana in Fire, which will premiere on 16 May.  Alternatively, viewers can choose to kick back and relax with the latest Korean titles like Descendants of the Sun, Cheese in the Trap and MisaengVariety show junkies can look forward to top-grossing variety programmes from China and Taiwan such as If You Are The One, Mr Player, and Hot Door Night. For a touch of local delight, viewers can catch all StarHub’s original productions on StarHub Go, including Hear Me Sing, Singapore’s first online reality singing competition, which is currently underway.

The Go Sports Pack is perfect for sports fans to access top sporting ‘live’ action on the move. These include top drawer sports properties such as UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, La Liga, ATP World Tour, National Basketball Association and World Wrestling Entertainment on selected sports channels: beIN SPORTS HD, EuroSport, Setanta Sports as well as StarHub’s stable of self-packaged sports channels: SuperSports 1, SuperSports 2, SuperSports 3 and SuperSports 4. The Go Sports Pack is priced at an attractive $9.901 per month (including GST).
All StarHub  TV, Broadband and post-paid Mobile customers can enjoy the convenience of charging their StarHub Go Pack subscriptions to their existing monthly bills, while non-StarHub customers can pay for unlimited access with a 30-day StarHub Go pass via their credit cards. iOS users can now even subscribe to the Packs via the Apple App Store.  For a worry-free streaming experience, StarHub Mobile postpaid customers will not be charged for the use of their mobile data while consuming content on StarHub Go.
 For more information, please visit www.starhubgo.com.
 1Promotional price for Go Sports Pack is valid until 31 December 2016

23 March 2016

ASUS announces RP-AC68U the latest 802.11ac (AC1900) dual band WiFi repeater at S$259

ASUS announces RP-AC68U the latest 802.11ac (AC1900) dual band WiFi repeater at S$259

ASUS today announced RP-AC68U, its top-of-the-range 802.11ac (AC1900) dual-band Wi-Fi repeater. The compact and stylish RP-AC68U features four internal high-performance antennas (3 transmit, 4 receive) and allows users to easily extend coverage of an existing 802.11ac Wi-Fi network with ultra-fast speeds of up to 1900Mbps.
  

•             Powerful repeater extends an existing dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi network, with speeds up to 1900Mbps
•             Includes USB 3.0 port with 10-times (10X) faster data transfers than USB 2.0, with support for ASUS AiCloud
•             Five Gigabit Ethernet ports allow users to convert any wired network devices to wireless operation


AVAILABILITY & PRICING
Models
VM65N
Launch Price (SGD)
$259
Warranty
3 years
Availability
NOW!

Aspial Corp issues second retail bond at 5.3 percent per annum

For those who missed the first retail bond offered by Aspial Corporation 5.25% last year, you will have a chance to ballot the second round this year.

The four-year, S$75 million issuance pays annual interest of 5.3 per cent, one of the highest rates rolled out here in years.

Aspial's latest issuance will set aside S$50 million for public offer, with a minimum investment of S$2,000 per application. A S$25 million placement tranche - for institutional investors - will require at least S$100,000 per application.

The offer opens at 9am Wednesday and closes at 12 noon on March 30. Aspial can expand the issue size to a maximum of S$200 million if the offer is over-subscribed.

A 5.3 per cent annual payout, or coupon rate, is step up from Aspial's first issuance in August last year, when the jeweller and property firm rolled out a five-year, S$150 million issuance with a 5.25 per cent coupon rate.

Both coupon rates sit at the very top of the current crop of Singdollar retail corporate bonds.

"The return is certainly very attractive, as is usual with non-investment grade offering," CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang said, referring to the fact that Aspial is not credit-rated. "Individual investors will have to decide based on their risk appetite. But for a company to hit the retail bond market now makes sense, given that the interest rate uncertainties have dropped after the Federal Reserve said only two rate hikes are on the cards this year."

Those interested can apply through ATM machines from $2000 onwards or buy the corporate version at S$100,000 per lot from issuing parties. Do note that this is a high yield unrated bond which will mature in 4 year's time. The older retail bond at 5.25% is trading slightly below par at 0.995 cents which gives a yield of more than 5.25% right now.

Will you apply for this retail bond?

24 January 2016

Watch LIVE 7000 using Kodi. Instructions within video

If you have been wondering how to watch LIVE tv using KODI. This video shows you the step by step instruction to configure your KODI client for PC or Android.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kdykVD05wY

31 October 2015

An Analysis of Top 20 counters of SGX (Friday 30th Oct 2015)

An Analysis of Top 20 counters of SGX (Friday 30th Oct 2015)

Predictions of what will happen on Monday.

Disclaimer: This is my prediction and I do not hold any responsibilities if you end up with a bad trade or lose money based on the prediction.

^ - up , v - down , -- maintain

Yuuzoo ^
Noble v
Spackman --
StratechGroup ^
Ezra v
Golden Agri --
Singtel v
Genting SG v
Loyz Energy v
Hu An Cable v
Blumont v
HPH Trust --
CapitalLand v
MMP Resources v
Rowsley --
Global Logistics v
Magnus Energy --
DairyFarm USD  ^
Adventus v
OCBC v
ThaiBEV --
Wilmar Intl --
Ezion ^
APAC Strategic ^

Which counter do you trade?

26 October 2015

Oxley 5% retail bond, maturity 2019

If you thought Fixed Deposit rates of 1.9% is high enough, perhaps you have overlooked at retail bonds which gives you a better edge better than those 10 yrs NTUC or Tokio Marine insurance savings plans.

Lately, there are a couple of retail bonds available and it is definitely a god send for savers. Singapore Savings Bond has a 10 yrs period an averages 2.7% pa over 10 years which is very safe AAA investment in Government bonds.

So, what about corporate ones. Well, we already have 3 launches this year - Frasers 7 years @ 3.65% in May this year, Aspial 5 years @ 5.25% around August, and Perennial 3 yrs @ 4.65%  (the latest just on board SGX).

The new kid on the block, and that's Oxley holdings. So far, little details are out other than it has $100 million will be issued to the general public and $25 million will be for institutional investors, with DBS as the book runner for the bond.

At 5%, if you put in a 100K, that would mean you will be collecting S$5000 per year or S$416 per mth (note dividends are paid every 6 months).

As it is a 4 years retail bond, it should be relatively safe as Oxley holdings holds several residential/industrial/commercial properties in Singapore (about 80% of which are freehold) and some in London, Cambodia and China. Didn't look through the annual report much, but at the very least they are making money in 2013 and 2014.

So, will you go for it? Comment below.

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