27 December 2016

Is it worth putting money in POSB SAYE for the 2% pa interest

Came across this SAYE on POSB website lately and I thought I found a gem to place my funds. It is only looking through the illustration, I found out that the effective interest rate is almost half of the so called 2% pa interest.

How this scheme works is that you open an account and credit your salary monthly for 2 years. Every mth, they will credit a base interest of 0.1% pa  and a 2% pa interest on the cumulated amount.

The illustration shows that a person banks in every beginning of the month with S$100. After 24 months, his accumulated amount is S$2400. the base interest accumulated is $1.25 and the additional bonus (2% pa) is $50.06. Total interest over 2 yrs is 51.31.

Dividing 51.31 over $2400 gives you 2.1379% over 2 yrs. That equates to only 1.068% pa interest if you have placed the $2400 in a Fixed Deposit which yields a 1.5% pa. (2 yrs of 1.5% will yield $36 annually, 2 yrs will generate $72).

If the amount is too small for you to see the difference, we can easily magnify it ten 10 times. Depositing $24000 for 2 yrs will yield $720 after 2 yrs. If you credit $1000 dollars over 24 months, total yield will be $513.1.

You would argue that you don't have a lump sum. If that is the case, you might be better off placing the funds in Std Chart e-saver account which generates 1.25% pa.

Tell us what you think.

23 December 2016

Intel Corporation (INTC) ? Is it a good buy ?

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) will report its next earnings on Jan 12 – Jan 16 (Est.). The company reported the earnings of $0.8/Share in the last quarter where the estimated EPS by analysts was $0.73/share. The difference between the expected and actual EPS was $0.07/share, which represents an Earnings surprise of 9.6%.

Many analysts are providing their Estimated Earnings analysis for Intel Corporation and for the current quarter 30 analysts have projected that the stock could give an Average Earnings estimate of $0.75/share. These analysts have also projected a Low Estimate of $0.71/share and a High Estimate of $0.79/share.

In case of Revenue Estimates, 32 analysts have provided their consensus Average Revenue Estimates for Intel Corporation as 15.73 Billion. According to these analysts, the Low Revenue Estimate for Intel Corporation is 15.66 Billion and the High Revenue Estimate is 16.2 Billion. The company had Year Ago Sales of 14.91 Billion.

These analysts also forecasted Growth Estimates for the Current Quarter for INTC to be 1.4%. They are projecting Next Quarter growth of 13%. For the next 5 years, Intel Corporation is expecting Growth of 10% per annum, whereas in the past 5 years the growth was 3.88% per annum.

Some buy side analysts are also providing their Analysis on Intel Corporation, where 0 analysts have rated the stock as Strong buy, 0 analysts have given a Buy signal, 0 said it’s a HOLD, 0 reported it as Underperform and 0 analysts rated the stock as Sell. (These Recommendations are for the Current Month Only reported by Yahoo Finance.)

When it comes to the Analysis of a Stock, Price Target plays a vital role. 35 Analysts reported that the Price Target for Intel Corporation might touch $46 high while the Average Price Target and Low price Target is $39.89 and $25 respectively.

To analyze a stock, one should look for Upgrades and Downgrades of a stock. Intel Corporation got Initiated on 13-Dec-16 where investment firm Loop Capital Initiated the stock to Buy.

Intel Corporation closed its last trading session at $36.31 with the gain of 1.6%. The Market Capitalization of the company stands at 177.13 Billion. The Company has 52-week high of $38.36 and 52-week low of $27.68. The stock’s current distance from 20-Day Simple Moving Average (SMA20) is 4.21% where SMA50 and SMA200 are 4.34% and 10.29% respectively. The Company Touched its 52-Week High on Oct 10, 2016 and 52-Week Low on Feb 11, 2016.

The Relative Volume of the company is 0.86 and Average Volume (3 months) is 21.73 million. Intel Corporation P/E (price to earnings) ratio is 17.34 and Forward P/E ratio of 13.12.

The company shows its Return on Assets (ROA) value of 9.7%. The Return on Equity (ROE) value stands at 16.8%. While it’s Return on Investment (ROI) value is 13.6%.

Intel is slated to launch it's 200 series chipsets at CES 2017.


22 December 2016

DBS Vickers maintains a BUY call for MM2 ASIA Target price 56 cents

DBS Vickers Securities is maintaining its “buy” call on mm2 Asia, the films and TV production house, with a target price of 56 cents. This comes after the successful listing of UnUsUal as well as after mm2 reported a net profit of $8.9 million for 1H17, nearly double from the previous year.

Looking ahead, DBS analyst Ling Lee Keng anticipates the group’s increasing focus on North Asia, and expects the region to contribute over 70% of core revenue from FY17F, up from 23% in FY16.”

“The successful listing of UnUsUal, which mm2 acquired at 10.2x PE back in February 2016, would enable mm2 to crystallise gains and unlock value,” Ling adds.

mm2 in November proposed the acquisition of 13 cinemas in Malaysia, which will increase its total number of owned cinema screens in the country to 133.

Aside from building a source of recurring income, Ling believes the acquisition will enable mm2 to “scale up for better synergies and cost savings”, as well as propel the group to become a top four player in Malaysia from FY18F onwards.

“mm2 will continue to expand in the area of new media content. With an Over-thetop (OTT) content platform in development and the recent proposed acquisition of RINGS.TV to offer more diverse content and an additional platform for broadcast, mm2 is in a position to produce, distribute and exhibit transmedia content and enter new market segments,” asserts the analyst.

Shares of mm2 are trading at 43 cents. It has already cross the moving average. Target 44.5c followed by 47c, 49c, 55c.

20 November 2016

Will the 4th telco eat up the market share of current 3 telcos with M1 being affected the most ?

Will the 4th telco eat up the marketshare of current 3 telcos with M1 being affected the most ? I beg to differ.

The reason is simple. A new telco needs time to evolve. Even if they have the license and start to accept subscriptions, a lot of customers would still be stucked with their 2 yrs contract. Furthermore, no one will probably want to switch to a new telco and be tied down to two yrs of uncertain network coverage with the new telco.

When MyRepublic indicated that it intends to be data centric and offer cheap data plans, the 3 telcos reacted. M1 started the MySIM plan which is well received and Starhub and Singtel followed. Will these plans eat into the underlying profits ? Yes it may. Don't forget the incumbent also has the large prepaid subscribers which the new telco might not be pursuing.

Lately the share price of M1 and Starhub has taken a beating and has broken multi year low. Will it continue to drop ? I suspect a base of 1.8 for M1 and 2.8 for Starhub,

Once the dust is settled and the 4th telco announced, the share price should stabilize and quarterly reports showing profits, share price will probably rebound strongly. Who knows a 4th telco might be delayed due to economy downtturn. Lastly, M1 might just delist.since the market is full of shorities and traders and not investors.

10 November 2016

Stocks, bonds, USD rallies after Donald Trump is elected as 45th President of the United States

Looks like all the so called doomsday analysts are all wrong. They kept on talk about a Black Swan. 2 days ago, a media even published an article saying that if Donald Trump wins the election, Europe market will plunge by 10%.
All didn't happen! In fact, the sell down reversed and rocketed up. US S&P, NASDAQ, DOW JONES all turned positive overnight.
STI opened today Up +35 points. We are back to the previous day levels before the US elections. USD also shot up, the current exchange rate is 1 USD = 1.3990 SGD.
As Trump economic policy is protectionism, I foresee more funds will be pulled out from Asia and back to US. In the mid term, USD will rise with the upcoming rate hike and more rate hikes in 2017. (don't blame me if it doesn't happen).

07 November 2016

Singpost bad result resulted in a plunge of share price on 11 Sep 2016

The results were announced last weekend and it wasn't that fantastic. It reported a 41.2% fall in 2Q earnings to $31.4 million from a year ago due to the absence of one-off divestment gains which boosted the bottomline a year ago.

Revenue rose 22.3% to $321.7 million, thanks to contributions from new subsidiaries. Revenue from postal services and logistics was relatively stable at $127 million and $154 million.This resulted in a plunge in price of the share despite Alibaba increased it's stake in Singpost.

Price has pierced down to 1.55 and now it is back to 1.57. If it breaks 1.56, it might test 1.53 then 1.49. No matter what, this stock is still up trending.

05 November 2016

M1 stock price is all time low. Is it time to accumulate ?

The announcement of the 4th telco is being pushed back for another 4 weeks (total of 8 weeks) shows that the regulator is probably thinking if it is the right time to allow a 4th Telco to enter the market.

M1, the smallest telco share price has been dropping since the 3 bidders have entered the race for the 4th telco license.

Will M1 be able to reverse the trend with more buying strength and shorties get caught off surprise?

Below is a chart which you can clearing see the BUY signal at 2.06.

Today's Chart

11 October 2016

Get $1 or $2 rebates when you top up your MRT card using UOB credit/debit card at any General Ticketing Machine

Get $1 or $2 rebates when you top up your MRT card using UOB credit/debit card at any General Ticketing Machine.

Top up your CEPAS Card with UOB Credit/Debit Cards at any General Ticketing Machine, no additional processing fees.
S$1 rebate when you top up S$40 with your UOB MasterCard/Visa Cards
S$2 rebate when you top up S$40 with your UOB MasterCard/Visa Cards on UOB Mighty/Apple Pay

Promotion is valid from 1 July to 31 December 2016 only. Valid with UOB MasterCard or Visa Card only. Limited to the first 20,000 eligible UOB MasterCard Cardmembers and the first 20,000 eligible UOB Visa Cardmembers who made a single top-up amounting to S$40 at any General Ticketing Machine (GTM) and which is successfully charged to the eligible card account and captured/posted on UOB's systems within promotional period. Limited to one (1) cash rebate per month per eligible Cardmember. The cash rebate will be credited to the eligible Cardmember's qualifying eligible Card account within three (3) months after the end of the qualifying month, or on such other date as UOB Cards may decide on from time to time. Other terms and conditions apply. Click here for full terms and conditions.


31 August 2016

POST Luxembourg and Singapore Post ink eCommerce logistics collaboration

POST Luxembourg and Singapore Post ink eCommerce logistics collaboration

 Customers of POST Luxembourg and SingPost will benefit from comprehensive end-to-end  eCommerce logistics solutions between Asia and Europe

Mr Sam Ang, Chief Executive Officer of Quantium Solutions, and Mrs Hjoerdis Stahl, Director of POST Courier,  sign a strategic collaboration agreement between POST Luxembourg and SingPost to provide comprehensive  end-to-end eCommerce logistics solutions between Asia and Europe. 

Singapore and Luxembourg, 31 August 2016 – POST Luxembourg and Singapore Post Limited (SingPost) today signed a strategic collaboration agreement to provide comprehensive end-to-end eCommerce logistics solutions between Asia and Europe. Come end-September 2016, POST Luxembourg will be a new European gateway for SingPost and SingPost will be POST Luxembourg’s new gateway to Asia. With this, customers of POST Luxembourg and

SingPost can expect better and faster delivery of eCommerce shipments between the two continents.

The collaboration will strengthen POST Luxembourg’s logistics business, as part of a strategy to diversify its activities, by developing new customers and services. It will enhance growth and optimisation of SingPost’s eCommerce logistics capabilities in Europe.

Both POST Luxembourg’s and SingPost’s customers will enjoy end-to-end tracking of eCommerce shipments. Delivery times will also be more predictable. All of these are expected to increase customer satisfaction. 

Mr Mervyn Lim, Covering Group Chief Executive Officer of SingPost, said: “Our collaboration with POST Luxembourg will boost our presence, capabilities and eCommerce logistics network in Europe. POST Luxembourg’s strategic location in the heart of the continent, and its excellent relationship with the customs authorities, will benefit our customers and their businesses. This collaboration underscores SingPost’s strength in forging close working ties with partners around the world that enhance our global eCommerce logistics ecosystem.” 

Mr Claude Strasser, Chief Executive Officer of POST Luxembourg, said: “It was important for us to find a strategic partner covering the entire Asian territory. We will benefit from SingPost’s access to the Asian market and it allows us to attract European eCommerce customers with a true value proposition.” 

About POST Luxembourg

POST Luxembourg operates postal, financial and telecom services. POST is the leader in Luxembourg in postal and telecom services. Beside its telecom activities, the Group POST Luxembourg aims to consolidate its position as leader in the postal services and develop its logistic and e-commerce related platforms. 

Created in 1842, POST Luxembourg is backed by the Luxembourgish State and plays a key role in the national economy. The Group POST Luxembourg, with its 22 subsidiaries and more than 4,000-member workforce, is the main employer in Luxembourg.

More information on: www.postgroup.lu and www.post.lu.

About Singapore Post Limited

For over 150 years, Singapore Post (SingPost) as the country's postal service provider, has been delivering trusted and reliable services to homes and businesses in Singapore.

Today, SingPost is pioneering and leading in eCommerce logistics as well as providing innovative mail and logistics solutions in Singapore and around the world, with operations in 19 markets.

Building on its trusted communications through domestic and international postal services, SingPost is taking the lead in end-to-end integrated and digital mail solutions. The suite of SingPost eCommerce logistics solutions includes front end web management, warehousing and fulfilment, last mile delivery and international freight forwarding.


SingPost has been listed on the Main Board of the Singapore Exchange since 2003. The market capitalisation of SingPost stood at S$3.53 billion as of 31 March 2016. The company has a strong credit rating of A-/Stable by Standard & Poor's.

16 June 2016

Standard Chartered Bank Bonus$saver reduce bonus from 1.88% to 0.88% pa for $500 spent on card for the first $100,000 dollars, spending up to $2000 on card will issue a bonus of 1.88% pa

Standard Chartered Bank Bonus$aver was one of the innovative products with chequing facility by the bank to lure customers to spend and get a higher per annum interest on it's first 25,000 dollars deposited.

With more options available from Bank Of China (up to 3.55% pa), Maybank (up to 3%), UOB , HSBC, OCBC 360, the Bonus$aver doesn't seem to be that attractive even with a mere 1.88% pa for the first 25,000 deposited.

The change in Jul 2016 will make it even worse. The only bright side is that it increased the ADB to 100,000. That is to say, if you spend S$500 on your debit card, you get paid 0.88% pa of the first 100,000 in your account (previously was 1.88% of first 25,000).

If you spend S$2000 on the card, you will get 1.88% of the first 100,000.

I' am not keen on the low interest rate. Will you be switching?

Important Changes to Bonus$aver Product Terms

With effect from 1 July 2016, we are revising our Bonus$aver Product Terms to introduce:
  1. a two-tiered card spend to replace the existing single-tier card spend;
  2. different bonus interest rates for eligible card spend;
  3. a higher cap on the Average Daily Balance (ADB) in your Bonus$aver Account for which bonus interest may be earned; and
  4. additional transactions that will be excluded from qualifying retail transactions, and will not be taken into consideration in determining whether you have fulfilled the requirement of minimum card spend.

Revisions to the existing Bonus$aver Product Terms

  1. Two-tiered card spend – (i) different bonus interest rates (for card spend) and (ii) higher ADB

    The current Bonus$aver offers you up to 1.88% p.a. interest on the first S$25,000 of Average Daily Balance (ADB)1 in your Bonus$aver Account when you charge a minimum eligible card spend of S$500 per month to your linked Bonus$aver Card.

    From 1 July 2016, you can earn up to 1.88% p.a. interest on the first S$100,000 of ADB in your Bonus$aver Account when you charge at least S$2,000 per month on eligible retail transactions to your linked Bonus$aver Card.

    Alternatively, you can still earn up to 0.88% p.a. interest on your ADB capped at S$100,000 (up from S$25,000) if you maintain a minimum eligible card spend of at least S$500 per month.

Minimum eligible card spend per monthPrevailing Interest + Bonus Interest (for card spend only)Maximum ADB on which Bonus Interest may be earnedMaximum interest earned (for card spend only)
Current Bonus$averS$5001.88% p.a.S$25,000S$470
New Bonus$aver
(from 1 July 2016)

0.88% p.a.

1.88% p.a.


1Average Daily Balance or ADB means the sum of end-of-day account balances of all days in a particular calendar month, divided by the number of days in that month.
  1. Transactions that do not qualify for bonus interest earned on card spend

From 1 July 2016, we will revise the list of excluded transactions to include additional categories. The following excluded transactions are not qualifying retail transactions and will not be taken into consideration when determining your eligibility for bonus interest for card spend:

  • transactions arising from the use of your linked Bonus$aver cards as an ATM card at an ATM or at an EFTPOS or NETS terminal;
  • balance transfers to your Bonus$aver card;
  • EasyPay monthly instalments;
  • online bill payments;
  • income tax payments;
  • payments to loans or credit facilities or deposit accounts;
  • payments to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, Ministry of Manpower and Land Transport Authority;
  • EZ-link card transactions and other transit link transactions;
  • top-ups of any stored value facility;
  • AXS payments;
  • any fees and charges (including annual fees, interest charges, cheque processing fees, administrative fees, cash advance fees, finance charges and/or late payment charges and other miscellaneous fees and charges) charged to your linked Bonus$aver card;
  • any amount charged to your linked Bonus$aver card in that calendar month that is subsequently cancelled, voided or reversed;
  • balance owing on your linked Bonus$aver card from previous or other months; and
  • any other amount charged to your linked Bonus$aver card as we may determine from time to time
Unless otherwise specified, all other terms and conditions relating to your Bonus$aver Account remain unchanged and continue to be binding on you.

When will the changes be effective? How will the changes affect me?

If you continue holding the Bonus$aver Account with us from 1 July 2016, these changes will apply to your Bonus$aver Account with effect from 1 July 2016.

Where do I obtain copies of the revised terms?

You may obtain a copy of our revised Bonus$aver Product Terms on our website here from 1 July 2016. Alternatively, you may also call our 24-hour Client Contact Centre at 1800 747 7000 or visit any of our branches to request for hard copies of the revised Bonus$aver Product Terms from 1 July 2016.

Who can I call if I have questions on these changes?

If you have any questions on the changes, please call our 24-hour Client Contact Centre at 1800 747 7000 or visit any of our branches. For Priority Banking customers, you may wish to contact your Relationship Manager or call our 24-hour Priority Contact Centre at 1800 846 8000.
Deposit Insurance Scheme
Singapore dollar deposits of non-bank depositors are insured by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation, for up to S$50,000 in aggregate per depositor per Scheme member by law. Foreign currency deposits, dual currency investments, structured deposits and other investment products are not insured.

06 June 2016

Seagate ST8000VN0002 NAS drive Review

Seagate ST8000VN0002 NAS drive Review

Seagate ST8000VN0002 is not your normal desktop Hard Disk. It is a hard disk that is meant for a network access storage (NAS). As a NAS is the central data store for a small home office or the 'cloud' storage of family members, it is important that such data are readily backup in the form of a RAID array. In addition, the the HDD in question should have 24 x 7 realiability.

Some end users will say, why bother with a NAS drive, we could just use 2 x normal high capacity to do the daily backups. Normal HDD do have a lower mean time between failure (MTBF) which might not be suitable for such a task. You wouldn't want to keep swapping HDD every few months in order to keep the files in proper integrity.

NAS drive used to be slower in it's speed in terms of it's revolution per minute (RPM). Most of them should be rated at 5400 RPM and comes with a 64 MB cache. Seagate's NAS drive ST8000VN0002 features a 7200 RPM spindle speed, 256 MB DRAM cache with SATA 6Gbps interface. According to the specfications, it is said to be able to ustain at a maximum speed of 216 MB/s media to cache transfer rate.

It also has a MTBF of 1M hours which is closer to an enterprise class which usually rates it at 1.2M hours. In addition, Seagate NASworks technology improves the realibility by tuning drive features to deliver higher performance, superior reliability and inter operability with popular NAS enclosures. The drive comes with an optional 3 years +Rescue Data Recovery Service plan for peace of mind as it protects again data loss in any RAID environment such as human error or handling accident.

Spec Sheet

According the Spec. Sheet, the drive is supported on 1 to 8 bays and comes with Dual Plane Balance. It has a sustained transfer rate of 216 MB/s - a very impressive speed for a HDD.


How does this drive compare to existing HDD and NAS drives? First, we will check out it's performance of 216 MB/s is achievable.

We will first use our fastest desktop series WD VelociRaptor 1TB HDD WD1000DHTZ which has a 10K RPM to do a comparison using two benchmarks.

PC used is a Gigabyte Z97 motherboard with an Intel 4770K processor with 8GB on board DDR3-2400. The HDD are connected to the SATA 6Gbps port for the test.


The results are a pleasant surprise for me. A score of 239MB/s for read an 234.7 MB/s for write. That is even higher than the 216 MB/s spelt out in the spec sheet.

Although it runs at 7200 RPM versus the WD at 10000 RPM, it still exceeded the performance. in sequential read / write and even 4K tests.

ATTO Disk Benchmark

As for ATTO Disk Benchmark, the results clearly shows that at whether it is a small or bigger block transfers, the NAS drive from Seagate actually outperform the fastest 10K RPM HDD by almost 30% (64MB block).

The HDD are installed into the Synology DS213, a 2 Bay NAS with Gigabit Ethernet connection to the same PC directly. The Synology drive recognises the HDD and asked it to be initialised into the various configurations.

The default which is Synology Hybrid RAID was used to initialise the drives. After which, we have to install the DSM 6.0 downloaded from Synology website before we can begin in our tests.

We will be comparing the Seagate ST8000VN0002 with 2 Western Digital RED drives WD30EFRX in terms of performance in read write file transfer.

Using the Synology Assistant, we mapped the drive to Z:\. After which used the software TeraCopy to transfer the files (from Windows 10 installation USB stick ~ 3GB) to the NAS storage. TeraCopy will record the average transfer rate and time it took to do the transfer.

Next, we do the reverse, copying the folders from Z:\ back to the PC and record the TeraCopy transfer speed and time.

Below is a screen shot of TeraCopy followed by a chart showing the MB/s transfer rate.

In both read from and write to the NAS, the Seagate is faster than the WD30EFRX, this could be due to two factors, the faster RPM and secondly the larger cache.

Dark Green : Reading from NAS
Light Green : Writing to NAS


Next, we used DiskSpd, a command line utility to test the speeds of connected periperhals. It will test the speed, latency, I/O per sec etc based on samples generated. In this test, we used a mixture of 30% / 70 % of read / write.

The Block size is set to 8K and it will run for 60 secs with hardware and software caching turned off. There will be 2 overlapped IO and 4 threads per target with random 30% writes and 70% read with a 50MB test file.

Here are the results :

We can see from the results, the Seagate experience less latency during the tests. The lower the latency the better the transfer rate.

When we talk about I/O, the I/O per sec based on the test set is necessary to determine the performance of the target. In this case, both HDDs were tested under the same environment. It is very apparent that the higher the I/O per sec, the quicker it is. 

The difference is almost 20%.

The concurrent Read and Write (70/30) of the 50MB test file gave a more realistic representation of the actual transfer speeds in real world. 

Again, we see that the transfer rate of the Seagate is faster at 35.83 MB/s compared to 29.87 MB/s on the WD NAS drives.


HDD has always been the defacto mass storage media for data centres, NAS or PCs. As storage becomes larger, the more we should look for a HDD that has a higher MTBF and higher speed of transfer.

Seagate ST8000VN0002 seems to meet the requirements of today's NAS, with higher capacity of 8TB and 7200 RPM plus 256MB cache with faster speed than before.

Within the NAS enclosure, the ST8000VN0002 is a bit louder and warmer than the WD RED drives.  As we can see from the NAS management console, the temperature runs from 32 deg C to 42 deg Celsius idling for half an hour. The temperature should come down if the NAS is placed in a colder room.

For a similar price, the Seagate would be better value for money.
The Seagate ST8000VN0002 now retails at USD 375 on Amazon USA store. There is a shipping fee of $15.19 . On the other hand the closest rival 8TB from WD Red 8TB NAS 5400RPM WD80EFZX retails for $335.85.

31 May 2016

Standard Chartered to raise minimum brokerage charge to S$10 per trade

Standard Chartered Online Brokerage has been one of the favourite brokerage by most traders. This is because SCB offers a no. minimum commission charge for any buy or sell orders.

That is to say, you can now save costs by buying a 100 shares as it won't slap you with a minimum charge of S$25 to S$27.50 depending on brokerage house. Not only that the commision is also lower at 0.18% or 0.20% compared to 0.25% to 0.275/0.28% on other brokerages.

Unfortunately, this is coming to an end in Jul 2016. From 1st August 2016, Standard Chartered will be charging personal banking customers of SGD 10, HKD100 or USD 10 for various trades in the respective currencies.

The brokerage fee remains at 0.18% for Priority Customer and 0.20% for Personal Banking Clients.

Shares bought using the SCB platform is custodian by Standard Chartered and you cannot sell it through other brokers as the shares are not held by CDP.. Custodian fees is remain FREE.

Alternatively, you can transfer your shares out to another broker if you feel that you can get a better fee than Standard Chart. Let me know if you know of any.

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




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


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

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.

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.