Friday, February 21, 2014

Find out how much you save when you drive to Johor Bahru (JB) for petrol

50% cheaper?

Did someone tell you that Malaysia's petrol is at 50% discount as compared to Singapore?  It is as attractive as the Great Singapore Sales (GSS)!!!

With this belief, many are faithfully and patiently queuing up driving north just to top up petrol believing that they are saving money especially when the exchange rate is at Singapore's favour.  Especially now with S$1 = RM 2.61.

Indeed, petrol is termed as the black gold and the world's supply of petroleum is now lower than the world's demand.  Though Singapore is a world famous refinery centre of oil, the selling price of petrol is more than twice of its neighbouring countries.

Unfortunately, this may not be true if you check your wallet at the end of the month, the saving may even be LESS. Why?

Worth or not?


While you stop and move in jams when coming back to Singapore, have you wondered if it is worthwhile to drive up just to pump petrol and back?  Are they worth the 3 hours (inclusive of dinner) you spent in jams?

Every cars are different but the transport costs are similar:
  1. Travel from home/office to JB and back still consume petrol for the car.  If you stay in Woodlands, consider yourself lucky but for those who stay in Changi, you are paying more to drive to JB;
  2. Costs of tolls in both Singapore and Malaysia customs (PLUS card).  For second link, you have to pay again when you are driving back to Singapore;
  3. 3/4 tank legal requirement for Singaporean vehicle driving out of Singapore; and
  4. Fuel efficiency of your vehicle plays an important part especially if you are caught in jam.  With engine and air-con running, petrol are still being consumed even if the car is at a halt.
So there must be a purpose if you wish to drive north for petrol else the cons might outweigh the pros.

Classic examples

For instance, Alex (blog: http://loganized.blogspot.sg/2011/05/pumping-petrol-in-malaysia-how-much-do.html) was surprised that he had a saving of S$3.13 for a May trip in 2011.  If you look closely, he is gaining virtually nothing as he failed to factor in the toll charges imposed by both customs (~S$2.50).

If he wasted 2 hours in the jam, there is literally no saving if we factor in the depreciation of the car and its parts in the long run. There are many who have similar experiences and continue to drive in like Alex.  Are you one of them?

Some employed tilting of cars in attempts to pump more petrol (URL: http://www.sgwayoflife.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1536).  It claimed that pump attendants said the total saving is S$1.30 to S$2.20 for small/mid cars and S$4 for MPVs.  Is this working for you?

In Perspective


Instead of guessing and listening blindly, it is good for us to know what are the actual savings we have if we just go JB for petrol.  We are pleased to offer you a one-time offer to calculate your savings.

Click HERE or go to this website: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1o1TqtW4k336xeq-RfodBQZFoj_4GZMdOuJgULv_JTcI/viewform.

Please give us 3 working days to get back to you as we are not working full time on this blog.

Know your mileage. Know you savings.  We hope everyone can benefit from this exercise.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

SSD vs HDD – Why you should choose SSD over HDD for Win7?

Before you buy i7 and the best graphic card in the market, read this.

I know desktops are dying and are currently being replaced by tablets and mobile phones.  But I believe they will last for another 10 years as they fill the vacuum between server and mobile phone where we need reasonably strong computing power and a big screen comfortable to the eyes.  On the side note, in the long run, I predict many youngsters will develop arthritis, wrist/thumb issues and short sightedness as they relentlessly try to “break” the Corning’s gorilla glass while playing their game or replying messages.

Coming back to the topic, costs for desktop are dropping dramatically and it is realistic to buy a desktop (without a monitor) with a budget of S$600.  If you have a comfortable budget for S$1,000, then you must consider adding a Solid State Disk (SSD) into your system to remove the biggest bottleneck of any computer.  I also strong recommend this if you wish to upgrade your notebook hard disk.  Let me share the generic advantages of SSD:
  1. Withstand shock and vibration because there are no mechanical parts.  For a notebook, it implies you can drop notebook on the floor and your data is still intact;
  2. It saves power consumption as it draws only 1 Watt instead of 6-8 Watt (quite little as compared to 300 Watt video card);
  3. You enjoy faster startup or boot up speed; and
  4. Most importantly, your computer works faster.
How fast?  Is SSD worth it?

If you are getting a low-end or budget PC, forget about SSD.  But if you can chalk up S$1k, why not spend another $150 to speed up the slowest component of your desktop?  The question is how fast?

If you take a standard 7200rpm HDD versus a low-end Intel X25-M SSD, you can see that SSD outperforms HDD in all aspects especially in random read speed.


HDD (Mbps)
SSD (Mbps)
SSD over HDD (times)
Sequential Read
77
260
3.38
Sequential Write
80
107
1.34
Random Read
0.7
64
91.43
Random Write
0.8
48
60

Now, sequential is useful for transfer, copy or move files of large size.  The faster the sequential speed, the shorter you wait.  Three time faster means time saving and you can feel it in real time.  For operating system, the key indicator of a responsive system is RANDOM WRITE.  SSD performs 60x faster so it is significant in real world.

All you need for a SSD is put an operating system (like Windows 7) into it.  If you install a new Windows 7, you will notice you need approximately 12GB of space.  However, Windows will grow due to its reserved space, restored point or buffers over time.  You may also add frequently used applications for faster speed.  Buffering what you need, you do not need 128GB or 240GB SSD.  If you tap on cloud storage, 30GB or 40GB is sufficed.  You can add 1TB or 3TB as additional storage.  For notebook, you may want a bigger SSD as there is only one slot for 2.5” HDD.

What take the trouble of getting small SSD?  The reason is simple – SSD is expensive.

Dell has an article about why they find SSD is too pricy and they offer no SSD online in Singapore.  NAND flash pricing has dipped significantly over the years since the invention of usb drives and the popularity of iPhone, iPad and all NAND flash devices.  The price point may remain stagnant due to the loyalties of the flash inventors as there is a minimum price point they are looking at.  But the higher capacity flash will definitely be cheaper in the long run or the patent expires.

Web-Feet Research has been following on the trend of SSD and below is the summary:

Cents/MB
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
Diff
HDD
0.139
0.111
0.091
0.077
0.06
0.04
71.2%
SSD
34.7
18.6
9.6
5.1
2.6
1.2
96.5%
*: Prediction

From 2004 to 2009, SSD’s pricing fell more than HDD’s.  Still bigger HDD can never win SSD in any performance tests.  So SSD has the unique selling point – better user experience.  No tweaking or optimizing of any HDD can outperform a budget SSD.

Okay. What is the catch?

SSD has limited write cycles and frequent writes will kill it faster.  Getting a SSD with trim working under a supportive operating system (ie Windows 7) which optimizes and recognizes SSD is important to prolong its life.  Preventing excessive writes in SSD is also important so disabling restore point and saving files in C drive etc will definitely help.

After you have used SSD, there is no turning back or regret.  I promise.  All your programs are running in steroid mode!  With SSD, it is faster with i5 over i7 (without SSD).  Vice versa, the fastest graphic card cannot remove the bottleneck the HDD inherits.  So get a SSD rather than i7 or the fast graphic card.

If you have some time or extra cash, you may like to pair 2 SSDs in RAID 0 for a 10 sec boot up.  Meanwhile, download SSD Tweaker for easy configuration in Windows 7.  Do share if you have other tips on SSD.