The Octavius Maximus build: One month on

It’s been a month since I last built my new PC RIG with a new AMD CPU, the AMD Ryzen 2700x. Along the way, I also had to get a new motherboard for the CPU, an ATX sized motherboard, which led to me having to change the CPU case to fit the new motherboard. I got the Fractal Design Meshify C case with dark tint tempered glass and the whole set up looks sweet. Impulsively, I bought another pair of G.Skill Trident Z RGB ram sticks to fill up all 4 ram slots and the whole set up is now complete.

One month on and this thing flies. Like seriously. I never thought that I could actually feel the difference in speed and responsiveness of just using the PC for day-to-day tasks compared to my previous build (Intel i5-6600) but I could actually feel the difference. This rig works like a beast. It’s like comparing a Mercedes to a monster struck. The difference is almost night and day. For the first time, I could play Assassin’s Creed Origins at 1440p 60FPS ultra settings where ever I am in the game world. Previously, I had trouble hitting 60fps in densely populated areas of the game, like city centres. The game is a CPU resource hog. Now, with the new Ryzen CPU 8 core, 16 threads, it simply crunches everything the game has to offer. I am not seeing on average just 50% CPU utilization on all cores while playing the game, as compared to 100% on just 4 cores available from my previous rig. The CPU was definitely the bottleneck in this game and I was right after upgrading the CPU.

Right now, I am extremely happy with my new build. I am now just waiting for the launch of the new Nvidia GPUs in a couple of months’ time. I am excited as to the performance increase the new GPU can push through compared to current generation GPU.

On other news, my MacBook Pro is officially one year old! How do I know? I realised I was paying the last monthly instalments for the notebook a couple of days ago. Now, this notebook is fully paid and one year on, its still performance just as great as I bought a year ago. Even the battery life is still pretty amazing. No flaws at all. Though I have to admit, I haven’t been using the notebook as intensively as I expected. I am only using it to do my school assignments and even then, they don’t come often and sometimes when I am at home, I ended up using my main PC to write my assignments. But I guess the good thing is that it looks and feels new and I can be assured that I will be using this device for a long time. After completing my studies this year, I don’t expect to use the MacBook Pro as often anymore. But that could change if the nature of my work changes.


Tomtoc Ultra Slim Sleeve for 13 inch MacBook Pro

Choosing a suitable sleeve for a MacBook Pro can be a headache, especially when the variety out there is endless. There are so many different kinds of sleeves for different needs. When I bought my MacBook Pro, I initially did not consider the need to get one. I imagine myself putting the laptop in my AER Backpack and it would be sufficient.

As I received my new MacBook Pro, I forgot how gorgeous the laptop looked like. And having blemishes on the aluminium exterior right about when I’ve gotten hands on it, would be a disaster. Every scratch, dent, or any other blemishes through some other means would be very obvious against the pristine, space gray build of my MacBook Pro.

So I sought out online to find a simple, but good looking sleeve to safely house my new Laptop. That was when I spotted the Tomtoc Ultra Slim Sleeve for the 13 inch MacBook Pro.

The Tomtoc sleeve is not available in Singapore. So I ordered online on Amazon. But even that, Amazon doesn’t ship the sleeve overseas, to Singapore. So I had to employ the services of EZbuy to receive my package and ship to Singapore for a small shipping fee.

It didn’t take too long to arrive and I wasn’t in a hurry to get one since I had to serve my annual ICT for about a week. This means that I would not around to recieve the package and enjoy the product. But the timing was impeccable. As soon as I reached home upon completion of my ICT, it arrived.

My first impression of the Tomtoc sleeve was that it feels better than it looks. I mean it looks gorgeous already. Anyone holding this sleeve is bound to turn heads. It’s not a design that you see every day when it comes to laptop sleeves. Most of them are generic black, or gray with no character at all. All function, leaving not much room for aesthetics. The Tomtoc sleeve is different. Very different.

Workmanship is pretty solid. Stitching is straight and consistent, with not a single stray thread at the end of a stitch. The thread matches the leather or the gray felt material, where ever those materials are present on the sleeve, which is a nice touch and shows the attention to detail when it comes to designing the product. The felt material feels luxurious, without having too much fibre strands sticking out and all wooly-like in texture.

The size of the sleeve that I bought fits perfectly with my new mid-2017 13-inch MacBook Pro. The sleeve offers a snug fit, without feeling too tight, although it can be a little bit tight if you fill or squeeze stuff inside a separate, easy-access pocket. I tried putting my Moleskin notebook in the separate sleeve in addition to the laptop in the main compartment and it works wonders. The additional sleeve allows you to put thin objects, like cables, tablets, e-readers, notebooks, or even small magazines and stationaries. The additional sleeve is definitely handy and adds quite a bit of functionality to the sleeve.

The sleeve is closed by 2 magnets places on the left and right side of the sleeve. It’s not too strong or too weak, giving a nice solid latch. The magnets are also covered by a felt mesh which will definitely add longevity to the use of the sleeve, and also to prevent any unintended scratches you might get when putting your notebook inside.

Overall, I really love the sleeve and I made a terrific purchase for my MacBook Pro. The overall design of the sleeve provides a highly unique, yet subtle style when carrying my laptop.

Hyperdrive, Thunderbolt USB-C hub for MacBook Pro

Ever since I got my swanking new MacBook Pro about a week ago, I had to deal with Thunderbolt 3 ports. The problem is, there is nothing I can do with Thunderbolt 3 ports on my MacBook Pro, since I have no peripherals at hand that uses them. So I can’t connect my external drives, my SD cards, charge my iPhone, or use my thumbdrives.

Getting the Hyperdrive Thunderbolt USB-C hub for the MacBook Pro seems like the most economical way to expand my ability to connect my ‘legacy’ devices using ‘legacy’ ports.


I purchased off from their Indiegogo website and within a week and a half it arrived at my doorstep. The Thunderbolt USB-C hub allows me to connect to an external monitor via HDMI, has an SD card and MicroSD card slot, and offers 2 USB 3.0 ports in addition to Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports just like what the MacBook Pro originally provided. The good thing about this hub is that it allows power passthrough, meaning you can charge the laptop while this hub is connected directly to it. The strange thing however, is that the hub uses both Thunderbolt ports to connect the hub. Once connected, only the top Thunderbolt port allows for charging and not the bottom one.

But still this hub greatly expanded my abilty to connect with other devices like I mentioned just now.

Another aspect of this hub that I really like is that the design of the hub is such that it sits flushed right next to the laptop. Buy the hub that matches the colour of your laptop, and it looked pretty natural – like an extension to your already great looking laptop. It doesn’t look bulky, or out of place and the build quality is pretty good, all aluminium, with pretty decent parts. Plus, it comes with a nice, snugly little leather pouch to safety store your hub away when not in use.

Dealing with such hubs can be annoying, but it is a necessity if you wish to walk down a path, using a laptop with nothing but Thunderbolt Ports. So for those who wish to walk down this path, know that you need a little bit more investment in choosing the right dongles or hub so that all your devices you currently have play nice with your new Macbook laptops. The Hyperdrive Thunderbolt USB-C hub manages to tick all the right things when it comes to portability, design and build quality without breaking the bank (US$69).

The rationale behind the Macbook Pro purchase.


Yesterday my Macbook Pro arrived. I ordered the laptop 2 days ago, which is just a couple of days after it was officially announced. On the day I placed my order for the new laptop, I put my Lenovo laptop up for sale on Carousell. I was pleasantly surprised to receive multiple offers to buy my laptop second hand. I finalised the deal with one of the buyer and decided to meet later during the night to complete the transaction. Meanwhile, it was a race against time to backup all my data and reset the laptop to its original factory settings. I had around 3 hours to do all that before our agreed upon meeting time and place.

Ever since getting my laptop, I have been reflecting deeply behind the true motivations in clicking that buy button. Why did I click it? My Lenovo laptop was perfecting fine. I like that laptop quite a lot, especially the keyboard. The keyboard is a joy to type on, and no doubt one of the best keyboard available out there on a mobile device. So what compelled me to click on that buy button?

Impulse is definitely at play here. It was a snap decision. Rarely do I make large purchases without thinking through it carefully first. It will take me weeks, sometimes months to finally make my decision, going through carefully every pros and cons. This time however, I immediately bought it after the official announcement at WWDC. But then again, one can argue that I buy because I know that Mac products are top notch. You can’t go wrong when it comes to Apple products. Having owned and used the Mac Mini (my first foray into the Mac ecosystem) and then upgrading to the MacBook Air, it feels natural to finally be part of the big league and get for myself a MacBook Pro. My gut instincts told me that this is a great time to get a new one. Despite only a spec bump and a new generation of CPU, the overall design of the MacBook Pro, in my opinion, is already highly refined. And the machine does look extremely beautiful and elegant. I had no problem with the weight, as the design philosophy has been adopted from that of the MacBook Air. So it seemed natural to sacrifice just a little bit of weight for a rather large increase in overall computing power.

Another reason might be the fact that deep down, I miss the Mac. It has been a couple of years since I passed on my Macbook Air for my dad to use. Ever since then, I’ve never used that laptop any longer. Then I got myself a DIY gaming rig, which I love it to death till this day because it was built with my own two hands. I have no intention of upgrading that PC or getting a new one anytime soon and expect that PC to last a very long while. So as far as a desktop PC is concerned, I have it covered even though its a Windows based PC.

My Lenovo was bought on a budget, with the rationale that it would only be used for school. Ever since I started my Master’s Programme in NUS, that laptop has served me well. The laptop is just 7 months old when I decided to sell it off. Like I said it’s perfectly fine. It’s all plastic, which is again, fine, but now that I have the Macbook Pro, the design and build quality is miles apart. Holding the MacBook Pro in hand in hands and on my lap, reminded me once again at the level of care and attention to detail when designing their products. There is just something magical about their devices. It may not be the most powerful devices and it don’t come cheap, but you are well assured that its a quality product. That X-factor of art and technology coming together to create a product not just to use but to enjoy and experience. That is something you don’t encounter everyday with other tech gadgets and products.

Will I regret splashing two thousand dollars on a laptop on impulse? Probably not, since I know Mac products really well and they have never disappointed me so far. Will I enjoy this laptop for many years to come? Hell yeah.

WWDC 2016

There is only one thing that I am interested in.

New MacBook Pros!

I have a feeling that they will not reveal any hardware this year at WWDC. Rumours on new MacBook Pros have been sparse lately, except for the fact that it might come out with a snazzy little OLED panel display at the top of the keyboard, just beneath the screen. How rad is that? Other than that, no one knows anything at the moment. And now that WWDC is just around the corner, I am quite certain I will be disappointed.

Still I am wiling to sacrifice some sleep to watch the live stream of WWDC, happening in just under an hour. Fingers crossed, really hard for some hard announcements. I really need to upgrade my MacBook Air. Its long overdue.

Cmon Apple, time to surprise us. Use your magic thingy to wow and dazzle us!

Bluelounge – Studiodesk

Bluelounge is one of many companies that I come across purely from the internet. They make some really innovative products, mainly geared towards Apple products. They also have some great cable management solutions.

I went to Courts Tampines the other day and I came across the Bluelounge Studiodesk. The desk offers the most complete, and effective solution to hide your messy cables from your desktop or notebook underneath the table. It has a slit, that allows the cable to pass through and connect to your notebook or computer on the desk. You can slide the desk out to access your hidden cables.


Courts was originally selling at S$999. But when I was there, they were clearing stock and selling for only S$299. I took the chance to buy for several reasons:

1. I want to revamp my room again. I am going to give up my bedroom to my dad. That room will be his study room with bookshelves and and the teakwood table that I am using currently as my computer desktop. That way, he will have his own study room on his own. That means I will give up my bed.

2. I will sleep in my study room in the near future during the revamp. To save space, I have decided to choose a sofa-bed, that would serve two purposes. A sofa during day time for guests or for me to relax during daytime and a bed for me to sleep in. I am concerned about the comfort of the bed though, since sofa-beds are not known for comfort during sleep. The Studiodesk is slightly wider than my current table and I would need all the space saving I can get. But the sofa-bed is not confirmed yet. I might resort back to a super-single back. But with that in mind, I would need think through seriously on the rearrangment of furnitures around my room.

3. I am getting a Macbook air/pro, with the intention of using that as a desktop replacement. I might want to give my current Mac mini to my dad for him to use. And he would need a monitor too. So I would give him that. For the time being, I would use my new notebook as a desktop replacement. The Studiodesk would look minimalistic.

I hope by april/may, everything would be in place.