Ultra X3 1000 Watt Modular Power Supply

ccokeman - 2007-06-13 18:29:51 in Power Supplies
Category: Power Supplies
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: June 25, 2007
Ultra
Ultra
Price: $299.99 USD

Introduction:

Power - it's what we need to run this addiction of ours. The more the better, is the current thinking. With the newest video cards using up to 300 watts of power, it's no wonder that power supplies are beefing up to meet that demand. Many people, however, are still following the same routine with regards to the power supply; it's usually the last thing on the list when planning your dream system. You have just a few of those precious dollars you work so hard for left to purchase one, so you end up with a cheap 400-600 watt power supply, trying to feed that power hungry set of video cards. So you ask yourself, "Why do they not perform as they should? Why can I not overclock the card at all?" It may be your lack of power! One possible solution for your problem could be the Ultra X3 1000 watt modular power supply. Boasting such features as Active PFC, Flex Force cabling, modular design, 70 amp 12v rail, and a 135mm cooling fan, it has all the makings of a beast of a power supply.

"Ultra Products is a global, technology-solutions provider with headquarters in Fletcher, Ohio. The company strives to offer a wide range of solutions, products and services all with a common thread: innovation, value and quality. It is Ultra's mission to be the best provider of technology-solutions in the global market. By offering superior, innovative products and ensuring a high level of customer service, Ultra guarantees its customers receive an exceptional value in everything they do."

Closer Look:

The box that houses this power supply reaches out and grabs you with the bright, blood-red coloring. The product's name and wattage are listed prominently on the front and rear of the box. After flipping up the lid on top of the box, the power supply and its specifications are listed.

 

 

 

Now that we are able to take a look inside, let's see what we have. The cables are packaged in an accessory box that rests on tom of the power supply and its foam protection. The power supply itself is wrapped in plastic and encased in foam blocks to prevent any damage during shipping.

 

 

Closer Look:

When I first viewed this unit out of the packaging, I was amazed by the finish. It is a black chrome finish that is done very well, without the unsightly marks left from lower end polish and plate jobs. It weighs in at a hefty seven pounds. Being heavy is not generally looked at as being good in our society, but in the case of power supplies, weight tends to indicate quality. Listed on the side, we have the specifications sticker listing the amperage of each rail. The rear of the power supply is almost entirely a mesh exhaust vent, allowing as much air as possible through it. The front features all of the modular connections, including 24-pin ATX, 4-pin molex, 6- and 8-pin Pci-e and the 8-pin auxiliary 12v line.

 

 

 

 

One thing you don't want to do is void the warranty on your brand new power supply by opening it, so let us do that so that you don't have to. When making a purchase like this, you may be thinking long term and want to recycle the power supply into your next build. Having a warranty is a good thing in that situation. Once open, we can see the 135mm fan and the large heatsinks to dissipate the heat generated by the unit. Now we can see why it weighs in at a hefty seven pounds.

 

 

 

At the front of the power supply is a circuit board to distribute power to the modular connections. This power supply features a single 70 amp 12 volt rail; something many manufacturers have gotten away from these days, instead opting to use multiple rails and load balancing to keep from overloading one rail.

 

 

Closer Look:

Ultra provides a pretty robust cable set with this power supply; probably more than the average consumer will use. The accessories and cables come packed in a separate box with the X3 graphic prominently displayed. The included power cord is made from 16 gauge wire instead of the more common 18 gauge stock. The manual details the specifications and install procedures for this power supply.
 

 

 

 

The cables that Ultra includes feature "Force Flex" technology. Huh? What this means is that the cabling is more manageable (aka. more flexible), allowing for better airflow through your case, and the ability to hide the cables better due to their design. The cables are coated in a color that is quoted as "titanium," but is closer to black than anything else. The cables range from 7.5 inches to 29.5 inches in length.

 

 

All of the cables are flat, and the connections are labeled to make hooking them up a simple process. One thing that I had not seen before was a pin missing on the ATX 24-pin power connector. The missing pin is a +5v connection on all of the other power supplies I have used. A quick call to Ultra assured me this was how it was designed and is not an issue. So far, none have been noticed.

 

 

 

Here is the list of included cables.

QTY
Cable Description
Length (Inches)
1
24-Pin Motherboard Connector
19.5
1
4-Pin +12V Motherboard Connector
19.5
1
8-Pin EPS Connector
19.5
4
6-Pin Pci-e Connector
19.5
2
8-Pin Pci-e Connector
19.5
2
5-Pin SATA Power Cable (3 Devices)
25.5
2
5-Pin SATA Power Cable (2 Devices)
21.5
1
4-Pin Power Cable (2 Devices)
23.5
2
4-Pin Power Cable (2 Devices + 2 Floppy)
29.5
1
4-Pin Power Cable (3 Devices)
23.5
1
4-Pin Power Cable (1 Device)
7.5
1
3-Pin Fan Connector (3 Devices)
25.5

 

Installation:

Whether you are installing a power supply as a replacement or on a new build, the process is pretty much the same. In this case, I will be using this power supply as a replacement for my existing one. The first thing you will need to do on a replacement is to power down your computer and disconnect the main power cord that comes from the wall. Remove the case side panels to get access into your case and disconnect all of your current power connections. Once that is accomplished, you can safely remove the current power supply by removing the four mounting screws and pulling out the power supply and the bundle of snakes (wires) that will follow it out of the case. Now we can install this new beast of a power supply. With this being a modular power supply you mount the power supply into your case with the four provided screws and start attaching only the cables you need for your system. Tidy up your wiring, reassemble your case, plug it in the wall, and you are ready to go.

 

 

To install the connectors into the power supply, you push in until you hear the connector lock into place. No fuss, no muss. One issue that I ran into was that the top exhaust fan in my case now interfered with the connections on the power supply. This was solved temporarily with the removal of the fan, but something you'll want to consider before cutting the hole for a new fan, or when fitting this power supply into your existing build.

 

 

Making sure all of the connections are made can be a little time consuming if you have a lot of devices. The upside is you are not fighting that bundle of snakes that constantly gets in your way when using a standard style power supply. This is something I have grown to appreciate in the newer modular power supplies.

 

Specifications:

 

AC INPUT

115V/230V 10A/6A 60/50Hz

MAX OUTPUT
CURRENT

 
+5V
+3.3V
+12V
-12V
+5VSB
28A
24A
70A
0.8A
3A

Max
Combined
Watts

160W
840W
9.6W
15W
980W
19.7W
1000W
Total Output Power

1000W (Full Load, Nominal Input Voltage)

Efficiency:
85% at Typical Load
 

AC Input Voltage:

115V/230V

AC Input Frequency:

50-60Hz

AC Input Currents:

13A (RMS) for 115VAC input
8A (RMS) for 230VAC input

 

Features:

Testing:

How will I know if this power supply delivers the watts? I need to test how it performs under load, verifying the voltages and airflow. With that being said, we can finally start testing this beast. To put this power supply through its paces, I will run a series of tests to load it as heavily as I can with the system I have. The testing procedure will include running Stressprime 2004 Orthos Edition to stress the CPU and memory, HDtune to load the Hard drives, and 3DMark06 Professional to stress both video cards. The test system includes 5 high cfm Silverstone fans to add additional load to the 12 volt line. Additionally, I will check the airflow at both idle and load conditions to verify any increase in airflow through the rear of the power supply. Voltage measurements will be taken with my trusty voltmeter, while airflow will be tested using my Kestral 4100 pocket airflow tracker.

 

Testing Tools:

Testing Setup:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion:

How well does this power supply work? The voltage drop from Idle to Load on the 12 volt line was a measly .02 volts. The numbers for the 5 volt and 3.3 volt lines were even better than that, at .01 volts and .001 volts, respectively. Pretty tight voltage regulation under load. I was pleasantly surprised to see how far Ultra has come since I last used one of its power supplies. This experience was a 180 degree turn-around from that experience. The modular design makes cable management a breeze. No matter how hard you try to hide the extra cables with a standard power supply, you always have that bundle of wire that just has nowhere to go. Not anymore! I found that the provided cables had a good mix of the right connectors for my build, preventing any stragglers from hanging in the breeze. Although the cables are different than what you may be used to, they are functional.

While loading the system, I never heard the 135mm fan spool up or down; come to think of it, I never heard it at all. It did show an increase in airflow under load, so I can verify that it does perform as intended, to keep this beast cool by increasing the fan speed under load. The only issue I had with the power supply was the interference of the upper modular connections with my top cooling fan. If you have a smallish mid-tower type of case it may be a tight fit. Whether you are upgrading your power supply or building your dream system with the latest and greatest parts, this power supply delivers the goods. Ultra has married performance with a dazzling finish and has come up with a winner.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: