Ultra Grid Mid Tower Case

Admin - 2007-02-27 22:24:28 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: March 18, 2007
Ultra
Ultra
Price: $179.99

 

Introduction:

A grid can be known as a standard method for the location of a point on a map or model that provides the ability to perform higher throughput computing. This Grid deals with computing, but does it have the ability to help you achieve a higher throughput? Ultra has developed a computer enclosure called the Grid; a mid-tower ATX tower case that features an acrylic side panel, an Ultra XVS 700W modular PSU, and a swing out bezel to hide what many consider unsightly drive bays. Will the Ultra Grid be functional enough to provide as implied in its name?

Ultra Products are a global, technology-solutions provider is based in Fletcher Ohio whose mission is to be the best provider of technology-solutions in the global market. Ultra ensures that offering superior, innovative products and a high level of customer service, its customers will receive an exceptional value in everything they do.

Closer Look:

The Ultra Grid Mid-Tower ATX Case comes nicely packaged with a picture of its contents and a nice diamond plate background.

 

 


The external packaging looks to be in good shape it didn’t seem to be damaged at all during shipping but sometimes packages can get beaten up while in transport. If that did happen would the internal support be able to handle the abuse?

Closer Look:


Internal Support:

Opening the box reveals a flexible foam outer to cover the top and bottom of the case and Styrofoam inserts on the sides and top. (which I removed for better viewing of the interior) When removed from the box, it is apparent that Ultra didn’t want any empty space inside the box, this helps greatly with reducing punctures.

 

 


The case itself is protected with two layers: first an exterior plastic and underneath a Tyvex like material to prevent scratches.

 


For extra protection the acrylic panel on both sides has protective plastic along with the front bezel.

 


Ultra paid quite a lot of attention to protecting this case (as they should). With any investment, you do not want a product that is damaged or scratched.

Closer Look:

Case:


The case itself has an acrylic side panel which contains two vent holes; the top is a CPU air duct which has a fan grill with the Ultra Logo and the bottom a vent to help cool your video card.

 


The whole case is done in a liquid black finish which gives the paint a strong appearance of being wet. It is also quite reflective, I had a very hard time keeping reflections away while taking the pictures.

 


The front bezel has a swing out door that is constructed of mesh to allow airflow to the fan that is connected to the drive bay panel. It also has an opening so you can access a CD/DVD ROM Drive or other peripheral.

 


Chassis Construction:


The case is constructed of steel, which gives it a very sturdy feel but I did think it was a little heavy even without anything in it. I prefer a lighter case but for those of you who like the solid construction a steel case has to offer, this one is for you.

 


The chassis of the case is very solid; if you're someone who accidentally bangs into their case on occasion, don’t worry it’ll probably hurt you more. I’ve cut my hands many times while installing my system in other cases and Ultra took time to ensure that there are very few if any sharp edges.

Closer Look:


Working Components:

The motherboard tray is not removable and for me, that’s not a problem. It seems that I usually take more time replacing the motherboard tray after removing it than the time it takes to screw everything on.


All of the drive bays are tool less: four external 5.25”, two external 3.5” and four internal 3.5”. The drives are secured from the left with a locking butterfly clip and from the right with non removable clips built on the case.

 


The Ultra Grid comes equipped with two 120 mm fans one in front (as shown on front bezel) and one at the rear. The case is ATX style and has seven expansion slots.

 


The case comes with one final component, a power supply. Many of us don’t choose to purchase a case that comes with a PSU and honestly they are usually very unstable and are not something that I want to risk with. Ultra is known to manufacturer high end PSUs but can you trust this 700W modular PSU?

Closer Look:

Power Supply:

The power supply used in the Ultra Grid case is an Ultra XVS 700W Modular PSU. This is an actual PSU that Ultra sells for individual purchase. Other manufacturers who include power supplies with their cases sometimes tend to include a model that you wouldn’t purchase alone, and do not offer for individual purchase.

 


This PSU is heavy and heavy usually means better quality. An inside look will show the transformer heat sinks and capacitors.

 


Since this is a modular PSU, all the Molex, SATA, P-CIE and FDD cables are provided, also included are the users manual and a warranty card.

 


So far I’m not totally sold on the Ultra Grid. How easy will the install be, will it provide sufficient air flow and will the PSU meet my needs?

Installation:

Since the case already had the risers for the motherboard pre screwed I didn’t have to worry about searching for them, I did have to change the I/O plate to accommodate my motherboard and I had to remove two expansion slots at the rear of the case to add peripherals. The motherboard installation was fairly simple as Ultra provided all the screws needed to fasten it. From there I just added a D-Bracket, video card and bracket for a CCFL.

 


Installing the internal hardware couldn’t be easier; with the tool less drive system it took less than 5 minutes to add two hard drives, floppy and a CD ROM. All that I needed to do was remove the butterfly lock from the bay that was going to be used, slide in the drive, and then refasten the butterfly.

 


With the installation complete and wires nicely hidden, it was time to put the panel back on. This is where a small problem arose; the cone for the CPU air duct was hitting the fan that was attached to my heat sink. (thermalright XP 90 with Pana-flo fan) The cone is adjustable and has two pieces but the top piece needed to be removed, it also didn’t line up directly with the heat sink and fan being a little high and to the left. I’m sure that if a stock heat sink and fan were used the air duct cone wouldn’t be a problem.

 

Specifications:

Case:

 


Color
 
Black

12 Drive Bay

4 - External 5.25"
2 - External 3.5”
5 - Internal 3.5”

Material
Steel

Form Factor

- AT
- Baby AT
- ATX
- Micro ATX

Expansion Slots

7 Standard Slots

Large Front Panel Grid Vent

Yes

Case Fans

2 - 120mm (Included)

Dimensions

- Width: 16.75"
- Height: 7.5"
- Depth: 19.5”

LEDs

- Green - Power
- Orange - Hard Drive Access

Switches

- Power



Power Supply:

Features:



Connections:


Output:

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

MAX OUTPUT
CURRENT

+5V
+3.3V
+12V
-5V
-12V
+5VSB
32A
30A
40A
0.6A
0.6A
2A
700W

Max
Combined
Watts

200W
480W
3W
7.2W
10W
680W
20W
700W


Total Output Power:


Efficiency:


Input:

Testing:

I’ve already come to the conclusion that the Ultra Grid is sturdy enough to protect the components inside, versatile enough to accommodate drives of different sizes, but how well does it cool and is it quiet? (considering it has two 120mm fans and the PSU has two 80mm fans)


Testing Setup:


I’ll test idle and load temperatures inside the case, my room temperature is climate controlled @ 24° C.

(all charts are measured in °C)






As you can see, the case temperatures did not fluctuate nor did the motherboard or HDD temperatures. As expected, the CPU and PSU temperatures did rise with 100% load, but overall did not rise enough to make me worry.

Testing:


Power Supply:

To test the power supply, I used a digital multi-meter, and conducted the tests at idle and load to see if there was any fluctuation in voltages.






Great results! This PSU is very stable and should satisfy any user from the every day, home computer user, to the enthusiast. The 12V rails are stable, only dropping .06 from idle to load. With the largest drop in the 5V dropping from 5.07 to 4.99, these are minor volt drops and shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

Conclusion:

So is this Grid good enough to give you the ability to help you achieve a higher throughput? Ultra seems to have put a lot of time developing this case, most of the major questions about cases have been addressed, (expandability, ease of installation, construction and aesthetics) but there were a couple things I feel Ultra overlooked. The CPU air duct is not useable with many after market heat sinks, the actual vent hole is a little too high and to the left. The vent which is supposed to supply the video card with some extra outside air also seems a little to low.

As per noise, if you are not using the CPU duct attachment, then it’s just about as loud as other cases on the market today. Before I removed it totally, there was a loud hum coming from the case. Quite possibly because I had to take half of the tube off and once it was removed, the hum disappeared and the noise became very bearable, enough that at night with nothing on I was able to sleep in the room that stored the computer. For air circulation, the inside case temperature was only one degree Celsius higher than my room temperature, the two 120 mm fans move a lot of air, in a 24 hour period you already can see a small amount of dust building up on the mesh of the front bezel. I do like that the front bezel door has an opening so I can use my CDROM without opening it. It’s also nice not to have to see all the external drive bays.

As I stated earlier in the review I don’t prefer to use a case that includes a PSU but after testing the unit that comes with the case I might change my mind. I have never liked modular power supplies but I’m beginning to see things differently, it was nice to have the option to use what I needed and not have to hide so many wires. Airflow is another plus and not having unwanted wires inside my case was a nice change. This PSU is not some knock-off of a well known PSU, this is a quality unit that can be purchased seperately.Testing the PSU has proven that even though included with the case Ultra is not going to give you a “Watered down version of the regular beer.” Overall, I am impressed.

Pros:


Cons: