Ultra m998 Review

gotdamojo06 - 2007-11-13 18:30:12 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: November 27, 2007
Price: MSRP $199.99

 

Introduction:

With the holiday season coming just around the corner, you may be receiving some new computer parts, or maybe building a new system. When building a new system, one of the most important parts, for both appearance, as well as performance, is the computer case.  To go along with this, functionality is also a great selling point. There are going to be more and more new cases released into the market as Christmas gets closer, however, in this review we will be taking a look at one of Ultra's computer cases, the Ultra m998 ATX mid-tower computer case. We know that Ultra has previously released the Ultra Power Bar which is one of the many features in this case. Lets take a look at what this case is really all about and see how it stacks up to some of its competition.

 

 

Closer Look: 

Just from looking at the front of the packaging for the Ultra m998 Case, you can see the main features that Ultra wanted all of their customers to know; such as a removable motherboard tray that is made of polished Stainless Steel, the chassis is constructed of 1.5mm Aluminum, and the Ultra m998 Case features Ultra's patented Power Bar power distribution system. The back side of the box illustrates much of the same  information as the front, however it does go into more detail as to what the dimensions are, as well as how many drive bays there are. The two sides of the box give a detailed view of what the front and rear of what the Ultra m998 case looks like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

When I opened the packaging that protected the Ultra m998, I was able to see my first glimpse of the case. Ultra protected the m998 Case by wrapping it in plastic to protect the m998 from any scratches that may occur either during the shipping process, or while the customer removed the m998 from the box. To keep the m998 from receiving any structural damage during the holiday shipping season, Ultra placed a set of Styrofoam blocking on the top and bottom of the m998.

 

 

  

 

Closer Look: 

 

Taking a look at the case outside of the box, you can tell that the Ultra m998 was intended to grab the eye of anyone who may take a look at it. The case has a large side panel window that allows the interior of the case to be viewed. Looking through the side panel window, you are able to see the removable motherboard tray, which was also designed to grab the eye of anyone passing by, and looking at the case, it is constructed of finished Stainless Steel which gives it a mirror-like appearance. The front of the case has a very simplistic look to it by having the power and reset buttons in the upper right side of the front panel and having "Ultra" painted at the lower right. Near the bottom of the front panel, there is a front 120mm fan mounted, and there are slits in the plastic that allow the fan to suck in fresh air. The rear of this case is something to take a look at. As I had previously mentioned, the removable motherboard tray is constructed of finished Stainless Steel and has a mirror like appearance to it, which you can see very well from taking a look at the rear of the case. This is where the second 120mm fan is located and is setup as an exhaust.

 

 

 

 

The side panel featureing the plexi-glass window also features an 80mm fan hole that has a clear plastic duct that will rest over top your stock CPU heatsink and fan setup. This fan hole has a dust filter, as well as a grille that displays Ultra's name. Below this is where you can find a second hole in the plexi-glass fitted with a mesh like grille. This second hole is not for a fan, but is intended to rest over the PCI ports of the motherboard and allows any PCI card to access fresh air from outside of the case.

 

 

The front of the m998 is a removable piece of plastic that will reveal all of the hidden "secrets" that are covered up.

 

 

 

Along the right hand side of the front of the case case you may notice a few strange items. The one on the top is where the power and reset buttons are located, as well as the power light and hard drive activity indication lights. Below this you can find two USB ports, and below this, in a PCI slot-type bracket, are the firewire, audio, microphone, and eSATA ports.

 

 

 

The front mounted 120mm fan is designed to suck in fresh air from the outside of the case. This can pose a problem due to the fact that not everyone has the cleanest and dust free room that they keep their computers in. To help reduce the amount of dust that will be sucked in with the fresh air, Ultra decided to put a dust filter in front of the fan.

 

 

The top panel of the Ultra m998 is removable, which is how Ultra designed the installation of the power supply. This way you will be able to organize as well as hide the un-used wires coming from the power supply.

 

 

The m998 was packaged with a user manual as well as two unmarked white boxes. The boxes contain the accessories that Ultra felt were necessary to the customer. The box on the left has all of the usual items (bags of screws and a rear I/O panel) plus a bundle of power wires and a red SATA cable. The case on the right contains four wheels that you are able to mount to the bottom of the case so you may move it easy.

 

 

Closer Look: 

The Ultra m998 case has a total of two 120mm fans that will cool the case. Due to the fact that the case has only two 120mm fans to cool all of the system components, they were placed in the usual and most practical locations in the case. We have already taken a look the first fan which was located in the front of the case on the bottom, which will be sucking in fresh air. The second fan is located on the rear of the case between the power supply and expansion slots, and is positioned to blow the heated air outside of the case. Both of these fans are 120mm, are both the same model, and host an Ultra sticker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ultra company has come up with a great idea that helps with the management of the power wires inside of the case. This idea is called the Ultra Power Bar that is located on the motherboard tray. The Ultra Power bar is a patented idea (Patent Number 7,133,293) by Ultra that allows the user to plug in two 4-pin power connectors and two 8-pin power connectors from the power supply, and gives you the option to have a total of four 4-pin and two 8-pin power ports at the other end. Ultra has packaged a bunch of power cables that can be plugged into one of the 4-pin or 8-pin power outputs on the Power Bar.

 

 

The m998 came with four wheels that you are able to mount the bottom of the case, which is a feature that could come in handy if you decide to pack a lot of heavy components into the case. Mounting the wheels was an easy task, all you need to do is place the case on its side, take a wheel, and screw four screws into the pre-drilled holes.  There you have it, wheels on the bottom of your case.

 

 

 

Installation: 

The installation of your components into the Ultra m998 is another easy task, thanks to the fact that Ultra decided to add a removable motherboard tray to the list of features of this case. All that is required of you is to unscrew the four thumb screws located on the outside of the case to be able to slide the motherboard tray out of the chassis. Once you have the tray out, you need to mount the nine motherboard stand-off screws, which is an easy task. Once you have this done, you need to place the motherboard down on the tray and screw it in place. After this task is completed, you can then put your expansion cards in, such as a video card and a sound card. The screws that are on the expansion slots are of the style that you are able to remove with your hands after the first time, Ultra put them in very tight so you will need to use a screw driver to remove them the first time. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you have the motherboard and the all of the expansion cards installed to the motherboard tray, the next step would be to install the optical drive as well as your hard drive. The installation of these drives are just like most all cases, there is nothing special about the installation of them.

 

 

Once these drives were installed, I moved on to installing the power supply. Unlike any other case that I have worked with, the m998 has a special way of installing the power supply; you go in from the top of the case. To install the power supply you need to remove the top panel of the case and then you can drop the power supply in.

 

 

The only other thing that needs to be installed is the motherboard tray, which is just as easy as when you take it out. All you have to do is align the motherboard tray with the track that it slides into, and then secure the tray back to the rear of the case.

 

 

Now after you have double checked to make sure that all of your screws are tight and all your wires are connected, you can close the case up and take a look at how well the Ultra m998 showcases your components.

 

Specifications: 

Model
m998
Case Type
mid-tower
Dimensions
9.45"x18.11"x20.47"
 
Cooling System

Front: 1x120mm fan

Rear: 1x120mm fan

 
Drive Bays
4 External  5.25"

5 Internal 3.5"

2 External 3.5"

Material
1.5mm Aluminum & Stainless Steel
Expansion Slots
7 Slots
Power Supply
Not Included
I/O Panel
USB 2.0 x 2, IEE 1394 x 1 Audio x 1, SPK x 1, eSATA x 1
Motherboard Support
ATX, Flex ATX, Mini ATX, Micro ATX

 

Features: 

 

Testing:

To properly test this computer case, I will be testing idle temperatures as well as full load temperatures. To test the idle temperatures, I will let the computer sit for 30 minutes at idle. To test load, I will  run a one hour OCCT stress test with a blend of both CPU and RAM, set at normal priority. I will be using SpeedFan Version 4.32 to gather my system chipset, CPU core, and hard drive temperature readings.

Testing Setup:

 

I will be comparing the Ultra m998 to the Thermaltake Armour Extreme Edition (containing one rear 120mm fan, one rear 90mm fan, one front 120mm fan, and one top 90mm fan), as well as the Sigma Atlantis (with four 120mm fans; one in the rear, one in the front, and two on the side) as well as the Cooler Master Cosmos 1000 (which has four 120mm fans; one in the rear, one on the bottom, and two on the top). All temperatures are in degrees Celsius.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion: 

The Ultra m998 computer case has many great features.  Some of the notable ones are the removable motherboard tray, the use of the Ultra Power Bar, the plexi-glass side panel window, as well as the ability to add wheels to the bottom of the case. The m998 also stood up to the other cases that I compared it to, such as the Thermaltake Armor Extreme edition and the Sigma Atlantis (which is in the same class as the m998) and compared favorably. While not outright beating the comparison cases, the temperatures were at least similar. For a mid-tower to compare to a full-tower that has more built-in cooling capability says alot about the design of the Ultra m998. The removable motherboard tray was a great feature that helps during installation, as does the Ultra Power Bar being attached to the motherboard tray. This case was built for wire management, and proves the fact that you do not need a lot of loud fans to cool the system.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: