With the power requirements of modern PCs going through the roof due to increased processing power (graphics wise anyway, the opposite is true for CPUs), most people will be in the market for a new PSU some time soon (unless you already have a 800+ watt unit in your system). This being said, the guys over at Ultra have come out with a pair of PSU’s that fit your future computing needs, so without further adieu on to the review.
The two units I am looking at are called the X-Pro and the X-finity. The X-Pro comes in silver and uses conventional mesh sleeving on the cables, while the X-finity comes in black and uses Ultra’s “FlexForce” cables.
Both PSU’s put out 800 watts of electricity and have 4 12-volt rails. In fact both PSUs are identical in specification.
We’ll start off by cracking open the X-Pro. As you can see the box includes a manual and the PSU packed in foam…
Plus a power cable and mounting screws:
The casing is one of the most interesting parts of this particular PSU. Unlike most PSU cases that are made of thin steel, this one is made of fairly thick aluminum; this material makes the PSU both sturdy and very slick looking. Kudos to Ultra for making the first PSU like this that I have seen.
This picture is a very accurate representation of what the PSU casing looks like in person :drool:
The manual is simple and comprehensive, basically just stick a plug in anything that has a socket – could it be simpler?
The hole where the wires exit the PSU is protected by a black plastic grommet that ensures that the aluminum does not slice the wires.
Ultra uses high-flow chrome wire grills on both ends of the PSU.
One of the most interesting features of the PSUs is the inclusion of Ultra’s AST or After Spin Technology.
After Spin Technology is used to quiet the system and aid in prolonging the life of your components. Connectors for chassis fans are thermostatically controlled; internal fan speeds are reduced when temperatures inside the case are low. PSU, chassis and CPU fan connectors remain spinning several minutes after the PC is powered down, allowing the system to gradually cool down after use.
The cylinder you see on the PCI-e connector lead serves to stabilize the current traveling to your video card, ensuring maximum stability and overclockability.
The PSU sticker is located on the bottom of the PSU, a good thing for those of us with case windows who don’t want to look at an ugly sticker.
Next up is the X-finity, it is packaged in the exact same way as the X-Pro.
It also comes with all the same bits and pieces.
The X-finity shares the same aluminum casing and fans as its brother, except that it is in black.
This is the biggest difference between the two units. The X-finity use Ultra’s FlexForce cables which are flat, thin, and flexible, making them easy to flatten against the side of your case to preserve airflow.
The same shielded PCI-e connectors are on the X-finity as well.
As are the hookups for AST.
The sticker is in the same spot and is basically identical to the X-Pro’s.
When installed, the X-finity’s cables look pretty slick, and with extensive routing it could provide better airflow than normal sleeved cables. As another plus the FlexForce cables fit better behind a motherboard tray than normal cables.
For basic stability testing I ran the system for several hours, then played Company of Heroes on nearly maximum settings for 30 minutes. During this testing I noticed no instability problems, or any other problems than you would find with a bad PSU. After testing stability, I also measured maximum and minimum voltages using the same regimen. All voltages were measured through Everest Ultimate.
Variance: -0.25% / +0.25%
Variance: -1.53% / -1.22%
Variance: -2.66% / -2.24%
According to the ATX 2.2 specification, all of these values must have a variance of less than 5%, although I would like to see Ultra tighten up the +3.3v and +5v as we ideally want to see no variance at all.
These Ultra PSUs were quiet and completely inaudible over my other system fans (which are by no means loud). It is also important to note that the fans are thermally controlled, so if you run the PSU in a Core2 or AMD64 system, the unit will be less audible. On the other hand if you run it in a Pentium D or P4 based system, expect the PSU to be a bit noisier. If your case temps get really high the fans will kick into full blast, which is pretty loud, but I only found this to happen if the case temp got over 50ºC.
Length – inches
24 Pin Motherboard Connector
P4/P8(4+4) Motherboard Connector
5 Pin SATA Power Cable (2 Devices)
6 Pin PCI-Express Connectors
4 Pin Power Cable (4 Devices + 1 Floppy)
AST Thermo-controlled Chassis Fan Connector
AST Controlled CPU Fan Connector
PSU Fan RPM monitor Connector
- Very well built and attractive casing
- Stable with very little voltage variation
- FlexForce cabling (on X-finity)
- Attractive chrome wire grills
- 800 watts and 4 12-volt rails makes for a stable and future proof solution
- $199 USD MSRP is a fair price for a PSU of this caliber
- AST to help enhance component life
- Rails could be a bit more tight to their specified voltages (with the exception of the 12v, which was excellent)
- Could use a couple more SATA power connectors
- FlexForce cabling (on X-finity)
I think Ultra has a very nice product here; both have a great unique feature in the form of AST. Plus the X-Finity has Ultra’s FlexForce cabling. All in all if you are in the market for a new PSU these are worth a look.