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-- Ultra X-Connect 500W Power Supply
-- Category: Review
-- Posted by: GideonX
-- Posted on: 2005-05-18
-- Price: ~ $89.99 USD
-- Pages: 1 2 3 [ 4 ]
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Since I have a mid-tower case, things are a bit snug inside.  Since the cables were new and not "broken in" things were even more difficult to position than they normally would be.

After quite a bit of tugging and yanking, here's what I ended up with.

What used to be cables all over the place is now a bit more streamlined right down the middle of the case. The PSU will be powering:

  • Epox 4PCA3+
  • P4 2.4C @ 3.0Ghz (250FSB)
  • 1GB Buffalotech DDR (1:1)
  • MSI 5900U 256 Video Card
  • 1 X Maxtor 80GB HD
  • 1 X WD 200GB HD
  • 2 X Maxtor 120GB RAID 0
  • 1 X Samsung 16X DVD-ROM
  • 1 X NEC 3500A DVDRW

After initial boot up, here's what was reported by the BIOS:

The X-Connect boasts a 70% efficiency while providing continuous power. What this basically means is at 70% it will need to draw roughly 700W to provide you with the 500W. With a higher efficiency, this draw becomes less.

The +5V rail is spot on while the +12V is at 11.91V. Using the BIOS to tell you these specs is not exactly the most accurate. As the power supply will need to pass through the motherboard, this creates a bit of resistance and will skew the marks a bit. You can also use software to get your readings. I used Speedfan to get a reading while in Windows. Again, this is a bit skewed as you see when comparing what you see in the BIOS and what you see in Windows.

Best bet is to grab a digital multi-meter and check the power output yourself. You can pick up one of these at RadioShack for about $20.

Here's what the stock readings show at idle with Windows XP Pro SP2.

As with any power supply, having these rails going -/+5% will spell certain doom for your system. Lock ups, reboots and other system crashing problems can arise if your power supply cannot supply the correct juice.

The X-Connect was used in this system for nearly a month. With power supplies, a certain amount of testing and usage will ultimately show any flaws that lie within. After a month of continuous use, which means being on 24/7, the stock readings on the rails didn't change much.

To get the system going at full load, readings were taken while playing Guild Wars at max visual settings. Why Guild Wars? No reason really, it was just the current game on this system. The visuals at max gave the system a real nice work out. Here are some readings:

Not too surprising, the 12V was affected the most. As most mechanical devices in your machine use 12V, this reading will either increase or decrease during usage. What you want to be aware of is if it dips or rises too much. Often times, a faulty power supply will dip under 12V, which will lead to crashes. After a few hours of playing, the 12V didn't change much and stuck around the same mark.

Overall, the Ultra X-Connect is a good buy if you are in the market for a modular power supply. There are others available, but Ultra was the first out of the gates. The noise level is not ear numbing, which is a good thing.

It would have been nice to have larger heatsinks and softer cables. The SATA connectors need a bit of work as it pops right out of our two Maxtor drives with a little tug.

After a month of use, our system has not crashed once. Whether at idle or at full load, the X-Connect provided enough power to keep things going.

Thanks to Ultra for sending us this sample!



Pros:

  • Modular cables
  • Very nice finish and design
  • Stable rails


Cons:

  • Very stiff cables
  • SATA connector does not stay in place
  • Small heatsinks

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