Ultra X4 600w Modular ATX PSU
One of the most unique features of the X4 (and indeed its predecessors) is that the unit is totally modular. Now I can hear you all say "why on earth would you want that". After all, in order to power a PC you've got to have an ATX and P4-12v cable as a bare minimum, right? Right! The only possible scenario I can can come up with where this would be beneficial, is if for example if you wanted to swap the provided ATX connector with an extra long or extra short one that would better suit the cable management of your PC. It's a pretty lame argument I know, but its the best I've got.
The connector count (once you've deducted the ATX/EPS/P4-12v necessities) weighs in at 9 which is pretty impressive for a 600w unit. This breaks down into a total of 4 molex headers, 3 SATA headers and 2 PCI-E headers, each of which has its own unique style of plug.
My only concern here is that Ultra have decided to use molex style plugs for the molex headers. While it may sound like a logical choice, this style of plug is notorious for providing poor connections and can easily work its way loose due to a lack of any locking mechanism. A better idea would have been to use the flat 5-pin locking style plugs already being used for the SATA headers.
As you'll hopefully be able to see from the chart below and the images above, the X4 is provided with plenty of modular cables. Unfortunately Ultra have decided against using the flat ribbon style cables that they did for the X3 (see Corsair HX units for an example of what I'm chatting about), but in their defence the quality of the sleeved cabling is easily the best I've ever seen with the meshing almost completely masking any signs of the cables beneath. Another nice touch is that each cable is neatly wrapped in an Ultra branded velcro cable tie that can be reused to to tidy up the rats nest of cables inside your PC once you've finished fitting the new PSU.
|Ultra X4 600w Connectors|
|ATX Connector||Modular||1x 24 Pin|
|EPS-12v / P4-12v Connector(s)||Modular||1x 4 Pin, 1x 8 Pin|
|Floppy Disk Connectors||Modular||2x|
|PCI-E Connectors||Modular||1x 6+2 Pin, 1x 6 Pin|
The main ATX motherboard connector comes in 24-Pin format with no way to reduce it down to the older 20-Pin standard. For the most part this certainly won't be an issue as almost all new motherboards are made in this format. However, if you intend on purchasing the X4 for an older PC system it may certainly be worth checking your motherboard documentation first for compatibility. The 'CPU' power connectors on the other hand are provided in both 4-Pin (P4-12v) and 8-Pin (EPS-12v) formats.
On the PCI-E connector front support for the latest graphics cards is ensured by two connectors in 6-Pin and 6+2Pin formats respectively.
Moving on to guts of the X4, my initial impressions are that Ultra haven't made best use of the available space inside the casing. A good two inch gap can be seen at the rear of the unit, yet for some reason Ultra seem to have crammed all of the X4's components on the smallest PCB they could find. Spreading the components out a little more and extending the heatsinks could help to keep the unit cooler and improve its performance, but whether this is necessary or not is something that will be revealed in the testing on the next page.
The logical place to start the close-up analysis is at the is at the input filtering stage. Here we can see that Ultra have used a collection of capacitors along with a ferrite coil to filter out any transients coming in from the mains power line. This also serves as barrier for any noise produced by the transistors inside the PSU from returning back out to mains supply where it may cause interference on other electronic devices.
Two transformers sit in the middle of the PSU with the largest being responsible for stepping down the mains voltage to just a little bit above +12v and +5v. These voltages are then passed through a series of Schottky rectifiers and capacitors that regulate and smooth the voltages down to their ideal outputs. This is also the way in which the 3.3v rail is created from the +5v output.
The smaller of the two transformers is solely responsible for the +5vSB rail. This rail remains powered even when the PC is switched off (but plugged into the mains). Its purpose is primarily to provide stand-by power to the PC's motherboard, enabling it to perform functions such as resuming from suspend mode on LAN or keyboard activity. More recently people have even used it for charging things such as mobile phones via the PC's USB ports when the PC is switched off.
Over on the primary (high voltage) side of the unit we can see that Ultra have used a Taiwanese manufactured Teapo capacitor with ratings of 420v / 390uF and a max temperature of 85°C. Although not quite the best that money can buy, Teapo are fairly well respected in the Capacitor industry.
Similarly over on the secondary side another collection of Teapo capacitors can be found mixed in with a handful of other caps that I couldn't quite identify. However, all caps here are rated at 105c (other specs varying), so with any luck Ultra haven't cut any corners and the capacitor brigade will be reasonably happy.
For some reason Ultra have seen it necessary to replace the fan manufacturers label with one of their own. Normally the original label can be found hidden underneath, but in this case Ultra have affixed their label directly to the fan hub. Only by means of a magnifying glass are we able to see the model number of the fan printed at the very bottom of the label.
The model DFB132512H refers to a high speed Young Lin Tech fan with specifications: 1700RPM / 91.16CFM / 31.28dBA at 12v. This particular fan has been used in countless numbers of other PSU's, but it's noise output and performance have always been entirely down to the configuration of the fan controller.
So with all of that out the way, let's move on to the testing...