Ultra X4 600w Modular ATX PSU
If I can be honest, I wasn't actually expecting the X4 to perform too great in todays tests. Ultra's reputation in the past has been somewhat of a mixed bag, and even now I hear from other reputable PSU review sites that other models in the X4 range don't quite make the grade. HOWEVER, as far as the X4 600w is concerned, Ultra have proved me totally wrong.
With less than 1% fluctuation in voltages on the +12v rail and around 2.5% on the +3.3v and +5v rails between idle and full load levels, the X4 600w showed immense stability that even bests PSU's that have walked away from Overclock3D with "Editors Choice" awards. Not only that, but the ripple results from the unit came out as smooth as butter showing that my initial fears regarding the assortment of capacitors used on the secondary side of the unit were unfounded, and that it's not always what you got - but how you use it that counts! The unit also handled the cross-load and max load tests reasonably well with a peak output of over 850w and a sustainable output of around 740w.
The efficiency of the X4 averaged at around 85% which is pretty much expected for an 80Plus Bronze certified PSU. The unexpected bonus though is that at around 350-350w load it can actually achieve closer to 87% efficiency. Pretty handy when you consider that this is roughly the level of power that most mid/high-end PC's will be consuming when surfing the net or doing almost anything that doesn't involve a power hungry graphics card kicking into action.
Of course there is always room for improvement though, and one area I would have possibly liked to see this is in the actual voltage output of the +3.3v rail. At idle the rail was measured at around 3.30v which certainly sounds fine until it drops by 2.5% down to 3.22v. This is the kind of voltage that will have some PSU snobs turning their noses up, and it could have easily been avoided by tweaking the rail to run somewhere closer to 3.33-3.36v at idle.
Finally, let's talk about that modular connector system for one minute. The whole idea behind 'fully modular' is nice in theory, and it's certainly worked wonders in helping Ultra stand out from the crowd. However, before you rush out and buy one simply because it 'looks good', there is one factor that needs to be taken into consideration: bendability! (Yes I know its not a word, but hear me out.)
On a PSU with a hard-wired ATX cable you can begin bending the cable to where it is required from the point it protrudes the unit. However, with a modular ATX cable you have a good inch of connector block before you can even begin manoeuvring it into a bend. In a large PC case this may make absolutely no difference, but in something smaller such as a HTPC or Desktop case it can make a massive difference to cable routing. Just something worth considering.
UK pricing is currently not available, but with a tag of $109 over at TigerDirect you can be sure that this will translate directly into GBP - give or take a few quid.
- Awesome ripple suppression.
- Excellent voltage stability.
- Reasonable efficiency that peaks at 87% under 300w load.
- "Lifetime warranty" - presumably if you're over the pond.
- Good bundle of extras including silicone vibration mount.
- Completely modular connector system could be both a blessing and a curse.
- 3.3v rail could use a little voltage boost (me being pedantic).
- Peak output of 850w - but I wish it had turned off sooner as voltages were really poor.
- Not a sausage.