Ultra X4 600w Modular ATX PSU

Conclusion

Ultra X4 600w

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.

 

The Good
- 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.

The Mediocre
- 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.

The Bad
- Not a sausage.

 

Recommended Award

We would like to thank Ultra for todays sample, you can discuss the results in our forums.

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Most Recent Comments

02-02-2010, 19:18:25

tinytomlogan
Jim puts the Ultra X4 600w Fully Modular PSU through its paces on the OC3D load tester.

Continue Reading

02-02-2010, 19:42:40

WelshD1K
looks like a good psu not 100% on the modual interface system tho

03-02-2010, 03:59:38

mayhem
Think its about time they had Real decent connectors on all Modular PSU's esp when you Spending so much. it wouldnt harm them at all.

06-02-2010, 08:03:02

TWeaKoR
I've got an Ultra X2 550W that was given to me after my old PSU blew up. So far, it seems fine, aside from the fact that the fan spins up loudly without any real load. It's good to see that they are in fact improving with the modular cables - on my unit the SATA power leads are connected to the PSU with SATA connectors, and those things are a bugger for staying in. It seems every time I open the case one of them comes loose and I lose either a hard drive or the DVD drive.

Not sure I'll be eyeing up Ultra though when I upgrade in a couple months. Corsair have my eye, especially given recent events and the fact that they guarantee it won't blow up

Btw what is the cross load test? I know it might not be indicative of real-world, but it is worrying about that -12V rail being 11.4% out.

13-02-2010, 10:38:36

Socks
I usd o love the old hiper power supplies. Only for their presentation skills. They really should try to break the mounld in power spply designs imo. I think it would make a nice/different change.

Looks like a good psu though, except the price tag. we giving half points now? or hav we always givn them and I've only just noticed? ;-)
Reply
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