5-way High-End 1KW+ PSU Round-Up
Cooler Master UCP 1100W
Cooler Master UCP 1100W
Back in 2007 Cooler Master's high-end Real Power 1000w modular PSU managed to blow our socks off with extremely good performance, efficiency and low noise levels. So much so that the PSU was actually awarded "Editors Choice" with an almost perfect 10/9/10 final score. Of course, Cooler Master's product line never stands still, and today we've been given the chance to test our their latest monster; the UCP (Ultimate Circuit Protection) 1100w.
While we cant go in to as much detail as we'd like to in the single page available in this review, Cooler Master have focused not only on the usual performance, efficiency and noise levels areas, but also on safety and MTBF
. During a recent sit-down chat with Cooler Master they told us that what makes the UCP so unique is that the unit actually has a soft-on switch that powers the unit on a few seconds after the actual power switch is flipped. This prevents potentially harmful issues such as power surges and arcing, increasing the lifetime of the unit.
In fact, Cooler Master are so confident about the build quality of the unit that in most countries it actually comes with a lifetime warranty.
Being Cooler Master's new flagship PSU, the unit has certainly got all of the attention you would expect in the packaging department. While the front of the box may be rather plain with just a picture of the unit and the model number, the inside of the box is padded out with 1" thick moulded styrofoam to keep it safe from even the most careless of couriers.
Included inside are just the bare essentials: the PSU, some screws, a power cable and CD containing the manual. Maybe not quite as impressive as the keyrings and bottle openers found in some of their other PSU's, but seriously - if I wanted a bottle opener, I'd buy one from Tesco's.
If forced to sum up the look of the UCP 1100w in one word, it would definitely be: rugged. With an extremely tough, yet almost metallic powder coated finish, the UCP is the Crocodile Dundee of the PSU world and feels like it could easily take a few bites from a large toothed 'gator without showing any signs of damage.
At the back of the unit is the usual honeycomb style grill that has become commonplace among PSU's that use anything larger than an 80mm fan. Inset into the grill is a status LED that is illuminated green under normal operation, but turns to red when the PSU detects a fault.
Unlike most of the PSU's on test here today, the UCP 1100w features a fairly small rocker-style on/off switch. However, what we need to remember here is that unlike most PSU's this switch acts only as a trigger for the delayed power-on feature, rather than an actual breaker for the full 240v that will be entering the unit.
In terms of fan size, Cooler Master have taken a step backwards from the 135mm fans used on most of their Real Power series in favour of a 120mm version. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as certain 120mm fans can be as quiet as their 135mm counterparts and on PSU's where the internal components don't need edge-to-edge cooling, a 120mm fan is more than sufficient.
Cooler Master haven't spoilt the looks of the unit by sticking a tacky wire-based fan grill on it either. As we can see from above, the fan grill is actually an integral part of the casing with the fan being held in place by some tasty anodised hex head screws.
Being the only non-modular PSU on test today, the UCP 1100w comes complete with a huge bundle of cables all neatly held together with a cable tie. Separating the bundle quickly reveals that the unit is most definitely suited to multi-GPU configurations with a total of six PCI-E cables carrying a grand total of nine PCI-E connectors. SATA and Molex devices are equally as well catered for with a total of nine and six connectors respectively.
One thing we did find slightly annoying with the cables was the quality of the sleeving. While only a cosmetic niggle, the mesh chosen by Cooler Master was extremely saggy and seemed several sizes too large for the cables. This meant under most circumstances the wires could easily be seen beneath the sleeving, partially voiding its purpose.
Moving on to the internals, it's instantly apparent that the UCP 1100w is much more spacious inside than the Be-Quiet Dark Power Pro over the previous page. Yet again a single large transformer caters for the step-down from the input voltage down to +12v, with a smaller transformer (situated on its own daughterboard) dealing with the further step-down from 12v down to the other voltages such as 3.3v and 5v.
Impressively the UCP 1100w has a total of three Japanese made capacitors rated at 330uF / 400v which should help smooth out out voltage fluctuations and provide clean power to the components inside your PC system.
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