Ultra X2-Connect 550w Modular Power Supply review

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by ElementalDragon, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon The One and Only

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    Well..... not quite a review yet..... have it installed, have everything up and running.... still gotta install my digital camera drivers, upload the pics, then i'll start on the review, but that doesn't come till much later, due to the fact that i've gotta head out in a couple minutes. I'll try to get the review up by tonight sometime...... might also disconnect my case fans.... cept for maybe the one 92mm that's on the back of the case. 3x 92mm fans are rather loud...... I like it being as quiet as possible..... like when i forgot to plug the fan controller back in, and only had the CPU, PSU, and video card fan running... *drool* now that's quiet-ness.
     
  2. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon The One and Only

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    Ok..... here we go with the start of my review of the Ultra X2-Connect 550w ATX Power Supply. hope you all enjoy the review.... i'll try to do my best not to lose your interest just after you read this. lol

    First off, i'll tell of the obvious. it's a 550w modular power supply with Ultra's very own (don't think i've ever seen anything like 'em before.... least power supply wise) FlexForce cables, Dual 12v rails, 20+4 pin motherboard power cable, and 2 6-pin PCI-express power cables. The FlexForce cables basically remind you of an IDE Ribbon cable.... cept with larger gauge wire. it's got a 120mm fan, that is whisper quiet, and the back of the power supply has lots and lots of very tiny squares cut out of the metal on the back to allow the air to easily flow out the back of the power supply. it looks almost like a mesh. the power supply itself has a glossy titanium finish. if you ask me, glossy is an understatement. usually when you see something with a "Glossy" finish when it comes to PC hardware... it's' got a bit of a haze to it, and you can easily tell what is setting right in front of the edge of the item. I think saying that it has a shell made of a mirror is more appropriate, and you will see what i mean. On to the main part of the review.

    In the first pic, you see the box that the power supply comes in. Lifetime Warranty, Continuous Power System, low noise, UV cables, yadayada..... just tells you about the power supply.

    the second pic shows one thing that i've always liked about modular power supplies..... or at least Ultra's anyway, since i've never seen another modular power supply's box layout. when you first open the box, the first thing you see is the second box, which contains all the cables to connect your hardware, plus the power cable to actually power the supply (i.e. the one that plugs into your wall/power strip), and even a tiny little bag with 5 screws in it..... one extra in case you lose one i guess. on the box, you can see exactly what cables it comes with, how many, their length's, and what they'd be used for.

    The third pic.... you see the power supply, in it's protective bag, and held in place with the usual foam blocks.

    In the fourth pic, you actually see the power supply out in it's glory (or..... as much of it as can be seen from the top side...... freakin mirror finish), the manual, and the box of cables open (which is one thing i wish they had a better attention to detail for..... messy messy messy) Nothing else to really explain about this picture...... so we're OFF to the next one.

    Pic #5..... here you see all the connectors for the power cables. far right we have the 20+4 pin power cable for the motherboard. then, to the left of that, we have the two 6-pin PCI-Express power cable sockets. to the left of those, we have the 8-pin socket for the 8-pin wire used for dual processor motherboards i believe... and then we have the 4-pin 12v CPU power cable. Finally, to the left of those, we have the SATA power sockets (top), and the 4-pin molex sockets for powering our other necessities, such as hard drive, optical drives, etc... You more than likely also noticed the mirror finish i spoke of. you can see the top portion of my monitor.... the undersides of the shelves (even the little locking things to hold the desk together)... the front edge of the desk..... and if you REALLY want detail for a mirror finish (and had i noticed it before snapping the pic and before getting too lazy to take another one, would not be IN the pic), you can actually see the stitching on the crotch of the black pants i was wearing.... (glad the zipper wasn't open. :eek: )

    Now that this half is done...... the rest will be finished in the next post.
     

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  3. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon The One and Only

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    Now to finish the pics..... and the review.

    Pic #6. not a very awe inspiring pic.... but nonetheless... the last pic of the rather boring stuff. a close up look at the box of FlexForce cables. you can see that they are actually like a ribbon cable, and not just sleeved or rounded.

    the second last pic, #7, shows the power supply inside the case, cables connected.... what it would look like had i just opened the side panel (or looking in through the mesh side..... minus the clarity). Wires can be easily, and rather neatly, be tucked away so that not much of the wire is showing (though i wish my case didn't have a completely solid motherboard tray.... then i coulda brought the motherboard power cable under the tray, and up through it closer to the plug for it). I could have probably done a bit better with hiding the wires..... but i just wanted to get the thing up and running again. rearranging wires comes later.

    the final pic, #8, shows my pc's innards..... exposing it all. (including my new hardware :)). nicely tucked away wires that don't really intrude in the airflow path at all. my semi-nice job of re-routing, and shortening of the fan wires (ugly wires.... wish they weren't red, black, and yellow) to hide them from view, and so they don't go across the center of the case. also the UUUUGGGLLLLLLYYYYYY wire that powers the fan controller/LCD on the front of my case. the only wires i wish that WEREN'T standard colors..... if it weren't for that..... my computer would be lookin sharp.

    Anyway.... there you have it for the pictures and their descriptions. as for the power supply's performance so far...... according to Asus Probe 2, the 12v rails are averaging around 12.032v... with the occasional drop to 11.968v for a very short time. the 5v rails are around 5.03-5.08v, and the 3.5v rail is around 3.376 and 3.392. all acceptable levels..... nothing too high or low... nice quiet 120mm fan doing it's fair share of heat exhaustion, as well as the 92mm fan just below it, and the 2x 92mm intake fans above the expansion slots. my A64 3700+ is right now idling around 29C, and the 7800GT is idling at an even 40C.

    There you have it..... my review of the X2-Connect Modular power supply by Ultra. if you want any more info... just say so. any comments on the review... again, just say them.

    Off-Topic: i was kinda wondering..... would it be wise to maybe..... i dunno..... get maybe a 80mm-to-120mm fan converter, or 92mm-to-120mm (if they make such a thing) fan converter, and put one of the 120mm Turbine fans in the spot where one of the fans are, either below the power supply if it'd fit, or at the top of the case? was thinkin about tryin to get an alternate means of exhausting the air from the case at a considerable rate without causing too much noise (forgetting to plug in the fan controller/LCD wire in the front kinda spoiled me.... with only the 120mm fan from the Seasonic power supply i had before, the CPU fan, and video card fan running).
     

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  4. VenomXt

    VenomXt Blame me for the RAZR's Folding Team

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    nice. i like the silver.
     
  5. Son Goku

    Son Goku No lover of dogma

    Two observations, well I have the Ultra X-Connect (or first gen of this product):

    - The shiny surface can not be understated, but one thing about this is that picking it up, finger prints will very visably form on the surface. Not that it matters sitting inside the case. But don't be surprised if you start seeing the oil from your hands appear on the thing...

    - I mentioned the particulars in another thread where mlakrid mentioned getting this supply under review. Looking at the specs, and comparing to the first gen; I'm not sure what's happening to the extra 50 watts of power draw it pulls in. Basically, on the output the 2 12-volt rails combined give 1 extra amp over the first gen with it's single 12-volt rail, and the other rails are virtually identical, at the same or lower power output. I mentioned the comparison here

    http://forum.osnn.net/showpost.php?p=672548&postcount=22

    With 3 amps less on the 3.3 volt rail and identical amperage on the 5 volt rail, hmm... It might be slightly less efficient then older version is about all I can think/am scratching my head on with such comparison of their respective outputs as compared to their respective power draw.

    Thus far, all has seemed well, and detachable power cables do have an advantage when it comes to stubborn devices that simply don't want to disconnect from the PSU.

    Beyond such, there isn't much I could say having an earlier generation of this product.
     
  6. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon The One and Only

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    yeah. i was rather fond of my 1st gen X-Connect..... but a) didn't want to use a crappy 20-to-24 pin motherboard power adapter since they seem to not do too hot, and b) didn't like the idea of using the adapter for the video card to convert two 4-pin molex connectors into one 6-pin PCI-Express.

    overall it's a good power supply so far. only thing i'm semi-concerned about is that it does pump a considerable amount of heat out the back of it..... which i'm assuming is due to the extra 12v rail and stuff. least it keeps my room warm too. lol.

    Kinda debating if i'd want to void the warranty at this point and put a different 120mm fan in the psu..... Probably not though.

    What about the 80-to-120mm fan converter and 92-to-120mm fan converter with an AeroCool Turbine 120mm fan idea i had? just to try to get the case quieter, and only use maybe 1 or 2 case fans. any input on that?
     
  7. Son Goku

    Son Goku No lover of dogma

    Yeah, more heat dissipation could also fit in with what has me scratching my head on the spec comparisons.

    You see, starting from the basics, there's a principle in physics refered to as the law of conservation of energy. It basically states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but can be changed from one form to another.

    There's another assumption which tends to be made that when converting energy to another form, the process of conversion is not 100% efficient (though one can approach greater efficiency), albeit some energy will be lost/unuseable, for instance in the form of heat. Now the PSU, isn't converting electricity to something else, but rather 110/120 Vac into a direct current at the given voltage rails. Hence my wondering with extra draw (550 vs 500 watts being drawn in), what's happening with the extra power...

    Now the 5 volt rail is the same, so I won't bother calculating it (given no change). However the cumulative of the 12-volt rails, and the 3.3 volt rail do differ.

    OK, pulling up a basic formula here (to relate the differing amperage on the given volt rails, to the actual watts), we get:

    http://www.powerstream.com/Amps-Watts.htm

    Plugging the respective numbers in, we get:

    W(x1) = 28a * 3.3v = 92.4 watts
    W(x2) = 25a * 3.3v = 82.5 watts

    So, looking at the 3.3v rail, the X2 is using 92.4-82.5= 9.9 fewer watts.

    On the 12-volt rail we're using:

    W(x1) = 34a * 12v = 408 watts
    W(x2) = (17a * 12v) + (18a * 12v) = 420 watts.

    This gives us, 420w - 408w = 12 additional watts on the 12 volt rail (which also makes sense when comparing the values to the formula which gives the relation between the values.

    For matters of bookkeeping, the additional .5v on the 5vsb should also be computed. There is one thing I don't like with these comparisons however. In relating it back to the power source, one couldn't simply add up the calculated wattages to get back to the source wattage, so there obviously is a problem comparing it over differing voltages in trying to get an apples to apples comparison. The calculated values, in watts, does match what the box prints up, which when adding up all values on the back, they show up as 608 watts being used, with a source wattage for that end of the PSU printed as 480 watts (the other 20 covering the sb voltage, as well as the -12, -5, and -3.3 rails). The other box I don't have...

    If that last variable could be worked out of the results, it could be possible to do such a comparison. We could be seeing extra power draw which essentially heats the room up some more, however...
     
  8. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon The One and Only

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    eeh, it's not really concerning me that much anymore. think it was on Ultra's website...... but it says the ambient temperature of the power supply is like... 29c or so. i'm just not sure if i'd be able to run it anymore without case fan ventilation. don't wanna pump TOO much heat through the power supply. which is why i'm wondering about using a case fan converter and the Aerocool Turbine fans....
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2006
  9. ShepsCrook

    ShepsCrook Red Sox Fan!

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    I was looking at some of those at the TigerDirect store near here. I was almost tempted to buy one but opted against it because I'm not a fan of Ultra products. I'd choose the Antec Neopower over the Ultra for modular PSUs. Maybe even the OCZ Modstream.
     
  10. mlakrid

    mlakrid OSNN BASSMASTER Political User Folding Team

    Look at my previous thread about looking for a good PSU and see the review there... eevn ultra did a better job than most power supplies for less ripple voltages on all rails with the exception of antec and one other.. dont ask, I dont remember, and Im too lazy to look my own thread up :speechless:
     
  11. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon The One and Only

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    Shepscrook....... least u HAVE a tigerdirect store near you. wish we did. :( would make getting new hardware SOOOOOOOO much faster. are the prices exactly the same as they are on the site, and without tax? if so.... that'd be freakin cool.

    Only places near me for computer parts are Best Buy (retail price...... ouch), Circuit City (BLEH!!!), Wal-mart (with it's computer part selection so small... microscopic would be giving it too much credit), one new computer place in the Laurel Mall in Hazleton (which is about a 45 minute drive away, and looks like parts the guy went and bought at the local computer show), one other place out in Allentown that i wouldn't trust buying something from with a stranger's money), or online..... so yeah.... not too many choices....
     
  12. Tittles

    Tittles Dabba Dooba Political User

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    I have the first gen and I love it

    Its really hawt looking :p

    I thought I did a review on mine when I got mine also?

    Its a nice Power Supply and if I plan on getting a new one I will stick with this company.
     
  13. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon The One and Only

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    actualy, tittle..... i think we BOTH might have done a review on it at one point......... not sure. but yeah.... pretty great, and great looking power supply. sucks that you can't even OPEN the thing without voiding the lifetime warranty. wanted to maybe try to slap a quieter fan in there... like maybe an Aerocool Turbine or somethin........ but screw that... not worth it over the warranty. fan is quite quiet to begin with.... just could probably use a tad more airflow, since even the website says that the PSU has an ambient temp of like 29C... which translates into the mid 90's i think.
     
  14. Tittles

    Tittles Dabba Dooba Political User

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    Yeah I remember you doing one too. If you heard my PC I think you would flip out from the way you want yours to sound :lick:.

    Only thing I really need to make it quite are my damn fans on the case. I remember when I was putting my ultra in and didn't have the fans hooked up right and it was so quite. Then I plugged them in right and was like damn :(.

    Doesn't bother me to much as I am usually listening to music and usually only online towards night time since I am busy most of the time.
     
  15. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon The One and Only

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    yeah..... i had the same fan ordeal. before i got the Ultra, i had a Seasonic hooked up for a few days before returning it the day before i got the Ultra. when i had the Seasonic hooked up, at first i forgot to plug in the little fan controller thing on the front of my case to a power supply lead..... my GOD was that quiet. only time it got louder was during gaming, when the fans started to kick themselves up a notch or a few to cool better. I'd do the same with the Ultra..... but i don't want something in the PSU to overheat since it's already in the 90 degree range to begin with. dunno if the PSU would be able to vent out the heat generated from the CPU and GPU fan all by itself, especially when it already has to deal with it's own heat. it's weird..... my power supply is about as hot as my CPU is when it's idle. lol.

    is it possible for a PSU to get slightly too hot and start to do some crazy stuff? or does it usually take quite a lot of heat for somethin to go wrong with a PSU?
     
  16. Son Goku

    Son Goku No lover of dogma

    Curcuit City, ugh... One time I went in price comparing CPUs (and don't ask me why, but I don't think CompUSA which is practically in the same lot, had Athlons then or something...) So I went in, asked them the price on their CPUs.

    sales clerk: Would you like us to show you.

    me: OK

    sales clerk walks me over to complete new systems, and points at them triumphantly.

    me: Umm, no, a CPU, not a computer.

    sales clerk: These are CPUs

    me: No they're not. They're computer cases. I want a CPU. You know, the processor?

    sales clerk looks confused.

    me: It's a chip that plugs into the motherboard, not the whole computer.

    sales clerk (looking more puzzled): what?

    After some time of this, and the sales clerk becoming more puzzled as the conv went on...

    me: Oh, never mind

    /walks out store...

    I suppose they either didn't sell them, or if they did, the sales people there didn't have a clue about their own inventory. Buy hardware at circuit city? I'd rather pass... The peeps working there were as clueless as they come.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2006
  17. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon The One and Only

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    yeah...... retail people are OFTEN not too bright when it comes to computers. ESPECIALLY stuff that's in them, and even more especially people at Circuit City. i've also heard some bad things about Circuit City too...... like employee's taking products home (like stereo recievers and the like), using them for a few days, bringing them back to the store, repacking them, and selling them for the original retail price. One time we bought a CD Changer from there.... and the power button was hard to get to work. one day.... we found out why. the power button fell off..... here it was glued on to try to fix it.
     
  18. Tittles

    Tittles Dabba Dooba Political User

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    I always hear people calling the tower the CPU and thats most likely why he/she didn't know what you were talking about.

    Circuit City is a nice play to go other the computer related things. I think they over charge just to wipe your drive clean and then reinstall windows. Then again I am going to apply to them or Best Buy when I turn 18 so I guess I can't really complain then when I am making money lol jk but if I work there I still will think its ****ty that they do that.