Articles: Cases/PSU
 

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Ultra Products X4 ULT-HA850X

This power supply is from the US-based Ultra Products which is known not only for its products but also for the lawsuit it filed two years ago against nearly all PSU makers, claiming that they violate its patent on the modular PSU design.

The Ultra X4 comes in a rather large box. The text on the box describes the contents as well as product features. Judging by the UL certificate number, this PSU is manufactured by Andyson.

Exterior Design

The X4 does not differ from other models save for the stamped emblem on its side. It is a rather compact matte-black box.

It looks more interesting at the back: people at Ultra Products must have decided to make full use of their patent and left not a single fixed cable here. Well, I don’t get why the mainboard and CPU cables should be detachable. The advertised opportunity to replace such a cable with a better one won't ever be used by 99.999% of users.

The connectors are not labeled, which is not good. When plugging a cable in, you have to look into the manual or guess what cable goes where by the shape and key of the connector.

Interior Design

Inside we see a rather typical modern PSU design without any innovations: active PFC, a single-step inverter, and dedicated voltage regulation based on magnetic amplifiers (saturated chokes).

There are Teapo capacitors at the output. They have a good reputation. The quality of assembly is overall blameless.

Specifications

Having a total output power of 850 watts, the PSU can yield only 720 watts via its +12V power rail. Considering that modern computers consume no more than 50 watts from the rest of the rails, the real output power of the X4 should be estimated at 770-800 watts. The good news is that the +12V rail is not split into “virtual” output lines.

Cables and Connectors

This PSU has the following connectors:

  • One connector for a mainboard power cable
  • A 4-pin connector for a CPU power cable
  • An 8-pin connector for a CPU power cable
  • Three 6-pin connectors for graphics card cables
  • Three 8-pin connectors for graphics card cables
  • Four connectors for PATA power cables
  • Four connectors for SATA power cables

Included with the PSU are:

  • Mainboard cable with a 24-pin connector (58 cm)
  • CPU cable with an 8-pin connector (60 cm)
  • CPU cable with a 4-pin connector (60 cm)
  • Graphics card cable with a 6-pin connector (60 cm)
  • Graphics card cable with a 6-pin connector (64 cm)
  • Graphics card cable with a 6-pin connector (70 cm)
  • Graphics card cable with a 6+2-pin connector (60 cm)
  • Graphics card cable with a 6+2-pin connector (64 cm)
  • Graphics card cable with a 6+2-pin connector (70 cm)
  • Two cables with three PATA power connectors and one floppy-drive plug on each (44+15+15+15 cm)
  • One cable with three PATA power connectors (44+15+15 cm)
  • One cable with two PATA power connectors (44+15 cm)
  • Three cables with three SATA power connectors on each (45+15+15 cm)
  • One cable with two SATA power connectors (44+15 cm)

I like this selection of cables as they vary in length and amount of connectors, allowing you to pick up just the necessary ones for your particular system configuration. The cables are all long enough for a system case with a bottom PSU compartment.

I don’t like the lack of color coding. Every connector is the same black color, so it’s hard to differentiate them at one glance. It would be handier if the cable connectors (and the matching PSU connectors) were different colors as many other PSU makers do.

Velcro fasteners are pre-attached to the cables to help you lay them out neatly.

UPS Compatibility

Working with my APC SmartUPS SC 620, this power supply was stable at loads up to 375 watts when powered by the mains and switched to the UPS’s batteries normally, but the UPS would then report overload and shut down in a couple of seconds.

Output Voltage Stability

This PSU is unexpectedly poor in terms of +12V stability. This voltage varies from 12.1 to 12.55 volts depending on load. This is within the permissible range (the maximum is 12.6 volts), so this instability shouldn’t affect your computer's operation. As a matter of fact, PSUs with joint voltage regulation used to easily violate the permissible 5% deflection from the nominal level, but I have already got used to PSUs with dedicated voltage regulation and begin to grumble even at a deflection of 3 to 5%.

Output Voltage Ripple

The PSU passes this test well. The output voltage ripple is very low.

Noise

The fan has Ultra’s own sticker but its real maker is Young Lin Tech Co. It is a 135x135x25mm model.

The PSU is very quiet. The fan rotates at 725 RPM at loads up to 400 watts and its maximum speed is only 1300 RPM. It is audible but not irritating then.

Efficiency and Power Factor

The efficiency is just good: 87% at the maximum and about 85% on average. The power factor is unexpectedly low: it is only at 300 watts that it gets higher than 0.9. This parameter is unimportant for most users, though.

Standby Source

The standby source copes with its job just fine.

Summary

The Ultra X4 ULT-HA850X has a not-very-stable +12V power rail. Its real output power is some 50 watts below the specified one and its compatibility with UPSes is poor. On the other hand, this PSU differs from the competition with its very quiet operation and excellent selection of cables. Considering that the mentioned drawbacks are far from critical, it can be recommended for purchase.

 
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