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Ultra X-Connect 500W PSU Ultra X-Connect 500W PSU: Enthusiasts behold! We take a look at a PSU that is not only 500W, but it is also fully modular.
Date: August 5, 2004
Manufacturer:
Written By:
Price:


It's not uncommon for enthusiasts to have more than one hard drive, and multiple optical drives in addition to their overclocked CPUs and video cards. 350W PSUs are the bare minimum I would even consider these days, with 400W+ being more the recommended. There isn't such a thing as too much power though, and power users pushing their PCs even harder, I suspect 400W PSUs aren't going to cut it for much longer.

Power, and more of it, doesn't always tell the whole story though. Quality is something that a lot of people surprisingly don't pay attention to. Yes, sometimes a generic 400W PSU will get the job done, but this is something that doesn't happen most of the time. When you're running an overclocked system, with plenty of hardware, you're going to want a PSU that you can count on under load.

is a company I was not familiar with until they approached us about looking at one of their new power supplies. The thing that caught our attention was that the is a fully modular setup. What does that mean? Basically, you can cut down on cable clutter by only connecting the cables you need. We've seen this down before, but the Ultra X-Connect is the first consumer PSU we've seen that does this at the factory level.

Specifications

Total Output Power:
- 500W (Full Load, Nominal Input Voltage).

Efficiency:
- 70% Typical at Full Load and Nominal Input Voltage
Input:
- AC Input Voltage: 115V/230V
- AC Input Frequency: 50Hz-60Hz
Special Features:

X-Connect Technology
- Use only the cables you need, no unused, unwanted cables!
- Reduces annoying "cable clutter" in your case.
- Provides enhanced airflow inside your computer case.
- Secure "Plug-in" connector design for reliable connection.
- X-Cable Technology: 8 X-Cables are UV ready
- Molded cables and connectors, no more loose wire cables!
- Tinned copper braiding sleeve. Reduces heat and static.
- Superior strength. Each cable is constructed for lifetime use.

Additional Features:
- Continuous Power System
- X-Connect power supply can run continuously at full 500 Watt power. Traditional power supplies peak at 500 Watts, but do not sustain the wattage.
- Low Noise Control
- The X-Connect power has been specifically designed and built with advanced circuitry to achieve unsurpassed low noise operation. The X-Connect's cooling fan delivers various cooling speeds based on the requirements of the system.
- All Ultra power supplies are equipped with dual ball-bearing fans for added reliability and virtually silent cooling.
- Supports Pentium 4 and AMD CPU's.
- Meets ATX Version 2.03 and ATX 12V Version 1.1 Specifications
- Short Circuit Protection
- In-rush Current Protection
- Thermal Overload Cutoff Protection
- MTBF > 100,000 Hours at Full Load, 110VAC and 25° C Ambient Condition
- FCC and UL Approved

The Ultra X-Connect 500W PSU

One look at the Ultra X-Connect and you can already see that there's no other PSU like it. Instead of a windowed shell to separate itself from the typical PSU, there is a very shiny chrome finish instead. I'll admit it looks pretty nice, though wear some cotton gloves if you want to avoid getting finger prints all over it (which you can wipe off anyway). As you can see in the above image, there are no wires coming out of the X-Connect.

In place of wires, we have a series of connector ports. These are protected by rubber caps that can be removed in order to install the X-Cables. The connector ports are broken down as follows: ATX Motherboard connector, 12v Motherboard connector, six-pin connector, and five four-pin molex connectors. The idea behind this is that rather than cluttering your case interior with dangling, unused cables, with the X-Connect, you can use only the cables that you need.

There are two fans built into the PSU, and this design has its pros and cons. On the plus side, two fans are better than one (or none at all), and if you're able to load up 500W of usage, you better make sure the PSU is cooled down. Compared to three fan PSUs, it should be less noisy since there's one fewer fan. On the downside, the cooling won't be as good as a three fan setup, fan speeds being equal.

The fans are 80mm dual ball-bearing based fans, so noise shouldn't be too much of an issue, and are "auto-controlled" which basically speeds up or slows down the fans based on the internal temperature. Maximum output is rated at about 41 CFM.

Compared with our Antec power supplies, the noise levels are similar, which is very little of it. I'll admit that after a couple hours of use, I was able to detect some fan noise above my Koolance EXOS as the PSU was getting a workout. According to specifications, the fans will generate 34 dB of noise at full speed, which is certainly far from silent. I am not able to tell you if our fans were spinning at maximum speed because the X-Connect does not have fan RPM monitoring.

There is nothing remarkable about the rear fan, but the bottom fan has a custom "Ultra" laser cut fan grill, and is backed by a metal mesh to protect wires (or fingers) from making contact with the fan.

Next to the rear fan, we have the power switch for manually shutting down the PSU, and the power connection. The power cable is included in case you're wondering. There is also a output current switch in case you're using this outside of North America's 115, which is the default setting.

The X-Cables are of decent length, and it should be long enough to work with full tower cases. All the cables are sleeved with a tinned copper braid, which act to shield the rest of the PC from EMI. Each cable has a solidly designed connection and the sleeves are encased in these connection very securely. The chances of you tugging a power cable out of these connections is very slim, as the cables through and through are quite heavy duty.

Above is a comparison shot between the Ultra X-Connect and an Antec PSU. Right away you can see the cleaner lines on the X-Connect, and compared to the non-sleeved Antec cables and standard power connection, the quality difference is obvious.

There are a total of seven X-Cables included. They are broken down as follows: 17.75" ATX Motherboard point-to-point cable, 17.75" 12v Motherboard point-to-point cable, 17.75" six-pin point-to-point cable, 21.75" one standard point-to-point four-pin Molex cable, two 17.75" Y-Type Molex cables (PSU-to-two devices), one double 17.75" Y-Type cables (PSU-to-three devices, one of which is a floppy).

I would have liked to have had a couple spare point-to-point cables, in case one gets lost, or if I do not need a Y-Type cable. Another omission are SATA cables. Luckily, these are available, but unfortunately they are only available at an extra charge.

One problem I do have with the X-Cables is that they are very stiff. I had to force the ATX cable to bend a bit as my CDROM in our Lian-Li test bed is quite close to the PSU. This isn't a huge concern, as the cables are sleeved and shielded which I'll take any day.

The Ultra X-Connect itself is a 500W PSU (as reviewed), and is designed to deliver the full 500W of power continuously. This is in contrast to most PSUs where their peak power comes in bursts. The +5V, +12V and +3.3V have a maximum output of 480W, while the negative rails provide the remaining 20W for 500W total. Here are the specs of the X-Connect:

Voltage
+3.3VDC
+5VDC
+12VDC
-12VDC
-5VDC
+5VSB
Max. Current
28A
30A
34A
0.8A
0.8A
2A
Max. 160W
Min. Current
0A
0A
0.8A
0A
0A
0A

One eye-catcher is the 34A on the +12V rail, which will provide plenty of juice for those of you who make heavy use of various fans and peripherals. Depending on the load, the voltage output will vary. Basically, if you do not need all the available power, the PSU will reduce the voltages. Finally, the X-Connect offers features such as P4/AMD support, Short Circuit Protection, In-rush Current Protection, and Thermal Overload Cutoff Protection.

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