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Ultra X-Finity 500 Watt PSU Ultra X-Finity 500 Watt PSU: Sometimes, rather than something modular, normality, albeit solid and well built, is all we really need.
Date: May 5, 2006
Provided By:
Written By:
Price:

    Until the last few years most people didn't care what kind of power supply they had inside their computer.  As long as it worked and the computer worked, they were fine.  However this has changed, as the power supply is gaining new respect as a very vital piece of hardware to ensure that the entire computer is running well.

    Ultra Products is a fairly new player in the game of power supplies.  While we have looked at a couple of their units over the past year or two they have produced some very nice power supplies.  From the first one we looked at, the X-Connect, which was a modular design, we have been impressed by their designs.

Ultra X-Finity 500 Watt Power Supply

    Ultra was nice enough to send us the 500w version of their X-Finity series of power supplies.  The tech specs are located on .  However lets take a detailed look at what they sent in the box.

    The box itself is very eye catching, in fact the front seems to be a little too busy for me.  The X in X-Finity seems to be trying to copy that of the X-Men logo from the past few movies.  The SLi logo is odd in its placement, as it probably was stuck on after the original box design.  Otherwise all the basic information is listed here.  On the side of the box shown above we see the different types of connectors that are included in this power supply, none of which is out of the ordinary for a newer power supply.

    These two sides of the box offer a lot more useful information on the power supply.  The first picture shows us what connectors there are and how many Ultra gives you, very nice information to make sure the power supply has enough connectors for your use.  The other picture provides us with the technical aspect of this power supply, how the 500 watts are split between the different power lines.

    Now we open the box.  The first thing we see is the registration card, which proclaims that you could win, but the only thing you 'win' is the longer warranty.  The overall packing of this box is good, with everything snug in its place, and neatly tied down.  The other picture here shows what you get beside the power supply, namely the 'manual' a pack of screws and the power cable none of which is abnormal.  The manual, which is only a few pages long, offers basic connection suggestions and reiterates the power capabilities of the power supply.

    We finally arrive at the actual power supply.  Upon first glance two things caught my eye, first the 120mm fan inside the power supply which looked remarkable similar to the design from the Seasonic power supply I reviewed a while ago;  Second was the fact that the casing was very reflective, as you can see in the second picture above.  The power ratings of the power supply show that the 5 and 3.3v lines have a max combined wattage of 160w, and the two 12v lines have a max of 384w, but the maximum for the positive lines is only 481w, less than the combined wattage of the two sets of lines. 

    Lastly there is the cables, which are an interesting but very flexible cable, which allows for ease of custom installation.  The silver color with black ends matches the color scheme of the power supply itself.  Ultra calls these FlexForce cables, as they are supposed to be easy to hide and provide better airflow.  Personally I found these cables very nice to use in the test case, as I managed to get all the cables hidden away with only the barest look of a cable at the actual power connector.  Good design job Ultra.  However looks alone will not make a good power supply, rather its how well the components inside work together that make the difference.  So lets see how this power supply did in our testing.

System Specifications

CPU: Intel Pentium D 820
CPU Clock Speed: 2.8GHz
Motherboard:

Intel D945PSN (945P)

Memory:

Crucial Ballistix PC2-5300 (2*512MB)

Memory Timings: 4-3-3-12-1
Memory Speed: 533MHz (QDR)
Hard Drives:

40GB Maxtor 34098H4; 200GB Maxtor 6Y200P0; 2*80GB Maxtor 6Y080M0

Video Card: Gigabyte GV-RX18L256V-B (ATi x1800XL)
Operating System: Windows XP Pro SP2 Direct X 9c
Drivers: Catalyst 6.2
Cooler: Zalman CNPS7700-AlCu (Full Speed)
Other Fans: 2 * Vantec Stealth 120mm Fans 80mm Fan
Case: Ultra Aluminus
Additional Accessories: Logitech Wingman Rumblepad 2.5" Firewire Hard Drive (Bus powered)
Power Supply: Enermax EG565P-VE (535w) Ultra X-Finity 500w (Titanium)
Software: VirtualDub 1.6.11 Folding@Home
  3D Mark 2005 SpeedFan

    So how did we test this power supply?  We took a power monitor and ran all the above mentioned software at the same time to give us the maximum power usage of the system.  Using VirtualDub we ran a job of copying the same video file to the same hard drive as its source, which was each hard drive tested, 75 times for a 800MB video file.  The only minor point about this test is that the two Maxtor SATA drives were in a RAID-0 array at the time.  Two instances of Folding@Home  were run to make sure that CPU usage was always at 100% for the dual core system.  3D Mark 2005 was run in a continuous loop at 800*600 with 6X AA and 16X ansiotropic filtering enabled and the sound enabled.  The voltages were captured with SpeedFan and used for our results.

    Sound was tested using our Radio Shack digital sound meter from a distance of 2" in an open environment.  The overall power usage of this system was in the 270-285w range, as I don't have SLi or Crossfire video cards, and the processor is the lower power dual core CPU from Intel.

Test Results

    Did the voltages fluctuate when we applied a load to the system?  What kind of variation did we see from the standard set of voltages?

 

Enermax EG565P-VE (535w)

Ultra X-Finity 500w (Titanium)

  Idle Load Idle Load
Memory Voltage: 1.55-1.56 1.55-1.56 1.55-1.56 1.55-1.56
CPU Voltage: 1.27-1.3 1.24-1.27 1.28-1.3 1.28-1.3
3.3V: 3.3-3.34 3.29-3.35 3.3-3.34 3.3-3.34
5v: 5.15-5.17 5.1-5.2 5.15-5.17 5.15-5.17
12v: 12-12.19 11.94-12.06 12-12.13 11.94-12.13

    As a small point, the Enermax power supply did use about 10-15w less power than the Ultra power supply.  Now what do these results show us?  The Ultra power supply provides the same voltages no matter if there is a load or not, the only variation being the 12v line which dipped to 11.94v from 12v. 

    Looking at the two power supplies in comparison we can see a few things.  First memory voltages aren't fluctuating at all; second that the Enermax power supply seems to have a bit more of a problem supplying stable voltages under load.  As a point both of these power supplies stay well within their respective voltage specifications.  The CPU voltage on the Enermax goes as low as 1.24v under load, while the Ultras' CPU voltage was at 1.28v under load, a significant amount if you are overclocking your system.  The Enermax gives a tighter range with its 12v (load) numbers though its idle voltages have a larger range than the Ultra.  Overall the Ultra X-Finity provides a tighter range of voltages on each power line, with the exception of the 12v line(s).

    So what did these two power supplies do in the way of loudness, were they quiet enough to use in a HTPC or would they be more at home in a server farm?

  Enermax EG565P-VE (535w) Ultra X-Finity 500w (Titanium)
  Minimum Maximum Minimum Maximum
Loudness (dBA): 52 58 <50 52

    We can see that both of these power supplies are right at home in a HTPC, where silence is key.  The single 120mm fan on the Ultra power supply makes it very quiet when it is at its lowest fan speed, and at its maximum it doesn't make much more noise.  The Enermax power supply does very well considering it has two fans, one 92mm and one 80mm.  Overall the Ultra is the quieter of the two power supplies by virtue of its single 120mm fan but both wouldn't be out of place in a HTPC.

Conclusion

    Power supplies are always an interesting test subject, as they are fairly hard to test.  But what have we seen with this power supply?

    First the packaging, fairly flashy but definitely eye catching.  The box wouldn't be something missed on a store shelf as it does have a good presence, though I personally don't like designs that have too much on them.  The actual power supply was a nice look, with a very reflective 'titanium' finish, and similarly colored cables.  The cables were a joy to work with as they made routing the cables out of sight very easy and painless, a definite plus for this power supply.

    Performance was also pretty good.  It produced slightly more stable voltages than the comparison Enermax power supply, especially in regards to the CPU voltage.  Though as a note the voltage data was taken using a software program so it isn't the most accurate, though for a comparison between two power supplies in the same settings it works just fine.  As for noise, well there wasn't really any to speak of, though the Ultra was somewhat quieter than the Enermax.

    Price is always something to be concerned about, as if this product is priced much higher than the comparison power supply that wasn't much worse, it wouldn't be worth the money.  In the case of our two power supplies the is coming in about $15-20 (US) lower than the power supply.  Personally I purchased the Enermax power supply myself, but looking at the results that the Ultra X-Finity gives, its hard not to recommend it.  The only reason not to pick it up is if you want a modular power supply or need more than 500w of power.

Hit us up in the Forums if you have any questions.

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