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Ultra X4 750 Watt Modular PSU

The Ultra X3 series PSU’s were some nice modular PSUs back in the time, however it’s low efficiency was disappointing. This time the new X4 750W PSU is certified by the 80Plus program guaranteeing a reliable and efficient PSU.

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Introduction

It has been a very long time since Ultra has came out with their X3 series power supplies. While these power supplies came with large power outputs like 1600W, their efficiency and noise, however, was just not up to par with other manufacturers. With the release of the new Ultra X4 series power supplies, these problems were taken into consideration and were fixed to give the best experience to the users. The new X4 series power supplies are certified with the 80Plus certification and they come in wide variety forms. Some of the X4 power supplies have a bronze certification while others have a Silver certification. In todays review, we will be taking a look at the Ultra X4 750W Modular Power Supply, that comes with a 135mm silent fan, and is 80Plus Bronze certified. We are going to compare it to the older X3 brother and some other power supplies provided by other manufacturers. Lets take a look at whether the X4 power supplies are up to par with the other high end power supplies.

 

features

Protecting Your Investment

  • Integrated short circuit protection and thermal overload sensors automatically protects the PC when surges or overheating become an issue.
  • 135mm fan improves airflow throughout the chassis while keeping noise at a minimum

Hassle-Free Installation

  • With Ultra’s patented Modular Design, you only connect the cables which you need increasing airflow and giving your chasis that nice clean-look

Solid Support

  • With 3 year standard and lifetime warranty availabhle upon registration, Ultra’s customer service meets teh highest industry standards.

You can see here that Ultra has included many key features includeing a 135mm fan. This large fan will ensure the PSU runs cool, and thus keep your components running with clean power. The modular design insures that you wont have a bunch of random unneeded cables clogging up the airflow in your case.

  • Modular Design – Only Connect the Cables You Need
  • Lifetime Warranty – Your Investment is in Good Hands
  • 80+ Bronze Certified – Save $$$ on Home Electricity Bills
  • 135mm Low Noise Fan – Improved Cooling & Reduced Acoustics
  • Tons of Included Extras – The Icing on the Cake
  • Power Supply
  • Cables
  • Cable Carrying Case
  • Manual
  • Regular Screws
  • Registration Card
  • Silicone Vibration Dampener
  • Thumb Screws
  • Velcro Straps
  • Zip Tie

The velcro straps the zip ties and the silicone vibration dampeners are a nice addition to the X4 series power supplies.

specifications

Main specifications:

Specifications Ultra X4 750W Modular Power Supply
Form Factor

ATX

Wattage

750-Watt

Modular Cabling

Yes

Special Features

Modular

Energy Efficiency

80Plus Bronze Certification

Fan

135mm

Input Voltage

115 ~ 230

+3.3V

24A

+5V

30A

+12V 1

60A

-12V

0.5A

+5VSB

3A

Dimensions

5.8″ x 6″ x 3.5″

Motherboard Connector

24-Pin

Motherboard Power Connector

4 Pin MB

8 Pin MB

6-Pin PCI-Express Connector

6

8-Pin PCI-Express Connector

3

4-Pin Floppy Connector

2

4-Pin Peripheral Connector

9

SATA Power Connector 11

Over Voltage Protection

Sense Level Over Voltage
+5V

6.3V ± 10%

+12V

15.0V ± 10%

+3.3V

4.2V ± 10%

While there are some over voltage protections set on the power supply, they seem a bit loose to me. Just thinking about 15.0V ± 10% is a bit scary. If for instance it happens to be +10% more that would be a total of 16.5V before the overvoltage protection kicks in. That could easily damage some hardware in the PC.

These are the connectors that come with the Ultra X4 750W Power Suppy:

24 pin
P8 MB
P4 MB
Peripheral
FDD
SATA
6-pin PCI-E
8-pin PCI-E
x 1
x 1
x 1
x 9
x 2
x 11
x 6
x 3

It is important to not that the X4 also comes with a dual fan adapter which connects to a single molex connector.

Here is the cable and lenght specifications for the power supply:

Ultra X4 1050W Connector Cable Lengths
Modular
PSU > 23” = 58.42cm > 20+4 Pin Motherboard
1
Modular
PSU > 23” = 58.42cm > 8 Pin EPS12V
1
Modular
PSU > 23” = 58.42cm > 4 Pin ATX12V
1
Modular
PSU > 23” = 58.42cm > PCI-E 6 Pin
1
Modular
PSU > 25” = 63.5cm > PCI-E 6 Pin
1
Modular
PSU > 27” = 68.58cm > PCI-E 6 Pin
1
Modular
PSU > 23” = 58.42cm > PCI-E 6+2 Pin
1
Modular
PSU > 25” = 63.5cm > PCI-E 6+2 Pin
1
Modular
PSU > 27” = 68.58cm > PCI-E 6+2 Pin
1
Modular
PSU > 17” = 43.18cm > Peripheral > 6” > Peripheral > 6” > FDD
2
Modular
PSU > 17” = 43.18cm > Peripheral > 6” > Peripheral
1
Modular
PSU > 17” = 43.18cm > Peripheral > 6” > Peripheral > 6” > Peripheral
1
Modular
PSU > 17” = 43.18cm > SATA > 6” > SATA
1
Modular
PSU > 17” = 43.18cm > SATA > 6” > SATA > 6” > SATA
3
Adapter
Peripheral > 12” = 30.48cm >  2 x Case Fan
1

 

Here is the output table for the Ultra X4 750W Modular Power Supply:

AC INPUT
115-230V or 60/50Hz
DC OUTPUT
+5V
+3.3V
+12V1
+12V2
+12V3
-12V
+5VSB
750W
Max
Combined
Watts
30A
24A
54A
-
-
0.5A
3A
750W

Efficiency graph from the X4 Manual:

 

Dimension specifications for those that need exact measurements for their new system:

Here is a picture labeling all the modular cables that can be plugged into the X4 750W power supply:

Environment Temperatures
Ambient operation temperature

0C to +40C

Ambient operation relative humidity

20% to 90%

Ambient storage temperature

-20C to +85C

Ambient storage relative humidity

10% to 95%

The MTBF for this power supply is 100,000 hours at 25C. And finally some of the savety and agency approvals are the: UL 1950, IEC 60950, FCC Class B, CE, and CB.

WHAT ABOUT THEM RAILS?

We have all, no doubt, been told that when purchasing a power supply that the number to look for is the amps on the 12V rail. What are each of the different rails for though, and why is the 12V rail typically the most important? Why the heck are they called rails? Let’s take at look at each and see.

-12V – This rail is pretty much obsolete now and is only kept on to provide backward compatibility with older hardware. Some older types of serial port circuits required both -12V and +12V voltages, but since almost no one except industrial users use serial ports anymore you as a typical home user can pretty much disregard this rail.

-5V – Again this is another obsolete rail, the -5V was used for old school floppy controllers and some ISA bus cards. Again, no need for the typical home user to worry about this rail.

0V – Though not listed on any manufacturer spec sheet, every power supply has a 0V ground line. The ground signal is used to complete circuits with other voltages and provide a plane of reference against which other voltages are measured.

+3.3V - Finally we are starting to get into something useful! The +3.3V rail was introduced with the ATX form factor in order to power second generation Pentium chips. Previously the CPU was powered by the +5V rail (along with the system memory and everything else on the motherboard), but a reduced voltage was needed in order to reduce power consumption as the chips got faster. Until just recently, the +3.3V was used to exclusively power the CPU as well as some types of system memory, AGP video cards and other circuits.

+ 5V - As mentioned above, the +5V used to run the motherboard, CPU and the majority of other system components on older pre ATX based systems. On newer systems, many of the components have migrated to either the +3.3V or +12V rails, but the motherboard and many of its onboard components still use the +5V rail so it is of importance to the typical home user.

+5V SB – The +5V Standby or “Soft Power” signal carries the same output level as the +5V rail but is independent and is always on, even when the computer is turned off. This rail allows for two things. First, it allows the motherboard to control the power supply when it is off by enabling features such as wake up from sleep mode, or wake on LAN technology to function. It also is what allows Windows to turn your computer off automatically on shutdown as opposed to previous AT supplies where you had to bend over and push the button. Every standard ATX power supply on the market will include this rail.

+ 12V – The +12V, also known as the mother of all rails, is now used to power the most demanding components in your system including the CPU, hard drives, cooling fans, and graphics cards. Historically the +12V rail was used only to power drives and cooling fans. With the introduction of the 4-pin CPU plug on P4 motherboards and then eventually AMD based motherboards, in order to supply newer power hungry CPUs, the +12V rail suddenly started to grow in importance. Today, dual core based motherboard require an 8-pin +12V connector to supply their power needs. High end GPU cards have also jumped on the +12V rail, which has required PSU makers to adapt. Where previously there was only a single +12V rail, there are now two or more, each designated to power specific devices in order to ensure that nothing is underpowered.

Now as to why they are called rails, the best explanation that I can find is that the term comes from the wacky world of electronics and it refers to a long metal bar or strip that is used to provide a particular voltage level. Perhaps someone with a deeper understanding of all things electrical could let me know whether or not that is true.

A closer look

Click Image For a Larger One
 
The Ultra X4 750W Modular Power Supply came in a very colorful and detailed boxing. It has most of the information on the box that a buyer at a store would need to know before they buy the power supply. However the box came a bit damaged, but there is nothing to worry about because the power supply is put into a specially cut out foam which surrounds the power supply. This makes sure the power supply does not get damaged during shipping. 

Click Image For a Larger One
 
Once again, just like the X3 series, the X4 comes with a clean but stylish look. The size of the power supply is very decent, meaning it’s not too big, and not too small. The chassis for the power supply is nice but could be a bit of a finger print magnet. The honeycomb design on the back of the power supply makes sure that the 135mm fan can easily blow through the heat generated by the power supply. The green wire you can see is a grounding wire which is connected to the chassis of the power supply. 

Click Image For a Larger One
 
Here is the back of the X4 750W Modular Power Supply. We are very glad that Ultra once again made sure that their power supplies are 100% modular instead of having a few cables hardwired like the motherboard 24-Pin connector, the 8-pin CPU connector and the PCI-Express connectors. For more information about which lead goes where on the back of the power supply, please take a look at our second page in this review which shows exactly what plugs in where. Both sides of the X4 have a nicely designed sides with the X4 inprinted into the chassis. 

 Click Image For a Larger One

 These are a few more angles of the X4. The second image shows the output information about the X4, and all the safety certifications. The third image shows the X4’s 135mm silent fan which is regulated by the amount of load and heat.

Click Image For a Larger One
 
On the first picture we can see the whole power supply disassambled while the other pictures show only certain parts of the power supply. The Ultra X4 does not use Japanesse capacitors. It is a bit dissapointing but as long as we get alright results, it shouldn’t be a big problem.

 

Click Image For a Larger One
 
This power supply comes with all the modular leads which are nicely divided into two areas in the carrying case you can see in the picture. One of the sides has all the necessary cables to get the system up and running while the other side of the carrying case contains all the additional cables. We can see the Manual, some regular screws, thumb screws, and the silicone vibration dampener. The other parts like the velcro straps are on the cables itself, and there are a few more zip ties included which are not in this picture. The registration card is included in the manual which you can use to register your X4 power supply.

 

Click Image For a Larger One
 

Finally, here are the cables included with the power supply. The specifications about cable lenght are provided on the second page, so if you are interested in how long each of these cables are please go ahead and skip back to the second page.

Testing Methodology

When it comes to power supplies, any power supply, what you’re really looking for is good clean voltage and plenty of it. Current standards are 5% variance on any rail maximum, which is a little more lax than my personal standard of 3% max everywhere but the +5vSB (+5v stand by) which is always on even when the power supply and computer are off. On the +5vSB it’s not unusual to see 5% and since it’s only for wake on Lan or by device feature it’s not a big deal.

Like a lot of you enthusiasts out there, our PC’s are an ongoing work of art that we have a lot of cash invested in. If a PSU won’t hold to 2 or 3% load/idle no matter what we do to it, we won’t use it or recommend it.

Testing Equipment

Ultra X4 750 Watt Modular Power Supply
Testing Equipment
Multimeter RadioShack Digital Multimeter
Wall Voltage Craftsman 400A AC/DC Clamp Meter
Oscilloscope
Hitachi Oscilloscope V-212
Noise Measuring
Our trusty ears! (dBA in my opinion is always misused)

To test the Voltages on each rail and then measure the overall Wattage used by the whole computer system, we have used two different equipment. We used the RadioShack Digital Multimeter to measure the voltages on each rail (5V,12V,3.3V). To measure the overall wattage used by the computer system we used a Craftsman 400A AC/DC Clamp Meter. We attached the clamp straight to the wall outlet with a special divider to measure the overall Wattage being used accurately. The results were precisely recorded in a word document. And finally to finish testing the power supply’s ripple, we have used a Hitachi V-212 Oscilloscope. To measure the ripple we have measured the 12V, 5V, and 3.3V rails with the oscilloscope and measured the AC current. To test for ripple the AC current needs to be measured instead of the DC. The results are below.

Test Rig

Test Rig
Case Cooler Master Stacker 830 SE
CPU Intel Core I7 920 Extreme 2.66Ghz @ 3.8Ghz (vcore 1.35v)
Motherboard ASUS P6T SE X58 Motherboard
Ram OCZ DDR3-12800 1600Mhz (7-7-7-18 1.66v) 12GB Kit
CPU Cooler Thermalright True Black 120 Rev. C (Dual SilenX 120mm Fans)
Hard Drives

2x Western Digital RAID Edition 3 1TB Hard Drives

2x Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB Hard Drives

Optical Sony DVD R/W
GPU XFX GeForce 8800GTS G92 512MB Alpha Dog Edition
Case Fans

2x Noctua NF-P12 120mm Fans – Side

1x Noctua NF-P12 120mm Fan – Front

1x Noctua NF-P12 120mm Fan – Back

1x Noctua NF-P12 120mm Fan – Top        

Additional Fans

2x Noctua NF-R8 80mm Fans – Video Card

1x Cool-It Memory Fan Cooler

Testing PSU

Thermaltake TR2 1000 Watt Power Supply

Ultra X3 1000Watt Modular Power Supply

Sapphire PURE 1250 Watt Modular Power Supply

Ultra X4 750 Watt Modular Power Supply

Mouse Logitech G5
Keyboard Logitech G15

Two different tests will be done with this testing system. One test will be conducted under stock settings, while the second test will be conducted under overclocked settings on the CPU and Video Card. To put the system under load condition, we used Cinebench R10 to stress the CPU and 3DMark Vantage to stress the video card. Let’s take a look at the results.

results

Stock System Results


Power Output Results(V) – Stock System
Measured With RadioShack Multimeter And
Craftsman 400A AC/DC Clamp Meter

Power Rail

Sapphire Pure 1250W Modular PSU

Thermaltake TR2 1000 Watt PSU

Ultra X3 1000 Watt Modular PSU

Ultra X4 750 Watt

Modular PSU

Idle

Load

Idle

Load

Idle

Load

Idle

Load

3.3v

3.31V

3.30V

3.31V

3.31V

3.22V

3.22V

3.32V

3.29V

5v

5.07V

5.06V

 5.15V

5.14V 

5.02V

5.01V

5.10V

5.08V

12v1

12.24V

12.24V

11.98V

11.95V

12.17V

12.16V

12.28V

12.16V

12v2

12.24V

12.24V

12.04V

12.02V

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

12v3

12.23V

12.22V

12.03V

12.02V

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

12v4

12.23V

12.22V

12.00V

11.98V

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

12v5

12.20V

12.19V

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

12v6

12.23V

12.23V

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Wattage Used

178.36W

253.8W

 181.7W

255.3W 

235.75W 

322W 

182.3W

257W

We can see that the new Ultra X4 has enough potential to keep up with some of the other new power supplies on the market. We were quite skeptical to see how it will perform due to it’s older X3 brother which has misserably failed in the efficiency tests. Seeing that the new X4 is only 257W under load while the X3 was 322W under load shows that the X4 is a lot more efficient than the X3.

Overclocked System Results

Power Output Results(V) – Overclocked System (GPU, CPU)
Measured With RadioShack Multimeter And
Craftsman 400A AC/DC Clamp Meter

Power Rail

Sapphire Pure 1250W PSU

Thermaltake TR2 1000 Watt

Ultra X3 1000 Watt Modular

Ultra X4 750 Watt Modular PSU

Idle

Load

Idle

Load

Idle

Load

Idle

Load

3.3v

3.30V

3.29V

3.31V

3.30V

3.20V

3.18V

3.30V

3.28V

5v

5.05V

5.04V

5.14V

5.15V

5.01V

5.00V

5.09V

5.06V

12v1

12.24V

12.24V

11.97V

11.94V

12.16V

12.15V

12.22V

12.05V

12v2

12.24V

12.24V

12.03V

12.00V

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

12v3

12.22V

12.20V

12.01V

11.98V

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

12v4

12.22V

12.22V

11.98V

11.95V

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

12V5

12.21V

12.20V

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

12V6

12.22V

12.23V

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Wattage Used

204.9W

376.5W

 210.45W

380W 

264.5W 

456.5W 

215.8W

383.2W

Now onto the overclocked tests. This test tries to stress the power supply a bit more. As you can see we got a total of 383.2W out of the PSU which is roughly over the 50% load on the X4 750W. We can see that the PSU kept being efficient enough compared to the other Bronze certified PSUs. The 12V rail has dramatically dropped however from 12.22V idle to 12.05V load which seems to be a big variation. Even though there is a big drop though, the vattage is still in a perfect range. We can estimate that if we would have pushed about 300 more watts out of the PSU we would be at around 11.80V which would still be enough to run the system but might not be enough for overclocked systems.

This is a graph I have put together in excel with which we can estimate the voltage under different loads. While this might not be 100% accurate, these are some predictions that can be taken into consideration. The dashed lines are the predicted voltage readings that could lay true.

Ripple Test Results

(Not current Image, does not show X4, these images are examples) Click Image For a Larger One 

Rails Tested Overclocked System – Hitachi Oscilloscope V-212 – Ripple Results
12V

~22mV ripple = ~1.83%

5V

~16mV ripple = ~3.2%

3.3V

~8mV ripple = ~2.42%

The ripple test shows that the current is not clean, however the ripples are not high either. We would have liked to see a cleaner source though like the Sapphire Pure PSUs which only had about 0.7% ripple on the 12V rail while the other rails did not show any ripple or very little ripple not seen on the oscilloscope.

Fan Noise Results

Even if we do not have the testing equipment to measure the exact dBA of the fan on the power supply, we have used our ears to personally measure the noise and explain what we heard. The X3 was known to false advertise their PSUs because they were not quiet at all during normal operation. We have pushed the X4 as much as we could for over an hour with the same load amount but the fan noise has not changed. The X4 stayed silent to our ears even when we got close to it!

conclusion

While overall the Ultra X4 750W Modular Power Supply is a great power supply to have for your next built, it is not one I would consider for a killer gaming system or where stability is the key. All of its features and accessories are exceptional which makes this power supply stand out from the crowd, but the voltage fluctuation and small ripple should be taken a look at in the next revisions of the power supply. Seeing the power supply have a big fluctuation in the voltage was one of the parts that brough up attention. Going from 12.28V to 12.05V is a big drop considering the overall wattage being used was only 150W-200W different. What can we suspect if we put full load at this power supply? These are some questions that need to be taken into consideration when picking the next power supply for your system.

Also during the shutdown process, I have found another voltage fluctuation. The motherboard would keep turning on and off. When I measured the voltage on the 12V rail I saw the voltage jumping from 7V to 12.5V up and down a few times.

OUR VERDICT: Ultra X4 750W Modular Power Supply
Performance  7.5
Value  8.5
Quality  7.5
Features  9
Innovation  8
We are using a new addition to our scoring system to provide additional feedback beyond a flat score. Please note that the final score isn’t an aggregate average of the new rating system.
Total 7.5
Pro Cons

100% Modular Design

Small, Cool and Quiet

All the extra accessories (thumbscrews, zip ties, velcro straps and silicone anti-vibration dampening)

80Plus Bronze Certification

Not Japanesse capacitors Used

Voltage fluctuation during operation and during shut down.

Ripple not too bad but not the best either.


 

Summary: The Ultra X4 750W Modular Power Supply is an excellent choice for computher enthusiasts, however, it will not cut it for some of the extreme systems out there. Overall the X4 was a lot better than the X3 series power supplies with the added features and certifications, which is why this power supply earns a 7.5 out of 10 and a Bronze Bear Award!

 

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