Ultra power supplies reboot: new X4 series is here

When it comes to discussing Ultra power supplies, opinions are split into two: from one side, people consider them to provide good value, from another, we heard opinions such as "Ultra is the joke of PSU industry". In all honesty, we know several other vendors that deserve that title, but this is not the point of this story.

The point is what to do when you realize your mistakes, what are you going to do about it. A while ago, Ultra released its X2 series, offering quite sub-standard products. Following less-than-enthusiastic results, the company went back to the drawing board.

Ultra X4 completely modular power supplyThe result of that work is completely revamped X4 series. For the first time, X4 is expanding to capture the whole market, from 500W model to the 1600W one – do note that 1600W model will only be available in 220V countries, due to limitations of 100V and 110V power plugs [110V current x 15A circuit breaker = 1650W]. Read, if you want this puppy in the US, you should connect it using the same 220V rail for the fridge, washing machine etc.

All of the models from the new X4 line are completely modular. The term "completely modular" is not just some sort of marketing brouhaha but rather – a fact of the matter. X4 power supplies come without a single cable attached to it – even 24V and 12V motherboard rails are modular, which you can see from picture on the right.

Even though complete modularity reduces the power efficiency due to number of connectors [hence the reason why some PSU manufacturers openly stated that they will never offer a modular power supply], the inconvienient truth is that modular power supplies, especially powerful ones – are actually reducing the power consumption of the power supply and increase efficiency. Even though this theory might sound crazy, the reason is quite simple – with modular PSUs, you only use the rails you need. With conventional power supplies, there is a jungle of cables you have to store somewhere, resulting in obstructed airflow… obstructed airflow equals higher thermals inside the case – reducing the efficiency of power supplies. The debate can go on, but both approaches have effects on PSU efficiency.

The models and pricing are as follows:
Ultra X4 500W – MSRP $99.99
Ultra X4 600W – MSRP $119.99
Ultra X4 750W – MSRP $149.99
Ultra X4 850W – MSRP $249.99
Ultra X4 1050W – MSRP $279.99
Ultra X4 1200W – MSRP $299.99
Ultra X4 1600W – MSRP $399.99

The reviews of these power supplies are already out as we received word from two publications – OverClockersClub reviewed the 1050W, while BCCHardware reviewed the 1200W version. We wonder could this power supply survive our real-world testing after the last power supply, Topower’s 1200W unit failed miserably in our 3x GTX280 SLI test.