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November 05, 2004

Ultra X-Connect 500w PSU Review

Posted by Mark Mitford (editor) on November 5, 2004 10:45 AM in Computer Hardware , Reviews .

ultra x-connect 500w power supply

We had been planning on upgrading the power supply on our main PC for a while as our power supply was noisy and underpowered for the 3 hard drives, 2 optical drives, and power guzzling ATI graphics card in our system.

Replacing a power supply is one of the most complex do-it-yourself jobs on a PC, in my mind second only in complexity to replacing a motherboard. We therefore looked around for a solution that promised to be a high-quality replacement that wouldn't need to be upgraded again for years.

We thought the Ultra X-Connect 500w PSU looked to be a good fit for our needs and Ultra Products were kind enough to send one over for us to review.

An additional advantage to upgrading to the Ultra X-Connect is that is has a modular cable system where you just install the cables you need removing a lot of the clutter from your PC (hopefully improving airflow and reliability at the same time).

How did we fare at replacing our power supply?, and how has it performed?, keep reading to find out......

First Impressions:

ultra xconnect 500w psu packaging

The Ultra X-Connect 500w PSU comes nicely and professionally packaged.

ultra xconnect 500w psu packaging

The Ultra X-Connect 500w PSU comes in a number of colors: titanium, green, blue, and black. We got the blue version.

Inside the box you get the PSU, a manual, and a box of modular cables.

ultra xconnect 500w psu packaging

The PSU itself is well packed to avoid any potential for damage during shipping.

ultra xconnect 500w psu packaging cables

The cable box contains the following:

A 17.75" 4 pin Pentium 4 motherboard power cable
A 17.75" 20 pin ATX motherboard power cable
A 17.75" 6 pin Xeon power cable
A 17.75" 4 pin power cable
A 21.75" 4 pin power cable
A 17.75" Y cable with floppy drive and 2 4 pin power connectors
2 17.75" Y cables each with 2 4 pin power connectors
A 6" Y cable with 2 serial ATA (SATA) power connectors

As the system is modular you only use the cables you need.

ultra xconnect 500w psu profile

ultra xconnect 500w psu packaging

You can see from these photos just how good the Ultra X-Connect looks; the blue finish is so glossy it makes a good mirror, the fan grille contrasts nicely with the rest of the case (but complicates installation of the PSU), and there are little black plastic covers over where you plug in the power cables.

ultra xconnect 500w psu packaging

The side of the Ultra X-Connect has the usual label with all the specifications:

AC Input:
115V/230V 10A/6A 60/50Hz
DC Output:
+3.3V – 28A
+5V – 30A
+12V – 34A
-12V – 0.8A
-5V – 0.3A
+5VSB – 2A

These aren't the highest amperages around for the 3.3V and 5V outputs but they are more than good enough for 99% of users.

ultra xconnect 500w psu packaging

The end of the Ultra X-Connect is similar to most power supplies, one good feature though is the oversized power switch.

Installation:

ultra xconnect 500w psu before upgrade

As we mentioned earlier replacing a PSU is complicated, but it is not impossible if you take things slowly and carefully. If you have ever replaced a hard drive in your computer you should be able to replace a CPU.

First, switch off the power to your computer and disconnect the power cable.

Second, put your computer case somewhere where you have good light and can comfortably open it up (hint: if you are doing this on your dining room table you will want to put down some card or newspaper to catch the dust and reduce the chance of scratches).

Next, remove the sides of your case and look at all the power cables going all over the place. Think "that's a lot of cables, I hope I don't mess this up".

Get some paper and a pen, and as you unplug the power cables inside your pc write down or draw diagrams of where the cables were connected.

Be careful unplugging the cables, wear an anti-static wrist strap, and don't force any cables that won't come unplugged easily.

Once everything is unplugged unscrew your old power supply and remove it from the case.

ultra xconnect 500w psu in case

Slide the Ultra X-Connect PSU into your case, screw it in place, and marvel at how shiny and clean it looks.

Start connecting the modular power cables to your PC and the power supply. We started with the motherboard power cable, then a cable for our graphics card, then cables for the optical drive and hard drives.

Check your notes and diagrams to make sure you have replaced every old power cable with a modular one.

Put your case back together, connect the main power cable, switch on your pc, and cross your fingers :)

ultra xconnect 500w psu in case 2

ultra xconnect 500w psu installed

One nice feature of the Ultra X-Connect modular power cables is that they glow under ultra-violet light, so if you have a UV light inside your case it all ends up looking very pretty.

Testing:

The proof is in the pudding as the saying goes, but in this case it's more that the proof is in the reliability: If you have a good PSU you never really notice it as it is quiet and reliable.

The Ultra X-Connect isn't designed to be a silent power supply, and it certainly isn't silent, but it isn't noisy either. Our purely subjective opinion of it is that it is quiet enough for an office PC and doesn't seen to get noisier when it is working hard.

We have used the Ultra X-Connect for almost two months now and have not had a single problem. Our testing PC also seems more reliable than before.

Conclusions:

If you are looking for a new PSU that will keep going strong as you add more and more power hungry upgrades to your PC while still looking great then you can't go wrong with the Ultra Products X-Connect 500w PSU.

Pros:
Very powerful
Looks great
Reliable

Cons:
not the quietest PSU around

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

Product information from Ultra Products

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Comments on Ultra X-Connect 500w PSU Review

coool

Posted by: ben ferhat at November 28, 2004 11:37 AM

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