Ultra X3 800W Modular PSU - 650W Load Tests and Final Thoughts

Article Index
Ultra X3 800W Modular PSU
FlexForce Cables and Inside the PSU
Let the Testing Begin!
650W Load Tests and Final Thoughts

650W Tests:

We've seen the X3 800W PSU start off kind of shaky with some high ripple and noise values on the 3.3v and 5v lines, but its big selling feature is the massive 12v line.  This has remained solid so far.  This next setup is the maximum power draw that we can currently put on a PSU with our test system.  We could hook it to more than one computer as I've seen other people do, but this is real-world and not many people will share a PSU with more than one computer.  Following are the measurements of our test system when running at 3.2GHz on the Q6600 with both graphics cards overclocked slightly.  The system is running four instances of Folding @ Home for team BCC, and is looping a single demo test in 3DMark06.  We are running 3DMark at 1680x1050 at 8x AA and 16x AF in order to stress the graphics.  This heated things up and brought us a nice 650W load.

 3.3v at 650W
3.3v at 650W
 5v at 650W
5v at 650W
   
 12v at 650W
12v at 650W
-12v at 650W
-12v at 650W

 

With our test system running wide open, we see the X3 800W stumble on the Tektronix TDS2002 Scope.  The average voltages are still high, and if you're testing with a multi-meter or a software program you'll be quite happy.  The truth is though the PSU tests out of spec at this load as the 3.3v line is now measured at 58mV - higher than the 50mV allowable measurement.  The 5v line is even worse and measures 60mV peak-to-peak.  Both the +12v line and -12v line are stable though and measure 56mV ripple and noise each.  The performance of the 12v line is quite remarkable as it has two 8800GTX's and an overclocked Quad Core CPU sucking the life from it.  The other lines are not so fortunate though.

 

Performance Summary:

The Ultra X3 800W PSU was solid is the real world as our system suffered no instability and overclocked just as good as with other Power Supplies.  According to the Kill-A-Watt the X3 800W PSU constantly had a Power Factor of 0.97 out of a possible 1.00.  According to a multi-meter, the rails were well within spec at both non-load and full-load tests.  Analyzing the power with the Tektronix scope showed different results.  We constantly saw lots of noise on the 3.3v and 5v lines that actually exceeded the limit of the ATX specifications.  Will it affect system stability and integrity over the long term?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not, but this confirms as to why we need to test products more thoroughly.

 Average Ripple

 

 Average Voltage

Please consult our PSU Testing Methods guide to better understand how we test the power supply and where we get our information from.  If you have any questions, they will likely be answered in that document.

 

Conclusion:

This is really tough to draw a conclusion on this PSU.  For the average consumer it's going to be great.  It looks fantastic, has modular connections, is quiet and provides many systems with enough power to run flawless for days, if not months on end.  A closer look at the quality of the power shows us that Ultra has some work to do with regulation and noise.  In all reality, it will probably work fine for years.  However, this unit actually falls out of spec when loaded at 650W - 150W less that its maximum rating.  Although its stable during testing, this PSU actually fails to deliver on it's rated capability.

 

We expressed concern with the 600W X3 PSU and noisy lines, but were only able to test that unit out at 400W.  The X3 is very similar and the main difference is the heftier 12v line.  Ultra needs to work on better regulation of the other lines as well.

Pros:

  • Excellent finish
  • Completely modular
  • Very quiet
  • Lots of cables and good length 

 

Cons:

  • Measured ripple and noise out of spec at high loads

 

With our first PSU review since our updated platform, we've changed the face of PSU reviews here at BCCHardware.  Our testing guidelines have set the bar incredibly high, but not impossible to reach.  As we review more Power Supplies, we'll build a database with these new figures and be able to compare more power supplies to each other.

BCCRating

 

We'd like to thank Ultra Products for sending us the X3 to review.  We do feel that they need to work on their 3.3v and 5v regulation and then they'd have themselves a winner.

Please feel free to post your thoughts, comments and questions about the X3 800W PSU from Ultra in our forum.  We'd love to hear your feedback.