Ultra m998 Case - Ultra Handy

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Product: Ultra m998 case
Provided by: Ultra Products
Real-time Pricea:

Introduction:

With all the choices out there today computer cases can be a hard thing to buy, especially when you don’t know what you are looking for. Today we have a case from Ultra products – the m998. We will take a closer look to see exactly what this case is made of.

 Box Front
Box Front
Box Back
Box Back

 

The box the case came in was shorter, longer, and wider than a regular computer case box. My first thought was that it was going to be a huge monstrous thing, very durable, probably made of pure steel, and really heavy. But when I opened the box it was certainly wider and longer but it actually wasn’t very heavy at all. That's probably due to the light material the case is made out of rather than my immense muscles.

The case came wrapped in plastic and at the top and bottom a form of Styrofoam fitted the case to the box perfectly. This styrofoam was stuff that didn’t squeak like regular Styrofoam does. Ah, blessed silence!

 Wrapped Case
Wrapped Case
 Wrapped Case
Wrapped Case

 

 

Specifications (Taken from Ultra Products):

Color:

Black

Dimensions:

Depth: 20.47"

Width: 9.45"

Height: 18.11"

Drive Bay:

4 - 5.25" Bays

5 - Internal 3.5" Bays

2 - External 3.5" Bays

Material:

1.5mm High Grade Aluminum

Form Factor:

ATX

Micro ATX

EATX

Expansion Slots:

7 Standard Slots

Case Fan Mounts:

2 - 120mm Fan Mounts

Case Fans Included:

2 - 120mm Fans

LEDs:

Green - Power

Orange - Hard Drive Access

Switches:

Power

Reset

All panels removable for easy, tool-free access

Stainless steel finished removable Mainboard tray

Includes Ultra’s Power Bar power distribution system

Front eSata/Firewire/USB Audio ports

Interior and Exterior finish

Replace front Firewire/Audio/Microphone/eSata bracket with virtually any PCI slot-type bracket.

Easy access front panel:

2 - USB 2.0

1 - Firewire

1 - Headphone

1 - Microphone

1 - eSATA


Accessories:

 Power Cables - Bundle
Power Cables - Bundle
 Power Cables
Power Cables

 Wheels
Wheels
 Accessories - Screws
Accessories - Screws

 

There were quite a number of little accessories included with the case. There were a whole whack load of screws – one bag of regular screws as well as motherboard mounts, two bags of little black screws, and a small bag of power supply screws. Power cables were not in short supply either, as 12 cables of several different types were included. Also in this package came one fire-wire cable, and a motherboard clip for all the input ports on the motherboard. To top it all off, a set of wheels were added. These wheels screw on to the bottom of the case so that the case can move around without having to be picked up.

The instructions were well laid out with pictures for installing stuff, also, a diagram of the wires for the speaker, front side USB ports, LED lights, etc. were displayed.

 Instructions
Instructions
Detailed Instructions
Detailed Instructions


Closer Look:

When all the wrapping was removed, the first thing that I noticed was that everything was screwed in by thumbscrews. These thumbscrews are amazing little things that can be unscrewed using only a thumb and forefinger, so they don’t need a screwdriver. They are very handy when doing quick work inside the case.

Surprisingly no drive sliders came with the package and there doesn’t seem to be any way to use them either. This was surprising for me because most cases come with them because it provides easier access to the CD/DVD drive as well as hard drives. However the massive amounts of screws that did come made up for this lack.

Removing the side panels was a little different than what I had encountered before, the secondary side came off fine, but the main side panel with the window and air vents would not come off no matter how hard I tried. I finally was able to pry it off with a flathead screwdriver, and a bunch of leverage. After it was off I noticed that the clip thingy was bent and was causing the side to catch. It’s not so bad in the picture because I had probably bent it mostly back when I took the side off.

Side Clip Thingy
Side Clip Thingy

 

The front took a little longer to figure out, most cases just pull up on the bottom and the panel pops out. However with this one there are actually little tabs that need to be pushed in order to get it out. Not only that but they have to be pushed out from the inside of the case, in-between the drive bays cage and the side of the case. There is only a small space here and was a little tight even for my small fingers.

Front Panel Tabs
Front Panel Tabs

The main side panel's window had plastic wrapping on it to protect it from damage from the dangers of shipping. There were not filters in this case, however, vents were of no short supply with two built-in the window as well as a few integrated all over the front panel and at the back of the case. These provided good airflow throughout the case with two 120 mm fans inside the case helping out the air circulation.

 Case - Main Window Panel
Case - Main Window Panel
Back Fan
Back Fan
Front Fan
Front Fan

 

Probably one of the coolest features of this case is the power bar that is positioned between the drive bays and the motherboard - an excellent position to get power to every spot without as much tangling of cords. This is especially useful if you have multiple cd/dvd drives as well as a couple hard drives. Just in case there are not enough cables, the many power cords supplied in the accessories would make up the difference.

Power Bar - Top
Power Bar - Top
Power Bar - Full
Power Bar - Full
 Power Bar - Bottom

 

The best feature in this case in my opinion is the removable motherboard tray. Since this is my first time experimenting with this thingy, I had a little trouble finding all the screws to unscrew before it came out. The back screws were all big thumbscrews so those came out easily but there are two small black screws at either end of the power bar that are kind of hard to spot. After that it had an amazingly smooth take out and slid in. This is very handy when installing a fresh system in the case so then the motherboard doesn’t have to maneuver around stray cords and obstacles inside the case. It is so much easier just to remove the tray, install your system and then slid it back in smoothly.

 Motherboard Tray - Removal
Motherboard Tray - Removal
Motherboard Tray - Out
Motherboard Tray - Out


The front panel is very awesome in its black coloring. It had some small LED lights for computer power as well as two for hdd power and a few un-named/unlabeled lights. My last case had some very bright blue LED lights that were very annoying when the room was dark and I was trying to watch a movie, this case’s lights however did not have the piercing blue - it had a soft green color to it. The I/O panel on the front had a couple USB ports, a firewire cable, a headphone and microphone port, as well as an eSATA port. When not being used, this panel can also be covered by a door that clicks into place.

 Case - Full
Case - Full
 Case - Lights
Case - Lights
Case - Clicky Door
Case - Clicky Door

 

There were plentiful expansion slots inside the case but the plastic things that clip onto the metal piece at the end of the card were not there, thumbscrews instead took their place. Thumbscrews aren’t a bad thing, but I couldn’t get these screws off with just my fingers, I had to use a screw driver for them. Once you got them off the metal piece covering fell off smoothly unlike some cases where you have to twist and bend metal to get them off.

Expansion Slots
Expansion Slots

 



Installation:

The installation was really fun, my first time doing it without supervision by a more experienced person, it went alright. Well, maybe my mount screws were cross threaded in my old case, so it was a bit of a hassle to get those off. Then some of my mount screws threading was gone so I had to replace those. Thankfully there were more than enough screws provided with the case.

The motherboard tray was of immense use when installing the motherboard, although my humongous Zalman CPU cooler was just barely able to make it into the case. It actually got stuck at one point because of some wires between it and the top of the case.

 Motherboard Installed
Motherboard Installed
CPU Cooler Blocked
CPU Cooler Blocked

 

Installing the power supply was a little different than was expected. It was actually able to be installed through the top of the case in a huge space that was able to keep all of the power supply’s big cords up there and out of the way. 

PSU Center
PSU Center
 PSU Installed
PSU Installed
 PSU Cords
PSU Cords


The cd/dvd drives installed easily with the regular screws; however, when I tried to install my Ultra hard drive cooler the drive bays were too big. Longer screws would have helped but I did not have any, so I just screwed two screws kitty corner from each other, it held it pretty well.

 Drives
Drives
 Front
Front

 

Video card installed fine, like I said earlier I had to use a screwdriver on the thumbscrews because they were too tight. I had plenty of room for the card and would have plenty of room for any other huge video card.

http://www.bcchardware.com/gallery/albums/m998/VideoCardInstalled.sized.jpg
Video Card Installed

 

In the end I didn’t actually use the power bar in the case, however, that was only because I didn’t need it for the small amount of drives I put in. Bring her all together and then everything’s installed and now we are ready to fire her up.

 Case - Finished Inside
Case - Finished Inside
Tangle Of Cords
Tangle Of Cords
Case - Finished
Case - Finished

 

Yes, I know I need a few lessons in cable clean up, but it was the best I could do (the extra room really helped keep it clean a little more). I fired her up and noticed that the fans were running a little noisier than the ones in my Cooler Master Centurion 534m, but only marginally. The case also was a tight fit in my little cubby hole I usually keep my tower, it kinda sticks out an inch or two, and has only like a millimeter of room between each side.

Case - Tight Fit
Case - Tight Fit

 

Conclusion:

In conclusion I’d like to say that this was a very excellent case for anyone, from hard-core gamer to simple office work. Roomy, easy access and many accessories make up just some of this case’s good points. The power bar isn’t really necessary for the average user, but it would make life easier for those people who have three hard drives and multiple cd/dvd drives. A case on wheels is definitely a handy thought as well. Durability with this case is not in question, I actually kicked it over during the night and there wasn’t even a scratch on it. There are a few downsides to this product but I’d have to say that the good outweighs the bad in this particular situation. The case was a little too pricy for my budget, but if you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks, this case is an excellent candidate.


Pros:

    • Roomy
    • Lots of accessories
    • Mostly easy access
    • Easy installation
    • Good airflow
    • Durable


Cons:

    • Large
    • Noisier
    • Front panel hard to take off
    • Pricy

 

 

BCCRating

 

Although this case just misses the mark of a "Top Pick", it certainly is a recommended purchase if you looking for a high-end case for your gaming rig.  The power bar is a great idea that will help tame the tangled beast of cables that lives in many cases.

I'd like to thank UltraProducts for sending us the m998 case.  We'd love to hear your feedback and you can post it in the forum at the "Comments" link below.