Just a few short years ago Ultra burst onto the scene with their groundbreaking X-Connect. It was amazing in that it allowed the user to remove any cable they didn’t need. The power was in the then upper end at 500W so the X-Connect represented Ultra’s foray into the world of high end power supplies. It’s only fitting that the X-Connect Version 3 also known as the X3 is also their foray into the high end of power supplies all these years later. Today we’ll see if it has what it takes to be considered one of the big players or if it’s just a big disappointment.
SUPPLIED BY: Ultra Products
PRODUCT: Ultra X3 1000W
PROD LINK: Not Available
PRICE: < $300.00
Price is at time of testing!
The other day I walk (OK, stumble) out of the little modshop of horrors and there in a chair minding it’s own business sat a package from Ultra. In a word “yoink!!” It was up on the bench being unpacked before it knew what was happening. Inside I was elated to see this:
If that’s not cool enough looking a quick look reveals that there’s a flap on the top of the box held down by a magnetic clasp.
It outlines all the features and specs of the X3. As a PSU geek here’s the specs I’m most interested in:
Let’s break this down into a standard table shall we?
|Ultra X3 1000W – DC Output|
|Max Combined Watts||160W||840W||9.6W||15W|
Pretty impressive isn’t it? A single 70 amp 12V rail means that you’ve got a lot of leeway as to how you connect your accessories. If you only have one video card but you have twenty drives there’s no worry about tripping the OCP for the rail the drives are on since they’re all on the same rail. Wait…did I say twenty drives? Yes I did but will the X3 run twenty drives? Let’s find out.
|Ultra X3 1000W – Cabling|
|Type of connector:|
|ATX connector||24 pin|
|2 x 2 12V connectors||1|
|8-pin Xeon/EPS connector||1|
|6-pin Xeon/AUX connector||0|
|2 x 3 PCI-e||4|
|2 x 4 PCI-e||2|
|5.25″ Drive connectors||10|
|3.5″ Drive connectors||2|
|SATA Drive power connectors||10|
|Fan only connectors (12V only)||3|
So, yes, in theory it is capable of supporting twenty drives but it’s not really possible since to do so would require you to plug in all the drive cables and that’s seven cables with a Molex interface and two cables with a five pin interface for SATA drives with a full fifteen pins. Unfortunately though there are only six Molex interfaces on the body of the X3 which loses you one drive. Although… two of the Molex cables do have 3.5″drive power plugs in addition to the Molex power connectors so push come to shove you can power twenty one drives.
One nice thing about the X3 is that it has native support of the upcoming 8 pin PCI-e standard. No adapters needed for this baby although as of now the 8 pin cables feed off a 6 pin plug on the unit. A little birdie tells me that Ultra has a redesign in the works which will put the 8 pins on native 8 pin plugs on the PSU body and two of the 6 pin cables will adapt down from them instead of it being the inverse as it is now. Does it make much of a difference? Not really owing to the fact that as of now the extra two pins on the 8 pin plugs are grounds. There’s all this hoopla over the 8 pin handling more wattage when in fact there are still three 12V power leads and five grounds rather than three +12V and three grounds. The new standard will eventually implement a 12V sense where the new grounds reside. How this equals more power capacity I really don’t understand but I suppose that better minds than mine have decided it will work so that’s all that matters.
I’d like to point out that of the ten SATA power connectors five are native with 3.3V, 5V and 12V plus grounds. The other five are adapted over from Molexes. It doesn’t mean much right now but when SATA drives start requiring the 3.3V line you’ll end up limited to five SATA drives. Hopefully that won’t happen any time soon.
Also under the flap we find a look at the X3’s modular interface. I really like Ultra’s approach to the modular interface in that it’s solidly a no brainer. You can’t accidentally plug the PCI-e cables into the drive ports or vice versa. It’s very intuitive for the end user and helps prevent any accidents for the fledgling PC builder due to lack of familiarity with building personal computers.
Inside the red sleeve we find the actual box containing the X3. It’s big, it’s bad and it’s black with the stylized X3 logo and the wattage for the unit. There’s no mistaking the 1000 watts of whoop-ass enclosed within this box.
The front and top of the box are nondescript but lifting the lid reveals…
Another box again emblazoned with the X3 logo. Lifting the lid on this box reveals the cables and user manual and warranty card.
Under the card and manual are the cables and four screws plus the power cord.
Unlike the X2 the cables for the X3 are basic black and I must say it’s very slimming 😉
Under the box for the cables we finally find the X3 in a bag and suspended in medium density foam end caps. There’s also a bag of desiccant to help stop corrosion during the long trip to the states and storage on store shelves.