9-Way 850W Power Supply Roundup

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     December 23, 2009

Ultra X4 850W

Without a doubt, it has been a long, long time since we last reviewed an Ultra power supply here at Hardware Canucks. How long? Try June of 2007, back when this site was still in its infancy and the system we were using for testing consisted of a Socket 939 AMD processor and the legendary DFI Lanparty SLI DR Expert motherboard. How times have changed.

One thing that hasnít changed is Ultraís dedication to releasing successive generations of power supplies. While there have been some speed bumps along the way, with the X4 series they are trying to once again appeal to enthusiasts with a supposedly solidly-built product. One of the main selling points of this unit is Ultraís Lifetime Warranty which leaves all other competitors in the dust even though at around $220CAD the X4 850W is one of the pricier power supplies featured here. The only thing which could possibly hold it back (other than performance of course) is the fact that finding the X4 series isnít that easy if you donít want to buy from Tigerdirect.

Ultraís packaging is unique with access coming from the side of the box instead of the top. The accessories are placed in a foam-sealed compartment at the top which is bordered by the modular cables while the power supply itself is nestled in high density foam below.

One thing is for sure: with the X4 850W, you wonít be left wanting for accessories since it has everything you could possibly need. There is a vibration dampener, zip-ties, six black thumb screws (just in case you lose some), standard silver mounting screws and a bag for unused modular cables. Additionally, every cable is wrapped in a reusable Velcro tie wrap. Brilliant.

The all-black Ultra X4 850W does cut one hell of an imposing figure and to be honest with you, from the outside it seems to be built like a tank. The brushed, blackened finish is top notch and is extremely hard to scratch while the indented ďX4Ē really finishes things off nicely.

To us, the modular interface is a bit over-complicated with every cable type getting its own designated connector and even the ATX cable being modular. On the other hand, even though this can cause some confusion when trying to add a new cable in a dark case, it is still good to see that you canít plug a connector into an incorrect spot.

As you will see in our cable length comparison charts, the Ultra X4 comes with a plethora of cables including a handy little Molex to 2-pin fan adaptor. They are all finished in some of the best, tightest fitting sleeving we have ever come across. Trust me, you have to feel it to believe the quality and it makes every other sleeving job look downright cheap by comparison.

The sinister black look we saw on the exterior continues into the interior as well with appropriately colored heatsinks and PCB for this Andyson-OEMíd power supply. All of the filtering stages look well-appointed as well with Rubycon capacitors on the primary Teapos for the secondary stage.

The quality of the modular interface is good but not great since we are not fans of seeing bare wires attached to the PCB with nothing but globs of solder. Granted, there isnít any excess flash or other soldering issues but we were hoping to see something a bit better from the company that patented the modular interface.

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