Ultra X-Finity ULT-XF500 power supply

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December 14, 2005 by Devon Cooke

Product
Ultra X-Finity™ ULT-XF500
500W ATX12V 2.2 Power Supply
Manufacturer
Ultra Components and Technologies

Market Price

US$70

Judging from their web site, Ultra's marketing branch is pretty slick. They describe the X-Finity power supply in short, staccato phrases that sound great but say little: "Breakthrough technology! Phenomenal power distribution!" etc, etc. Fortunately, they also include a decent amount of technical information, unlike many other marketing-driven companies.

The X-Finity is targeted at users who place a premium on style. Three different, highly reflective finishes are available, and the cables are made with clear insulation so that the silver wires show through (much like some speaker cables). Is the X-Finity a pretty showpiece or is there some substance beneath? The technical detail on the web page suggests that Ultra knows their stuff, but can it live up to the high demands of the SPCR test bench? Keep reading to find out...


The retail box is exceptionally slick (and surprisingly small).

One of the nice things about dealing with a marketing-driven company is that their reputation is everything. People won't buy from a company with a bad reputation, so the more PR-conscious a company is, the more likely they are to bend over backwards to make sure you are satisfied with their product. In the case of the X-Finity, this is evident from the prominent sticker on the box that reads "Limited LIFETIME Warranty".

However, it always pays to read the fine print: Unless you register on their web site, the warranty lasts for only three years, not for "as long as you continue to own and use" the product. Registration can be done online, and consists of telling Ultra your name, address, and where you bought the product.

Other than its length, the warranty is fairly standard. It covers "materials and workmanship" and warrants that the X-Finity will do what the manual says it will do. Oddly enough, "normal wear and tear" (section 2.v) is not covered by the warranty. (Looks like Ultra has a good team of lawyers.) Fortunately, even if Ultra is not legally liable for very much, the company won't want to deal with a reputation for dishonoring their warranty, so they will almost certainly honor the warranty, even if the unit breaks down from "normal wear and tear".


The usual: Power supply, screws, AC cable, short manual, and a warranty card.

Like the web site, the user's manual is short, concise, but still reasonably complete. Two of its four pages are occupied by illustrated, step-by-step instructions that illustrate what each connector looks like and what kind of socket it requires. The other two pages describe the unit's electrical specifications in detail. As with the web site, the specifications are quite extensive for a retail product.


Page 1 of the manual. Illustrations are clear and easy to understand.

FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS

Feature Highlights of the Ultra X-Finity ULT-XF500 (from Ultra's web site)

FEATURE & BRIEF COMMENT

120mm Fan (Dual 80mm for 600W Models)

The de facto standard.
Low Acoustic Noise We'll see...

Dual Rail Technology

Required by ATX12V 2.x.

FlexForce Cabling Technology

Cables are ribbon style like oversized IDE cables.

20/24 Pin Motherboard Connector

Compatible with all recent motherboards.
4 - SATA Connectors Good. Many otherwise "modern" units ship with less.

2 - PCI Express Connectors

Certified SLI Ready by NVidia.
PCI Express graphics card power connector. Almost standard issue now...
1 - 8-Pin EPS Connector Compatible with dual CPU boards.
Meets ATX v2.2, v1.3 and ATX 12V v2.03 Specifications ATX12V is the current standard. The latest version is v2.2.
Short Circuit Protection Required by ATX12V along with several other forms of protection.

OUTPUT SPECIFICATIONS

SPECIFICATIONS: Ultra X-Finity ULT-XF500

AC Input

115/230 VAC / 50~60 Hz

AC Input Current

8.5A (RMS) @ 115VAC / 5.5A (RMS) @ 230VAC

DC Output

+3.3V

+5V

+12V1

+12V2

-12V

+5VSB

Maximum Output Current

30A

30A

16A

18A

0.6A

2.5A

Maximum Combined

160W

384W

7.2W

12.5W

481W
19.7W

500W

The specifications for the X-Finity are quite routine for a power supply of this capacity. The most interesting bit of technical information is the efficiency graph on the product web page. This is far more than the standard squiggly line on two vaguely relevant axes. There are three features that make this particular graph useful and believable:

  1. Two data points are listed, 300W and 500W output
  2. The efficiency numbers are quite believable, and were confirmed by our own empirical testing
  3. The ambient temperature of the test is reported as 25°C

The only somewhat misleading aspect of the graph is that the output axis starts at 100W; the data below 100W output is not shown.


Ultra's efficiency graph is quite detailed and accurate.

We applaud Ultra for their extensive and honest marketing information. Too many other companies use incomplete or unverifiable information to sell their products. Ultra has done a good job here of balancing the needs of marketing (building hype and selling products) with information that is both useful and correct.



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