by Matthew Harris on March 3, 2006 in Cases & PSUs
The original X-Connect is arguably one of the most popular power supplies of recent memory. It was one of the first power supplies to introduce modular cables, making it possible to keep the inside of your computer very tidy! We are taking a look at version 2 now, so let’s see what’s been updated!
Power supplies, let’s take a moment to discuss the importance of the PSU (as it’s commonly called by PC enthusiasts) and what it means to your system as a whole.
First the job of the PSU: The PSU supplies voltage to the motherboard, CPU and peripherals such as drives, video cards fans and what have you. Optimally the PSU will supply these voltages stably and without noise, sags and spikes.
Additionally the PSU will regulate these voltages as tightly as possible, the ATX spec says that they should be within 5% for the 3.3V, 5V, 12V and 5Vsb rails. Ideally you hope for a PSU that will regulate these voltages as tightly as possible under normal working conditions but during extreme loads seeing them swing within 5% is acceptable.
In today’s world though having rock steady voltages and tight regulation just don’t seem to be enough in a world of case windows, cold cathode lighting and customized case interiors. Today users look for shiny paint or chrome plating, removable cables, large quiet fans, windows, UV reactivity and a plethora of other aesthetic options when looking to integrate a new PSU into their high dollar gaming systems.
This is where ULTRA comes in, ULTRA has listened to the enthusiast crowd and has come up with products that cater to the gaming/enthusiast niche market and left just about every other maker scrambling to catch up. They were arguably the first to offer a fully modular PSU with the original X-Connect line which continued to evolve until its discontinuation recently. There is a matter of debate in the enthusiast community about the original X-Connect and their viability but I can’t take sides since I’ve never had direct contact with the original product but I can tell you this, ULTRA listened and reacted by releasing the newer version which is what I’m looking at here today.
When I received my X-2 (as I’ll call it from here on out) I must admit I was a bit excited, I’d read other reviews of it and it looked to be a very competent piece of hardware. Plus after seeing the quality of the product offering in their Aluminus that I had just reviewed last month I was really psyched to see exactly how good the X-2 was. You can imagine my chagrin when I removed the X-2 from it’s shipping container and heard a small rattling coming from inside the box.
The sound could best be described as a metallic plink. Naturally I had to rip the package open to see what was making the sound. I removed the sub container holding the cables, power cord and documentation then pulled the power supply itself from the box. I’ve never used a modular PSU before and I really wasn’t prepared for what I saw, a small chrome box with a single 120mm fan emblazoned with the ULTRA logo.
Sadly though the rattling was coming from the PSU itself. Normally given this kind of situation you’d repack the PSU, trundle it into your car and return it to the store you purchased it from ASAP, that is if you’re a normal person. Me, I broke out with a screwdriver and my trusty Gerber pocket knife and promptly cut the "Warranty void if removed" sticker sealing the PSU cover to the base and removed the screws affixing the cover and pulled the PSU apart. I HAD to know what was going on inside the PSU. I guess I’m just funny that way.