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Ultra X-Finity 500W PSU for $5? So what's the gottcha?

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August 19, 2006 4:29:35 AM

They're out of stock now, but a little bit ago Fry's was offering a Ultra X-Finity 500W PSU for around $5 (after the inevitable rebate, of course).

I normally wouldn't trust any PSU for $5, but this one didn't look obviously bad. Figured it might be worth a post here so others could tell me what the gottcha is for this PSU. At the moment I'm not seeing it.

-john

More about : ultra finity 500w psu gottcha

August 19, 2006 4:49:28 AM

Ultra makes very "pretty" PSU's that's about the nicest thing I can say about them.
August 19, 2006 5:27:08 AM

sounds like they were trying to get rid of old stock.I've read and heard mixed reviews about them.I'd say your best bet is to read and decide for yourself.sorry I can't be more help.

Dahak

EVGA NF4 SLI READY MB
2X1GIG DDR400 IN DC MODE(128BIT)
2 7800GT'S IN SLI MODE
WD300GIG HD @ 7200RPM
X2 4400+@2.4 S-939
520WATT PSU
EXTREME 19IN.MONITOR
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August 19, 2006 6:11:58 AM

Their products are really good, in my opinion (at least for the price they are). My feeling is that Ultra may not be offering the rebate themselves. If it is some rebate company handling the rebate process, it might really be too good to be true, and they just may not send you your rebate. And that would be the catch. Just a thought, though
August 19, 2006 6:17:37 AM

Quote:
They're out of stock now, but a little bit ago Fry's was offering a Ultra X-Finity 500W PSU for around $5 (after the inevitable rebate, of course).

I normally wouldn't trust any PSU for $5, but this one didn't look obviously bad. Figured it might be worth a post here so others could tell me what the gottcha is for this PSU. At the moment I'm not seeing it.

-john


I own that PSU. The unit is just small enough to allow me to install it in in my Aspire x-Qpack micro case. A very tight fit, but I have 500 watts to work with. I notice my voltages are not entirely steady, but not to any extreme. It powers my Pentium D 805 Smithfield @3.4/ ATi x1800xt/WD Raptor/2 gigs (512 x 4) of OCZ Gold PC5400 667 mhz. RAM/2 optical drives.

Ultra is another company you may or may not get your rebate from.
August 19, 2006 6:32:12 AM

A good deal for $5, comparable to other $25 supplies, overpriced at $55.
Fry's specializes in making ridiculously low-priced deals w/manufacturers on slow-selling or closeout items in order to generate customer traffic. They move a lot of stuff through their store and Outpost.com network, so they have a lot of clout with companies.
August 19, 2006 6:35:13 AM

You dont let the world know about something like this... you but 10k of them and ship them to third world countries for $100 each... lmao
August 19, 2006 6:55:08 AM

$5 for a paperweight?

That's a good deal....
August 19, 2006 7:50:50 AM

I have the ultra x-finity psu. i got it in june and i was thinking hmm 500w wow thats great and its shiny too. it arrived with a ding in the side that shows though the windowed case. i guess fry's is sending a clear message about this psu.
August 19, 2006 8:37:56 AM

Does it have a lifetime warranty? If not then I won't buy it cause it would be a rip off.
August 19, 2006 5:38:04 PM

FWIW, Fry's has this back in stock again. It's now the black version that is being sold and the after rebate cost is $10, not $5.
In case anyone is curious, here's a link to marketing info on the manuf website.
Quote:
Does it have a lifetime warranty? If not then I won't buy it cause it would be a rip off.

Well, yes and no. :wink: It has a "limited" lifetime warranty. (Registration required. Product must be registered within 30 days from the date of purchase).

There are also a lot of "reviews" available online. Granted these are reviews in the sense of everyone with a voltmeter is a critic, rather than evaluation by serious (German!) test lab. But they do provide another source for feedback. And ... surprise! ... the ones I read were favorable.

Bottom lines for me were:* I've already had a PSU fail on me. It's good to have a backup.
* The 120mm fan alone is probably worth the ~$6 I'll (hopefully) net paying for this.
* I have a P3 system. Its power requirement is well under 200W. My use won't get anywhere near the design limits of any of the PSU components.
* It's shiny!! (This, of course, is ultimately why I bought it. :roll:
As the sages have said, "Ya pays your money and ya takes your chances". All in all this seems to me like a pretty good bet to take.

Thanks for the feedback.
-john
August 19, 2006 5:43:54 PM

Quote:
A good deal for $5, comparable to other $25 supplies, overpriced at $55.


Uhhhhhhh, which $25 PSUs is it comparable to? Got some examples in mind?

-curious john
August 19, 2006 5:48:45 PM

Quote:
FWIW, Fry's has this back in stock again. It's now the black version that is being sold and the after rebate cost is $10, not $5.
In case anyone is curious, here's a link to marketing info on the manuf website.
Does it have a lifetime warranty? If not then I won't buy it cause it would be a rip off.

Well, yes and no. :wink: It has a "limited" lifetime warranty. (Registration required. Product must be registered within 30 days from the date of purchase).

There are also a lot of "reviews" available online. Granted these are reviews in the sense of everyone with a voltmeter is a critic, rather than evaluation by serious (German!) test lab. But they do provide another source for feedback. And ... surprise! ... the ones I read were favorable.

Bottom lines for me were:* I've already had a PSU fail on me. It's good to have a backup.
* The 120mm fan alone is probably worth the ~$6 I'll (hopefully) net paying for this.
* I have a P3 system. Its power requirement is well under 200W. My use won't get anywhere near the design limits of any of the PSU components.
* It's shiny!! (This, of course, is ultimately why I bought it. :roll:
As the sages have said, "Ya pays your money and ya takes your chances". All in all this seems to me like a pretty good bet to take.

Thanks for the feedback.
-john

I understand you bought the PSU? Not only do I have this PSU, I have it's little brother the 400watt version. I use both every day. They do fine. As long as you get one that is not defective they are certainly worth it with the rebate. I have $50 PSU I run every day for the past four years.
August 19, 2006 6:34:11 PM

Quote:
As long as you get one that is not defective they are certainly worth it with the rebate.

Yes, the two essential keys to happiness in this deal would be getting one that is not banged up or otherwise defective and scoring that potentially elusive rebate. :wink:

PSU is expected to show up in 2 days and then we will see how it goes.

This is me living life on the edge. I'm one edgy geek, I am!

-john
August 19, 2006 7:00:33 PM

Quote:
As long as you get one that is not defective they are certainly worth it with the rebate.

Yes, the two essential keys to happiness in this deal would be getting one that is not banged up or otherwise defective and scoring that potentially elusive rebate. :wink:

PSU is expected to show up in 2 days and then we will see how it goes.

This is me living life on the edge. I'm one edgy geek, I am!

-john

I use the PSU with this system and it powers it up and overclocks it without problems:

Pentium D 805 Smithfield @3.4
ASUS P5LD2-VM Micro G945
OCZ PC5400 DDR2 667 mhz. 512 x 4
Sapphire ATI x1800xt
WD 74 Raptor w/2 40mm HD cooler
Sony DVD ROM
Pioneer DVD RW
Aspire X-Qpack micro case
Coolermaster Hyper 3 HSF
Floppy
Antec led 120mm exhaust fan
Antec cyclone blower
Antec video card slot cooler
Logitec 2.1 desktop speakers
Ultra xInfinity SLI 500w PSU (yes in a micro case)
August 22, 2006 5:45:30 PM

FWIW, the Ultra PSU showed up and I am not a happy camper! If your interested in seeing what I got, some pics are posted here.

Figured I'd try to make the best of a bad situation by at least finding out if Ultra's product support ("lifetime warranty") are actually worth anything. The text of a note I sent to support@help.ultraproducts.com follows below.

-john
Quote:
Dear Ultra:

This note concerns a defective Ultra Xfinity 500W ATX PSU, ULT-31844, UPC 0-22769-31844-8, which I ordered from Outpost.com on August 17, 2006 and received yesterday, Monday, August 21. There was no damage to either the shipping box or the product container when it arrived. The product box was shrink wrapped and the "Limited Lifetime Warranty" sticker on the box was undisturbed.

Imagine my total shock when I opened the product box and discovered that the PSU in it was severely physically damaged. There is a large gap between the side of the PSU box with the label and the rear exhaust plate. The damage to the box has cut the warranty seal tape. The PSU is obviously not fit to be used in any way. (See pictures attached to this note and also posted to yahoo photo).

The fact that Ultra shipped a product with such obvious physical damage is extremely troubling to me. Is the condition of this unit a typical example of how reliable Ultra's product quality control is? Or is this a rare abnormality which Ultra will promptly correct?
August 22, 2006 6:51:53 PM

Well, I guess you found out what the gottcha was! Good luck getting that resolved, Ultra will probably come back and say that since the warranty tag is damaged, there is no recourse in getting a replacement.

Buyer beware! If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

What's worse is paying FULL PRICE and having the online retailers play games like this with you.

NewEgg has a very bad habit of sending out returned product as new. I have encountered this situation with them three times over the past year. They are always somewhat helpful, apologizing for the "mistake". But, if it happens to me three times in a year, it is no mistake.

When they send me a shrinkwrapped video card, that has blue ball-point pen markings UNDER the shrink-wrap, that is no mistake. Why would NewEgg even have use for a shrinkwrap machine on their premises?

ALWAYS, ALWAYS check your kit out very carefully before breaking the seals.
August 22, 2006 6:54:14 PM

i have an ultra x connect. it works well for me

amd 3700+ OCed
rad 800gto
2 gigs
5 HDs
August 22, 2006 8:12:51 PM

I bought that supply from Fry's and it's the 3rd Ultra I've bought from them.I haven't installed this one yet, but the other two have worked well without any problems, As for the rebates, I've gotten both in a timely manner.
August 22, 2006 10:37:38 PM

Sorry, wouldn't use an Ultra if I got it for free, ebay time.
August 22, 2006 11:19:38 PM

When you walk into a Fry's Electronics or even a Micro Center in Southern California shopping for a Power Supply for your computer their Ultra selection is better than probably 70% of what's available. Fry's carries Antec, Enermax and Thermaltake, but a lot of times all that is available is the discounted returned, resealed boxes of these brands.
August 22, 2006 11:42:23 PM

Very impressive photos! As others have said, I bet this is an Outpost.com issue rather than an Ultra issue (and I would have called them first rather than Ultra, asking for a free replacement w/o any shipping charges). Fry's sometimes reminds me of a grocery store in Cambridge, MA, we used to call "Poverty Supreme," where shoppers would open food boxes (for snacking?), and the PS staff would just put the "pre-opened" boxes back on the shelves... In fairness to Frys, they have always accepted back the "pre-opened" or damaged items for refund/replacement without much hassle.

As mentioned above, just because a box is shrink-wrapped doesn't mean it was the manufacturer that did the shrink-wrapping. I know that Maxtor now even informs the buyer that the drive box's original, genuine shrink wrap contains hundreds of imbedded/embossed "Maxtor" logos
August 23, 2006 12:26:00 AM

Quote:
A good deal for $5, comparable to other $25 supplies, overpriced at $55.
Fry's specializes in making ridiculously low-priced deals w/manufacturers on slow-selling or closeout items in order to generate customer traffic. They move a lot of stuff through their store and Outpost.com network, so they have a lot of clout with companies.


That's Fry's alright. I have an Ultra 400 watt PSU in one of my PCs that I got at Fry's, but it didn't have enough power when I upgraded, so I'll soon move to a 500watt ASUS (I have a 450 watt Cooler Master in the other PC).

I've had no problems with the Ultra power supply though, it's a step up from the ones that come with cases, but it's not as reliable as the better brands like ASUS, Cooler Master or Thermaltake. I consider it a second tier brand.

Fry's also has quite a few CPU's bundled with ECS motherboards, where the boards are almost free. Never had problems with the CPUs there, but I've had to replace an ECS bundled board with an ASUS board for my P4 630. They also have quite a bit of open box or reconditioned items, always labled as such but not advertised in their big Friday morning ads.

I still spend too much money at Fry's, it's second only to Newegg for my computer components, though Newegg has been much more reliable in replacing bad parts. So buyer beware.
August 23, 2006 12:30:29 AM

Quote:
...I still spend too much money at Fry's, ...

But at least you are helping to fund the construction of a $50 million retreat for mathematicians south of San Jose, where the main building is modeled on the Alhambra palace in Spain. :) 
August 23, 2006 1:22:24 AM

Quote:
They're out of stock now, but a little bit ago Fry's was offering a Ultra X-Finity 500W PSU for around $5 (after the inevitable rebate, of course).

I normally wouldn't trust any PSU for $5, but this one didn't look obviously bad. Figured it might be worth a post here so others could tell me what the gottcha is for this PSU. At the moment I'm not seeing it.

-john


I bought a case of then (600 watt) and had one die 24 hours later. I returned the whole case.

I would never buy that brand ever again.
August 23, 2006 1:34:54 AM

Hey, if this thing can power a 2.8Ghz P4, 1GB of RAM, one hard drive, a GeForce 4 Ti 4600, I'm all in! Gotta jump on this deal. Screw it if it sucks. I'm waiting for the other components to die for an excuse to get a new one, this just might do it!

~Ibrahim~
August 23, 2006 2:02:08 AM

Quote:
I bought a case of then (600 watt) and had one die 24 hours later. I returned the whole case.

I would never buy that brand ever again.


Yeah, but you've got that damn hat. 8O
August 23, 2006 2:25:02 AM

Quote:
Hey, if this thing can power a 2.8Ghz P4, 1GB of RAM, one hard drive, a GeForce 4 Ti 4600, I'm all in! Gotta jump on this deal. Screw it if it sucks. I'm waiting for the other components to die for an excuse to get a new one, this just might do it!

~Ibrahim~


never thought of that one! I should have tried this trick with my old computer a few years back, might have been able to "sneak" in an extra upgrade cycle on my wife :wink:

"I'm sorry you lost all of your e-mail honey, that damn new PSU I bought died and took the whole puter with it. Weird?!"
August 23, 2006 3:16:39 AM

Quote:
As others have said, I bet this is an Outpost.com issue rather than an Ultra issue

Not something I can know for sure either way, of course. But the box was not just shrink-wrapped. There was also a warranty sticker that I had to remove to open the box. I tried to peel that sticker off without damaging it and could not. And that warranty sticker looked intact and undisturbed to me before I opened the box.

Of course, it is still possible that someone at Outpost.com could have somehow (how?) obtained an intact Ultra warranty sticker, resealed a box with a defective PSU, then re-shrink-wrapped it, and sent it to me as new.

The problem I have with that scenario is that it is an (overly) complex series of step which gains Outpost.com ... what exactly? It's not like anyone who actually handled that PSU could have believed it would not be rejected and immediately RMAed. So Outpost.com supposedly fakes a return as new only to have it returned again? Huh?

Occam's razor. It easier for me to believe a screw up happened at the manufacturer than that Outpost.com has some secret room where they re-package RMA's. Just my opinion, of course.

-john
August 23, 2006 11:48:14 AM

OK, I see your point, and agree with your analysis.
August 23, 2006 6:19:37 PM

Probably my final post on this. Unfortunately, Ultra's support seems to have blown me off. I did get a prompt response to my original email which simply told me to RMA it. Apparently the "Lifetime Warranty" doesn't kick in until you've owned it more than 30 days. If it arrives damaged your only recourse is with whomever you bought it from.

I sent Ultra back another "can't you do better than that?" email, but I never got an answer to my second email. :(  Oh, well.

I then called Fry's/Outpost.com and had a surprisely good experience. After the inevitable 15-25 minutes on auto-hold, I got a cust rep who was actually willing to look at the pictures I'd posted online. She then gave me the RMA# and a phone number to FAX them my shipping receipt.

Wow! Fry's is going to reimburse me for my return shipping. :D  This is a very good thing. In the future I will feel much better about shopping at or recommending Outpost.com.

Ultra is now on my personal "never again" list. Unlike some previous posters, I do not suddenly believe all Ultra products are bad. But as far as I'm concerned Ultra broke faith with me when I asked them for help and got blown off with a curt note. If you open a sealed box and see they've shipped you a malformed piece of crap, I expect to see an expression of concern from the manufacturer.

Especially when everything seems to point to Ultra's lack of quality control as the culprit here. My feeling is that if you buy something from Ultra you're rolling the dice. The odds are that you'll get a perfectly adequate product that will work well for you. But there's also a chance ... maybe a good chance ... that you'll get a total piece of crap too.

Why risk the hassle? Life is short to waste time on manufacturers who disrespect you, no?

-john
August 23, 2006 9:44:38 PM

Glad to hear about your good customer service at Outpost. I recently ordered some Corsair RAM at 9PM for next-day delivery (Outpost has their warehouse at the big DHL logistics center/airport in Ohio, so they promise next-day up to 1AM EST!) and the package got delayed. When I called up Outpost customer service, they cheerfully refunded the O/N shipping & tax, no problem.
August 31, 2006 12:07:24 AM

Hate to bump an old thread, but my $5 PSU just came in!

And, damn, when they say mirror-finish, it is really a mirror finish. See your reflection perfectly. No bruises anywhere. The voltage selection button seems slightly dinged, but not unoperational.

Gonna throw it in my system tonight, possibly tomorrow if I can find a IDE cable somewhere. Had a nice one, but when I took the system apart, I put it somewhere. It'll take at least an hour to find the damned thing, but it'll be worth it. This'll be my first non-Dell computer I've had in 7 months. :D 

~Ibrahim~
!