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How do folks feel about the "Ultra" PSUs from TigerDirect?

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  • Power Supplies
  • SLI
  • Components
Last response: in Components
January 18, 2008 4:13:44 PM

The subject kind of says it all ... I'm looking at an SLI-ready, 600W PSU from TigerDirect:

Ultra / X-Finity / 600-Watt / ATX / Dual 80mm Fan / SATA-Ready / SLI Ready / Titanium / Power Supply ($54.99)

All the user ratings are high on the site, who knows what that really means (call me a cynic). What do you folks think? Do these PSUs have a track record?

More about : folks feel ultra psus tigerdirect

January 18, 2008 4:47:05 PM

I had no issues with the 2 I have now. I see people on here saying to avoid them like the plague. People like them for the modular cables some dont.
January 18, 2008 5:21:08 PM

a track record?

Last place on Junior varsity.

Seriously though... avoid them as much as possible
Related resources
January 18, 2008 5:23:09 PM

If you check the tier rating chart, Ultra/X-Finity is a tier 4 psu, in other words, it works, but its not considered a good psu. I personally don't buy any psu lower the tier 2, as I feel its not worth the hastle of the thing probably going bad, or worse, having it fry something in the machine. I did buy a lower tier psu once, and I learned my lesson. That Ultra looks like a great price at $54.99. but if it goes out in a few months and then you have to buy another psu, a better one the next time, then the $54.99 is money out the window. Worse, it might take come hardware with it, and then you'll really feel bad.

This doesn't mean that a tier 1 or tier 2 psu can't go bad, but the odds of that happening are a lot lower. Besides the tier charts, you might check out jonnyguru.com for psu recommendations of what to buy and what to avoid.
January 18, 2008 5:25:35 PM

If it's a plain Ultra I wouldn't buy it.

I *love* my Ultra X3s though. I have the 600W and 1000W.
January 21, 2008 11:41:23 AM

I've had an Ultra X-Finity 600 watter for 6 months now & have had no problems. That's not saying I won't have any...but I personally think Ultra gets bad rep because it is a kind of new, upstart PSU. Ultra PSU's are well made...in my opinion.
January 21, 2008 2:35:35 PM

neilsen123 said:
I've had an Ultra X-Finity 600 watter for 6 months now & have had no problems. That's not saying I won't have any...but I personally think Ultra gets bad rep because it is a kind of new, upstart PSU. Ultra PSU's are well made...in my opinion.


It should be kept in mind that not individual Ultra PSUs will have a problem, only as a class. Another thing to think about is that they may not be what you think they are. For example, years ago, I bought an Aspire 680wt PSU for what seemed like a good price. I didn't know about the tier charts or anything back then. It seemed to work fine, until I put in a second video card. At 680wts, it should have handled both cards just fine, but it didn't, and I pulled the second card thinking the card was bad. I later discovered that the 680wt rating was for peak power, not continuous. Its real continuous power was about 380wts, too low for the SLI. I still have the Aspire 680wt and it still works, but I only use it in a low powered computer.

I can't say anything specific about the Ultra, but I know where it places on the charts. I checked Jonnyguru,com and he tested an Ultra X-Finity 600. According to him, it wasn't a bad PSU, only a mediocre one, having no power correction factor and a poor power factor. It works, but as Jonny says, "there's others in its price range that perform better".
January 21, 2008 3:03:40 PM

I have owned around 3 Ultra Powersupplies. The only problem that I have run into is when I had a high end system and at that time I didn't know much about power supplies. Here is the thing. First, the 120mm top fan makes for a smaller heatsink which means less performance regarding heat dissipation. Next we have the issue of the "operating temp". This is where PC Power and Cooling shines. Look at the operating temperature and it is probably around 20/30 C rather than the 40 continuous that, for example, the silencer 750 is rated at. This is a bit of a falsehood. My issue on my most recent system in which I replaced my X2 550 with a silencer 750 was that if it ran for 12-13 hours then it would make funny noises coming from the PSU and it would sound really bad. I was worried that it would short. It got worse as I would play 3d games on my x1900xt. Note, that like most higher end GPU's it has a 300 watt min. I figured I would be in an ok position, however, I wasn't. Now another thing is this. If you are using the new 3800 series GPU and intel proc then you should be fine because much less power draw. If you register your ultra you get a lifetime warranty and they make good on replacement too trust me!
a b ) Power supply
January 21, 2008 3:14:08 PM

The only decent Ultra reviews I have seen have been for the X-3 and the X-Pro. Most said the same thing, there are better PSU's to be had in the asme price range.

The most common X-finity reviews state something like, "while the PSU was rated at 500w, it failed miserably under full load. However, it did pass all testing very well at the 300w range." In other words, the Ultra 500w was actually a very good 300w PSU.
January 21, 2008 3:17:39 PM

tlmck said:
The most common X-finity reviews state something like, "while the PSU was rated at 500w, it failed miserably under full load. However, it did pass all testing very well at the 300w range." In other words, the Ultra 500w was actually a very good 300w PSU.



And that was my experience with the Aspire 680wt. It does well when operating at 380wt, but it didn't perform to spec when in a high power environment.
a c 195 ) Power supply
January 21, 2008 3:18:48 PM

I agree with Sailer. Jonnyguru tested a number of cheap PSUs, and most of them worked at a fraction of their rating, but closer to the label caused many of them to fail dramatically. I've got a 500W Aspire PSU that I'd put in a HTPC (worked fine in my S939 for months), but not in my primary gamer. I like the Tier-T Mushkins I've bought, but would probably opt for Corsair in the future.
a b ) Power supply
January 21, 2008 3:28:52 PM

neilsen123 said:
I've had an Ultra X-Finity 600 watter for 6 months now & have had no problems. That's not saying I won't have any...but I personally think Ultra gets bad rep because it is a kind of new, upstart PSU. Ultra PSU's are well made...in my opinion.
Actually Ultras have been out for several years. They were one of the first, if not the first to offer modular. That is how they got their bad rep. In general they were only good for half the rated wattage.

I think Tiger Direct is the only place still selling them.
January 21, 2008 3:28:58 PM

The higher end Ultras are good, but the low-end ones are really crappy. Anandtech has a review on a 400watt model.

You will want to try to stay at Tier 3 and above
January 21, 2008 3:43:03 PM

I had that had ultra 600w SLI PSU. Worked fine while running 7900GTs in SLI, but it was loud as hell. I have a 500w Ultra modular PSU now that has been working great for about 18months. My feeling on PSUs is how much more likely is it that an Ultra PSU will fail over a name brand? And what % of the time will a PSU failure (any tier PSU) do anything more then require a new PSU? I don't have hard numbers but my guess would be that when you factor them together the actual increase in risk (because there is risk regardless of how 'good' a PSU is) is not very large.
January 21, 2008 3:55:47 PM

Well, I had an Ultra 600W installed in my PC for 10 months and worked perfectly. I had my CPU OCed as seen in my sig as well as my 8800GTS and my system was rock stable. I bought it as an "emergency PSU" looking to replace it as soon as possible, but it was just 1 month ago that I found a good deal in the Antec Neopower 650W I have now installed. I installed the Ultra in my dad's PC (Q6600, 8800GT) and works perfectly.

Maybe I was lucky, but the only experience I have with Ultra has been very good.
January 21, 2008 4:03:28 PM

It seems that most people you talk to who've actually used Ultra PSUs do not have any problems with them, other then I think there pretty loud. However I have a Dynex 450w PSU that is whisper quite and has been running great for 2+ years and that system stays on a lot more then my main system. I would like somebody to link some real data/evidence as to what makes a good PSU. I don't think name brand alone is a very good indicator. One thing I know about PC components is that one month a manufacturer can be making a really solid product then the next utter crap all under the same name and vice-versa.
January 21, 2008 4:49:27 PM

I had an 500W Ultra X-Connect in my system for a good 3 years and had no problems. It died about a month or 2 ago, pushed the power button on the pc and heard a pop. Turns out a cap on the PSU blew up.

The X-3's are on the "tier 2" of the PSU charts, and have gotten numerous good reviews

I will be buying the X3 800W soon
January 21, 2008 5:00:16 PM

El_Hefe said:
The X-3's are on the "tier 2" of the PSU charts, and have gotten numerous good reviews


This is a good point, and one that is easily missed. some Ultra's are rated as good tier 2 PSUs, but others are only tier 4. Similar thing happens with a number of PSU companies. They may have a line of PSUs that are good, but also have some mediocre or bad ones. That's why its always important to not judge by the brand name, but by the series of PSUs that is under consideration. The Ultra X3 is good, for instance, but the Ultra Xfinity/X2 is only mediocre. Similar things happen with Thermaltake, Hiper, Antec, and a few others, with one PSU line being good and another of lessor quality.
January 21, 2008 5:17:15 PM

I had a 400watt ultra actually blow up about 3 months ago. I figured it would be fine powering a low wattage system... but it went BOOM, literally. The girl I built the PC for was on a budget and the PSU cam with the case. She called me and said it scared her to death, lol.

January 25, 2008 8:05:50 PM

I have just install a X-finity 600W sli and it works really nice, i have a crappy one before that turns of my pc even with the smaller blink of the lights, (in my country blackout are normal and i have inverter in my house) but now with this one my pc dont even know about it.
January 28, 2008 7:51:18 PM

Oh, they work fine at first. It isn't until a couple of months later that they will crap out. Sometimes they maybe fine, but it still stands, the lower end ultras are inferior products.
January 28, 2008 9:09:47 PM

I used to work for tigerdirect and the ultras (lower end) were not the most reliable things around. We usually wouldn't even reccomend them unless there was a spiff involved on the higher end ones. The lower end ultra psu's are good for machines that have low power requiremnts, not high. The modular design made them the best for those that needed it for better wiring mangement and din't need alot of power.

Where are the tier charts for the PSU's, I would like to see them! :sol: 
January 29, 2008 12:49:06 AM


I've seen that before, but what's it based on? anybody could make a list of anything that they wanted to rank, but it doesn't mean squat if it's not backed up by something other then opinion. Even if that guy actually owner every one of those PSUs (which I doubt) that still wouldn't be enough of a sampling to mean anything. I'm completely open to the idea that one PSU is superior to another. But I'm not going to drop another $200+ dollars just based on somebody elses opinion. I bought AMD CPUs for years because they were cheaper and just as good. But after seeing overwhelming evidence against the since Core 2 I bought a Q6600 even though it was significantly more then AMDs offerings. Show me that spending $250 on a PSU rather then my $50 one is actually worth it and I'd be more then happy to make the switch.

PS
Here's what really irks me about this list and people who view it as the written word of God:
Quote:

Tier 4 - Not Recommend With Tier 3 In same Price/Wattage Range
...
BFG
...


This is not a product, it's a company. BFG is known for making some pretty good products to. Maybe they've mades some poor PSUs, I don't really know I've never tried them. But this list was posted a year and a half ago and brands ALL BFG PSUs as being garbage. And people will look at this list years latter and say "Oh BFG is tier 4 it must be crap", and then go and spread it like it's a known fact.
January 29, 2008 1:22:25 AM

i would get an ultra. ultras can be cheap or pricey. but i built 2 systems with ultra ps and i only bought them for about $50. and there still going after over a year. there backed up with a lifetime warrenty. but i never had to use it. mabey im just luckey. recommended buy if your on a tight budget
January 29, 2008 1:40:14 AM

purplerat, you are not obligated to trust the list, just stick to the ultra Xfinity that you like so much.
January 29, 2008 1:44:52 AM

I have two Ultras a 400w that has been powering a 3000xp and 9800pro both OC'd for 4+ years. The 500w has been powering a 7900Gt and 3800x2 both OC'd for over 2 years. I can't say I have had any problems with them. But I also have a Hiper 580 and a PCP&C silencer 610 in the last 2 PCs I built. The last is powering an OC'd Q6600/8800GTS unit as I wasn't about to take a chance with a lesser PSU. I think that a quality PSU is worth the extra money for a high end system but the Ultras are sufficient for budget builds and if you over spec the psu for your actual needs.
January 29, 2008 1:57:19 AM

I have had four Ultras over the past 2 1/2 years and I have not had one problem with any of them. A 600w Xfinity powered my Opteron 170 overclocked to 2.5Ghz, 2 Gigs of ram, a 7950GX2 video card, three hard drives, one DVD burner, and my swiftech water cooling system. Like I said I never had any problems with them. The only drawback with the Xfinity is that it is not very power efficient, something like 73%. My new rig does have a PC Power & Cooling 610w in it, but only because I wanted to overclock the crap out of my Q6600. For most systems the Xfinitys work great. Plus it has a lifetime warranty so if it does crap out you can always get another.
Too many people say the Xfinitys will crap out after a few months, but thats BS! These people really don't know what there talking about, any power supply can crap out at any time. If you don't use an UPS all you need is one good power spike and boom there goes your tier one power supply just as easily as your tier four power supply!
January 29, 2008 2:25:53 AM

armeniandave said:
If you don't use an UPS all you need is one good power spike and boom there goes your tier one power supply just as easily as your tier four power supply!
Yeah, an Xfinity is really as good as a tier one PSU because they will both be damaged by a power spike.

Do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds? :pfff: 
a b ) Power supply
January 29, 2008 2:32:52 AM

I've never had an Ultra die on me, however, I do agree that they aren't up to running at their rated power. I have an X2 550W Ultra PSU. The computer in my sig. could run (most of the time) but would randomly restart after I added the 2900XT. I added a 250W graphics power supply, and now everything is great. I really like having 2 PSUs, now neither is very strained.
January 29, 2008 2:43:20 AM

I have the same one right now. Had it for 2 years and it works flawlessly. I only have one GPU so I dont about 2 GPUs if you plan on running 2. Anyways, I would recommend that PSU.
January 29, 2008 3:07:07 AM

If you don't trust the tier charts, then what about the recommended PSU's for ATI cards?

http://ati.amd.com/online/certifiedpsu/index.html

I haven't compared the lists extensively, but the recommended PSU's I own are in tier 2 or 3. The only tier 4 I own is an old Cooler Master Real Power 450 that's in a 7 year old's PC (and that will get upgraded soon too).

The Antecs I've bought since I started paying attention to the chart are great budget gaming power supplies for around $99 that I got on sale at Fry's for $49 (the 500 True Power) and $79 (the 550 Neo).

The failure of a PSU can be catastrophic for a PC. If anyone doesn't like the tier lists because they're old, then read reviews and also look at the PSU's certified by AMD/ATI, Intel and Nvidia for a comparison.

Read articles at Johnny Guru as well. While a "not recommended" power supply company can have an occasional tier 4 winner, with the rest in tier 5, the ranking shows consistent reports of issues from not reaching the promised watts to cheap components that make failure a bit more likely.

They are guidelines, but guidelines followed make more sense than blind faith that an extremely low cost PSU will be the exception to the rule.

January 29, 2008 3:09:32 AM

Zorg said:
purplerat, you are not obligated to trust the list, just stick to the ultra Xfinity that you like so much.

I interested in getting quality products, but somebody just making a list (half of which are actually products, the other half just brand names) based on their opinion and no substantial facts doesn't help me at all. I would actually like to see some real data on which PSUs are good and how they stack up against each other. THGs charts for various components, backed up with actual data, are a great tool for selecting the right parts. However all I ever seem to see about PSUs is "that brand is crap" or "I only buy such and such brand". Nothing useful to me as somebody you makes decisions based on real data not opinions. So the only thing I really have to go on is the PSUs I've used. It just seems that today all you have to do is put something in a list and everybody takes it as fact (probably a lot of VH1 viewers).
January 29, 2008 3:24:25 AM

The list is meant to be a guide not the gospel. It is reasonably accurate and will give you a good indication of PSU that it would be wiser to avoid. You still need to do your own research and read the reviews. Why don't you complain about the garbage reviews out there that have no testing of any substance.

At any rate, you are free to disregard any information that you want. I think it is a pretty good guide that is born out by some in depth reviews that I have read on jonnyguru.
January 29, 2008 3:32:11 AM

I own 2 ultra 550's for 1 1/2 years and no problems at all. One is in operation 24/7 on my sons computer, it only gets turn off because of an power outage which is rare. and the other runs about 8 to 12 hours daily. If these go bad or if I build a new system, I'll go for another "Ultra".
January 29, 2008 3:47:40 AM

Quote:
Why don't you complain about the garbage reviews out there that have no testing of any substance.

Actually I often do. Sometimes if I can get the email of the author I'll email him/her to tell them just how useless I found their review. Anyways my biggest complaint about that list is that it in many cases it just lists a specific brand not an actual product. I think that's much of why people think Ultra PSUs are so bad. People just see the name Ultra and think they're garbage. I just really hate buying things based on brand recongnition alone. It reminds me of being in highschool where only certain brand shoes/clothing was acceptable. Also I'm some what skeptical about PSU rankings without evidence to back it up because the PSU is probably the simplest component in a computer. Unlike a CPU, RAM, HDD, Motherboard, Video Card, etc. a PSU is fairly simple to manufacture. Really with just a little knowledge of electronics and the right parts/schematics you could easily make one from scratch. So when it comes to a brand/company like Ultra/Tigerdirect it's often times more financially beneficial to make a halfway decent product then a crap one which will have a high return rate. Really do you think it costs as much to manufacture a PSU as a CPU? ~$260 for a Q6600 or for a 500W PSU? I think you're probably correct in that there is a difference in quality between various PSUs, but it's no where near the price difference. I can tell you from my days at Best Buy that PSUs are probably the most over inflated (price wise) component you can buy when building a PC.
a b ) Power supply
January 29, 2008 3:55:57 AM

Just out of curiousity Purplerat, what PSU are you using for your system in your signature?
January 29, 2008 4:08:20 AM

purplerat said:
Anyways my biggest complaint about that list is that it in many cases it just lists a specific brand not an actual product. I think that's much of why people think Ultra PSUs are so bad. People just see the name Ultra and think they're garbage.
Quoted from the list
Quote:
Tier 2 Brands - Top Quality components With Top Notch Stability - For Those With Price/Availability Issues With Tier 1
Ultra X3
Ultra X-Pro

Tier 4 - Not Recommend With Tier 3 In same Price/Wattage Range
Ultra Xfinity/X2

Tier 5 - Other than the units listed above for any of these brands, NOT RECOMMENDED
Ultra X-Connect
Clearly they didn't reference the Ultra PSUs with the broad brush that you were concerned about. The only BFG on jonnyguru was the BFG 650. It got a total score of 6.5 out of 10 which is pretty poor. It looks like he was trying to be nice in his summary as well. So maybe BFG, as a company, is wise to avoid for PSUs.
January 29, 2008 5:17:51 AM

red_onion said:
The subject kind of says it all ... I'm looking at an SLI-ready, 600W PSU from TigerDirect:

Ultra / X-Finity / 600-Watt / ATX / Dual 80mm Fan / SATA-Ready / SLI Ready / Titanium / Power Supply ($54.99)

All the user ratings are high on the site, who knows what that really means (call me a cynic). What do you folks think? Do these PSUs have a track record?


Remember that Ultra isn't a manufacturer, just a marketing company. It's owned by Systemax, the same company that owns TigerDirect and Global Computer. In fact, Ultra was originally just a brand name Systemax dreamed up as a label for unbranded (generic) memory modules sold through its TigerDirect site, in response to its customers fears of unbranded parts!

The most amazing thing about Ultra is that you can find the brand being sold by COMPETING COMPANIES! Imagine this: K-Mart used to sell "KMC" (K-Mart Corpartion) branded tools. Wouldn't you be amazed if KMC tools showed up in Wal-Mart? Yes, they've done a good job on the marketing front.

Ultra sells some very nice power supplies, manufactured by companies you might not have heard of. Its X3 power supplies for example are manufactured by Andyson: http://www.andysonet.com/e/andysonet_e.html The qaulity of various models depends on the supplier and the supplier name isn't something you'll find on the TigerDirect website.
January 29, 2008 5:41:51 AM

That's informative and funny at the same time.
a b ) Power supply
January 29, 2008 6:59:08 AM

Almost like Ford selling their cars on a Chevy car lot. Go figure that one out. I know ZZF sells Ultra PSU's, but don't know of too many more that do.
February 1, 2008 10:37:19 PM

Zorg said:
Yeah, an Xfinity is really as good as a tier one PSU because they will both be damaged by a power spike.

Do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds? :pfff: 



Wow you should be a politician the way you interpret things. I love how you take something out of context to try and make your point. Apparently you aren't familiar with electricity and how a power surge or spike can ruin a good power supply or a bad power supply. If you have dirty power going in it can ruin any power supply, thats why a good UPS will help regulate the power and deliver clean power to the power supply. I never said the Xfinity was as good as the PC power and Cooling, for you to interpret what I said to mean that is really reaching it.
February 1, 2008 10:52:03 PM

On cars: The big duh sales event.
December 24, 2008 4:38:26 PM

http://www.overclock.net/power-supplies/154057-jonnygur...

jonnyGURU Power Supply Buyers Guide. *Updated 2/25/07*

Someone needs to sticky this as it's one of the best PSU guides I've ever seen.
*Note: This entire Guide was written by jonnyGURU and was copied from the jonnyGURU forums to here as an aid for the overclock.net members.jonnyGURU Power Supply Buyers Guide. *Updated 2/25/07*


Tier 2:

Enermax Galaxy product line
Lots of power
Semi-Modular
Very quiet
Very efficient
Crossfire X1900/X1950 Crossfire certified
3 years

Seasonic S12 and M12 product lines
Very good voltage regulation
Very efficient
Very quiet
M12 series is modular
Crossfire X1900/X1950 Crossfire certified
S12 650W is 7950 GX2 Quad SLI certified
3 year warranty

Corsair product line
Based on same platform and component quality as Seasonic S/M12
Very efficient
Very quiet
Modular
HX620W is 7800 and 7900GTX SLI certified
5 year warranty

PC Power and Cooling Silencer product line
Based on same platform and component quality as Seasonic S/M12
750W is 7950 GX2 Quad SLI certified
3 year warranty

Coolmax Greenpower product line
Based on ATNG server platform
A little on the loud side
X1900/X1950 Crossfire certified
3 year warranty

SevenTeam SSI EPS 12V 2.91 Series and "Fanless" product lines
Strong regulation
Efficient and quiet, despite being based on a server platform
Good price, but rarely available in the U.S.
2 year warranty

MGE/XG Duro and Magnum
Based on SevenTeam's higher end units
Lifetime Warranty
Andyson's server line (recognized by dual 80MM fans) and high-efficiency line (recognized by single 130MM fan.)
Extremely affordable
Solid performance and quality components
High efficiency models are 84% typical and very quiet
Not commonly found in U.S. or E.U.
End user warranty unknown
Hiper Type-M 670 and 730W and Type-R 730W
Based on server grade Andyson units
3 year warranty

Ultra X-Finity and X-Pro 800W
Based on server grade Andyson units
3 year warranty/Lifetime with product registration
Ultra X-Pro/X-Finity/X3 600W, 800W, 1000W and 2000W ("EE" for "Energy Efficient") APFC (not non-APFC)
Based on high-efficiency Andyson units
Quiet and efficient
3 year warranty/Lifetime with product registration


Silverstone Olympia OP1000
Uses SevenTeam 1kW server platform
Very stable power
80A continuous power on a single 12V rail
Single, rear mounted 80MM fan is loud
8800GTX SLI certified
3 year warranty
Silverstone Olympia OP650, 750 and Decathalon DA750
Supposedly using Enhance's new Taiwan factory (confirm?)
Quit and efficient