When buying a power supply, the efficiency of the unit is an increasingly prominent factor due to the threats of global warming etc, it’s therefore important for us to do our part in helping to save the planet. One way we can simply help is by purchasing an ’80 Plus’ PSU. What is an ’80 Plus’ power supply though you wonder? A unit certified as this is 80% or greater efficient at 20%, 50% and 100% of rated load with a true power factor of 0.9 or greater. Cooler Master has stepped up the game though. Instead of being just the bare minimum to classify as 80 Plus (80%), the UCP 900W however is rated at 88% more efficient making it seem very promising. Let’s take a closer look…
Cooler Master was founded with the mission of providing the industry’s best thermal solutions. Since its establishment a decade ago, the company has remained faithful to this mission, emerging as a world leader in products and services for companies dealing with devices where heat issues must be resolved.
- VRM(Voltage Regulation Module) Circuit offers high efficiency and Power density.
- Compliance with the newest Intel standard ATX 12V V2.3
- Compliance with the newest SSI standard EPS 12V V2.92
- Ultra-silent operation with intelligent 120mm fan speed control
- Eco-design for energy and money saving by Active PFC.(>0.9) / high efficiency(>88%)
- Power Failure Detector will light up when OVP /OCP / OPP / SCP / UVP /OTP occur
- Soft-start circuit A protection mechanism that limits the input inrush current by delaying the actual power-on of the PSU to prevent damage to it.
- Green mode PFC control circuit by intelligent PWM power conversion
- By using a single 12V switching circuit design you get a more efficient AC to DC conversion which leads to an overall more efficient PSU
The box for the Coolermaster is frankly huge. On the front is a large image showing the PSU, detailing the ‘ultimate’ decal which spans across the side of the unit. It’s quite a menacing frontage, sure to draw some attention on shop shelves.
Rearing to the back of the box, the specifications are clearly on show. This simple table format enables potential customers to quickly glance and still find out all the information needed. Adjacent to the specifications, the features are bullet pointed with small thumbnails of the main features of the UCP 900W.
Opening the box up you can see that the UCP is thoroughly padded with thick foam. There’s nothing worse than having a product arrive broken, so this ensures against this happening.
Inside the box is a range of accessories, including:
- UK Power Cord
- User’s Manual
- CD User’s Manual
- Warrantee Card
- Four Screws
For a basic installation this is all the accessories you’d need. However, it would’ve been nice for some cable tidies to be included seen as this PSU is non-modular.
The Coolermaster UCP 900W Power Supply
So what does UCP stand for exactly? Ultimate Circuit Protection is what, a name devised by Coolermaster which is about re-defining the standard for efficient and durable power supplies. A marketing strategy or not, I quite like the idea and I agree that the efficiency of PSU’s seriously needs some attention.
Overall the UCP 900W is a little lengthier than most at 19cm long. A 120mm fan sits atop this with a honey comb fan grill sitting flush with the top of the unit. Thus, allowing no stray fingers from wondering into the scouring fins of the fan and potentially being sliced. The paint job is quite a unique one too. It’s certainly not glossy by any standard; instead it’s a matt grey finish with metallic sparkles. Unlike the norm (glossy paint jobs which are often very thin), this one seems quite thick resulting in it being fairly hard wearing.
As with most Coolermaster power supply units, at the centre of the fan is a shiny aluminium emblem showing the brand logo. I know it’s not really important at all, but if you like a bit of bling, you’ll really like this. Ha.
Along both the left and right sides is the word ‘Ultimate’ which has neatly been stencilled. With the block letters this looks a bit military. Thus, suiting the target audience of this product very well – computer gamers.
At the bottom – not side – of the UCP PSU is what you’d normally find on the side of any power supply – a sticker detailing the power specifications.
The rear of the power supply has the usual plug and switch but also an LED. It’s good to see these as with Coolermaster’s ‘M Series’ of units, they ditched the switch in replacement for an LED. Everyone loves the safety of the magic switch, so thanks Coolermaster. Unlike some older PSU’s, there is no 80mm fan and instead there’s a large honeycomb grill to help hot air exhaust from the back, silently too.
Unfortunately the UCP 900W isn’t modular. This results in a mass spaghetti junction of various cables leading to the Ultimate mess inside your system. This isn’t good for airflow.
However to help in the neatness a bit, all the cables are braided and have been heat-shrunk tightly at their ends to avoid the braiding from fraying.
The component cables included are:
- 3 x 6pin + 8pin PCI-e
- 3 x 6pin PCI-e
- 9 x SATA
- 5 x Molex
- 1 x FDD (floppy drive)
The motherboard cables included are:
- 1 x 24pin (does not separate to 20pin)
- 2 x 4+4pin
To test power supplies, it’s pretty simple. We hook it up to our most current test rig and measure the voltages for the 3.3v, 5v and 12v rails at idle and load. For idle testing we leave the system running no applications and at stock clocks. The idle voltages are then recorded an hour thereafter. For load testing, it’s a very similar process but we load the system as much as we can by overclocking it and running demanding benchmarks such as 3dmark 06 and two processes of CPU-Burn in. Again the results are recorded an hour thereafter.
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo E8400|
|Motherboard||Asus P5K Premium|
|RAM||Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR2-6400 4GB (2×2GB)|
|HDD||Western Digital SE16 500GB SATA|
|Graphics Card||Vivikoo 9600GT 512MB|
By looking at the tight rails of the Coolermaster UCP 900W it’s clearly evident that it’s a rock stable unit. When going from idle to load, the voltage drop is miniscule – this has got to be one of the most stable power supplies we’ve ever reviewed.
Unfortunately the leap from stability to noise isn’t a great one. Ear close, a humming can be clearly heard as well as the odd click whilst in operation. I’d be telling you a lie if I was to say that your other case fans would eradicate this noise, because believe me, they won’t.
Retailing at ~£145 the Coolermaster UCP 900W is quite a large purchase for the most of us. For £30 or so less, you could have yourself a modular unit; however it’s highly unlikely it will be as stable.
Don’t get me wrong, the Coolermaster UCP is certainly a nice piece of kit. Not only does it look aesthetically pleasing, its performance contrasts well with extremely tight rails.
Unfortortunately though, I have a couple of small gripes. The first being the cost, it’s certainly not a cheap unit and for about the same price you could have yourself a modular unit. Moreover, with companies (even Coolermaster with their Silent series) striving to design quieter PSU’s, it’s a bit of an odd straw to end up with a unit that still has the electronic buzzing and clicks which faded out many years ago.
For these reasons, I’m awarding the Coolermaster UCP 900W a 4/5. If only this beast was modular, quieter and a shade cheaper, it really would be the Ultimate beast.