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Ultra m998 ULT40069
As enthusiasts in the PC world, we at Benchmark Reviews find ourselves seldom ‘wowed' by the relentless tick-tock refreshes of components that add only minor updates here and there; updates that end users rarely see any real benefit from. This, despite many marketing campaigns, is the sad truth regarding the PC industry, with revolution and innovation taking a back seat to the "steady as she sails" mentality that's so prevalent today. That being said however, there's always a company or two that can shake things up a bit from time to time, even reinventing a segment or the whole industry with a new design. Among those few companies Ultra Products is one that stands out, being renowned for their recent innovation (modular cables) that revolutionized the power supply industry these past few years. Now Ultra is hoping to follow up on that success with their newest innovation, the Ultra Powerbar. A feature that comes pre-installed in the Ultra m998 Aluminum Mid-Tower ATX Case ULT40069, one of its many features that we'll be looking at today.
Having been based off a tried and true design, the Ultra m998 features all the amenities of many modern cases, while also incorporating Ultra's new patented Powerbar, a modernization that could revolutionize the industry; just one of the many features that are under the hood of the m998.
The Ultra m998 is so named for the exalted m998 HMMWV (better known as the Humvee): a lightweight, high performance, four wheel drive, air transportable & droppable, land mobility system. For comparison: the Ultra's m998 is constructed mainly of lightweight aluminum and plastic parts, sports four optional castors (wheels), a removable motherboard tray, the ability to remove every panel, and also boasts a roomy interior. In concept at least the m998 sounds akin to its name sake's description. Benchmark Reviews however wants to see if Ultra's m998 Aluminum Mid-Tower ATX Case ULT40069 can live up to this legendary reputation, so we've taken this baby for a test drive.
Engineered with an obvious design meant to appeal to a wide range of customers, from first time buyers, all the way up to enthusiasts, the Ultra m998 sports a very large acrylic window on its side , in addition to letting you "show things off", it provides needed ventilation, either by way of the mesh screen, or by the CPU air duct mounted into the clear acrylic. Other notable features include: tool-less access to most components via thumbscrews, removable drive bays, built in cable management, and enough real estate to park any modern hardware...with room to spare.
About the company: Ultra Products
Ultra Products is a division of the Systemax group of companies, a US-based computer parts manufacturer, importer and distributor. The company's main focus is on PC accessories, and offers a full gamut of products including computer memory, computer cases and power supplies, custom cooling solutions and uninterruptible power supplies. The company attracted attention in PC publications when they produced the first modular computer power supply, the Ultra X-Connect.
The history of Ultra Products dates back to 1991 with the Fletcher, Ohio based PC builder, MidWest Micro. Ultra was the brand name for MidWest Micro's white-box personal and laptop computers sold through their Infotel computer product distribution division. In late 1997, Global Industrial Products purchased Infotel and the MidWest Micro and continued to sell product under the Ultra brand name. In 1999, Global changed it's name to Systemax and Global Industrial became a division of the Systemax corporation. The Ultra Products brand name was expanded to include LCD monitors.
In 2003, Tiger Direct used the Ultra brand to sell computer memory and low-end graphics cards. By mid-2003, the product line expanded to light kits, hard drive, memory and CPU coolers and flash memory card readers. This proved to be successful and the decision was made to put the brand out into the retail channel. It was determined to use the existing ChieftecUSA channels to distribute product, so in late 2003 ChieftecUSA became Ultra Products and could not only be purchased at Tiger Direct, but also Fry's Electronics, Micro Center as well as a number of other retail and mail order computer components dealers.
Here is an excerpt from Ultra's website:
"Ultra Products is a global, technology-solutions provider with headquarters in Fletcher, Ohio. The company strives to offer a wide range of solutions, products and services all with a common thread: Innovation, value and quality."
"It is Ultra's mission to be the best provider of technology-solutions in the global market. By offering superior, innovative products and ensuring a high level of customer service, Ultra guarantees its customers receive an exceptional value in everything they do."
"To ensure your complete satisfaction, all Ultra Power Supplies and Cases now carry a three-year warranty that they will be free from defects in materials or workmanship. In addition, that warranty can be upgraded to a LIFETIME warranty by simply registering online for the Ultra Advantage. The incomparable Ultra Advantage provides the most comprehensive warranty coverage possible. If you opt for the Ultra Advantage, all power supplies, cases and memory products are protected by our Lifetime Warranty, upgraded from three year. Under Ultra Advantage, all our other products are upgraded from the standard one-year to 3-year coverage! No other company delivers a consumer care package that can top ours. At Ultra, customer service is our most important mission. That's why every Ultra product must meet the highest industry standards for quality and reliability. And our warranty program is second to none."
Ultra m998 Features
All panels removable for easy, tool-free access
Stainless steel finished removable Mainboard tray
Includes Ultra's Power Bar power distribution system
Front eSata/Firewire/USB Audio ports
Interior and Exterior finish
Replace front Firewire/Audio/Microphone/eSata bracket with virtually any PCI slot-type bracket.
Easy access front panel:
2 - USB 2.0
1 - Firewire
1 - Headphone
1 - Microphone
1 - eSATA
4 - 5.25" Bays
5 - Internal 3.5" Bays
2 - External 3.5" Bays
Material: 1.5mm High Grade Anodized Aluminum
Expansion Slots: 7 Standard Slots
Case Fan Mounts:
2 - 120mm Fan Mounts
Case Fans Included:
2 - 120mm Fans
Green - Power
2x Orange - Hard Drive Access