|Ultra m998 Aluminum Mid-Tower ATX Case ULT40069|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Ronald Tibbetts - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 10 December 2007|
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Installation: Ultra m998 ULT40069
For this installation I wanted to put a fully functional modern system in the m998, mainly to see how the Powerbar feature would function, but also to see if this update to a classic design could really accommodate a fully loaded system of today.
Since there just happened to be an Ultra X3 1000 watt power supply handy, I thought it would be fitting to demonstrate the Powerbar feature with it, also I was curious to see just how well these two Ultra products would get along together.
For installation the mounting plate for the PSU easily attaches to the X3 using four screws, (Though I used one, the Ultra m998 is not just for Ultra PSUs, and should accommodate any PSU on the market today that uses the ATX standard). It is possible to install the PSU with either the fan (bottom) facing up or down, and again I feel that Ultra could have really made an improvement regarding PSU temps by adding a vent in the top panel to isolate the PSU intake air from the rest of the case.
Installing the PSU is a snap, with the opening on the back of the case being too small, the only way to mount the PSU is by dropping it in through the top (a good thing the top panel is removable) and aligning it with the thumb-screw holes. This couldn't have been easier. Even with a monster PSU like the X3, there is still plenty of room left in the bay (this is a server case after all), and there might even be room for a second PSU; however, that would require the previously mentioned vents in the top panel.
Here is Ultra's coup de grace regarding the m998, the Ultra Power Bar power distribution system. Intended to minimize cable clutter, increase airflow, and make cable management a non-issue. For use of the Powerbar with a common multi-railed PSU you will have to attach two of the Molex power connectors (included with the m998 are the short Flex-Force cables to use if you have an Ultra modular PSU) one to each port labeled CON9 and CON10 (the Ultra X3 1000 watt only needed one power lead to connect the PSU with the X3, since it uses a large single rail set up rated at 70amps). After that it's a simple matter of connecting your components via the Powerbars four Molex connectors using the included short Flex-force cables. For newer video cards that require a six or eight pin power connector, Ultra provides short eight pin Flex-Force cables to connect to, and from the Powerbar. None of this information is provided in the manual, and the installer is left to fend for themselves here, though it's all pretty straight forward. Perhaps the greatest feature regarding the Ultra Powerbar is that it can be installed in any case that supports extended motherboards, providing the same functionality shown here. Sadly though it's not for sale on Ultra's website at this time, and the only way to get the Powerbar currently is through the purchase of an Ultra m998 case.
The drive install uses a typical screw mount design, and using a screwdriver here is a must since the m998 offers no tool-free options with regards to drive installation. Of the many unlabeled screws I happened to use ones with teethed washers for the install of two Western Digital Raptors; hoping to minimize drive vibration. The installation of the drives is typical, and is done in no time thanks to the drive cage being easily removed. However, installation did scratch the finish of the drive cage where the screws dug in. And only after installation did I realized what the insulating washers in the unlabeled bag of screws were for...
The motherboard and the PCI add-in card install is pretty straight forward, with the included stand-offs you simply have to line up the motherboard on its tray, install the appropriate stand-offs, and screw the motherboard into place. The whole process is made very easy with the tray being able to come out of the case, and I cannot stress enough my delight in working with it.
When finished installing the motherboard and its components, all that's remaining is to slide in the motherboard tray, fasten the thumb-screws, and plug in cables. The onboard wire harness helped a great deal with the last part, arranging the power and SATA cables, and allowing the space behind the drive stack for stuffing the excess cable slack into. Thanks completely to the Ultra Powerbar there is virtually none of the unsightly clutter that happens with typical power cables, thus maximizing air flow inside the case.