Introduction

We've been eagerly awaiting our Cooler Master UCP sample; unfortunately, it was delayed an extra three weeks during shipment by the carrier. We first saw this new series at CeBIT 2008 earlier this year, and other than the name (previously called Ultimate Warranty Protection/UWP) not much has changed. This power supply has some impressive features and specifications, and we were definitely interested in putting it through our test regimen to see how it actually performs.


What's so special about Cooler Master UCP line? A press release points out the fact that they are the first company to receive an 80Plus Silver certification, which certainly generated some media attention. It's not that we've never seen an 88% efficiency power supply before, but the certification "guarantees" this level of performance to end-users. The difference between a regular 80Plus certification and an 80Plus Silver certification isn't all that great either, as it usually means only a few percent better efficiency overall. Even if you run the power supply constantly for years, you might only save $25. Still, it's a nice marketing tool, and there is an assumption that higher efficiency often means better overall quality. That may be true to a certain extent, but let's get to the rest of our testing before we come to any firm conclusions.

The 900W UCP that we received is quite long at 190mm (7.5 inches), with a 120mm fan toward the bottom-front of the casing (assuming a normal mounting position at the top of your computer chassis). Cooler master puts a large label on the top of the power supply, where it will be hidden in most computer cases. The 3.3V and 5V rails are rated at 25A, which is more than sufficient in our opinion. The 12V rails are the more important factor in modern systems, and here Cooler Master provides four 12V rails with different amperages. 12V1 is rated at 25A and is for the CPU, while 12V2 is only 20A and is also for the CPU socket.


The specifications state that the first 12V rail is for the ATX12V connector, but it actually is used for the 24-pin motherboard connector, the ATX12V 4-pin connector, and the various Molex/SATA connectors. The added amperage makes sense in that case, as much of the system will be powered through that rail. The second 12V rail is for the EPS12V 8-pin connector, while the two remaining 12V rails are for the six PEG connectors.

Going back to the main 12V rail, how much power a graphics card draws from the PEG connection and how much it draws from the motherboard x16 slot varies by design, so having so many peripherals dependent on the one 12V rail may not have been the best choice. This is another instance where a single large 12V rail can sometimes be a better solution. Regardless, very few systems will actually come anywhere near maxing out the available power, but if you plan on connecting several hard drives and overclocking a quad-core processor you might run into problems.

Packaging and Appearance
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  • MrOblivious - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    Sorry meant to say seems to be indicated in the article in my last line. Reply
  • Adamantine - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    There are four 12v rails, yet you only show regulation on a single rail, not even labeled at that... where are the voltage regulation line graphs for the other 3 rails, if there are in fact 4 rails? Reply
  • jonnyGURU - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    +12V rails are rarely independent. Usually "multiple" +12V rails is just a +12V rail split up into four, six, etc. with an over current protection circuit in place for each. If there's any "regulation" difference between one +12V rail and another, it's usually caused by resistance between the +12V source and the end of the connector and NOT actual poor voltage regulation. So the best course of action would actually be to average out the results or combine +12V rails into one.

    More on "multiple" +12V rails: http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid...">http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid...
    Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    ehm we combined them into one graph, that's why they are so thick ;) The graph shows in which area all of the rails have been regulated. We had shown differently before but with six rails for example you cant see anything anymore... Reply
  • SilthDraeth - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    I read the review and I saw you nitpick about a few things, but I didn't read about any real problem. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    The 12V rail problem is that 12V1 (rated at 25A) supplies the power for the 24-pin connector, the 4-pin ATX12V connector, and all the SATA and Molex connectors. Meanwhile, 12V2 *only* powers the EPS12V connector (which quite a few people won't even use!), and 12V3 and 12V4 are dedicated to the PEG connectors.

    Basically, there's a lot of stuff coming off of the main 12V rail, and thus it's going to be virtually impossible to come anywhere near the rated output unless you happen to have an EPS12V connector on your motherboard. More important is that with the right combination of hardware (i.e. quad-core overclocked CPU, a high-end GPU, and several HDDs) you could easily overload 12V1.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, July 30, 2008 - link

    The EPS12V is the 8-pin CPU connector, correct? The same one that seems to be far more common these days on the class of motherboards likely to be used with a 900W PSU than the 4-pin connector? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, July 30, 2008 - link

    I don't know that I would call EPS12V "common". It's used on some high-end mobos, but not on others. It was initially more of a workstation/server connector. Some PSUs have a 4/8-pin cable that works with either ATX12V or EPS12V, but it seems Cooler Master decided to go with a dedicated ATX12V and a dedicated EPS12V. It would have made a lot more sense IMO if they had all of the peripherals on the same rail as the EPS12V (and ATX12V for that matter). Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    Weren't you going to add ripple and noise tests?
    Or do I have the wrong recollection?
    These guys say it had 78mv on 12V line
    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/CoolerMaster/UC...">http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/CoolerMaster/UC...
    Reply
  • Amart - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    Anandtech are not interested in presenting a complete professional review of PSU's, instead they have stated we should "trust them" on ripple and noise questions.

    I think that Anandtech PSU reviews should look at JonnyGuru.com and HardOcp.com and take notes on how to do things right.
    Reply

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