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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  • andlcs - Wednesday, July 30, 2008 - link

    Solid polymer capacitors are ELITE brand.
    http://www.chinsan.com/product/index.asp?id=22">http://www.chinsan.com/product/index.asp?id=22
    Reply
  • sheh - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    20% load efficiency at is lower than 85% regardless of input voltage.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    IIRC they test by the ATX methodology, not the 80Plus loading, which might account for the difference. Reply
  • MrOblivious - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    Or it could be the unit to unit variation, the different temperature, or the different load pattern, etc. ;) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    Definitely true. The 80Plus loading methodology differs from the standard ATX loading, and that can easily account for the 1-2% difference between what Christoph measured and what CM reports. Reply
  • MrOblivious - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    80Plus does list what the requirements for certification on each test report (115v 60hz) and the load steps used to accomplish them. You can see the UCP report here: http://www.80plus.org/manu/psu/psu_reports/SP215_C...">http://www.80plus.org/manu/psu/psu_repo..._MASTER_...

    They don't list the temperature there but IIRC it is 25c (will have to check when I get home). Also, 80 Plus Silver is 85-88-85% not 82-85-82% as it seems to be indicated.
    Reply
  • tomoyo - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    I was just about to mention this as there's some misinformation on 80plus scattered about in the article. Hopefully you'll clean that up soon. To me it's a pretty big achievement to get 85-88-85 at 25C on 115V on a huge 900w psu like this one. One thing I've noticed is that some of the new low power psu models are showing extremely high low wattage efficiency such as 90-92%. Some of these include the two dell 80plus silver models and some of the new actel ones. 80plus Bronze is much easier to achieve as most 80plus psu's are already near 85% in the middle range. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    "80Plus Bronze requires at least 82% efficiency at 20% load, 85% efficiency at 50% load, and 82% efficiency at 100% load. 80Plus Silver bumps the requirements up to 85%/88%/85% for the same 20%/50%/100% loads. In short, the Cooler Master 900W UCP had better be able to reach 88% efficiency."

    I'm not sure how that's at all confusing. As to the UCP 900W actually achieving Silver in our tests, it does appear to fall just short at the 20% load mark, but only by ~1% (84% efficiency when it's supposed to be 85%). I'm not going to worry overly much on that point, as there's a certain margin of error in testing.
    Reply
  • MrOblivious - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    "Before you get too carried away with the high efficiency, however, we need to rain on your parade a bit. The 80Plus Silver badge means that most users will get at least 82% efficiency, but even 20% load represents a power output of 180W, which for an idle system represents a significant amount of high-end hardware."

    Since that is NOT what 80Plus Silver means it could be a bit misleading.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - link

    Ah... I see my typo. I put that paragraph in, and apparently hit a 2 instead of 5. Should be 85% there, you're right.... Reply

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