Cooler Master UCP-1100w

Overall Score

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Cooler Master is a leading supplier of enthusiast components, dealing in cases, power supplies, CPU coolers, and fans. Cooler Master has also started a couple other brand names, such as Choiix who sells consumer products such as laptop coolers, and the high end CSX case line. Throughout Cooler Master’s long history of computer hardware, they have seemed to focus on the mid-high end segment, being cost effective enough for the consumer, while selling a quality product well worth the money. Cooler Master’s power supplies have been no exception.
Today, we test one of the newest PSUs in the Cooler Master lineup- the UCP-1100w. The unit is based off of a 6-rail 12v design, with a total power output of 1000w on the 12v rail. Total power output is, of course, 1100w.
Unfortunately, this particular PSU was opened and used briefly by one of the admins of XCPUs.com, (*cough* Arisythila *cough*) so the packaging will NOT be shown in this particular review. Of course, he lost the box too, so we can’t even get the info off of it. No matter, the results should speak for themselves anyway.

We give you: the Cooler Master UCP-1100w.

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Again, this PSU was installed and used briefly, so please disregard the slight scratches on the casing, this was not caused during shipping, and was not delivered in this state. However, this does give some insight into the hardness of the paint. Although durable in appearance, it may in fact scratch off. Just be careful during install, and you should be just fine though.

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Moving onto the connectors, we can see that the UCP-1100w has a very large assortment.
Connectors include:

  • One 24 pin ATX connector
  • Two 4+4 (8 pin) ATX 12v connectors
  • Five 4 pin Molex connectors
  • Nine SATA power connectors
  • One Floppy power connector
  • Three 6 pin PCIe power connectors
  • Three 6 pin or 8 pin PCIe power connectors

 

There are a few interesting things to note at this point. One being that Cooler Master has included TWO ATX 12v connectors. Most users would not make use of both, but users of dual socket motherboards will find this feature very useful. Another oddity is the solid 24 pin ATX connector. Users of rather old motherboards will find that this may not install properly in their motherboard due to the extra pins. Often, PSU manufacturers will make the last 4 pins removeable from the connector such that the connector will fit all ATX motherboards. Cooler Master has not done this. Also noteable is the fact that there are a measly 5 Molex connectors, and many more SATA power connectors. These days, most devices are SATA, but it’s still nice to have a few extra Molex connectors for fans and legacy devices. Only having one floppy power connector may also be a problem for some. On the bright side, Cooler Master’s PCIe power connector selection is quite good, and should support Tri-SLi or Tri-Fire without issue.

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Oddly, Cooler Master has chosen to use a rather unusual power cable type for the 120/240v input. Unlike most PSUs which use a standardized socket, this one uses a different plug that can handle more amperage. The downside to this is that you must use the provided cable, or one like it. Replacements could be difficult to find- so if you do buy this PSU, be careful not to misplace or damage your power cable.

Testing was performed with XCPU’s SunMoon SM-5500ATE PC test load. This complex and rather expensive piece of equipment is designed and built to stress and test computer power supplies. As such, it is the ideal tool for doing load testing. Coupled with a low-bandwidth PC based oscilloscope, the setup makes for very easy and accurate power supply testing.

Testing consists of four main tests, and two crossload tests. The four main tests are meant to simulate a normal computing environment, where each test is an increment of 25% of the power supplies’ rated capacity. (25%, 50%, 75%, 100%) The two crossload tests are meant to test the ability of the power supply to operate in uncommon situations. The first test draws a lot from the 3.3v and 5v rails, while pulling a miniscule 1A from the 12v rail. The other crossload test is a large load on the 12v rail, and only 1A on both 3.3v and 5v rails. Older systems (Pentium II/III) use a lot of 3.3v and 5v power, and modern systems use a lot of 12v power, so these crossload tests help to demonstrate that the PSU can handle anything thrown at it.

Unfortunately, we’ve yet to receive our temperature probes, so hot-box testing will be noticeably absent from this review. Hopefully the temperature probes will arrive soon so that we can increase our testing capabilities. Because of this unfortunate problem, all tests below can be considered “cold” tests. The temperature in the room was kept at a constant 68F (20C) during the tests.

First, let’s take a look at the specifications for the PSU as shown by Cooler Master:

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Six 12v rails all rated at 20A or above for a grand total of 1000w on 12v. Not too shabby. The 3.3v and 5v rails are rated at 25A each.

Let’s test the validity of that label with the Sunmoon:

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Impressively, all rails stayed solidly within specification during all tests, maxing out at about 5% deviation from the specified voltage. We would like to see the voltages droop slightly less under load, but again, even at maximum power draw, the voltages stayed within specification. Efficiency was also very good, staying well above 80% in most tests, only falling below that point during the CL2 test. Unless you plan on running an 1100w PSU with a Pentium III system, this should not be an issue.
Let’s move on to the ripple testing:

Test 1- 3.3v 5v 12v

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Test 2- 3.3v 5v 12v

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Test 3- 3.3v 5v 12v

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Test 4- 3.3v 5v 12v

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Test CL1- 3.3v 5v 12v

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Test CL2- 3.3v 5v 12v

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Once again, we receive an impressive but less than stellar result. The PSU exhibits a rather odd spikey waveform on the 12v rail during Test 1, by the later tests this seems to disappear until we get to Crossload Test 2. This seems to be an issue with lower output amperages. Again, not particularly dangerous, but not desirable.

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Opening the PSU casing, you first must disconnect the fan- a 7 bladed 120mm fan from Adda. Given the size of this PSU, Cooler Master could easily put in a slightly larger 130mm or 140mm fan. Judging by the results, this fan seems to be adequate. It should be noted however, that by Test 4 the fan did begin to spin up more and get a bit louder. Under that much load, the computer itself would likely make a lot of noise, so this would be a negligible addition to the overall loudness of the system.

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The cable sleeving is far from perfect, but looks pretty good on the outside. A few zip ties on the outside of the PSU casing are not cut short enough, so if you run your hand on it the right way, it could cut you, so be careful. It’s a minor issue to correct, but it would be great of Cooler Master to do so. Also, the sleeving only runs a short distance into the casing of the PSU, so with extended use, it could be possible to pull the sleeving out of the casing. The sleeving would then fray since it is not fused very well. Another very minor detail to correct.

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Click to expand.

Cooler Masters’ design of the PSU is a unique in-house design. This is very rare these days, as the majority of PSUs are made by one of the large OEMs. (Seasonic, CWT, FSP, etc.) That being said, the PCB and components seem to be of high quality.

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The primary capacitors are from two sources: Nippon Chemicon and Hitatchi, both of which are very high quality Japanese providers. The other electrolytic capacitors are made by Ltec, a Taiwaneese company that does not have nearly as good a reputation as the other two brands. It would be nice to see some more expensive and reliable capacitors used here, considering the price point of the PSU. There are also a few polymer type (solid) capacitors, which should help to improve lifespan and heat tolerance of the unit. The heatsinks in this PSU do not seem to be very large considering the rated wattage of the unit. It seems that Cooler Master has engineered the unit such that it has a high enough efficiency that it does not have to dissipate a lot of heat.
The build quality is good, but not perfect. As long as it works, and does it well… right?

With the Cooler Master UCP-1100w PSU, you get what you pay for, an upper-midrange unit that can do exactly what it is advertized to do; deliver clean power all the way up to 1100w. The unit efficiency is excellent. Coupled with a reliable Adda fan and good components, this power supply is likely to last for years. If it does give you problems though, Cooler Master has given this particular unit a full Five year warranty. Build quality is good, but at this price point, we’d like to see a bit of improvement in the fine details. Voltages and ripple were also along the same line; acceptable, but not perfect. Hopefully Cooler Master can correct these minor issues in the next revision of this unit. In the mean time, do not hesitate to pick up this unit if you are contemplating it. It works as advertised, and should provide many years of service at a palatable price point.

 

Manufacturer’s Product Page

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