In an era of greatly reduced consumer spending, it's hard to assume there are those still wanting premium products anywhere. Enthusiasts will be enthusiasts though and, as a long term investment, the 80 Plus Silver rated Cooler Master UCP 900W PSU might seem attractive to save some long term cash, as it sports upwards of 85 percent efficiency across the entire range of operation.
Cooler Master has pimped this "Ultimate" PSU to be its... ultimate product with a ruggedised exterior and "Ultimate Circuit Protection," or UCP as it stamps it. Cooler Master claims it has "first-class soft circuits" to extend component life, as well as "continuous active clamp forward switching technology and the D/D VRMs circuit design achieves over 88% efficiency."
The design is based on a main 12V converter and then DC-DC conversion to 3.3V and 5V, which is a popular new technique that increases efficiency.
Models range from 700 to 1,100W but, as the 700W is only bronze certified, we decided the 900W was closer to what our readers might want, with the best balance of price and performance.
While these premium units are like the F1 of PSU manufacturing (a strange association, I know), there tends to be lots of competition in the high end and they're chasing very few buyers, so why make one? Excellence, of course. By creating a fantastic high end product, Cooler Master extends its brand and technology lower down the range, increasing sales. But there's the crux - is the UCP 900W a fantastic product? We donned the white coats, strapped on the goggles (which still do nothing), and got ready to throw everything at it.
Click to enlarge
The box is frankly huge. It's not for an equally super-sized power supply though, it's simply got about two tonnes of foam protecting the unit, so even if the All Blacks started to hold Monday evening practice in your local post room, it should still get to you in one piece.
In the box there's a general overview manual, as well as an entirely pointless CD containing less than 4MB of multi-language PDF manuals, which offer barely more information than the single piece of paper included in the box. In addition, there's also a warranty card, a power cable and four case screws. As a non modular power supply and premium bit of kit we were hoping at least for some zip ties or Velcro cable ties here, but none are provided.
The power cable is surprisingly important because it uses a different square type rated to 16 Amps, instead of the usual kettle lead style that's limited to 10 Amps, and the two aren't interchangeable at all. Be Quiet! also uses one for its high power supplies too, and we were told that it's simply because it provides a more reliable connection. Fair enough, eh?