Ultra m998 Midtower Case
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 10-30-2007
Provided by: Ultra
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Installation

Normally I tend to breeze through this part of a review, especially if there were no notable exceptions during the installation. However, I came across a few things on the m998 that I wanted to mention.

I began by installing the wheels. Normally you only find these on heavy server cases, so having them on a lightweight aluminum case seems strange. But since Ultra included them I opted to install them. Without a lot of weight to stabilize the system, it keeps wanting to tip over when pushing it around on the carpet. Undoubtedly a smoother surface would make the wheels much more useful. Next I yanked the motherboard tray out, as I mentioned previously this could go a little smoother. Five thumbscrews and two Phillips seems overkill for holding it in place. I installed the brass standoffs and discovered there's one location I need where there's no hole. I had to insert a plastic standoff in my motherboard to provide support for that corner of the board. Ultra indicates that the m998 is supposed to support micro-ATX but apparently they forgot this one. I also notice that Ultra included two hard drive activity LED's; I believe this is the first time I've seen a case like that. Once everything was tightened down I shoved the tray back in the case and reattached it.



I'm also going to take this opportunity to complain about how the panels fit on the m998. It's nice that Ultra included so many thumbscrews which can really be a time saver, but then the panel holes line up so poorly that the screws kept wanting to go in at an angle, were difficult to get started and then hard to tighten down. It's also been awhile since I reviewed a case that did not have a tool-less method of drive attachment. Not that I really mind using screws to mount drives in a case, but doing this on a painted drive cage is bound to take some of the paint off when you tighten them down. There's really no way around it and probably something Ultra should have considered.



Thumbscrews for the riser slots are nice, along with the replaceable blanks. There's no paint here to scratch. The rear fan has a 3-pin header that can be plugged directly into the motherboard. Unfortunately the front fan is the same and the wire is just not long enough to reach. If it had a 4-pin Molex connector it could be plugged into the power rail, which is what I ended up doing, using a 3-pin to 4-pin adapter. Something else Ultra probably should have included.

The case instructions indicate to remove the top panel in order to install the power supply; this is easily done after both side panels have been detached first. The rails that run down either side that normally support the power supply are not very wide, and when setting the unit in place it slid and nearly fell into the CPU heatsink. I managed to catch it before it did any damage but a little better support here would prevent any accidents. The instructions are lax when it comes to connecting up the power bar. I did plug one of the Molex connectors into the top of the bar which seemed to power the remaining connectors down the front. However the second one down, where I tried to connect the optical drive, would not work. I ended up plugging the drive directly into the power supply. I'm not sure if the second connector down is an input only or what.



Once everything was connected I reinstalled all the panels. As can be seen the duct does not line up exactly with the CPU fan, although it should still provide some cooling benefit.

On to final conclusion.


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