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Question about purchasing a UPS

Last response: in Components
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January 3, 2013 9:53:03 PM

Hi everybody. I've done research on why it would be ideal to invest in a UPS but I'm still unsure if such a product would be suitable for me.

Basically, I will be building a high-end gaming rig which will be powered by a Corsair AX1200i power supply. The system itself will draw about 700W on load (I understand my PSU is total overkill but I have plans to expand my build in the future). My 27 inch monitor will use roughly 65W while on.

Now, I want the best for this computer since I'll be putting a lot of money and effort into it but at the same time I don't necessarily want to break the bank by purchasing a $300 UPS. My main reason for wanting to buy a UPS is because I'm paranoid that brownouts and power surges will damage my hardware. The ability to save any data in the event of a power outage with the help of the battery is NOT important to me at all, I just want to be reassured that my components will remain safe at all times.

I see small, inexpensive, 300W UPS units on sale and they do appeal to me for their implemented protection features but I'm led to believe that such a small wattage will not suffice for a demanding computer that will peak at 700W on load.

So, my biggest question is, does the wattage a UPS claim to support play a factor in regular usage or does it only define what the battery is capable of?

My next question would be, is investing in a UPS worth it in a situation such as mine?
a b ) Power supply
January 4, 2013 12:00:51 AM

id like to suggest a few things on your pc build as well.

if your area is not prone to have power outages, brownouts, or any sort of power fluctuation, you should be very fine without a UPS. the psu should be smart enough to handle these things properly. your components most likely wont die. ive had a couple of power outages and my pc is perfectly fine.

a 300w ups will probably give you 5 mins to shut down everything in the case if you are running something at full load (which wont happen unless you are folding@home).
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January 4, 2013 1:46:11 AM

Thanks for the fast reply.

I live in a rural area of Canada, relatively uncrowded in terms of houses. We do receive the occasional hurricane or snow storm but on average I'd say we go through about three to five outages a year. I'm not exactly sure if we experience brownouts or not, as I'm not exactly sure what they resemble. When we run several appliances at the same time in our house (for example, when I decide to go for a run on the treadmill while watching television) the lights will dim at a constant beat. Would that be considered a brownout?

Also, about the 300W UPS; I've seen people claim that when they have too much power running through their UPS (going over it's recommended load) it will automatically shut off, which suggests that I will absolutely need a UPS capable of over 760W (more when I decide to upgrade) or the unit will simply refuse to work when stressing my computer, even if I don't need the battery to operate more than five seconds in the event of a power failure (since I don't intend on using it for data protection). That is what's really confusing me. If a UPS contains a battery which is supposed to give you that crucial few minutes for you to save anything in case of a power outage, why does it matter how many watts your computer uses if your sole reason to use the UPS is for brownout and power surge protection?

I know this probably comes across as incoherent. I'm just frustrated about everybody stating that a UPS is absolutely ESSENTIAL for any expensive technologies such as computers and televisions, when it costs $300 for a single unit just to protect a relatively small amount of gear.
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January 4, 2013 1:49:17 AM

If all you are looking for is Surge protection then a good quality surge protector with a high Surge energy rating that is measures in joules will suffice for you. Although UPS's have built in surge protection and depending on the model there built in surge protection is significantly less than just a plain old good quality surge protector. Now there are double conversion UPS's and by this I mean UPS's that filter all input power through the batteries first(also a very good suppressant when it comes to surges) before outputting it to a computer lets say, but those are expensive. Most consumer UPS's are line-interactive meaning they run off of the AC power coming from the wall and use a Auto-Transformer to make up for minor voltage fluctuations and the battery will only intervene if it's a high power surge or complete power outage.


A 300W "inexpensive" UPS will do nothing for you frankly, especially when data loss is irrelevant to you also if I may add that if at full load (700W) a 300w UPS would most likely last a few seconds at best or worst case scenario just completely shut off due to overload.
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January 4, 2013 3:08:12 AM

What I'm truly looking for is surge protection (as you mentioned) but also protection against brownouts and voltage fluctuations, which I've heard can cause quite a few problems for computers.

I understand surge protectors can cover power surges but I'm fairly certain there aren't any that can regulate brownouts or voltage fluctuations, which is why I took an interest in UPS units, which are apparently able to do so. The only problem is I purely want to protect my hardware; like you said, data loss is not a problem to me.

Now if I understand correctly, when you say a 300W UPS would most likely last a few seconds at best, you're referring to a case where I experience a complete power outage and the UPS switches over to the battery, right?
If so, does that mean it would perform well at protecting against brownouts and voltage fluctuations while the power is on?

Thank you for your patience with me, I understand that I'm not making it easy.
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January 4, 2013 3:36:55 AM

Apc Back ups Pro 600w 28$ Only
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a b ) Power supply
January 4, 2013 10:58:45 AM

if you are in ontario like me, your power is stable throughout the year. you are fine. surge protection can help when there is a very intensive lightning storm, but that is kinda rare too
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January 4, 2013 12:57:47 PM

I'm currently residing in Atlantic Canada, where strong winds are usually the cause of power outages.
I'm more fearful of brownouts and voltage fluctuations (which appear to happen when we overload our house's electrical system by running too many appliances at once and cause the lights to dim at a constant rhythm). I read about how UPS units were able to regulate this problem but to spend that much money for a single feature is somewhat silly to me. Is there any alternatives to this? Perhaps a surge protector with integrated voltage regulation?
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a b ) Power supply
January 4, 2013 1:28:11 PM

surge protectors generally clean up the power, but a good psu should be able to handle that.
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Best solution

January 4, 2013 11:31:57 PM

Surge protectors dont condition or clean up power, all they do is suppress voltage spikes and most are pretty much done for the first time they experience a bad surge.

From the looks of it a Automatic Voltage Regulator(AVR) would be best for your needs such as this one, protects against brownouts, overvoltage and has built in surge protection.

http://www.apc.com/resource/include/techspec_index.cfm?...


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January 5, 2013 2:34:24 AM

Exactly what I'm looking for. Thank you all for the informative responses.
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January 5, 2013 2:34:34 AM

Best answer selected by kavanaughty.
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