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Enthusiast Power Protection: Four-Way 900 W UPS Roundup

Much love goes into building an enthusiast-class PC, and nothing could ruin that relationship quicker than bad power. While most of us get by with nothing more than a surge protector, many of us would be just as upset if a brownout reset our systems in the middle of a game or any other important task.

Yet, the UPS industry isn’t as nimble as the computer component industry, and was caught ill-prepared for changes in hardware that have been occurring over the past few years. While CyberPower is the first company to launch a consumer-level UPS to support enthusiast-class hardware, there’s a lot to be said in favor of its enterprise-class rivals. Let’s consider a few things each particular UPS is good at:

Best Power Protection: Opti-UPS DS1500B

If all of our PCs were stashed away in server closets, the UPS DS1500B could be the best choice to protect them. Double-conversion topology does an almost perfect job of isolating a PC from fluctuations in the power grid, making this the best solution for ultra-sensitive components. Unfortunately, it’s far too noisy for an office or den, and far too expensive to suite the budgets of typical $2000 PC owners. This is, after all, an enthusiast-market comparison.

Best Run Time Value: APC SMT1500

The second-most-expensive unit in today’s roundup was also the second quietest and the one to provide the most battery run time for the money:

Even though its long runtime allows APC’s SMT1500 to top our value chart, most enthusiasts are unlikely to pay $442 to protect their $2000 system. Our preference for the SMT1500 is strong enough that if pricing was not an issue, APC would be getting an award.

Best Enthusiast Value: CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD

Priced around ½ that of the competing average, CyberPower’s CP1500PFCLCD is the only unit in today’s comparison designed specifically for high-end home users. Consequently, it’s the only unit cheap enough to appeal across the broader enthusiast market, and the only unit to qualify for our “Recommended Buy” award within that market. Added features are simply icing on the cake, since it’s the only unit to pass the market’s price sensitivities, in addition to our durability tests.

Quiet enough to go nearly anywhere in the home, an easy-to-use front panel controller even makes it suitable for backing-up less elaborate devices like home theater equipment, perfect for keeping broadcast news updates available during a storm.

A scant runtime is this model’s biggest downfall compared to enterprise-class rivals, yet enthusiasts are also more likely to finish their tasks within the several minutes of full-load power the unit provides. We told every manufacturer that this article would be a value UPS shootout for the enthusiast PC market, and that’s exactly where the CP1500PFCLCD excels.

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