UPSes To The Rescue

APC Smart-UPS SC 1000VA

APC offers a very comprehensive portfolio, which does not only include UPS products in various categories, but also racks, cooling solutions, security products and also power generators. The UPS portfolio includes the Back-UPS family for PCs and workstations and Smart-UPS for servers and network solutions. Enterprise users in need of high redundancy UPS solutions may want to look at the Symmetra product family. The U.S. Website categorizes the UPS offerings according to their purpose, and by their power rating (apparent power).

We received a Smart-UPS SC, which is designed for entry-level servers. There are models at 420, 450, 620, 1000 and 1500 VA - after consulting with APC, we selected the 1,000 VA version, which has an effective power output of 600 W.

You can estimate the product runtime by selecting a load power from a dropdown menu. Here you have to pick anything between 25 W and 850 W. We liked that the dropdown shows both the effective power in Watts and the apparent power in VA. We selected a 150-W power requirement, because this is as close to our test system as the dropdown pre-selections allow. Our reference Opteron system required 142-W of idle power.

The 1,000 VA Smart-UPS SC delivered a battery runtime of 41 minutes, which is almost exactly what the APC Website (43 minutes). Clearly, the estimated runtime is a reliable figure. At the same time, the power requirements of the Smart-UPS at 21 W were the highest in this comparison. Although APC doesn't tell you about the battery capacities, having a look at the device weight versus the competition makes clear that the Smart-UPS SC 1000 VA has to have a higher capacity. APC has a nice trade-in program if you want to upgrade an existing UPS with an APC device.

This product can either be mounted into a 19" rack (requiring two height units), or it can be operated using the two stands with which it came. APC provides all the materials you need for either installation. The device has several LEDs on the front to give you a quick overview on the status. The Smart-UPS SC connects to the host system via a serial port, but it also works over USB when using the adapter cable, which is included. However, APC doesn't include a power cord to hook up the device to the wall.