Power Protection Or Rage Prevention?
Few events are more upsetting than getting to the toughest part of a game and having your PC go down. Less traumatic (but still troublesome) are situations like losing a video only seconds before you’re done re-encoding it. Even losing a carefully-written email before it can be sent is enough to push some Tom's Hardware editors past the edge of sanity (Ed.: *raises hand*).
Enthusiasts often rely on little more than a surge protector to keep their hardware safe. But these devices can’t prevent brownouts from resetting a computer, nor can they prevent blackouts from stopping the computer in its tracks completely. The inevitable result is lost work, even when that “work” is an entertainment-oriented task.
While mainstream users have long been able to buy low-cost uninterruptable power supplies, the unique demands of enthusiast-class hardware have often put this type of protection out of reach.
A quick look at the specifications recommended by four top UPS manufacturers for our enthusiast build could help to explain the enormous price disparity.
|Enthusiast UPS Features|
|APC Smart-UPS SMT1500||CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD||Opti-UPS Durable DS1500B||Tripp Lite SmartPro SMART1500SLT|
|Wave Form||Pure Sine||Adaptive Sine||Pure Sine||Pure Sine|
|Wattage||980 W||900 W||1050 W||900 W|
|VA Rating||1440 VA||1500 VA||1500 VA||1500 VA|
|Power Groups||Two (4+4 Jacks)||One||Two (4+2 Jacks)||One|
|Dimensions||17.3" x6.7" x8.6"||14.4" x4.0" x10.5"||17.0" x6.0" x9.4"||13.3" x6.7" x10.2"|
|Weight||52.5 Pounds||24.8 Pounds||38.4 Pounds||44.5 Pounds|
Notice that all of the units in today’s review produce something that approximates a true sine wave, something that costs far more to produce than the stepped square waves of lower-cost parts. We’ll explain why this is so important on our next page, before going into the individual characteristics that make each model special.