Help me choose a UPS

Actually, I need to get two of them. I just had two systems damaged by thunderstorm. This is the second time in three years, so plain surge protectors aren’t working for me. I need one for my system, and one for the family PC.

Here’s my specs:

System #1

2.8 P4
430w PSU
Nvidia 6600GT AGP
19" monitor
3 HDDs
Router + cable modem

System #2

AMD XP 2600+
Nvidia FX5500 AGP
300w PSU
15" monitor
1 HDD

I don’t care much about time. Just enough to save any work and shut down. Things seem to happen when the machines aren’t in use, anyway. I just want this to be the last time I get burned by a thunderstorm.

I was lucky this time. I only lost an old generic PCI graphics card and a 40GB HDD on the family PC, an onboard LAN on my machine, and a Linksys wired router.

I picked up my APC at BJ’s for pretty cheap. It’s a small footprint and gives me about 20 min battery backup time. I’m sure Sam’s and Costco carry them also. :wink:

Here is some info I recently found.


I was suprised to find that most ups’s are not of the double conversion type. That means that you just run off wall power with the typical surge supression/filtering. If power fails, the battery kicks in. Double conversion ones convert wall power to 12v+/-, uses that to charge the battery, taps power off the battery, converts it to wall power, and uses that to power your equipment. That means that the voltage spike has to make it through both converters and the battery plus any surge protection to get to your equipment. I still cannot find out for sure if mine are double conversion (I kind of doubt it from what I have been reading latlly), but I think next time I’m going to build my own.

Well, after reading that page and the prices from the double conversion manufacturers, I’m not sure I can afford one. I need something really reliable, but I can’t go over $200.

They do seem to be pretty expensive, don’t they. For non double conversion ones, apc seems to be about the bigest manufacture of them (most common) and they seem to work well enough (I have used several). A couple of things to look at. I used to think that diffrent sizes just gave diffrent backup times, but they are also rated for a wattage throughput, so make sure you get one that is rated high enough. I actually dug out a couple of old ups’s after I found that out and noticed I have ran undersized ones before (apc brand) and they seemed to run fine, but I wonder how well they were protecting if I was overloading them.
Look for ones that have automatic voltage regulation (I have been leed to believe that this circuitry also gives a little extra protection against spikes). Of course you might also want to look at things such as usb auto shut down, data and cable protection (I lost a 100$ modem through the phone line from lightning).
If you are in the US and not in a big hurry, I would wait and see what goes on sale as it can make a big diffrence price wise.
Fyi I have also used belkin ones and am currently running 2 of these


I have been happy with them though I wish they had cable protection (got them on clearance at office depot for 30$ so I’m not complaining though). They seem to trip kind of easy (the washing machine can trip them to battery backup) but maybe that is a good thing). With the christmas season not too far away, I think I would watch and see what goes on sale (stick to major brands like apc or belkin and look at the ratings and features).

The format on the page provided by the link below will assist you in determining the size of the USP required for your systems.

I made the mistake of discounting the importance of time with my first purchase.
Luckily I was able to compensate by replacing the CRT with an LCD monitor.

UPS Selector Sizing Application

You can apply the information acquired here to the brand of your choice, a template if you will.

I can’t seem to find reviews or information on the cheaper UPS systems as far as protection quality. All the reviews just rate features and battery times.

If I can get 60%+ protection for $100-$200, I’ll do it. Otherwise I don’t want to waste my money. I don’t care about my systems losing power, as long as they power down gently.

My main concern is protecting them from spikes, brownouts, lightning storms, etc.

The technology is basically the same reguardless of brand (at least with the basic surge protection function). If I understand right (I’m no expert and kind of learning more about it myself), line conditioning and active voltage regulation do provide some aditional surege protection so you will still get at least a little more protection from a ups than from a surge protector (as long as you stay away from the really cheap models that do not have these features). You also get a high speed switch (a bit beter than an circuit breaker I would think) that actually cuts the power when it goes out of voltage range. Its not going to provide the higher protection of a double conversion one but it should be beter than a surge protector. Fyi, all cyber power battery backups are on sale 30-40% off starting tomorow at bestbuy. I have only used one cyber power before (a really basic cheap model) and it seemed to function well enough (nothing really good or bad to say about them based on that one experience, it seemed to work fine). You might want to check out what kind of features they have to see if there are any good ones with voltage regulation etc. You migh as well go for ubs auto shutdown etc. too as the good ones seem to have such features. I would think you should easilly find sutable units in your price range.

kinda o/t, but just to let everyone know, not all power bars are surge protectors. I almost made this mistake once when I was replacing the surge protector for my rig, I was in the store looking at them and thinking to myself “WTF, why is this one $3 and that one $10 with the same number of outlets and such” I almost bought the cheapie, but luckily I read them and found out that the $3 version was only a power bar and provided no protection from surges