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.
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 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.
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 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