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Do I Need A Smart UPS Upgrade?

Discussion in Smart-UPS & Symmetra LX / RM started by Michael , 19 days ago
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  • Mike_Soda
    Michael
    Novice Novice
    Michael 19 days ago

    I wish there was a Forum category for both Smart & Back-UPS's because that's what my questions revolve around. I currently own a Back-UPS Network 40 but I'm very unsure of it's runtime with the new gaming PC I've recently built. My goal is at least 10 minutes with the ability for it to automatically shutdown my PC properly in case I'm in the shower or something during an outage. I've tried the tool APC offers to calculate power usage but it doesn't work quite right & gives recommendations way over budget. My first option at just $10.00 below maximum budget without shipping is APC Smart-UPS C 1000VA LCD 120V for $241.00. Also there's the APC Back-UPS Pro BX1500M for $170.00 which seems to be the best power per dollar value. Although the almost identical Back-UPS Pro BR1500G for $175.00 supports faster Internet & Trim which the other doesn't. Most of the product specs are like a foreign language to me though & is thus making it very hard to make the best decision. So I'm left with a few questions along with my system specs & devices that're plugged in below.

    1: Do I really need a more expensive, less powerful Smart-UPS who's only advantages so far are possibly longer lifespan & more accurate charge info?

    2: I've heard some of these models can get a bit noisy, which of the three I listed is the quietest?

    3: How bright are the screens, can they be dimmed or turned off?

    4: Currently I power off my UPS before bed but leave it plugged in, is this the right thing to continue doing with any of these 3 choices?

    5: How does a UPS's Trim Support function with that of my SSD's anyway?

    System Specs: EVGA G2 500W, Ryzen 5 1500X, MSI B350M Gaming Pro, 16GB G.Skill DDR4 3200, 3GB MSI GTX 1060 Gaming X, 250GB Samsung 850 EVO, 19" 1600x900 Acer V206HQL & Basic DSL Modem/Router Combo Device.

    P.S: I don't know why but after I submit this post it shows spaces missing between certain words even though in the edit menu it looks fine.

  • UnexpectedBill
    William
    Apprentice Apprentice
      This discussion is marked as answered
    William 18 days ago (in response to Michael)

    Unless you specifically want one, you don't have to get a Smart UPS model. (There is one potential "gotcha!" that I'll get to later.)

    While you can use something like the Back UPS Network 40 to protect a computer, I'd really recommend against it. It's just not big enough to properly protect your equipment. The batteries in all of these things wear out over time, which is one reason why it's a good idea to have a bit more UPS than you need. (The other reason is that a less fully loaded UPS is a much happier UPS: it will run cooler and last longer than a unit running right up against its ratings. And you'll have the option to upgrade or add something in future without having to replace the UPS.)

    So, to answer your questions:

    1. No, you don't need a Smart-UPS. However, as I mentioned earlier, there is a potential "gotcha!". It has to do with the output characteristics when the UPS is running on its battery. A Back-UPS outputs what is called a "modified sine wave" when it is running from the battery, while the Smart-UPS (750VA or larger) outputs a true sine wave when running from battery. The true sine wave output is equal to or better in quality than what you get from your power company when everything is working properly and the power is on.

    Here's where this comes into play. There are a few computer power supplies that cannot handle a sudden change in the AC power waveform. The usual result is a sudden shutdown, just like someone turned the power off. Computer power supplies that may have this problem contain an active power factor correction circuit. Most are just fine with any UPS you can buy, but you might want to see what kind of power supply your computer has, and buy a UPS from a retailer with a good return policy if you're not sure. Most computer power supplies with Active PFC will indicate such on a sticker or spec sheet.

    Actual damage to your computer is extremely unlikely, but this will annoy you. There are only two cures: change your power supply to one that is not affected by the issue or get a UPS with a true sine wave output.

    2. All three of the models you're looking at have fans. (The Smart-UPS 1000 used to be fanless, but is not any longer.) Out of all three, the Smart-UPS will have the quietest fan. It will run constantly at low speed under normal conditions and may switch to a higher speed when running from battery, if the room temperature is high or under certain charging conditions.

    The BR1500G and BX1500M fans are smaller and somewhat louder than the fan in the Smart-UPS. They usually only run when the unit is on battery. Their running speed is governed by how much load the UPS is powering.

    3. The screens are of moderate brightness. They probably would be distracting in a darkened room. By default, all models turn off the screen when it is not in use. (The screen may also be set to stay illuminated at all times.)

    4. It is perfectly fine to turn the UPS off when you are not using it. The battery will continue to charge as long as the UPS is connected to a working outlet, regardless of whether the UPS is "on" or "off".

    5. The "trim" function on a UPS doesn't have any relation to your SSDs. It's actually part of a voltage regulation feature known as AVR, and allows the UPS to adjust low or high line voltage without having to switch over to battery. The UPS can perform this adjustment for as long as is necessary (although you should consult with an electrician or your power company if the UPS is constantly indicating a line voltage adjustment).

    None of these UPSes will increase the speed of your Internet connectivity, although some do provide for coaxial, telephone or Ethernet cable surge protection.

    Were it me, I'd probably select the BR1500G if you can justify the extra cost or the BX1500M if you can't. It doesn't pay to cut corners on power protection devices. I would advise against getting any UPS smaller than 750VA.

    The "missing spaces" problem has to do with certain browsers and this discussion forum software. Google Chrome and similar browsers are the most impacted, while Firefox is generally OK. (I've noticed there is some interaction with the integrated spell checker -- a word that it sees as being misspelled will almost certainly show up with incorrect spacing after you post.)

  • Mike_Soda
    Michael
    Novice Novice
    Michael 18 days ago (in response to William)

    Thank you so much, I'm starting to lean more towards a UPS with a Pure or True Sine Wave. Based off a Guru3d forum post someone claims my EVGA G2 550W PSU does have PFC but I can't find any mention of it in the specs. So far my power has yet to go out although surges have taken place & everything's stayed on. I'm pretty much looking at the same UPS's although have thrown another brand into the mix that I don't particularly like. Price is becoming an issue though when looking for Pure Sine Wave or anything even close.

    P.S: I'm using Firefox 54.0.1.

  • Mike_Soda
    Michael
    Novice Novice
    Michael 18 days ago (in response to William)
    On 7/8/2017 8:13 PM, William said:

    PS (750V

    Not one sticker or spec sheet on my PSU said PFC but I finally found it on the box, so I'm going to scratch all the Stepped options. Which leaves me with APC Smart-UPS C 1000VA/600W for $240.00 or a 1500VA/900W one from another brand for $214.00. This is going to take some serious thought as I don't have the money yet but also don't feel comfortable using this new PC I've built with my current way underpowered UPS. Is it true though that having my PC plugged into a Back-UPS Network 40 is still better than an ordinary power strip in the event of a surge or blackout?

  • voidstar
    voidstar
    Expert Expert
    voidstar 16 days ago (in response to Michael)
    On 7/9/2017 1:40 AM, Michael said:

    Not one sticker or spec sheet on my PSU said PFC but I finally found it on the box, so I'm going to scratch all the Stepped options.

    Every PSU you can buy has a PFC thanks to EnergyStar requirements. Most will work fine. Some won't. A good return policy is your friend. If you can get the load low enough, perhaps you can test it with the Network 40 you already have.

    On 7/9/2017 1:40 AM, Michael said:

    Is it true though that having my PC plugged into a Back-UPS Network 40 is still better than an ordinary power strip in the event of a surge or blackout?

    Hmm, you could try the BackUPS Network 40 but I think it would be more a nuisance than a help.

    Surge strips (at least APC's) and UPSes have similar surge protection circuitry so you might as well use a surge strip.

    Every component you insert into the power path has the potential to decrease reliability by failing. With the BackUPS Network 40 I'd be concerned about overloading it (beep), low runtime (more beep), and eventually (~3 years) as with all UPSes the battery will be exhausted (beep beep beep).

    Consider whether the nature of your work requires battery backup at all. Journaling filesystems like NTFS (windows) and ext4 (linux) have made total corruption on spinning drives a thing of the past. On the other hand, consumer SSD might have their own issues with power loss -- I haven't looked too deeply into this aspect.

  • Mike_Soda
    Michael
    Novice Novice
    Michael 16 days ago (in response to voidstar)
    On 7/10/2017 7:33 AM, voidstar said:
    On 7/9/2017 1:40 AM, Michael said:

    Not one sticker or spec sheet on my PSU said PFC but I finally found it on the box, so I'm going to scratch all the Stepped options.

    Every PSU you can buy has a PFC thanks to EnergyStar requirements. Most will work fine. Some won't. A good return policy is your friend. If you can get the load low enough, perhaps you can test it with the Network 40 you already have.

    On 7/9/2017 1:40 AM, Michael said:

    Is it true though that having my PC plugged into a Back-UPS Network 40 is still better than an ordinary power strip in the event of a surge or blackout?

    Hmm, you could try the BackUPS Network 40 but I think it would be more a nuisance than a help.

    Surge strips (at least APC's) and UPSes have similar surge protection circuitry so you might as well use a surge strip.

    Every component you insert into the power path has the potential to decrease reliability by failing. With the BackUPS Network 40 I'd be concerned about overloading it (beep), low runtime (more beep), and eventually (~3 years) as with all UPSes the battery will be exhausted (beep beep beep).

    Consider whether the nature of your work requires battery backup at all. Journaling filesystems like NTFS (windows) and ext4 (linux) have made total corruption on spinning drives a thing of the past. On the other hand, consumer SSD might have their own issues with power loss -- I haven't looked too deeply into this aspect.

    I've figured out that my PC, monitor & router combined; which is all that's plugged into the battery backup side of my current UPS. Uses between 200 & 300W depending on if I'm active or not. Last night during a Light Thunderstorm the power surged enough to reset the Microwave's Clock. Which also caused my Back-UPS Network 40 to beep once but everything kept going fine. I've decided on the APC Smart-UPS C1000VA since according to the graph I should get between 15 & 20 minutes of runtime. Although all I need is 10, plus it's ability to automatically shut my PC down anyway solves all issues. Thank you & everyone else for their help cool!

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