is a UPS really needed?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by 2Turbo, May 4, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502

    2Turbo

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2011
    #1
    I'm seeing conflicting info about whether or not a UPS is needed. I know unsaved data will be lost. But some say they've never had a corrupted hdd or any other problems when the power goes out and they're connected to a surge protector.

    So can I just get a good surge protector and call it a day? Seems like the rare time it might go out, there will be minimal if any data loss.
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2013
    #2
    A surge protector will do the job.

    For the corrupted HDD, well, when the power goes out, the drive cache isn't written, you'll loose some data and it might corrupt the drive if the file system is affected by a partial / incorrect write. The drive won't be scraped, but you'll need to reformat... Well, as I have a Time Machine backup (with a UPS for the NAS), I don't really care if I have to restore my drive. It's up to you, but a surge protector is fine.
     
  3. macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #3
    Surge protectors can do the job. There's two sides of the problem:

    First: What happens when you lose power...as mentioned there's a possibility of corruption, which is not too bad as long as you have backups, preferably multiple backups, both time machine and a clone.

    Second..Due to the nature of the grid, when power comes back on it often has a nasty surge and you want to be sure the surge protector can handle it. We had a storm a couple of years ago and fried coffee maker and TV, but there were 3 computers connected to 2 UPS devices and none had a problem.
     
  4. macrumors regular

    RadDave

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2013
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #4
    I've used APC UPS for years and just installed a new one for my 'new' iMac - some of the reasons given in the quote above; I have even less expensive ones backing up my electronic gear (i.e. stereo, HDTVs, etc.) - I live in North Carolina which suffers thunderstorms - power may go out for seconds or a minute or two (absolutely no problem for the UPS) - basically, if you're not willing to spend maybe an extra 10% on a computer system for a UPS, then I won't say - BUY one! :)
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502

    2Turbo

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2011
    #5
    The surge when the power comes back on is what the surge protector would protect against, right? Unless I'm missing something here, UPS doesn't really protect anymore than a good surge protector, but simply provides battery power.

    I'm looking at this surge protector which costs more than most consumer UPS's. Surge protection/power conditioning shouldn't be a problem as that's one of the best consumer units there is.
     
  6. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #6
    That looks like overkill.

    Many of us are using this, and it's excellent:

    http://www.amazon.com/CyberPower-CP...67721340&sr=1-1&keywords=pure+sine+wave+850va
     
  7. macrumors 6502

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    Jan 18, 2013
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    #7
    Why not just get an UPS? I have this CyberPower UPS for my cable modem, router, and switch, and the pure sine wave version for my iMac. That way, if the power goes out I don't lose data if I'm using the computer. But just as important, if power goes out and the UPS switches to battery power, a surge as the power is restored shouldn't ever make it to the equipment because they will be on the battery --> inverter path and not on the line --> transformer path.

    BTW, I have a SurgeX for my home theater gear, but I wanted UPS protection for my computer gear.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502

    2Turbo

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2011
    #8
    How could it be overkill when you're talking about protection from surges etc.? Seems like SurgeX uses the proper method while the others use MOVs which don't always work or don't last long.

    Maybe I should go with the SurgeX Power Pro UPS. But it uses stepped sinewave. I'm not sure if it works with the new iMacs. If it does, I'd much rather have it than trust APC or CyberPower. The protection technology in SurgeX sounds much stronger.
     
  9. macrumors regular

    RadDave

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2013
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #9
    Well, seems like you've already made up your mind, so not much else that I or others suggesting the use of an UPS can provide - good luck in your choice - :)
     
  10. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #10
    Yep. Not sure what he's looking for here. Hopefully he's not writing any files to the disk or the OS itself when the power goes out!
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Location:
    San Rafael, California
    #11
    Indeed, if power goes out in the middle, say, a firmware upgrade for an iDevice, it could easily become an iBrick.

    Also, sometimes the power "flickers", turning on and off rapidly several times. That could create havoc with many computer systems.

    For the relative small amount of money that a UPS costs, compared to the cost of a new iMac... it's cheap insurance. Especially when a UPS is also an -excellent- surge protector.
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2009
    #12
    I have always used UPS from APC for all my computers. I use surge protectors from APC for my TV/home theater/audio equipment.

    UPS gives you two advantages: continuous protection from surges and spikes, and , in case of a black out, it gives you plenty of time to shut down safely your equipment and even time to finish whatever you were about.

    Don't really understand why you want to settle only with a surge protector.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502

    2Turbo

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2011
    #13
    Thanks for your help guys! I've decided to go the UPS route. Does anyone know if stepped sinewave works with the new iMacs? I'd like to try the SurgeX but not sure if it works with new iMacs.

    I might just save money and get the CyberPower one... not sure yet.

    Do you think the SurgeX is more of a marketing thing and not really worth it?
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Location:
    Scotland, land of the haggis
    #14
    I would say that if you need to save for a ups, then get a surge protector on the machine until it turns up/you've saved for it. A bit of protection is better than none. :)
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2013
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    #15
    The CyberPower stepped sine wave unit that I linked above *does* work with Macs. It's what I used with my 2010 iMac, but in use it caused the Mac to hum a bit. With the new Mac I decided to get the (previously linked) pure sine wave unit for the Mac and keep the old stepped unit for the support equipment. I checked again and in addition to the cable modem, router and switch, I also have two NAS's plugged into it.

    With that said, I have read reports that *some* stepped units either cause LOUD humming from the Mac, or may not work at all. BTW, I think the SurgeX units are very good, but they're pricey because they're designed and built to be re-used for multiple surge events. MOV surge arrestors are essentially one use only. Yes, they might work again, but they might not... much like helmets are one time use (crash protection) devices. Meanwhile, the SurgeX units are basically an oversized low-pass filter.
     
  16. macrumors 68000

    Lancer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    Australia
    #16
    I've owned Mac's for 15 years, some with UPS others with none and have never had a problem with corrupted HDD through power outs or forced restarts. That said when I got my new iMac I got a free UPS when I ordered it with Apple Care. Not had to test it yet.
     
  17. karpich1, May 6, 2013
    Last edited: May 6, 2013

    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    #17
    It's a judgement call... but if you get one I would just recommend one that doesn't BEEP too loud or high-pitched.

    For a while at my parent's house, my street would lose power for several of minutes every day. It was at random times. Eventually it reduced to a couple times a week, to once a week, once a month, etc. But for maybe 6 months it was a at least a couple of times a week, and maybe 9 months until it was resolved entirely.

    So during that time I got a UPS because nothing was more annoying that losing some/all of my course-work because I didn't save often enough. At least it gave me enough time to wrap up a sentence, save, and log off.

    I live in my own place now, but even then I tend to lose power a couple of times a month... just for like 3 minutes or so. It's annoying but usually happens during the mid-day when I'm USUALLY not home. So I haven't bothered getting one.


    So in the end, it's a judgement call.
    • How often do you lose power?
    • Are you OK with another box under your desk? (maybe 6"x9"x12")
    • Do you just browse / game with your machine? Or do you use it for work / schoolwork?
    • Do you have pets? (see below)
    • Do you mind getting woken up at night? (see below)
    • Do you feel like spending a little bit of cash?
    • etc.



    The main down-side is it drove my dog nuts and terrified her.... and it stunk for her because until I got that thing she'd hide under my desk when she was scared. So now the monster was in her hiding spot.

    When it would have to change over to "battery mode" it would make a really high pitch beep a couple of times. And if the battery was starting to run low (due to a long outage) it would start to beep at regular intervals. Which would torture my dog if it happened when nobody was home to turn off the beep. Seriously, we'd get home and she'd not want to go back into the house for hours.

    It would also annoy me, because sometimes these power hiccups would happen at night when I'm sleeping. And the thing was sufficiently loud that it would wake me up AND the rest of the house if I didn't disable the bell.

    So if you have pets, try to get one that isn't very loud or at least not very high pitched.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    Location:
    DC
    #18
    Part of it depends where you live and how often you have power issues there. I got home one day last week to all my clocks having reset but that is the only time I can think of since moving in that it happened (so was probably caused by maintenance or whatever). Yes, that even counts Sandy and I was in the path of it.

    Since I live in a big apartment building I am guessing they 'clean' the power before it gets distributed in their building anyways, I have never asked. Plus half of my fuse strips are suppressors already since they are my default choice when buying a new power strip but not all of them are.
     
  19. macrumors 68000

    TyPod

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Location:
    And Yourself?
    #19
    I used to use a UPS when I was back at home, but it's too heavy and space consuming for my room at school. Now I use surge protectors and hope that the janky outlets don't fail in the cracker box of a house I live in!
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    #20
    I live in an area that gets a lot of storms and brown outs. I've been lucky with no UPS. Had many winks with no loss of data, but I don't think for a moment I'm safe from loosing a drive to a nice surge. My friend in south Florida has to have something. The power down there goes out during storm season like clockwork and the chances of a real spike are much higher.

    Unfortunately, judging the need for one is a bit like buying insurance. Wish I had all that money back.
     
  21. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    #21
    It is sort of like that, except being slugged every year for renewal, you may need to change the batteries in a UPS every 3-5 years at a fraction of what the UPS costed.

    I don't know how busy you guys are, but I'd rather be doing other stuff than spending time fixing computers or redoing work.
     
  22. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    #22
    Let's undo some popular myths.

    First, if a power loss occurs during a disk write or before a file save, then a drive simply reverts to a previously saved version. No data corruption. That corruption threat was eliminated by file systems developed before 1990. Unfortunately, a myth of data corruption lives on.

    Second, get some numbers for a typical stepped sinewave (also called a pure sinewave) UPS. For example, this 120 volt UPS outputs 200 volt square waves with a spike of up to 270 volts. Is that destructive? Of course not. Because all electronics (including a Mac) contain superior protection. Protection that makes spikes from any UPS irrelevant.

    Third, does power restoration created a surge? Only when myths exist. What is AC electricity? Power goes off and on 120 times every second. If power restoration creates a surge, then so does normal power that goes positive, zero, then negative, and then zero again so many times every second.

    Fourth, two completely different devices are both called surge protectors. An adjacent one claims to protect from what is already made irrelevant by every Mac. Same internal protection also makes irrelevant 'dirty' electricity from a UPS.

    Fifth, your concern is a completely different and rare transient that may occur once every seven years. An anomaly that can overwhelm internal Mac protection. And is only averted by the other completely different device with a same name.

    That other surge protector must be installed where wires enter a building. Connected as short as possible to earth ground. Spec numbers that say it will earth direct lightning strikes and remain functional. And is a least expensive solution. This 'whole house' protector is provided by companies with superior reputations. Including Siemens, Square D, Ditek, General Electric, Syscom, ABB, Leviton, Intermatic, and Cutler Hammer - to name but a few.

    Surge protection or 'temporary and dirty' power from a UPS are different solutions to different anomalies.
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    #23
    How does this work for open files which are used by operating systems and mission critical services?

    Do a google on "Blue screen of death after power outage" and see how this "myth" continues to live on.

    I think there are many people who under estimate how serious power outages can really be.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors 6502

    2Turbo

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2011
    #24
    Are you saying surge protection/ups in general is not needed? Just whole house protection at the source?
     
  25. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    #25
    Either an earlier copy of the file was already saved on disk. Or the latest copy is already saved to disk. Does not matter if a new file is being written when power is lost. A disk file system reverts back to the last valid (uncorrupted) copy.

    Return to 1980 technology. If writing to those old file systems, then a power loss could corrupt the copy being saved. And also erase an earlier copy. By 1990, that weakness was eliminated by changing how a file system works.

    ----------

    I am saying read spec numbers for that UPS. Where does it claim surge protection? Post those numbers. Hundreds of joules is a near zero surge. How many joules does that UPS claim to protect from? What are its numbers?

    Don't speculate based upon how some subjectively claim a UPS works. Is it near zero protection or something larger? If it does effective protection, then its spec numbers that make that claim.

    Two completely different devices are called surge protectors. Only a 'whole house' type does protection from a typically destructive type of surge. Then protection already inside every appliance (including dimmer switches, GFCIs, smoke detectors, dishwasher, clocks, computer, and UPS) is not overwhelmed.

    If that UPS does effective protection, then relevant numbers were posted. Best protection means a surge never even entered the building.
     

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