APC Smart-UPS SMX1000 OK to use with MacPro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sngraphics, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. sngraphics macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2010
    Found a decent price on a used APC Smart-UPS SMX1000 and just needed
    to see if I could get some advice here about using this APC for my 2009 MacPro.
    (or in general for any MacPro or iMac).
    Is this the correct option? Is buying a used APC OK?
    Any info, advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  2. saulinpa macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2008
    It has sine wave output so that part is good. 800 watts should work fine. If you have dual processors or high end video then it might be pushing it though.

    Used is fine. Normal recommendation is that batteries should be replaced every three years so factor that into the cost.
  3. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    I'm always leary about recommending used UPS's. As saulinpa mentioned, you really need to replace the battery every 3 years (give or take) which can cost almost as much as the unit new! Many times people dump their old UPS's on the used market because it is often cheaper to just sell and get a say 40-50% of it's value and put that towards a new unit rather than buying new batteries. Be very careful.
  4. sngraphics thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2010
  5. saulinpa, Oct 4, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012

    saulinpa macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2008
    I take it back. That UPS should be fine even with some upgrades. I just always go for the 1500VA model as it will normally cover everything on a standard US electrical outlet.

    Apple's web site lists the Pro's power consumption - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2836

    Mac Pro has a power factor correcting power supply so its watts and VA are almost identical under most loads.

    I just did a few tests with a watt meter:
    On my 6-core I see just over 130 idle and then 260 at full CPU load with the fans kicking in.
    Sleep reads 5 watts / 16 VA - PF correction doesn't work that well at small loads.
    Powered off reads almost zero - the meter doesn't handle it very well but shows there is some draw.

    A 24" Cinema Display is reading a power factor of .55 - 25VA/14W (10/4.5 sleep)

    So putting that together would still be less than 50% of the 800W of that UPS and run time on battery should be more than 25 minutes according to APC's chart.

    Scanner should be OK but laser printers are not recommended to be put on a UPS.

    If you do put two 5870's with 6 10K RPM disks then you might have a problem (and a problem with the Pro's power supply).

    Also make sure it is the 120volt version if you are in the US. I see a lot of the 240v version (SMX1000i) on sale cheap.
  6. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    Providing the battery is OK, the SMX1000 will have sufficient capacity for a dual-processor MP with a single 5870 graphics card and the monitor.

    I use the SMT1000I model on my single-processor 2010 MP in my sig and at idle the UPS reports about 27% load. This would translate into about 50 minutes on battery if the power goes out.

    The batteries are NOT as expensive as a new UPS. Visit the APC site and check if you are concerned.

    Oh, and do not put a printer on the UPS. One, do you really need to be able to print if the power goes out and two, laser printers draw too much current on startup for the UPS to work. The manual explains about this.

    Save the UPS for the MP, monitor and routers. Use a 4-way adapter for low power devices with transformer bricks but plug the high draw devices such as MP and monitor directly into the UPS.
  7. sngraphics thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2010
    I wanted to thank everyone here for their excellent replies.
    Very, Very helpful.

    The one I'm looking at is being sold on Amazon under their Amazon Warehouse deals and am hoping it is probably just a returned item.
  8. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    If it is a refurb, then Amazon should say so but at least you will be protected under the Amazon Marketplace Guarantee.

    When you get the unit, check the control panel Info to see when it thinks the battery was installed. Sadly the firmware is not really aware of long periods of idle "on the shelf" time compared to actual working use of the battery. APC quote three to five years for the SMX1000 battery.

    Remember that the SMX1000 is an "extended run" UPS and is one of APC's premium products. It should give my 2010 MP a runtime of one hour on the batteries - ten to fifteen minutes more than the SMT1000I that I am using.

    APC UK quote the replacement battery as costing £120 compared to the retail cost of the full unit of £510 so a new battery is not devastatingly expensive. They take the old one back for recycling too I believe.
  9. sngraphics thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2010

    Thanks for the tip.
    Is there anything else I should/can do to inspect or test this unit to give me an idea of what condition it is in?
    eg. check to see when it was manufactured, if it is still under manufacturer warranty, plug in all my stuff and test it on battery etc.
  10. Chrisbbarnes macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2010
    APC works fine

    I have a APC Smart-UPS 2200VA unit that I have had running since Dec 07. I have had my Mac Pro (2.1), 2x 23" Cinema Screens, Bose speaker system, Time capsule, Modem/router, Switch, External Blu-ray and HP Printer all connected and I still am only using 16% capacity when switched on. Same batteries since new (although dates on batteries very old). Not tested it lately but have had over 1 hour of run time from it a year or two ago.

    Don't use APC's software. Use Apples own inbuilt (basic) software to manage unit. I am running 10.6.8 but I have never been able to get my Mac to sleep / switch off when testing setting on UPS (or mains power for that matter).

    Have other APC units for my Mac Mini and for my DVR. We tend to get a few black outs a year here in South Australia. My 2200VA picks up on all the energy providers spikes, drops, brown outs etc. Well worth the money to protect my investment when i bought my Pro new in 07.
  11. sngraphics thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2010
    Yes of course.
    For our lasers here we use line conditioners not battery back ups.
    When I meant printer, I meant my Epson 7900pro LF Inkjet.
  12. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
    Alternate battery suppliers may provide a much better price. When thinking about replacing a UPS battery, open the thing up and note the battery type. Search the web and save some money.
  13. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    Just make sure you are comparing the length of the warranties and also the cost of recycling your old battery. I do agree you can *get* a battery for less than APC's price but the warranty/uplift-of-old might not be the same.
  14. sngraphics thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2010
    Any other testing to try?

    I wanted to thank everyone for their responses, to add an update and to ask a question.
    I got the unit in from Amazon Warehouse Deals.
    So far so good.
    It was actually in excellent condition and all the original items intact.
    It was what I figured, a returned item from another customer.
    I called APC about it and it still has more than a year of manufacturer's warranty left on it.
    There is a 1 year Square Trade warranty I could purchase for $45 but not sure if it's worth it?
    When I have all my equipment plugged into it the max load I could get it to was about 70%.
    But after splitting some of the equipment to an APC Back-Ups I have here the average load is around 40%.
    I have unplugged it from the wall to see how it does on battery with everything running. So far no problems.
    But the big question is:
    Is there anything else I could do to test this unit for performance or any problems that could arise?
    Any comments would be much appreciated seeing that my Amazon return window is still open.
    So if I could find any issues it would of course be preferable now than later.
  15. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    That really depends on the UPS model. My $500 APC UPS has a replacement battery price of $60 for the set. However, the exact same battery set is used in a $150 APC UPS.

    I suspect that at the low end the batteries may be most of the price and at the higher end the batteries are only a small part of the price.
  16. sngraphics thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2010
    Strange noise when from APC?

    When I turn on my MacPro that is connected to the APC SMX1000, or when I wake it up a sudden and strange noise comes from the APC.
    It is like a metal sound popping or like metal hitting against metal is this a problem or a normal function when a sudden load hits the APC?
    Any info would be much appreciated because I can still return this unit if I have to.
  17. sngraphics thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2010
    Just checking in again to see if anyone has any info on this noise the APC makes when I turn on my or wake up my MacPro???
  18. DanielCoffey, Nov 5, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012

    DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    There should be no noise from the UPS (providing it is on mains of course) when you turn on the Mac Pro.

    Does the noise persist or just do it for a few seconds?

    List the devices you have attached to it just in case you are overloading it but I would not expect this to be the case unless you had something unusual added like a laser printer.

    Oh, and make sure the high draw items like the Mac Pro itself and the monitor are on separate sockets on the back, not just on a multi-plug adapter. It is fine to have low draw things like routers and USB hubs on an adapter - especially those with transformer blocks.

    EDIT : I was just wondering... the noise you are describing sounds like the noise the UPS makes when it is on battery. I know it does a self-test every now and then but I wonder if you have an electrical fault in your house? Turning on a few hundred watts of appliance should not cause a dip but it sounds like you might be getting that. In that case the UPS would go to battery until the dip resolved.

    You could investigate this by choosing a small appliance in your house, say a television perhaps, that had a current draw of about 200-300 watts and putting that on the UPS temporarily. See if you get the on-battery sound when that is switched on. You could also move the UPS to a completely different socket in a different room or floor and see if it is just that section of mains wiring that was at fault.

    I would be surprised if it was the wiring but if your power is marginal at best, putting a 300W drain on it might be just enough to cause the voltage to dip enough for the UPS to detect it and take over until the electricity stabilised.
  19. sngraphics thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2010
    Thanks for the reply.

    The noise lasts for not even a second.
    It is like a "popping" noise. Metal hitting against metal.
    And it happens when the UPS is on power provided by mains.

    I have the MacPro plugged directly into the UPS. (Group1)
    2 Monitors and a couple of small items through a power strip. (Group2)

    Currently LCD displaying:
    Load: ~360-380 Watts 46%
    3A 370VA 37%

    If this seems like something not normal or problematic I would need to figure it out ASAP seeing I still have 3 days to return this item.
  20. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    I recall posts awhile back which revealed that the Mac Pro not only generates a pretty big power-on surge, but also when waking up from the sleep mode. The consensus was that a 1500VA sine-wave (SmartUPS if from APC) was required to deal with the momentary surge, even though it was overkill for normal operation (blackout shut down).

    It is possible that your Mac Pro is momentarily overloading the 1000VA UPS causing that noise (which does describe the switch-over noise from my SmartUPS 1500 when going to self-test --- it scares my dog :) ).
  21. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    Well I have a 1000VA UPS myself and do not have this as an issue. In the discussions of the APC UPS over the past year or so I must have missed that thread. Can you provide a link please?

    I would suspect either a faulty UPS or poor/faulty power supply in the building.
  22. sngraphics thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2010
    I'm hoping that's all it is.
    I was on phone with APC last week for a while trying a whole bunch of troubleshooting stuff and the rep said that it is working fine but still couldn't figure out this "popping" noise when the Mac would power on.

    Hopefully not the UPS.
    I did get all my power outlets in my office checked and they were OK.
    Also checked power going to the main panel. So far OK.
  23. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    I can't remember because it has been a while since I looked... but does the UPS have a "Sensitivity" setting on it?

    I seem to remember that there was something to do with either how critical the protected device was or how dirty the external supply was. Something that, if set to high would make it go to battery at the slightest dip in the supply and if set to low would be more tolerant of external power levels but be easier on the battery.

    Have a look and see if I am talking rubbish or not. The SMX is their new model after all and if my SMT1000 can handle a 2010 MP and monitor, yours should be able to if set up correctly.
  24. sngraphics thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2010
    Thank you for mentioning this because the APC Rep mentioned the same
    thing but we forgot to check/change this setting before we got off the phone.
    I will try changing this to a lower sensitivity setting and see what happens.
    Will post results after a little testing.
  25. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    My SMT1000I is set to...

    Main Menu - Configuration - Local Power Quality : Good

    It only goes to batteryonly if there is a local power event and never complains when I turn on the Mac Pro and 27" ACD. It is running as configured in my sig and idles at 26% load which gives about 45-50 minutes on battery.

Share This Page