Choosing a UPS

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by tech4all, Sep 1, 2016.

  1. tech4all macrumors 68040

    tech4all

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    #1
    Trying to decide which UPS to get...

    The following would be connected to the UPS:
    • 2008 Mac Pro (3 hard drives @ 7200RPM, 1 Samsung 850 EVO SSD, and an ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card)
    • 20" Apple Cinema Display aluminum
    • external hard drive
    • Netgear 5 port network switch
    • Some smaller peripherals (USB/FireWire hub, card reader, etc.)
    I believe the Mac Pros have a 980 watt power supply and the 20" Apple Cinema Display is 65 watts...?

    I was looking at these two UPSs from APC and CyberPower
    Is a pure sine wave necessary for a 2008 Mac Pro? I've always used APC personally, but the CyberPower model does intrigue me especially since it has a pure sine wave at about $40 more, while the APC model does not. But the APC model is compatible an external battery pack which effectively increases the battery capacity and thus the run time.

    Any opinions?

    Thank you. :)
     
  2. phairphan macrumors 6502a

    phairphan

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    #2
    I owned the predecessor to that APC unit and recently purchased the CyberPower unit. I was/am happy with both for a 2009 cMP. That sounds like the correct wattage for the power supply, but it doesn't draw that constantly (or ever, in my case). My machine has 4 spinners, 2 SSDs on a PCI card, USB 3 card, the much more power-hungry HD 4870, FW drive, and a 32" 4k monitor . I've never had to run down the battery, but the runtime estimate is ~15 minutes. As long as your power situation is relatively stable and you're not planning to continue actively using on battery power, either of those units should be fine.

    From all the research I did, it seems the "pure" sine wave UPS will be better for the type of power supply found in your MacPro. Although the unit is more expensive, I recall noting the replacement batteries were considerably cheaper than the APC unit.

    Unless you live in a region with a lot of power problems or you intend to actively use your machine on battery, I probably wouldn't be concerned about the ability to connect an external battery pack. What is use your use case?
     
  3. dwig macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Not that I can tell. We've been using an APS Back-UPS Pro 1500 on out 2009 Mac Pro for over 4 years with no issues. Power here in Key West is unreliable with brownouts and outages occurring several times a month. The power company is very good and service is usually out only a few minutes with 15-30 minutes being the longest. Still, the UPS gets regular "use".

    Ours also upports a 23" monitor, 3-4 external HDs, DSL router, Ethernet switch, an EPSON 9800 printer (44"), and a few small accessories. I still get decent runtime.

    We have the 1000 version of the same UPS supporting out MacMini, another EPSON 9800, and a 20" monitor. We'll be replacing the antique PowerMac in the near future and will be adding another ASP Back-UPS Pro 1500 to the set to support it and will divide up the other 1500's devices between it and the new one.
     
  4. tech4all thread starter macrumors 68040

    tech4all

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    #4
    Thank you both, @phairphan and @dwig, for your responses!

    Yea the 980 watts is the maximum the power supply CAN put out (which is true with any computer). Actual wattage output from the power supply will be less, depending on what you inside. You seem to be running more than I do and with the same/similar UPSs, and battery power doesn't seem to be an issue...so that's a good sign.

    Yes I've been reading mix things on the pure sine wave. I think Mac Pros use a Power Factor Correction power supply and would prefer to have a pure since wave UPS. Although my current UPS (an APC Back UPS 1500, BX1500), which seems to have gone out after just over 12 years is, I think, a stepped/simulated sine wave UPS. I've had no noticeable issues with it. I also used it on my Power Mac G5.

    I wanted to possibly connect the external battery pack to the APC UPS simply to have more battery capacity. Given the maximum power requirements (again under max load with lots of extras inside), 1500VA (~900 watts) seems to be too small. 1500VA also seems to be the high end VA for the "consumer level" UPSs. To go higher you need to go to higher end UPSs which are made for servers, networks, etc. And of course that means more cost. But it seems like you have no issues with 1500VA with a similar setup I have.

    Power over here seems to be good. Sometimes the UPS does "activate" for a few seconds at most. Maybe for brownouts...?

    Wow that is a lot of stuff on that UPS. Which echos what @phairphan said. Well that seems encouraging then coming from two separate individuals.

    Inrush Current

    While I'm here and we're talking about power, how about the issue of Inrush Current...? From what I've read about it, that refers to the current spike on power on or wake up. Any issues/experiences with that?
     
  5. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

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    Apr 25, 2012
    #5
    I have the APC unit linked in the first post. I have a Mac Mini, 24" LCD, cable modem, router and 4-bay drive enclosure connected to it with no issues to this point. One thing that does happen, and it may be an issue with the external drive enclosure since I've seen reports of this in the reviews of the enclosure, the drive enclosure powers down when it has to go to battery backup.

    Both the UPS noted above and one I have my home theater setup plugged into do this, I believe it's a self-test of sorts.
     
  6. tech4all thread starter macrumors 68040

    tech4all

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    #6
    Hmmm interesting. Not sure if that happens on mine. I'm not sure why it would since it still has power coming to the external hard drive. Must be something "different" about the power from the battery...lower voltage or something...?


    Good to know. Thanks for sharing!
     
  7. rigormortis macrumors 68000

    rigormortis

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    #7
    a mac pro would probabaly benefit from a SMART ups and not the BACK UPs. smart has pure sine wave output on battery and back-ups does not. 1500va sounds too small. the more va you get the better. increasing the amount of va gives you a longer run time on batteries before you have to shutdown. a 1500 va ups running just an airport base station is great. gives you a lot of run time, but add devices to it and that run time greatly lowers.

    they have a new computers now, with the latest energy star ratings. the new energy star power supplies may not even turn on when they detect "approximate stepped sign wave". keep that in mind

    try to get pure sine wave on batteries. and if you're thinking that 1500 va is enough, get 3000 va instead. whatever you think is good, get 2x that, because you're going to be using that UPS for all the computers you will ever own the next 5 or 10 years. and replacing the batteries whenever needed.

    i have 4 of them , whenever its time to get a new UPS i just collect them, ill put my desktop UPS on my airport and nas drives and buy a new desktop UPS and just keep adding them

    when you buy a UPS you need to look down the road and not what you just have TODAY
     
  8. jtara macrumors 65816

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    Mar 23, 2009
    #8
    You might shop used.

    I have a MinuteMan E2300 with additional external battery pack EBP3. It's more than 15 years old now and never gave me any trouble. Every few years I have to replace the 8 gel cells.

    It's not currently made, though MinuteMan does have more current models. I assume the new ones are as good as or better than mine, but I can certainly vouch for it! And I'll bet you can get these cheap on eBay.

    It was chosen to be able to run a tower PC and 4 LCD monitors for 8 hours.

    This was back in the day when I was writing code for high-frequency trading, and any outage could cost us money.

    Ironic story: my business partner who ran the trading choose to use a smaller UPS and a Honda generator. He needed it once. He moved into a new housing complex, and there was a planned day of outage when the power company hooked-up some new part of the complex. A painter working on the house across the street heard the generator and knocked on the door, wondering if he could use the power for a few minutes to stir some paint. Which promptly blew the Honda generator!

    I only used mine seriously once, when San Diego had a day-long power outage a few years ago. I plugged in my refrigerator. The refrigerator groaned a bit, but the UPS got it through the outage.
     
  9. tech4all thread starter macrumors 68040

    tech4all

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    #9
    Thanks for your input, @rigormortis!

    Yes, I am leaning towards a pure sine wave UPS. I'm not too concerned about the 1500VA as I've used one for 12 years on a similar setup (although I'm not sure what the wattage was for the power supply was for my Power Mac G5), but I'll do further research to see what's offered with more VA and a pure sine wave.

    While my Mac Pro has worked on my current APC Back UPS XS 1500VA with a simulated sine wave, you bring up a good point about newer/current power supplies (high end ones in particular) requiring a pure since. Thinking about future systems I might get, Mac or PC, is another argument for a pure since wave UPS.

    You said: "try to get pure sine wave on batteries." ... Pardon my ignorance, but are there separate kinds batteries for pure sine wave and simulated/stepped sine wave UPSs? Unless I misread your statement and by "batteries" you meant "UPSs".

    Thanks for the info, @jtara!

    Hmmm, I never heard of MinuteMan UPSs, but I'll check them out given the amount of time you've had yours for.

    Thanks for the story, I hope by "blew the Honda generator" you mean it drained instantly and didn't ruin it!
     
  10. JamesPDX Suspended

    JamesPDX

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2014
    Location:
    USA
    #10
    Do you want to protect your equipment, or just keep working through power outages? I have a smart UPS, and it let a 170-volt spike (from an unseen open-neutral outside my house) right-on-through my network without a blip. But my Furman PL-8C shut down my studio rack to protect it.

    http://www.furmansound.com/
    --- Post Merged, Sep 3, 2016 ---
    Totally. Look for something that indicates "No Wait State" and has true voltage regulation. Great tech, but they're expensive. But then so is replacing all of your gear.
     
  11. tech4all thread starter macrumors 68040

    tech4all

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    #11
    Yes, I'd like to protect and keep working during power outages (at least long enough for a graceful shutdown). I read a review on Amazon for the APC Back-UPS Pro 1500 and they said to put a surge protector between the wall outlet and the UPS as the UPS surge protection wasn't much. The APC has a Joule rating of 354 and the CyberPower has a Joule rating of 1030 (the one's in the first post). So I guess it would necessary for the APC, but not so much for CyberPower version, although it couldn't hurt I suppose.
     
  12. JamesPDX Suspended

    JamesPDX

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    #12
    There are different schools of thought on what should go where. What's your budget?
     
  13. tech4all thread starter macrumors 68040

    tech4all

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    #13
    Well the CyberPower UPS in the first post is about $200, but I could go a bit more if necessary. Probably not to the $400 - $500 range and up though. But if I'm thinking for down the road as well, I could go more. I know that's not solid number, but it gives you a rough idea.
     
  14. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #14
    I can report that one 1500 VA CyperPower unit and one 1350 VA unit have worked well for several years (5 years for one, 4 years for the other) I haven't had to change the battery yet in either of them. One of them was powering a 5,1 Mac Pro, and did its job well until the Mac Pro died. The other powers my network electronics, NAS, etc.

    When I was in a must-not-lose-power business I used a unit from Clary. Very expensive on-line (isolated from the AC supply line) unit, but it was tough and did its job.

    Now I don't need anything like that, so the Cyperpowers and a small Honda generator keep me up when I need to be.
     
  15. tech4all thread starter macrumors 68040

    tech4all

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    #15
    Thanks for the info, @monokakata!

    I'm assuming your Mac Pro was on the 1500VA...? Was it just the Mac Pro connected the UPS? Did you also have a display or any other peripherals connected to it as well?
     
  16. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #16
    The Mac Pro (with all disk bays filled) plus a Dell U2711 and a couple of external drives.
     
  17. tech4all thread starter macrumors 68040

    tech4all

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    #17
    Cool, thanks for clarification @monokakata!

    Forgot to ask, what was the 1500VA's estimated run time during a power outage? Assuming you've had power outages...

    Thanks again!
     
  18. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #18
    I can only go from memory (because the MP hasn't been in service since late 2014). It seems to me that I'd see 15-20 minutes displayed. I remember thinking that there was no particular hurry to shut down.
     
  19. shiekh macrumors member

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    #19
    Be careful as VA is not the same as W, and it is the Watt rating that probably interests you the most.
     
  20. tech4all thread starter macrumors 68040

    tech4all

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    #20
    Great, thanks again!

    Hi @shiekh, yes I am aware. I know the number varies, but typically you multiply the required watts needed by 1.6 to get the VA. So in this case, 1500VA is about 940 watts. I'm not sure how the run time works, but this How To Geek article provides the formulas for the 1.6 conversion and the run time calculation. APC also provides run time charts linked in the technical specs of their UPSs.
     
  21. jtara macrumors 65816

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    #21
    A UPS'S VA rating has NOTHING to do with run time!

    Run time is related to power draw (NOT the VA or W rating of the UPS) and the battery voltage and capacity and number of batteries. Period. (Battery voltage x amp/hour capacity = watt-hours).

    There is a loose correlation between VA and run time for a given load between different VA-rated products of a given product line, since manufacturers tend to put bigger/more batteries in units with higher VA rating.

    So, yes, running a small load on a UPS with a high VA rating will run the small load for longer - but it is wasteful to pay for a higher VA rating than you need.

    For flexibility, shop for a UPS that can use external battery packs, so that you can add as much run time as you want.
     
  22. kschendel macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    I suspect the pure-sine vs stepped-sine thing is a bit of an emacs vs vi argument, at least as far as the Mac Pro is concerned. I've been running a Mac Pro 4.1->5,1 off of an APC Back-UPS RS 900 for some 4 years, and off an older APC model for the 3 years before that. There's an iMac, 24 inch Apple display, and a printer on the same UPS. I get maybe 15 minutes of run time, it's been a while since I've had an extended outage but we get short drop-outs occasionally.

    I'm used to the APC gear, they've supported it well and it works. Others have had similar results with Cyberpower. I like the idea of the pure sine-wave output but it's unclear that it makes a difference in practice, at least not for the cMP and 2009 iMac.
     
  23. jtara macrumors 65816

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    #23
    Ruined it.

    Fortunately, Home Depot has a liberal return policy. ;)

    Small/cheap generators aren't designed to run inductive loads - like a drill motor! (And probably not your refrigerator, either.) May be issues with some printers as well.

    "Drained it instantly" is not a realistic scenario with a generator. What does that even mean, LOL? The generator runs at infinite power until it sucks up all of the gasoline?
     
  24. tech4all thread starter macrumors 68040

    tech4all

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    #24
    Yea that's the thing, I've read that Mac Pros prefer/need a pure since UPS, but in practice for me and others, a simulated sine wave UPS have been used and they've worked fine.

    Although I do have a question (for anyone): Does a simulated sine wave UPS only put out a simulated sine wave when the battery is being used, or the entire time the UPS is on? I know higher-end UPSs work by having the power to the equipment come from the battery only and thus separating it from the main power. But I assume those higher-end UPSs have a pure sine wave, so the question is probably irrelevant for them.

    Yes, good thing!

    As this video points out at about 4:30 and repeated again at 8:02, UPSs are not meant for high drain devices: toasters, vacuumes, coffee maker, laser jet printers, etc.

     
  25. kschendel macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    A line-interactive UPS will run the output from the AC input (after any filtering and voltage regulation), so I would expect that the output is close to a regular sine wave most of the time. Only when on battery would the inverter be running to supply power, and it generates the stepped-sine.

    That's the theory as I understand it. I haven't tried to fire up the ancient Eico 460 to verify that, though. :)
     

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