Surge protection power strips/UPS purchasing for Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by macstatic, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. macstatic macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2005
    Having just invested lots of money in a Mac Pro 5.1 I thought it'd make sense to supply it with as "clean" AC power as possible (eliminating spikes etc.). I know about so called "surge protectors" from APC and other companies, but do they really work? There's really no easy way to check if they actually do condition the power or not.

    Something else I've been thinking about is getting an UPS so I'll be allowed to save whatever I'm working on in case of a power outage (I've been using a laptop up to now so that hasn't been an issue) and I understand that they condition power even better than surge protectors, but there are so many to choose from with huge differences in cost. I see that APC sell a few that basically don't cost much more than some of the "high end" surge protector power strips (they actually look like oversized power strips), but according to discussion threads on the subject here I need to get a "Smart-UPS" model if using with the Mac Pro -and they're pretty costly!

    If the latter is correct I should probably just get a good surge protected power strip for now, then invest in a smart UPS later. Suggestions?
  2. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    If for now you only need a surge protector go for a Belkin SurgeMaster and an extension power brick, this is cheaper and is sufficient.
  3. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    You should use the Forum Search to look for the many previous discussions on this subject.

    If you want to do the job properly, you need a UPS. Apple advise that for newer Mac Pros with the more efficient power supplies you need a "Pure Sine Wave" UPS. That means the Smart-UPS range from APC and the equivalent from CyberPower. It eliminates the cheaper APC Back-UPS range because they are "Stepped Sine Wave".

    My 2010 single-processor Mac Pro and 27" ACD draws about 27% load at idle on my Smart-UPS SMT1000I and gives around 45 minutes of time on battery which is plenty for a while of "wait and see if it comes back on" followed by a controlled shut down.

    Surge protectors are only really intended to protect the device from over-voltage spikes on the power line which is why they are cheap. Those that offer battery time as well would struggle to handle the demands of a full desktop computer for more than a few seconds... a minute or so at best.

    Owners in rural areas may suffer worse mains supply than those in urban areas but the users in cities will be more likely to suffer from power sags and interference which can cause unwanted reboots. These faults will be poorly handled by the Surge Protectors.

    As a specific example, I live in Edinburgh in the UK in a built up area. My flat has modern wiring dating from the 1980s and a good earth connection. My UPS flips to battery for short periods a couple of times a day and in bad weather can go to battery a good half a dozen times or more. I am able to use my MP in complete confidence knowing that I have a good 45 mins of battery and that I never get unexpected reboots when these power events happen.

    Ultimately the choice to get a UPS is up to you but I would not waste the money on a Surge Protector.

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