UPS or surge protector for iMac

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Pine, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. Pine macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    #1
    I'm off to get a new 2010 27" i7 iMac and I'm wondering what kind of UPS to get.

    From what I've read the type of PSU the iMacs use is supposed to have a power source that can provide a true sine wave, but I don't know if this is actual necessary for the iMacs in particular. I've been looking at this APC unit which provides a stepped approximation. I don't know if this will suit the current iMacs, but a UPS with a true sine wave gets to be extremely expensive.

    If the iMac really does require a top of the line UPS are there any good surge protectors that can be had for $100 or less? Battery backup would be nice, but reliable surge protection is really all I need.

    Thank you.
     
  2. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #2
    If your power goes out frequently, get a battery backup. Otherwise, don't. There's no reason to get a battery backup to give it sine waves, computers are beyond that.
     
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #3
    Huh? Where on Earth did you read that? Running your computer on conditioned power is nice, but it is not a requirement--not even close. The facts are that the power supplies in Macs are among the most robust in the industry. What this boils down to is that the truth is close to the exact opposite of what you "read."

    As thejadedmonkey posted above, get a UPS if you have to deal with frequent power outages. You do not need a UPS for power conditioning.
     
  4. Pine thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 29, 2010
    #4
    I'm not looking at a UPS for power conditioning. I just want to know that it will function properly if I get one. The power in my apartment flickers and goes out for shot periods of time whenever there is a storm. I just want to make sure that I don't get a UPS that is not actually compatible with my new computer.

    Supposedly iMacs use a power supply unit with active power factor correction. I've heard that these do not work with the square or stepped waveform that the cheaper UPSs use. I'll just get a more trust worthy surge protector if this is true, but a UPS could be nice.
     
  5. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #5
    just get anything from tripplite. UPS or surge w/ line conditioning, doesn't matter (though my server has a UPS for it's hard drives while my MBP is just a standard surge).
     
  6. mangrove macrumors 6502

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    FL, USA
    #6
    I live where UPS's are necessary due to FL being the lightening capital of the world, so I'm told.

    I have used APC for 10-12 years without problems. I like the swappable batteries in them and I have bought them from Powersite in the past.

    I use the largest I can afford and have 3 of the BR1500LCD models which cost me like $120-130 new. I have every piece of 4xcomputers, screens, printers, DSLs, 7xexternal drives and a TV in my "computer room" all on APC's. They handle everything without worry. In fact, I forget I have them until a power outage. Then I realize I'm still up and running with power to all computer equipment long after I'm sitting in a darkened house.

    Believe me after a power failure, you will not want a surge protector, but the real thing-a battery backup device with a surge protector built in.

    P.S. I even have more APC protecting my expensive HDTV's, mini HTPC, AppleTV, DVR's, digital TV boxes, etc.
     
  7. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #7
    :rolleyes: There is no Mac electricity; there is no Windows electricity; there is no Linux electricity. Consumer-grade UPSs in the US output 120 VAC/60 Hz. Just get the biggest UPS that you can afford. This will allow you to close-out your work and power-down your computer after a power outage.
     
  8. Pine thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 29, 2010
    #8
    I was asking a hardware question; nothing about software was mentioned. UPS units are not designed exclusively for desktop computers, so there are differences.

    If no one can speak to the waveform issue then I'm assuming it does not really matter.
     
  9. DesignerOnMac macrumors 6502a

    DesignerOnMac

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    Jul 23, 2007
    #9
    To the best of my knowledge, as a computer retail seller for 7 years, waveform is not necessary for your new imac or any other computer.

    And do NOT buy one of the cheap surge strips as they will die as soon as your power spikes or goes out in your apartment.

    I have an iMac 2.8 Extreme and I am protecting it with an APC ES 725. It has been in use everyday since March 2008. APC, or Belkin, etc. plus there are many more to chose from.

    Where I was living before and here now, power fluctuates all the time. In fact there was a bad transformer on the telephone pole that sent a powerful surge throughout the apartment Saturday morning. Blew power out for the entire street and blew 3 surge protectors in my apartment. I had my computer on and the APC beeped and I had 20 minutes to finish what I needed to do on the computer, (in the dark). No issues with the APC or the iMac when the power returned!

    Hope this helps!


    PS All power is 'dirty' power. No matter where you live, it could 'need' conditioning. If your really concerned about it and you have the money then go for it, but you do not really need to spend that kind of money.
     
  10. bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

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    Melbourne, FL
    #10
    FPL kind of sucks here so UPS is a must for me. ;)
     
  11. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    May 19, 2002
    #11
    Battery backups are generally pointless, since they will most likely not keep the computer from shutting off for most power problems.

    We generally get people here that refuse to listen to us and buy a $30-75 battery backup and wonder why their computer keeps shutting off. Well, they only tend to work in a very narrow range of power problems ... the accidental shutting off the light switch-type of power problem.

    Which is why we always say a good line conditioning UPS is justified, pure sine isn't needed.

    But, the ability for the line conditioning UPS to catch anything a cheap battery backup doesn't is what you are after. Brownouts, overvolts, line noise, etc. all are more problematic.

    If price is a problem, and you still want pure sine on the cheap. Try reconditioned.

    Places like... http://excessups.com/smartups-1400-su1400net-beige-p-40.html have them for $180 which is cheap for the protection. And you can get new batteries and you local Batteries Plus if you need them in a pinch.

    Edit: It is when those lights flickering period that the computer will be subject to under/over-volt conditions and shut down when using a battery backup. Which is why AVR (line conditioning is handy).
     
  12. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #12
    That seems counter to my experience and the posts above it. That is, the UPS does its job in an event of a power issue, and keeps the computer going for 20 or so minutes, allowing the user to orderly save his or her work.
     
  13. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    May 19, 2002
    #13
    Did you buy a UPS with AVR, or buy a cheap $15 chinese power strip that "claims" to offer battery-backup protection.

    Those battery backups are generally pointless, since all they do is protect again the power getting shut off.

    For some people this works, since they have good power. And it is on or off.

    But for a lot of people, they offer peace of mind only. And generally don't work fast enough to catch the power going off, since the power tends to flicker in a brownout condition before going off.

    aka, Battery Backups suck. Get a UPS with AVR.
     
  14. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    USA
    #14
    Duh! I have no idea where you got the notion that I thought that UPS units are exclusive to computers. Nothing in my previous post says or implies that. The purpose of a UPS is to provide power in the even of a power outage. I have an APC UPS that outputs 120 VAC/60 Hz power. Any device that requires 120 VAC/60 Hz power can run off my UPS so long as it is within the current (amperage) limits of the UPS. It may be a computer, TV, electric fan, ... whatever. During a power outage, I have run a small TV set off my UPS for as long as 1.5 hours. My desktop computer? The UPS is rated for maybe 5-10 minutes.

    To summarize, my response was to your question about compatibility of the UPS with your computer. The answer is that the only thing that you need to worry about is the power output of the UPS matches the power requirements of your computer. The fact is that virtually all consumer UPSs sold in the US are compatible with virtually all personal computers sold in the US because virtually all personal computers require 120 VAC/60 Hz power.

    Now. There are some UPSs that feature managed shutdown in the event of a power outage and monitor and manage power usage. These are features that are restricted to Windows/Linux/Solaris for most UPSs that have them. They may be nice to have. They may even be critical if you operate a server farm. However, they are by no means critical to the primary function of a consumer UPS.
     
  15. Pine thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 29, 2010
    #15
    Thank you. I guess I should have been more clear that I wanted to know whether waveform mattered and what to look for in a ups not how they function and what-not.

    I'll stop worrying about pure sine and look for something with avr. The ups you linked might end up being a pretty good deal though.
     
  16. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    May 19, 2002
    #16
    Pure sine is generally an expensive unit, which is why most get the cheaper stepped sine units and if it was a huge problem I'm sure we'd hear about it on the site.

    Usually it is a cost factor, so they buy a rather small pure sine unit or a big stepped sine unit.

    A new APC SMT1500 is $500-600 shipped/taxed, and some here say they have a noisy operation problem when idling. While the old units only make noise when active or charging.

    These USPs can last a long time, and can be repaired, mine is over a decade old.

    So buying reconditioned SUA1400/1500, is rather smart.

    If you live in a large city, there might even be a computer/electronics store reconditioning them in your area (really only need new batteries in most cases)
     
  17. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    USA
    #17
    It turns out that the answer to this question properly depends on where you live. If you live in the US, then it is a non-issue. If you live in the EU, then it may be significant. The EU requires that all switch-mode power supplies in excess of 75 W have passive power factor correction (PFC). Stepped-sine UPS may not work with PFC.

    In Post No. 2 of this thread, I asked where did you hear that Macs have trouble with stepped-sine UPS. Apparently, your information came from a European source. Your European source is correct about Europe. However, you live in North America. Here, your Mac will work with a stepped-sine UPS just fine.
     
  18. Pine thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 29, 2010
    #18
    Wow, thank you. I think I first saw the PFC issues after getting to a Apple Support forum thread through google. Then I started looking up more information. I did most of my investigation at work on my phone and apparently I missed some important details. I didn't look at any specifically European sites, but who knows. I'm glad I don't live in Europe because pure sine UPSs are extremely expensive.

    I guess I feel kind of dumb, but still found out some good information.
     
  19. umbilical macrumors 6502a

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    FL, USA
    #19
  20. Kashsystems macrumors 6502

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    Jul 23, 2012
    #20
    Your laptop has a built in battery, just get a good surge protector.
     
  21. umbilical macrumors 6502a

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    FL, USA
    #21
    yes well my laptop is my latest macbook pro, so just a surge protector is enough?
     
  22. Kashsystems macrumors 6502

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    Jul 23, 2012
    #22
    Only two reasons to get a ups since you have a macbook.

    You want to get a ups with AVR because you live in an area with brown outs where they lower the electrically current to reduce over head.

    You have other equipment you want to keep going during a power outage, like an external monitor hooked up to your macbook.

    Otherwise a good surge protector is more than enough.
     
  23. umbilical macrumors 6502a

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    May 3, 2008
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    FL, USA
    #23
    thank you, great points!

    just one thing? what is a AVR and which models have that? any APC? I see other brand Cyberpower, is good?
     
  24. Kashsystems macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    #24
    AVR is automatic voltage regulation or regulator. What happens is that during a brown out when the current gets drop, the AVR kicks in the compensate.

    In Amazon just type in ups with automatic voltage or ups with avr to pull them up.
     
  25. westom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    #25
    AVR is another 'mystery' word that creates fear and need for unnecessary equipment. All computers work fine even at voltages so low that incandescent bulbs dim to 40% intensity. How often do your lights dim that much? Your Mac is required to be even more robust. Normal voltages (ie 120 VAC) can increase to 265 volts. And that is perfectly ideal for the Mac. Best AVR is already inside a computer.

    Same with an adjacent surge protector. It claims to protect from tiny surges that are made irrelevant by what is already inside all computers. Your concern is for rare (maybe once every seven years) surges that can overwhelm that robust and existing protection. Destructive surges can be hundreds of thousands of joules. How many joules does a 'good' power strip claim to absorb? Hundreds? That is near zero protection. Read its spec numbers. Be concerned about many who make recommendations while ignoring spec numbers.

    Dirtiest power seen by a computer comes from a UPS (ie APC, Cyberpower). For example, this 120 volt UPS outputs 200 volt square waves with a spike of up to 270 volts. Due to superior protection inside all computers, even this sine wave UPS causes no damage.

    Most concerns for AVR and surges are hooey. All computers already contain robust AVR and surge protection. Effective protection from surges means one properly earthed 'whole house' protector. If your computer needs protection, then so do refrigerator, dimmer switches, air conditioner, dishwasher, clocks, GFCIs, and recharging mobile phones. What most needs protection during a surge? Smoke detectors. Ignore fears of AVR. Then spend tens of times less money for one 'whole house' protector so that even direct lightning strikes do no damage - even to the protector.

    Be wary of any recommendation that did not say why with numbers.
     

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