When it comes to building computers I’d say it is safe to say that many people forget to include an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) with their purchases. With rolling blackouts, hurricanes, storms and other natural disasters becoming more frequent the need for a UPS is something that will save you headaches down the road. For those that don’t know what a UPS is for, it’s a secondary power source to use in the event of power failure. It has the ability to continue delivering power in the event that the primary source is not working thus protecting your valuable sensitive electronic equipment against power failures, unstable line power, electrical noise, surges, and other unwanted power events.
Sure we all experience power failures, but what about those surges and unwanted events? Just recently at a local LAN party in St. Louis the event staff incorrectly wired up the power for the BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) area, resulting in three gamers having fried power supplies when the switch was flipped. A LAN party is an ideal place for a UPS as power cords often get kicked out of the walls, circuit breakers get tripped and wires aren’t correctly wired. UPS units help eliminate down time caused by power problems, transient errors, and equipment damage. While this all sounds good it does add extra cost, but not as much as one would think. We wanted a UPS that could handle our high end office PC, so we went with the top of the line model from Ultra the 2000 VA 1200 WATTS Backup UPS w/ AVR. This model boasts an amazing Watt rating of 1200Watts, which means we should get about 65 minutes of battery time when the lights go out. If the UPS fails to protect the computer system plugged in it Ultra will pay up to $125,000 of the fair market value of the connected equipment.
The size and complexity of the UPS system determines what are acceptable levels of power and of course the price. UPS systems come in various sizes and functions and you don’t have to get the highest rated model to save your behind when the power issues pop up. When it comes to uninterruptible power supplies something called AVR is an important feature that needs to be on the model that you purchase. A UPS system that features “AVR” (automatic voltage regulation) will correct the voltage if it is over or under the normal levels and one without will not correct the voltage. This means a UPS with AVR will protect your computer from damage and loss of data by monitoring incoming electricity smoothing out high and low voltage conditions, ensuring delivery of only safe, ?clean? electricity. A wide range of errant line voltage levels such as brownouts, surges, or spikes are converted by AVR into safe electricity for your computer. With brownouts on the rise we feel that AVR is well worth the extra dime. If you’re going to buy a UPS you might as well go all out and get one that covers all of the bases and the 2000 VA 1200 WATTS Backup UPS w/ AVR should get the job done right the first time.
Right now Ultra Products currently offers four models that offer AVR and according to the Ultra Products corporate site they range in price from $99.99 to $229.99 based on their suggest retail pricing. Luckily for consumers we found the street pricing on these UPS’s to be at least twenty percent below the MSRP.
With their 600W model starting out at $65 and able to support nearly all desktop computers and widescreen LCD monitors a UPS should be affordable to anyone building a computer. If you can’t afford a UPS then we highly suggest saving up and buying one because for a little extra money it might save you from system failure in the future, which will end up costing you more money in the long run.