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  #1  
Old 03-04-2013
Beto Garcia Beto Garcia is offline
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Default Uninterruptible Power Supply inquiry

Greetings folks,


Iím currently searching the hardware market for my next Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) for my 2013 new Performance PC built. During my research Iíve identified 2 possible candidates and I need your expert advice in order to make an informed decision.

The candidates are:

1. APC BR1500G BACK-UPS Pro 1500 10-Outlet 1500VA/865W UPS;
2. APC SMC1500 Smart-UPS 1440 VA/900 Watts UPS.

Thereís a third model but itís not available for purchase in my region:

3. CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD 1500VA / 900W PFC UPS.

All of them have received positive online sites & customer reviews.

The Power Supply Unit (PSU) I chose and bought is:

ē CORSAIR Professional Series AX1200i 1200 Watt 80 PLUS Platinum Certified Digital ATX Active PFC PSU [CP-9020008-NA].

The requirements for the UPS are:

a. Completely compatible with the chosen Power Supply Unit;
b. Enough run time to safely shut down the PC (approximately 3 to 5 minutes);
c. Topology: Line Interactive;
d. Waveform Type: Sine wave;
e. Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR);
f. Surge Protection;
g. Budget: approximately $400 USD.

Here are some PC components of the built for reference:

ē CPU: Intel Core i7 3930K. TDP: 130 W;
ē X79 Desktop Board: ASUS Sabertooth X79;
ē X79 Desktop Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB [F3-17000CL9Q-16GBZH];
ē GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 FTW Edition [02G-P4-2678-KR]. TDP: 170w;
ē SSD: Intel SSD 520 Series 240GB [SSDSC2CW240A3K5];
ē HDD: Western Digital VelociRaptor 1TB [WD1000DHTZ];
ē Monitor: Acer HN274Hbmiiid 27" 1080p Full HD LED 120Hz 3D [HN274H BMIIID]. TDP: 45.5W.

Iíve calculated, according to an online PSU calculator, a starting continuously available power of approximately 750 Watts (800 Watts with an overclocked CPU). Know that Iíll be adding more hardware in the future.

Therefore, what I need to know is:
  • Which of the listed UPS is the best one for protecting my new Performance PC built?
Your advice, suggestions and comments will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.


Regards,
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2013
mariush mariush is offline
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When you pick an UPS you want to look at

1 what type of ups is in the sense of the method it uses to switch between mains and battery and analyze the mains electricity quality

2 what kind of AC are they outputting when they're disconnected from mains

3 how much power it can provide

for 1, there's Offline, Line Interactive and Online UPS systems... Offline are the lousiest, Online is the best but also most expensive.

This page explains the three: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uninter...y#Technologies

Read it, they explain it better than me.

As for two, cheaper UPS systems usually output a simulated sine wave AC power, while the more expensive output a pure sine wave AC :



Some power supplies and some electronic devices have a harder time working with simulated sine wave AC, in the sense that they'll either not work, or they won't be able to provide the maximum output they're rated for (a 600w power supply may only be able to do about 350 watts with simulated sine wave)

The Corsair AX1200 is a very good power supply and I doubt it would care about what kind of AC would receive.

I think (but I'm not sure, check the APC site to be sure) Back-Ups is using simulated sine wave, while Smart UPS uses pure sine wave.


In the case of 3...

You have to pay attention to the VA rating ... the VA rating is not how many watts the UPS can provide... the actual value is much lower. You've listed the actual watts they can provide and they're actually reasonable values.

Those values mean that the UPS is capable of providing so much wattage for a short period of time, usually a few minutes. If you don't use that much, the UPS will be able to keep what's connected to it for a longer period of time.

Now, even though you get a Corsair 1200i, which is capable of delivering up to 1200w to the computer components, the system is not going to use that much at any time.

Based on the components you wrote, the system is going to idle at about 100 watts (that's in windows, while watching movies etc) ... add 20-30 watts for the monitor and about 40 watts for speakers and you're still under 200 watts.

When playing games, you're probably going to reach a peak of about 400-450 watts, at most. Maybe if you're going to overclock the CPU you're going to go over 500 watts.


So my two cents... for maximum compatibility, i'd go for whichever UPS has pure sine wave output, as all the ones you listed can handle your system and much more. So I'd probably go for Smart UPS.
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  #3  
Old 03-05-2013
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I agree with all of the above, except this:
Quote:
about 40 watts for speakers
(1) You don't need speakers to save all your open files and "gracefully" shut down Windows and your computer before you run out of battery runtime. And (2) many users have 5.1 or even 7.1, several hundred watt speaker systems on their computers. Granted, they will not be pulling several 100 watts except during peaks while reproducing very loud audio, the potential is there cause the UPS to shutdown if too much power is suddenly demanded.

40W may be realistic for most "office/workplace" computers using dinky speakers, but it may not be near realistic for many home computers using large, self-powered, amplified speaker systems with large power hungry sub-woofers. So my advice is don't put your speakers (or laser printers) on your UPS (or at least, not on the battery side of your UPS).

Note too that backup power during a full power outage is just the icing on the cake. The bread and butter of a "good" UPS with AVR is the voltage regulation it provides 24/7/365.

APC is probably the best know (and most expensive) brand. You pay for the name, but in this case, it is a worthy brand. I use APC on all my systems because I trust that brand, though I have a Cyberpower UPS that has been just as reliable.

There is a BIG downside to using a UPS. You need to replace the battery cells about every 3 years. I never buy replacement cells from APC. They cost way too much and 3rd party cells from other sources are just as good. You just need to ensure the voltage, connection type, and physical dimensions are the same, and the current capability is at least the same.

You might want to download the manuals for each UPS you are considering and see how hard it is for the user to replace the battery (it should be simple) and which type SLA (sealed lead-acid) battery it takes - then price replacements to factor that cost into your total costs over time.

Oh, if you have several $1000 tied up in a big screen TV and home theater audio equipment, get a "good" UPS with AVR for that too!
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  #4  
Old 03-05-2013
mariush mariush is offline
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My Logitech X-541 speakers uses about 30-40 watts even at low volume, it's just the class AB amplifier in them being inefficient.

The monitors use about 15-25 watts depending on brightness and contrast I keep them at - if i max them out I don't reach 40 watts. They're 2 x 24" with old style backlight, LED backlight monitors are even less power hungry.

Yes, normally you wouldn't plug the speakers on the UPS as it's not a critical component for the PC to work. But by that reasoning, neither is the monitor - you could just run the software from the UPS which will receive signal through the USB cable from the UPS and start to shutdown the PC when there's just a couple of minutes left on the battery.

But an UPS also provides some AC filtering, if it's a quality UPS, so if you have brownouts or other issues with your mains in the area, screw it, just plug everything in the UPS.

Sure, don't plug your high end receiver with 300w speakers, you don't want to overload the UPS with some soobwoofers, but a small 5.1 pc system won't be a very big burden
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Old 03-05-2013
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Quote:
But by that reasoning, neither is the monitor - you could just run the software from the UPS which will receive signal through the USB cable from the UPS and start to shutdown the PC when there's just a couple of minutes left on the battery.
As a general statement, I totally disagree with that. No way is it the same reasoning!

While no display may be fine for you specifically, others, including myself, may wish to complete our current thought, finish that last sentence in Word (or a forum post), or send a time-sensitive email before letting the system shutdown automatically.

The vast majority of users need a monitor to use their computers, while the same vast majority of users don't need sound.

Regardless - the critical point here is: use a "good" UPS with AVR - I think we agree on that.
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Old 03-05-2013
Beto Garcia Beto Garcia is offline
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Thanks for your replies and advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariush View Post
When you pick an UPS you want to look at

1 what type of ups is in the sense of the method it uses to switch between mains and battery and analyze the mains electricity quality

2 what kind of AC are they outputting when they're disconnected from mains

3 how much power it can provide
That is some very interesting and useful information.

I do plan on adding more hardware in the near future, like another GTX 670 for SLI fun, HDDs (RAID), etc., and upgrading components down the road. A 900 Watts / 1500VA UPS seems adequate since I would like to stay under 800 Watts for better Energy Use/Efficiency. When I researched Power Supplies I learned about PSUs reaching their max efficiency @ 50% load (92% efficiency @ 600 Watt for the CORSAIR AX1200i), saving you money on the long run, which it's positive.

Iíve read about the Sine wave form topic and the modern PSUs being Active PFC, it seems more important than ever for UPSs to include a Pure sinewave in their design for compatibility and energy efficiency.

Itís good to know that the PSU I chose can take any sinewave form, including a stepped sinewave approximation (not the best option though), without an issue.

The only area I didn't like related to APC is that they always seem to skimp on surge protection in their UPS units. For example, the APC BR1500G and SMC1500 models only provide 354 joules and 455 joules of surge protection, respectively. The Cyberpower 1500AVR has 1500 joules of surge protection. But now, how much surge protection would one really need?

Any thoughts on the first candidate: APC BR1500G BACK-UPS Pro 1500 10-Outlet 1500VA/865W UPS?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
I agree with all of the above, except this: (1) You don't need speakers to save all your open files and "gracefully" shut down Windows and your computer before you run out of battery runtime. And (2) many users have 5.1 or even 7.1, several hundred watt speaker systems on their computers. Granted, they will not be pulling several 100 watts except during peaks while reproducing very loud audio, the potential is there cause the UPS to shutdown if too much power is suddenly demanded.

There is a BIG downside to using a UPS. You need to replace the battery cells about every 3 years. I never buy replacement cells from APC. They cost way too much and 3rd party cells from other sources are just as good. You just need to ensure the voltage, connection type, and physical dimensions are the same, and the current capability is at least the same.
Regarding the sound topic, I totally agree not to plug the 5.1 / 7.1 speakers & sub-woofer to your UPS. By the way, I donít have nor planning to purchase a 5.1 / 7.1 speakers system, I use a regular Headset. My family greatly appreciates not being disturbed by BF: BC2ís explosions.

Ease to replace the UPS batteries: thatís a good point, even though I donít plan on keeping the UPS for more than 3 years. According to my UPS research, APC models are convenient and easy when it comes to replacing the batteries.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
The vast majority of users need a monitor to use their computers, while the same vast majority of users don't need sound.

Regardless - the critical point here is: use a "good" UPS with AVR - I think we agree on that.
Yes, I definitely need my monitor operational to finish any pending activities in order to gracefully shutdown the PC. Remaining battery time is important: I think 3 to 5 minutes on full load would suffice.

UPS with AVR: agreed.

Any thoughts, comments and suggestions are welcome.
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Old 03-06-2013
allikat allikat is offline
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Actually, while 50% is the peak efficiency, it's a waste of money to buy a unit that is at 50% when the machine is at maximum load. You're far better off buying one only 50-100w over what you need. The 80+ designations require full load to be no worse than 3% less efficient at full load than the peak at 50%. And besides, if you buy a PSU that closely fits your needs, it'll still be spending the majority of its' time at 50% load or less.

I run dual 560Ti-448s on an 850w unit and it's totally comfortable. These boards pull about the same as yours will when put in SLI. While the x79 board and chip will draw more power than my 2600k, it's not THAT much more unless you really go for it on the overclocks.
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Old 03-06-2013
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Quote:
You're far better off buying one only 50-100w over what you need.
As a blanket statement, I disagree with that for home consumers and here's why. With only 50 - 100W headroom, that leaves very little wiggle room down the road should the user decide to add more drive space, more RAM or perhaps an upgraded, or 2nd power hungry graphics card.

Also, while capacitor aging is not near the problem it used to be, ALL power supplies still lose capability over time. 10 - 15% is not unreasonable for quality supplies from reputable makers, and 30% degradation can be expected with some no-name, budget power supplies. That's significant.

Also, most of the better PSUs have incorporated fan speed controls to toggle down or up the speed of the PSU's fan, depending on temperature. As the PSU operates closer to capacity, more heat is generated causing the PSU fan to run faster - thus LOUDER! Loud fan noise is not good.

So, IF you know for a fact you will never upgrade the computer, then and only then "might" I recommend buying a PSU that barely meets minimum recommendations. But the problem here is most users - even the most advanced users do not know what their power requirements will be in 3 or 4 years. And so if they buy a PSU today with little headroom, it may not support future demands and that will end up costing the consumer more in the long run.

Quote:
Actually, while 50% is the peak efficiency
Ummm, I don't know what that means. Understand the 80+ certification requires PSUs to maintain high efficiencies across a wide range of expected loads, and NOT just at 50%.

While buying a MUCH bigger PSU than you need does cost you more in the beginning, it does NOT cost you more to operate as the it will draw from the wall only what it needs, not what it is capable of. And over the life of the PSU, it gives you enough expansion room so you will not have to buy a new PSU should you decide to upgrade to more demanding hardware a few years down the road.
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Old 03-06-2013
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Considering that HDDs add a whopping 10-15w, you get a lot more drives for your 50w.
Adding a second GPU is a consideration.
Fan noise, less so.

I too would aim for 50-100w over what is needed, especially given that you won't ever see a genuine 100% CPU + 100% GPU + 100% everything else load anyway.
The trick is calculating what is needed, if OCing is planned you need to figure that into your purchase.

How much headroom you leave also depends on the PSU size, if you buy a 550w for a 450w system you have almost 25% extra. If you buy a 1500w for a 1400w system that's a rather different story.

What I wouldn't worry about is keeping your power draw in the 50-70% range.
Full load should be over 20% just to get out of the lousy efficiency zone, but that's about it for % based numbers IMO.
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Old 03-06-2013
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Quote:
I too would aim for 50-100w over what is needed
If you NEVER EVER plan on upgrading the computer over the next 3 - 5 years, then I agree.

But who can be that sure what their requirements will be in 3-5 years?

Quote:
Fan noise, less so.
For you maybe, but not for many. For many, excessive fan noise is totally unacceptable.

$10 extra after rebate today may save you $100 3-years down the road.

Skimping on the power supply can be a costly rookie mistake. It is not a mistake to buy more than you think you will ever need - within reason, of course.
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