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Old August 3rd, 2010, 06:17 PM   #1
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Uninterruptible power supply - what brand / software do you use?

Hey guys. Just built myself an i7 rig.

Now I gotta protect it. I'm wondering what specific brands and models folks are using to protect their gear. It would be great to have something with surge protection built in, also.

Reason I'm asking here instead of Tom Hardware or something, is because I know they have different activation times in millaseconds, and I want to know what is working with current computer systems, RAID/ext. HDD boxes, etc.

Thanks!
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 11:03 PM   #2
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I've been using the Tripp Lite models from our local Costco. They all all have surge protection (though half the plug-ins are surge only and half are surge + battery + line conditioning.) Being at the foot of the mountains, we have frequent summer thunderstorms and an antique power grid where I live in rural Montana. That means the sacrificial surge protections elements wear out after about three years and I wind up replacing the units about that often. I don't bother with the shutdown software because, in my neighborhood, it tends to give "false positives' and interferes with video editing. I try to run the system with minimal stuff running. I've never had a power related lock up or blue-screen. Had some crashes and lock-ups with multi-cam editing under PPro CS4 but that all went away when I got the CS5 upgrade in May. No problems so far with Avid MC5, either. Thunderstorm through tonight and no problems. In my neighborhood, I figure that UPS units are only good for about three years and then they they go to the recycle bin. I've got several eSata and Firewire external drives for parking inactive projects plus a G-Speed card and external RAID plus an onboard RAID with an I7/920/GTX260/12G/ASUSP6TDv2 Win 7 system running two monitors and an external HD TV through and MXO2-mini.

Is that enough info for this post?
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 11:20 PM   #3
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That's very useful, Jay. Thanks.

Thinking it over -- I'm not in a live broadcast situation and my power is relatively stable, so maybe UPS isn't absolutely necessary...

As long as my backup schemes are relatively well executed, I may just go with surge protection. I've actually never had a power outage affect my computer work (YET!) I was thinking more about power failure during long renders or during backups.

I'm surprised to hear about the conditioning, though. Is that for your monitors? I'm only used to power conditioning for audio work...
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 11:52 PM   #4
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I think there might be a misconception about why a UPS unit is desireable. The basic reason for a good UPS unit is that you get power conditioning that keeps stable power going to your large hard disks. The larger your hard disks (or raids), the more sensitive they are to to power fluctuations.

If you live in an area prone to thunderstorms, surge protection is important. But it is kind of like locking your car when you park downtown in a large city. Might (or might not) be something you need to do every day.

Most of the time, surge protection is incidental protection. Kind of like a fuel line filter that keeps goo and crud from getting to the fuel injectors. The thing about good UPS units is that they protect against power dips as well as complete outages. Power dips are insidious. If power gets too low or goes unevenly for too long, the hard drives can burn out even if the power isn't low enough to cause the system to shut down. Kind of like refrigerator motors in brown outs --- where you get enough power to heat things up but not enough for the compressors to spin to dissipate the heat.

If you are editing with a laptop, this doesn't seem to be as big a deal. My Gateway 7800 seems to kick in the battery whenever the power drops too low. (I only rarely use it for editing, however, so my advice may not be the best.)
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Old August 4th, 2010, 12:43 PM   #5
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I have an APC XS 1300 that seems to work fairly well. APC has a good reputation and will cross-ship if you ever have a problem.

A UPS is a very small investment compared to the cost of losing your expensive editing workstation, time spent working on a project, or maybe even an entire project if you didn't keep the source footage.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 01:03 PM   #6
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Years ago I lived immediatly outside Ann Arbor, Michigan. I had terrible computer problems and on average was restoring my system from tape close to twice a month. I bought an APC unit and all those problems went away....

I wouldn't even think about not having one.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 03:41 PM   #7
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Running off an APC Back-UPS XS1500, giving me nearly 1 hour of runtime with my edit system w. 2 monitors and two older external FW400 drive enclosures. I've had nearly 100 "events" in the 3 years it has been connected, ranging from power bumps to blackouts approaching the run time limit. I don't automate shutdown or anything, just power back up.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 05:30 PM   #8
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I have these APC units - one is the UPS and the other is an additional battery.

Newegg.com - APC Back-UPS BR1500 1500VA 865W 8 Outlets UPS
Newegg.com - APC BR24BP BACK-UPS RS/XS 1500VA 24V BATTERY PACK

Ever since a brownout 3 yrs ago that caused damage to my raid array, I will NEVER go back to being unprotected.

Just because you haven't had a brownout doesn't mean it can't happen. Its like saying that I have never been in an accident where I live so I shouldn't bother wearing a seat-belt.

Furthermore, I can hear my UPS kick in at least once a week do to voltage fluctuations, which can happen from just flipping a light switch in the same room.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 11:57 PM   #9
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APC - it's been around for a long time and is reliable.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 01:09 PM   #10
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"I was thinking more about power failure during long renders or during backups."

For that kind of back-up power, I'd look at the set up that Steve has.

I've used APC in the past and found them to be excellent units.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 01:14 AM   #11
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Cool - thanks for the considerations to mull over.

One reason I'm asking you guys for the specific models, is there are so many different types of UPS systems! (in terms of how they manage the wall power, the battery power, and what ends up on the protected plugs.) I used to lug these things to remote gigs when I worked in audio broadcast, but I never thought much of the specifics.


Sine. Square. Online. Offline. :(

(God help me if I have to go on ANOTHER research binge to get the right product. I'm so burnt out on doing things like comparing the cooling capacity of CPU heatsinks! It's Kafkaesque!!)


Has anybody used an APC model that has been around long enough to buy replacement batts?
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Old August 7th, 2010, 10:25 PM   #12
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I've got an APC 1000 watt that's been around since 2002. I changed the battery once, it's still powering my file server and external drives. The battery was purchased aftermarket btw.
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Old September 18th, 2010, 12:22 PM   #13
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UPS is absolutely necessary for anyone who runs desktop computers and any other non-battery-poowered devices.

I use these with great success for years now - power goes down everywhere but on my PCs and monitors, very cool/safe.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NDA5E0?ie=UTF8&tag=mo7iescom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000NDA5E0
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