Does a PC really need a UPS

Surge protection against UPS: Do you really need a battery backup for your PC?

Most PC users understand that a power surge, power failure, or other sudden power failure can seriously injure your computer. But exactly what you should be doing to protect yourself from it gets a little fuzzy. The two most common protective measures are a standard surge protector, sometimes (incorrectly) called a power strip, or an uninterruptible power supply, usually abbreviated to UPS. (No connection to the deliverers in the brown shorts.)

Which one is right for your computer setup? That depends exactly on what you are doing and how much protection you want.

Surge Protection: Simple protection for electronics

Some people refer to a surge protector as a power strip because they look more or less the same. This is a dangerous overlap: while a simple power strip may (or may not) contain a cheap circuit breaker, it's essentially just an extension of your wall socket, allowing more electronics to be plugged in at the same time without the need for significant additional protection. A consumer surge protector also has multiple sockets, but it also includes a short circuit mechanism and a ground wire that physically prevents excess electrical energy from reaching your devices.

Surge protection from simple to complex, with more expensive versions for ten or more sockets as well as additional inputs and outputs for other electronic devices such as telephone lines, Ethernet cables, USB power supplies and coaxial cables. All of these things are nice and could come in handy when planning an elaborate desk or television setup. But what you are looking for in terms of sheer protection is the Joule rating. Surge protective devices offer a lot of electrical joules for which they are classified as switchable. The higher the better.

Power surges can be light - like your home's internal grille readjusts when someone plugs in a hairdryer or vacuum cleaner - or severe if your satellite dish hits a direct lightning strike. In general, the joule values ​​range from less than 1000 joules for the cheaper models to over 3000 joules for the more complex versions. Since the more expensive models are actually not that expensive in this case, you don't need to make a large investment to maximize the protection of your devices.

Most surge protectors contain a small LED light that indicates that the safety ground is still working. Some more elaborate versions have a tiny LCD screen for the same purpose. Check regularly that the light is still on, especially after thunderstorms or power outages.

UPS: To save your work (and time) in the event of accidental power outages

CONNECTED:How to choose an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for your computer

An uninterruptible power supply is a different animal from a surge protector. In fact, a UPS can contain a simple surge protector with a breaker and ground in the box, as well as multiple outlets - these are large, bulky boxes. However, the main purpose of uninterruptible power supply is right there: it delivers power without interruption, regardless of what else is happening to the electrical grid in your home or town.

To do this, a UPS is basically a giant battery. Just like the portable charger you may already have for your phone, a UPS contains a large backup battery that keeps your computer (or something else) running in the event of a power failure. It is also crucial that a UPS immediately switches to its internal power supply (or just feeds power primarily from this power supply instead of the wall socket) to ensure that the connected devices do not lose power for a second. In the special case of desktop computers, this is of crucial importance: the PC remains switched on and unsaved data is not lost.

That being said, a UPS is a different type of emergency backup system than, for example, a gasoline-powered generator that can run your entire home. Even with a high capacity battery pack, a consumer UPS can run a desktop PC and monitor for as little as twenty minutes to an hour (depending on the model you purchased). It's resilient so you have plenty of time to quickly save your work or get important tasks done. Then safely turn it off and wait for the primary power source to become available again. (Many also include software for the PC that can automatically shut down the PC safely when you are not around.) It is possible that the battery power of a UPS can be used to keep a laptop or cellphone running for much longer However, they don't mean that this is your only source of power in the event of an extended power outage or natural disaster.

More expensive UPS models come with larger internal batteries that can power multiple devices. However, if you just want to prevent your computer from shutting down unexpectedly, an inexpensive model that allows you to run it for a few minutes will do. We recommend this CyberPower 1500VA model ($ 130). When you need to power something for hours, e.g. For example, a refrigerator for temperature-sensitive medicines or a security system, you should look for other UPS options for industry. For more information, see our guide to choosing a UPS.

Which one should i use?

A surge protector is designed to protect your deviceelectronic from physical damage while also being useful for multiple electrical outlets. An uninterruptible power supply saves you the loss of time due to failure of devices, be it a power failure within a fraction of a second or a longer power failure.

Most home users come with a simple and affordable surge protector - if the worst happens and you have a power outage in your home, just replace it and you're good to go. A UPS is probably warranted if you frequently do critical work on a computer and cannot risk losing power for even a second. It's also a good upgrade if you live in an area with an unreliable power grid or frequent weather-related blackouts. These instant loss of performance can be more or less ignored to restore a little peace of mind.

If you both want maximum electrical protection in order to always supply your PC with power, you can combine surge protection and a UPS. Most UPS devices have simple surge protectors and a grounding, and you can plug non-critical devices such as speakers, phone chargers, or lights into an inexpensive surge protector on the second wall outlet.

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