11 Replies Latest reply: Apr 3, 2010 8:11 AM by JoeJoe2009
whiskey sour Level 2 Level 2
Hello. I had a UPS or Uninterruptible Power Supply for my previous eMac. It was an APC model and functioned very well. I would like to get one for this iMac but have found the cost is quite high, in the 400 to 500 dollar range. Any comments or discussions on this would be helpful in making a decision before too long.

iMac 27 i5, 1TB., Mac OS X (10.6.2), 4 GB RAM, Lacie 500GB d2 Quadra, WD Passport 160GB
  • talmy0 Level 1 Level 1
    There are many different types of UPS. The more expensive types run continuously and keep the output voltage constant. These are only really needed in areas that suffer frequent brownouts or major voltage fluctuations. I suspect the $400-$500 UPS you were looking at was of that type. On the other hand I'd avoid the low-end consumer grade UPS because I've found they don't last as long. I've settled on BackUPS CS 500. Should be $114 in Canada.

    Disclaimer: I work for a company whose parent company is the same parent company of APC. However these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Protagonist Level 1 Level 1
    You can get a very nice unit for around $250 - $300 that is designed to be either rack mounted or free standing. Although perhaps a bit of overkill they do let you continue to surf through shorter power outages. If you just want something to gracefully shut down after a few minutes I would suggest the $100 - $150 dollar range. As far as I am concerned an UPS is essential when you are talking about the amount you spent for your computer.
  • rkaufmann87 Level 9 Level 9
    In general most folks are really confused when it comes to which UPS is needed. Everyone's needs are slightly different so it's impossible to say which one is right for you but you can easily determine what is right.

    First is determine exactly what components you want to be connected to the UPS. Connecting things like lamps, USB hubs, printers, cameras etc.. is a waste of resources. Items like your the computer, critical external HD's etc.. are more important.

    Next determine how much time you want to have the system stay up when the power goes down. This can range from 10 minutes to several hours, so you have decide what you need.

    Then simply calculate how much power each of the devices connected draw and then you can determine what model is correct for you.

    It's not difficult it just takes a little forethought.
  • Bakes99 Level 1 Level 1
    Been doing much reading on this. I have a basic I7 on the way and am severely confused on which one I need. Informed by one of the computer stores that our city has a lot of "dirty power/brownouts" (kind of know what he means, I think) Also, probably wanted to unload one of his UPS's.

    Most posts and info I read seem to lean towards a Smart UPS, being not "simulated" or "modulated" or what ever else "ulated". True sine wave. I've also read that many people swear by the simulated sine wave units and others don't care much for them.
    Anywho, from what I can gather, I don't need a large one for the average power consumption of the Imac. But apparently it's not the average consumption that is the concern, but the initial boot up, or a wake from sleep (due to power outage) in which the Imac may require a quick spike or higher surge of power than average consumption. Is any of this accurate?

    On to my question. Many posters, this forum and others, seem to think that 1500VA is what is needed, 900+watts. I am looking at a the SMT line which was formerly SAU. Would the SMT 1000 work for me, considering the only thing accompanying the I7 on start up would probably be a USB hub and maybe an external hard drive? And is it accurate, that if you use a Smart UPS that you can use a lower wattage UPS? I don't need it to run a long time during a power outage, I would just want to exit and safely shut down my Imac. If it's sleeping, to be able to gracefully shut itself down if I'm away from the computer.

    As you've already guessed, I not an engineer, so feel free to correct any or all of the info I just spewed out.

    Any info is appreciated.
  • Steve M. Level 5 Level 5
    Agreed, it is confusing. That's why I'm still using my APC Back-UPS ES 725 that is several years old, still on its first battery and which I originally bought for use with my G4 flat panel iMac. I probably should consider replacing it soon but I hate dealing with the confused buying picture out there.

    Anyway, this unit has seen me through more than a handful of sudden outages over the years and allowed me to gracefully shutdown my old iMac and my new one as well. It would also do the unattended graceful shutdown but so far I've always been around.

    So this unit has been more than adequate for me, to the best of my knowledge. I'm no electrical engineer so I really can't say how "critical" true sine or simulated or modulated or whatever is.

    Steve M.
  • Steve M. Level 5 Level 5
    Just curious, have you tried your old APC UPS with your new iMac?

    Steve M.
  • JoeJoe2009 Level 1 Level 1
    This is a very common question, a lot of people run into difficulties when selecting a good UPS for their Mac. As someone said in an earlier post, the worst thing to do is spend a fortune on your Mac but cheapen out on the battery backup.

    The problem with the cheapo battery backups is that most Mac power supplies are not compatible with them. The lower end UPSs don't output a sinewave, instead they output a square wave or a simulated wave. This actually works with most PCs, but Mac power supplies have a hard time with them.

    Also, most of the low end UPSs that don't output a sinewave don't offer very good protection either. They don't offer AVR boost/drop and and they don't offer too much power filtering. If you're going to back it up it might as well be useful and protect your equipment.

    The 27" iMac uses 365W of power maximum. That means in actuality it probably uses less during normal operating circumstances. At a bare minimum, you could get away with a unit like the SMT750 which has a maximum of 500W. That unit would provide the iMac 27" 5 minutes of runtime, power filtering, avr boost/drop and surge protection. Keep in mind, you're not really going to be able to plug in any other hardware because the UPS is almost fully loaded.

    If there are switches, phones, modems then you need to move up to the SMT1000. That unit has a maximum of 670W and would provide 17 minutes of runtime for the Mac. You could plug in additional appliances such as modems and phones.

    If the budget is an issue, you could buy yourself ample protection by buying refurbished units with new batteries. Our office has 38 refurbished units with new batteries and they work like a charm. For the same money as the new unit, you could get double the protection from a refurbished unit. Similar to the models described above, these models would work perfectly: SUA750, SUA1000, or to get the most run time on a regular outlet the SUA1500. There's a huge value proposition to buying refurbished units with new batteries and a warranty.

    The bottom line is get yourself adequate protection or else you're risking your equipment and your data. Whether you buy it new or refurbished, make sure you're getting your money's worth.

    Message was edited by: JoeJoe2009
  • Bakes99 Level 1 Level 1
    Hi JoeJoe2009
    Your post was very helpful. I think I will take your advice and go for one of the SUA units (maybe a refurb) from APC. I've seen a couple on line. Do you think the 1000VA would be enough for the I7 with maybe a USB hub and maybe an external HD, or do you recommend the 1500. Want it basically to ensure clean power is reaching my Imac and to do a graceful shut down if Im away from the computer. Would definitely go with the 1000 if there is no question about whether this would suit my needs. What I don't want is to run into the problem of the ups not having enough wattage to cover any spikes in power consumption needed to start or wake the Imac.
    Your post was very informative to me and reinforced my notion to go with the Smart series.


    Message was edited by: Bakes99
  • JoeJoe2009 Level 1 Level 1
    Hi Bakes99,

    The APC Smart-UPS 1000 should provide you around 17 minutes with just the Imac. The USB hub, a router and a modem don't consume too much power so you'll still have a good run time.

    If you don't mind the difference in price between the SUA1000 and the SUA1500, the 1500 will provide a longer run time. The iMac alone on the SUA1500 will provide 38 minutes of run time.

    But, if you don't need that kind of run time you don't need to spend the extra money. The actual protection and power filtering is identical between the units. The only real advantage of spending the extra money is if you need a longer run time or if you plan to add additional items to the UPS. Keep in mind, the 1500 will cost more in maintenance as it has a bigger battery which costs more. It's important to size the UPS right.

    The Smart-UPS is definitely the way to go. It's the most protection and the most value.
  • Bakes99 Level 1 Level 1
    Hey that's great info. Just pulled the trigger on a SUA 1500, as they had a sale on this unit. 389 (new) Canadian with half decent shipping rates. Not bad for us up North. Feel like I can lay this to rest not.
    Thanks again
  • JoeJoe2009 Level 1 Level 1
    Hi Bakes99,

    Congratulations! That's a great price for a great unit. You'll see when you get it, that UPS is like a tank, data center class protection. It will work great!