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Windows 7: UPS or no UPS? What's the risk after a blackout?

07 Aug 2015   #1
martinlest

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
 
 
UPS or no UPS? What's the risk after a blackout?

Hi,

I am buying a new gaming PC: i7-4790K CPU, nVidia GTX970, 2 x Corsair 256GB LX SSDs... The case is a Coolermaster Elite 130 (mini format) as I live abroad much of the year for my work and want to be able to take the PC unit as hand luggage on flights, to run MS Flight Simulator there.

Problem is, I am in Sri Lanka for my present contract (only a problem is respect of this PC - otherwise not!), where the current is very unsteady. I have a surge guard I plug into, but the real issue is sudden blackouts. Not all that common here, but much much more so than in the west.

Buying a suitable UPS adds a huge amount to the cost and for the odd occasion when a blackout coincides with my PC running, I wonder if it's worth it. Can there be hardware damage from a blackout? I've never noticed anything amiss like that before when I have lost power.

In 6 months I'll be back in the UK, so again, a disincentive to pay for a 650W+ UPS. (The PSU is 600W). Ideally I'd buy one, but getting it over here + cost... Don't want to risk any hardware damage though, needless to say. But is that really a possibility? O/S is Win7x64

What do folks advise?

Thanks,

Martin


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07 Aug 2015   #2
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

A power outage, while the PC is powered on, can cause untold damage. Corrupting the hard drive is one often problem. The surge protector, unless a high quality protector may not help you.
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07 Aug 2015   #3
martinlest

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
 
 

Thanks for the quick reply. From all the threads I have read before posting here, many people seem to say that it is a spike that can cause hardware damage (of course), but a power outage is unlikely to do so. Rebooting in Safe Mode and doing a disk check is what many recommend.

But who knows what is right or wrong on so many PC forums! More precise info would be welcome.

Many thanks
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07 Aug 2015   #4
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

Hi,
Yes it's worth wild investment to protect your machine

The other thing that is usually not considered is the sudden turning back on voltage and if it repeat 2-3 times,

Power outages are bad enough and eventually will do damage just consider yourself lucky so far

I just spent a lot of money on a new assembly and to protect that investment I also made an additional investment in a APC XS 1500
I call it a wise investment considering it's a fraction of the total price of the machines cost
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07 Aug 2015   #5
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

I used to manage a large WAN/LAN Network (My area was all the Government Agency I worked for computer equipment from west of the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and North Dakota to Texas). I've seen what power outages can do, if the equipment is not protected. Even here in the US with mostly "solid" AC power I will still have a UPS on my PC system and on my LCD HD TV.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2015   #6
martinlest

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
 
 

Yes, you are right I am sure. I wonder if anyone can recommend a UPS that would be suitable (small enough) to travel with and support a PC powered at 550-600W? I was looking at this, but I am not sure if it's powerful enough for the system I want to buy (can post a fuller spec if necessary)??

CyberPower VALUE 1000EILCD Value Series Uninterruptible Power Supply, 550W/1000VA: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

The next one up (720W/1200VA - option on the same page) is a big jump in price. (What is the VA value?). Is the 900W/1500VA an even better option (not a lot more than the 720W). Does the higher value give a better guarantee that the PC will stay on during a blackout? (I only need enough time to shut down the PC).

The 550W/1000VA is also a lot more transportable than the others - half the weight for one (specs down the page). Pointless though if it's not up to the job. I am not sure how the spec of the UPS corresponds to the spec of the PC. If the PSU is 600W, does that mean a 550W UPS is underpowered for that system?

Keep wondering if I'd be better with a laptop!

Thanks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2015   #7
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

For a mobile I would imagine you could get a lower type
The important thing to remember is these items are best served as a chance to properly save and shut down a machine if power is lost.

If it were a fixed location the highest would give you more time to possibly wait it out until the power recovers.
Budget usually dictates size.
Careful with Amazon try to buy products they sell and ship
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07 Aug 2015   #8
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

If the power to a PC is suddenly terminated while the PC is running (aka, a cold shutdown), anything in RAM will be lost. This will cause any unsaved work to be lost and various PC parameters that normally get saved when shutting down will also be lost, which can cause improper operation when you reboot. Often, a single cold shutdown will not be manifested upon reboot but each additional cold shutdown can have an accumulative effect until the time comes the PC either will reboot improperly or will not reboot at all. There also is the danger that voltage spikes and current surges can do additional (and permanent) physical damage to the PC although a good surge protector will usually protect against that.

A UPS will extend the operating time of a PC until it has time to shut down properly. Many will automatically hibernate an unattended PC a specified number minutes after an event (power failure) to ensure data and operating parameters are not lost. They also have built in live surge and spike protection as well as isolating computer from the mains after an event to give further surge and spike protection.

While a UPS is the best way to protect a computer from power outages, they are expensive and heavy, the latter being a problem when you travel. One way to protect yourself without lugging a UPS around is to never leave the PC running unattended so, if a power outage does occur, you can immediately disconnect it from the mains to avoid potentially damaging spikes and surges when the power resumes. By making frequent images of your computer and storing them externally, you can restore your original settings back to what they were at the time you made the image after a strike to reduce or even eliminate the cumaltive damage from the outages. An image restoration should be done after every cold shut down. Of course, you will lose any unsaved work with this method (although frequently saving your work will reduce the amount of loss) and there still is a possibility that damage will occur anyway but, at least, the chances of that may be reduced. A UPS is still the best alternative.
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07 Aug 2015   #9
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by martinlest View Post
Yes, you are right I am sure. I wonder if anyone can recommend a UPS that would be suitable (small enough) to travel with and support a PC powered at 550-600W? I was looking at this, but I am not sure if it's powerful enough for the system I want to buy (can post a fuller spec if necessary)??

CyberPower VALUE 1000EILCD Value Series Uninterruptible Power Supply, 550W/1000VA: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

The next one up (720W/1200VA - option on the same page) is a big jump in price. (What is the VA value?). Is the 900W/1500VA an even better option (not a lot more than the 720W). Does the higher value give a better guarantee that the PC will stay on during a blackout? (I only need enough time to shut down the PC).

The 550W/1000VA is also a lot more transportable than the others - half the weight for one (specs down the page). Pointless though if it's not up to the job. I am not sure how the spec of the UPS corresponds to the spec of the PC. If the PSU is 600W, does that mean a 550W UPS is underpowered for that system?

Keep wondering if I'd be better with a laptop!

Thanks
The UPS you linked does not specify that it has a pure sine wave output which means it almost certainly uses a stepped sine wave output. While, in the past, a stepped sine wave emulated a pure sine wave closely enough to be acceptable, many, if not most, modern electronic equipment, including newer computer PSUs, will not operate well on a stepped sine wave, if at all, and may even be damaged when operated for very long on a stepped sine wave. Unfortunately, pure sine wave UPSes are much more expensive and heavier than stepped sine wave units.

For travel, a laptop whould be a much better choice. Besides being far more portable, the laptop's battery would give you much more time to safely shut down and disconnect from the mains to ensure no damage or loss of data will occur from a cold shutdown and the spikes and surges when the power is restored
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07 Aug 2015   #10
Wandering one

Win7 sp1 Pro 64bit / XP sp2 Pro (games only)
 
 

I have always set the BIOS to require manual restart after power loss. More damage will be done with a momentary returns of the power source, and the likeliest time for power spikes.
Art.
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 UPS or no UPS? What's the risk after a blackout?




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