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Question Is a true sine wave UPS necessary?

Atif

Platinum Member
Oct 10, 2001
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I'm in the market for a UPS to go with this PC that I put together for my sister about two months ago:

https://leenabutt.com/halal-recipes/leens-mean-dream-machine

We don't live in a rural area or have infrastructure issues that result in frequent brownouts, but we figured better safe than sorry.

In using the eXtreme Outer Vision PSU calculator, at 100% utilization, it indicated we should expect a 505W load.

With that said, I was seriously tempted by this deal, however I was scared off when I saw some comments that modern power supplies with PFC may require a true sine wave output:

https://slickdeals.net/f/13277716-apc-900va-ups-back-ups-w-9-outlets-6-ups-all-9-surge-bn900m-59-99

First, would the above UPS be adequate for this particular PC? Second, if not, would this guy be:

https://www.cyberpowersystems.com/product/ups/cp1000pfclcd/

Thank you all for your time and expertise!
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
13,077
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That PFC and pure sine wave was more of an issue when PFC power supplies first came out. Since that time, both technologies have made changes, so outside of someone using some no-name junk power supply, it will likely work just fine.

That said, I personally do use pure sine wave UPS system for my PCs they are generally built a little bit better, and the power they provide is much closer to what the wall provides. There's detailed articles out there on what the wave length is for a standard UPS vs pure sine wave, so you can look further into that if you like.

Finally, as far as the units you linked above go as far as working for your stated needs. The first one, is only a 480w unit, so it would really be too small for your needs. Your PC is unlikely to be pulling 500W+, but it doesn't give you much margin for error (or run-time for that matter).

The 2nd one you linked to, is 600w and should cover your needs adequately. I generally keep my PC on UPS units that are 800w+, and if you watch for them to be one sale, you can get a 800w - 900w pure sine wave, or the standard model anywhere from $100 - $130. I own 6 of the units, and that is the price range I've bought all of them spanning almost 8 years or so. I've bought all of mine on sale at Newegg, Amazon, and B&H Photo.
 
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UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
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Here are the units I own. I own two of these for my home entertainment system (TV, speakers, receiver, Xbox, Blu-Ray player, etc.): https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FBK3QK

Here is the unit I have four of my desktops on: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00429N19M

I looked at my purchase history, and I paid between $110 and $130 for each unit. If you keep an eye on SlickDeals (or use a service like https://camelcamelcamel.com/), you can save a good amount compared to their normal prices.
 
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bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
31,252
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I have two CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD. I have my main rig on one and my home server on the other. I then split up the networking equipment between the two of them. I have an APS 1000VA True Sine on the missus' AMD 7850K computer. When the power goes out, my computers stay on and connected. Most outages are short in duration. For those, I can keep everything up for close to an hour. Just don't game or do anything that is power hungry.
 

JEDIYoda

Lifer
Jul 13, 2005
32,787
2,729
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personally do use a pure ocean wave UPS system for my PCs they are generally built a little bit better, and the power they provide is much closer to what the wall provides.
Everything is water cooled....
 

burninatortech4

Senior member
Jan 29, 2014
345
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I use a Tripp Lite SMART1500LCDT (900w)

I haven't had any issues with it paired with the Silverstone ST750F-PT. My apartment has very dirty power and I regularly get brownouts.

It is not pure sine wave unfortunately but I couldn't beat the price for the wattage class. The AVR range is really good and it rarely needs to go on battery. Tripp lite also (generally) has very good hardware build quality. I've issues with CyberPower units arriving DOA in the past and I don't trust them anymore.
 

dlerious

Senior member
Mar 4, 2004
815
168
116
Here are the units I own. I own two of these for my home entertainment system (TV, speakers, receiver, Xbox, Blu-Ray player, etc.): https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FBK3QK

Here is the unit I have four of my desktops on: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00429N19M

I looked at my purchase history, and I paid between $110 and $130 for each unit. If you keep an eye on SlickDeals (or use a service like https://camelcamelcamel.com/), you can save a good amount compared to their normal prices.
I have 3 of the CP1500PFCLCD on my desktops and OL1500RTXL2UN for my server. I have an alarm clock and light hooked up to a 1000VA UPS.
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
48,410
5,101
126
That said, I personally do use pure sine wave UPS system for my PCs
The 2nd one you linked to, is 600w and should cover your needs adequately. I generally keep my PC on UPS units that are 800w+, and if you watch for them to be one sale, you can get a 800w - 900w pure sine wave, or the standard model anywhere from $100 - $130. I own 6 of the units, and that is the price range I've bought all of them spanning almost 8 years or so. I've bought all of mine on sale at Newegg, Amazon, and B&H Photo.
I've got both of my main rigs hooked up to 1350VA APC "pure sine" consumer units. Paid maybe $150-160 ea., for them at Newegg. Maybe a little less. Watch for sales, especially ones with Free Shipping. (UPS units are HEAVY, at least the good ones are.)

Edit: Oh, re: the bolded. I like a little overkill too. I actually currently have TWO Ryzen rigs, an overclocked 1600 @ 3.80Ghz, and a 3600 at stock, both crunching PrimeGrid 12 threads in BOINC on each rig, and they haven't shut down. (No GPU crunching, that might overload the UPS.)
 

Torn Mind

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2012
3,426
88
91
Pure sine is more versatile and can even be used in an emergency for non-tech purposes such as appliances.

However, functionally speaking, there is very little to gain with pure sine and most PSU's. It's the slightly more battery life that is the benefit. However, if a unit has useless frills like LCDs etc that jack up the cost and cuts down the battery size, then whatever battery life gained from pure sine is lost. How many amp-hours per dollar is what should be driving UPS purchases, along with what type of circuitry(standby, on-line interactive, double conversion). Since lead-acid batteries are heavy, weight/$ is a good proxy of measuring Ah/$.

Tiny "network" UPSes are a total scam when a gargantuan one can provide far more runtime in an emergency.
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
48,410
5,101
126
It's the slightly more battery life that is the benefit.
I think that you are mistaken. I have some person experience with this. PSUs that were not designed for stepped-wave UPSes, will suddenly shut down, when the UPS switches to battery power. Or make a sudden loud noise, as it is hard on them.

Just strictly for "equipment compatibility" (especially PFC ATX PSUs), I strongly recommend a "Pure sine" unit.
 

Torn Mind

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2012
3,426
88
91
I think that you are mistaken. I have some person experience with this. PSUs that were not designed for stepped-wave UPSes, will suddenly shut down, when the UPS switches to battery power. Or make a sudden loud noise, as it is hard on them.

Just strictly for "equipment compatibility" (especially PFC ATX PSUs), I strongly recommend a "Pure sine" unit.
Making sure the PSU actually follows the ATX guidelines for hold-up time and getting a double conversion unit are the more significant factors in assuring that the PC will never shut down due that one electrical irregularity.

More waste energy is emitted with non-sine wave in forms such as heat or noise. But noise is just that, noise. For the few thousand hours of life a PSU has, it's a drop in the bucket to run 1 hour on a modified sine save. Especially since modern PSUs are well overbuilt to filter inputs.

Whereas, the windings on an induction motor(refrigerators, A/C) are sensitive to the excessive heat and thus prolonged running on square or modified sine waves will cause a shorter lifespan.
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
48,410
5,101
126
More waste energy is emitted with non-sine wave in forms such as heat or noise. But noise is just that, noise. For the few thousand hours of life a PSU has, it's a drop in the bucket to run 1 hour on a modified sine save. Especially since modern PSUs are well overbuilt to filter inputs.
Again, it's not about wasted energy at all... it either WORKS or it DOESN'T WORK. Chances are much higher for the latter, if you pair up a modern PFC PSU, with an older non-sine UPS.
 

Torn Mind

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2012
3,426
88
91
Again, it's not about wasted energy at all... it either WORKS or it DOESN'T WORK. Chances are much higher for the latter, if you pair up a modern PFC PSU, with an older non-sine UPS.
"Much" is an exaggeration. Pull out the plug on a non-pure sine UPS and most PSUs will runs just fine for someone to shut the computer off or put it into hibernation. I've used a CyberPower 685AVR UPS and except for once, it provide the buffer against voltage variations that could have shut down the computer. That one time was very odd in which the power was rapidly going in and out and more of a condemnation of standby and line-interactive in general or the PSU not having hold-up time rather than being an issue with having a sine wave.

Pure sine, LCDs, "ECO" naming, is mostly made to get suckers to fork over money in the "no man's land" of UPS. Basically, instead of paying $150, they buyer gets convinced to pay $80-100 more for little actual gain. But the gold standard of data protection and equipment of protection are double conversion, true online UPS because there's no switching failure risk and the battery and circuits in the UPS are true sacrificial lambs that will always absorb a lightning strike, brownout, or whatever faults.

I'd much rather run something like the OPTI-UPS DS1000B if I truly want peace of mind for my data. https://www.amazon.com/OPTI-UPS-DS1000B-Durable-6-Outlet-Uninterruptible/dp/B0009RNRYU#customerReviews
 
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VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
48,410
5,101
126
Well, I'm just saying, that there WAS A TIME, where PFC PSUs were a new thing, and most consumer-based UPSes (even sized correctly) were of the stepped-wave variety, and they DID NOT MIX WELL. Perhaps most current PFC PSUs are adapted to function at least minimally with a stepped-wave UPS, but I prefer to have 100% functional compatibility, which is why I chose a "pure sine" UPS. Yes, they were more money. No, they are not just marketing, I've seen the issues first-hand.

Edit: That being said, most devices that run off of a wal-wart or laptop-style power adapter, do not mind a stepped-wave UPS. I have my NAS units on one of those, and they haven't had an issue.

But I've heard screeching noises, and seen sudden shutdowns, from mixing stepped-wave UPSs with early PFC PSUs. Not a good mixture.
 
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