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The best uninterruptible power supply for PC gaming in 2022

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The best UPS backup will keep your machine running should your electricity supply fail. Whether that’s a blackout, brownout, or power surge, you’ll be covered long enough to save what you’re doing and turn off your machine safely. Given that power surges and interruptions can be bad news for PC components, this can ultimately save you money. And who doesn’t like saving money?

If you’ve got a high-end gaming PC, it’s a smart idea to pair it with an uninterrupted power supply as a backup. This protects your precious system from fluctuations in outlet power and acts as a surge protector, too. A UPS utilizes internal batteries to deliver a steady flow of power, and a good one will give you plenty of time to save your work or get to a save point, before shutting down your PC safely.

The time a UPS gives you to save your game or work will vary, depending on its power draw, and there are other things to consider, too. Each UPS below is tested and found to deliver exactly what we needed out of what should be an otherwise fairly unremarkable looking black box. So you can get a better read on which is best for you and your budget.

The best UPS for gaming PCs

1. CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD

(Image credit: APC)
The best UPS for most gamers

SPECIFICATIONS

Capacity: 900W | 1500VA
Voltage range: 160–265Vac
Surge protection: Yes
Dimensions: 265 x 100 x 370mm
Weight: 10.9kg

REASONS TO BUY

  • True sine-wave UPS
  • 900 watts sustained power delivery
  • Useful LCD screen for monitoring

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Premium pricing

The CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD 1500VA is one of the best UPS on the market. Several factors contribute to it being our top pick for most gamers. First, it has enough juice to handle most gaming machines, even if you’re running the beefiest of GPUs and an overclocked CPU. Unless you’ve got systems with ten hard drives, quad-way GPUs, and other accessories, the CP1500PFCLCD should have enough juice to last 10–20 minutes (longer if you have a more moderate rig) if a power failure occurs.

One of the most critical features of the CP1500PFCLCD is its true sine-wave output. Most UPS backups in their price range only provide sine-wave simulated production, a stepped sine-wave that approximates what you get out of your wall outlet. Some electronics are sensitive to simulated sine waves and will behave abnormally. At $214, having true sine-wave output is unheard of, so kudos to CyberPower for delivering such a quality output.

2. CyberPower EC650LCD

(Image credit: Cyberpower)
The best UPS for your network and accessories

SPECIFICATIONS

Capacity: 390W | 650VA
Voltage range: 96–140Vac
Surge protection: Yes
Dimensions: 150 x 79 x 269mm
Weight: 2.9kg

REASONS TO BUY

  • Good power reserves for its size
  • LCD screen for load monitoring
  • ECO mode for outlet management

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Won’t power high-end systems

For smaller accessories and network equipment, the CyberPower EC650LCD is the best pick for most. Coming in at $88 for 390W/650VA, the EC650LCD has enough power reserves to keep the average home network alive for well over 15 minutes, which is enough time to exit your game/applications, save all your work through the network, and shut everything off gracefully during a power outage.

The EC650LCD is small enough to hide away, taking up very little desktop room for a 390W unit. One of my favorite features of the EC650LCD is its array of ECO ports. These ports can be managed and timed to turn on or off, depending on your schedule or use case. The ECO ports will also power down accessories like your speakers and display if your PC is asleep or powered down.

3. APC BE600M1

(Image credit: APC)
  • The best UPS for small accessories

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Capacity: 330W | 600VA
  • Voltage range: 92–139Vac
  • Surge protection: Yes
  • Dimensions: 139 x 105 x 274mm
  • Weight: 3.49kg

REASONS TO BUY

  • Enough power for accessories and routers
  • Can power game consoles
  • Small and convenient size

REASONS TO AVOID

  • For your network, not your PC

The name APC is synonymous with high-quality UPS. I use three of the company’s Smart-UPS professional level units at home: two 1000VA units for my network and NAS gear and one 1500VA unit for my PC and displays.

APC’s BE600M1 is excellent at providing both battery and surge protection for the devices you use most every day. That is your phone and possibly a tablet. However, it has enough power reserves for you to plug in at least a router and a single display. If you only plan to use the BE600M1 to power a Wi-Fi router, the unit will have enough juice in it to let you browse the internet in peace for several hours, even if the electricity in the rest of your house is gone. Priorities.

The best part of the BE600M1 is its size. Most UPS are large and belong on the floor, but APC encourages you to put the BE600M1 on a desk. The unit provides a single 1.5A USB port for charging a phone or tablet, so you don’t have to use your device’s power adapter, which is inevitably a wall wart that potentially overlaps another socket or two, so you free up sockets for other devices.

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING A UPS BATTERY BACKUP 

UPS battery backup is a bit of a redundant term — uninterruptible power supply implies a battery — but it helps distinguish these from the shipping company. Here are a few other terms to know when you’re deciding which UPS unit will best get you through less-than-ideal power supply situations.

True Sine Wave or Simulated Sine Wave: Bottom line, one is more expensive. Energy from utility companies arrives at your home in an alternating current (AC), meaning the current fluctuates in polarity. If you mapped out that current, it would look like smooth (sine) waves. Batteries, like UPS batteries, supply direct current (DC) with no waves.

To supply a current that home electronics like to run on, a DC battery can either simulate the AC waves by producing peaks and valleys in the current, or by running the DC current through an inverter that converts the power to an AC current. While debates rage on across the internet as to whether simulated sine waves are dirt terrible or perfectly fine, a good rule of thumb is to opt for the pricier sine wave tech for your high-end computers and equipment. In our tests, a PS5 and an ASUS gaming PC were perfectly happy running on the simulated sine wave from the CyberPower CP1500AVRLCD. Your mileage may vary.

UPS Topology — Standby, Line-Interactive, and Double Conversion: Topology simply refers to the way a UPS unit operates. Again, the biggest difference you’ll notice is price. Standby (also called off-line) UPS units are the least expensive, double conversion (also called online) topology is typically reserved for specialized professional-grade tech, and line-interactive sits in the middle.

With standby UPS units, your equipment is fed power directly from your utility company until there’s a power loss, at which point the unit switches to battery. There’s sometimes a tiny lag. Double conversion or online takes every drop of incoming power and converts it to deliver optimal voltage to the equipment, typically only necessary for mission-critical operations and aren’t often used in home situations. Line-interactive is a good middle ground, layering on automatic voltage regulation (AVR) with the standard surge protection and battery backup of a UPS unit.

Shutdown Software: All the UPS units we covered offer some form of software that will perform a proper, or “graceful,” shutdown of your computer if the power happens to go out when you’re gone and your computer is on. Check the manufacturers’ websites to download the corresponding software for your unit (via futurism)

The best UPS for PC gaming FAQ

How long will a UPS last?

An uninterruptible power supply that rates at 1500VA should run your computer for a little under an hour. But if you’re trying to run your PC and your monitor from it, then you’re probably looking at more like ten minutes of up-time. A 650VA, at peak load, will maybe net you something in the range of seven minutes, though that is obviously with a far lower peak wattage.

What type of UPS should I buy?

There are two types of uninterruptible power supply to look out for when shopping around for your gaming PC: sine-wave and simulated sine-wave.

Sine-wave UPS backups deliver a smooth, consistent oscillation of AC power directly to your PSU. These are often the only type of UPS you’ll find recommended for gaming PCs due to their efficiency and clean power delivery.

What’s the difference between sine-wave and simulated sine-wave UPS?

A pure sine-wave signal will be a match for the AC mains power your PSU is expected from your mains. Essentially, your PC shouldn’t know the difference between your UPS battery power and the power coming from the wall.

Simulated sine-wave UPS deliver a stepped, approximated waveform using pulse-width modulation (PWM). That’s the same concept used to control PC case fan RPM. These are often far less expensive than pure sine-wave UPS and can be useful for peripherals, small devices, and monitors. However, since the waveform is not always exact, these may not function as intended with PSUs that demand a stable and consistent input.

When your UPS detects a power surge or cut it will switch to battery power. How it delivers that battery power to your PC or accessories is when sine-wave versus simulated sine-wave matters most. That’s because some PSUs will actually recognise a simulated sine-wave frequency and shut down suddenly to protect themselves from the unexpected oddity in power. Thus, your UPS won’t actually be saving your PC from a loss of power.

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