Yet Another Gaming Accessory with RGB: Uninterruptible Power Supply!by Dr. Ian Cutress on September 28, 2020 9:41 AM EST
- Posted in
- RGB LED
- Schneider Electric
Just when you thought there was a gaming version of everything, with shiny flashing LEDs – we’ve seen storage SSDs, M.2 drives, fans, speakers, chairs, keyboards, headsets, mice, even backpacks, there’s still one that you are missing. Enter the Schneider Electric APC Back-UPS Pro Gaming UPS.
A UPS, or Uninterruptable Power Supply, enables whatever is plugged into it to keep functioning during a power outage, as well as help smooth out power delivery in areas that might suffer from fluctuating brown-outs. At the heart of any UPS is a big battery, capable of sustaining a power load for a specified amount of time. Normal UPS devices for PCs deal with basic office machines, however it is the workstation and gaming market that need to survive on systems pulling 500W to 1000W continuously, and as a result the batteries have to be bigger, but also have to supply enough juice.
Normally the goal of the UPS, when it takes over from a power outage, is to give the user enough time to save their work and close down the system. For gaming, this means finishing the match. This Pro Gaming UPS also provides additional connections for routers and hotspots, keeping the external internet connection going (assuming the gaming machine and the router are in the same location).
So what makes a UPS a gaming-related UPS? LEDs, preferably RGB LEDs. This unit has 12 of them, all seemingly in that ring around a mini display. The chassis itself comes in either an Arctic or Midnight color, and the unit's display shows how much of the battery is charged and the expected lifetime when running on battery only mode.
The unit has six battery back-up outlets for devices to keep powered during a power outage, and supports a true sine wave output. A further four outlets are provided as surge protected outlets, similar to a standard 4-way socket extension. Two USB Type-A and a Type-C port are on the front in order to charge smartphones and tablets.
The press release provided unfortunately doesn’t go into any detail about the capacity of the UPS. Typically with a UPS one would expect some technical details regarding time and peak power – running a 50W HTPC will clearly last longer than a 1600W gaming machine. Based on the design, it looks like a repackaged BR1500MS, a unit with a total of 10 outlets capable of a peak 900W or 1500VA. The BR1500MS runtime graph shows that:
- At 100W, 77.7 minutes of power
- At 500W, 12.0 minutes of power
- At 900W, 4.1 minutes of power
The unit takes 16 hours to charge. The BR1500MS retails for $220. The Gaming UPS has an extra USB port, and we wonder how much the RGBs might cost too.
As we don’t know any details about this specific gaming UPS (BGM1500 for Arctic, BGM1500B for Midnight), it would be hard to draw conclusions. The device is set for launch in October, but also there is no indication of which markets it will launch in. If we find out more we will update this news piece.
It’s worth noting that a UPS doesn’t save you from a BSOD. But the PR agency involved are probing to see who wants review samples. It would be an interesting unit to test. The question would be how to test.
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drexnx - Monday, September 28, 2020 - linknone of the SOHO options are double conversion online
eastcoast_pete - Monday, September 28, 2020 - linkDid I overlook it, or was there anything about these also functioning as line conditioners?
Kevin G - Monday, September 28, 2020 - linkI used to live at a place that had a power outage about once a month which made the UPS I got the best computer hardware purchase I've ever made. This is one of those things I recommend everyone gets regardless of the size of system.
As for RGB, I'm generally meh about it but it is one of those things that can serve a higher purpose is the system is programmable enough. Do things like turn amber during a brown out or red + audible alarm during an outage. That has value if you are one to stuff the unit in a place you could see it but not hear it.
One deal breaker for me though is the lack of network management options. At work I'm loving the ability to remotely access small UPS units in various small racks to check up on things and get email alerts when something happens. Combine that with some environmental sensors (temp, humidity), even the most basic units have paid themselves off helping monitor remote areas in this pandemic where a person may not have gone for months. I've also seen units with integrated data logging so if it was just the network going down, data can be re-synched with monitoring tools when the connection comes back online. That is overkill for the target market but basic remote monitoring would be very, very welcome.
The other feature I'd want for something like this would power on sequencing which does make sense for the targeted market: gaming rigs are high current devices and staggering when they boot vs. other equipment helps prevent overloading. Timers and current monitoring would be icing on the cake as bonus features.
For consumer usage, leveraging Bluetooth to pass alerts to your phone and configuration would be handy as that is something that doesn't make sense for the environments other high end features are aimed at. This would be super nice for things like alerting on the UPS needing battery service as this is something consumers tend to forget about.
stancilmor - Monday, September 28, 2020 - linkTest it on a system pulling 400 watts, 650 watts, and 850 watts.
Or spend the money and buy a chromausa electronic load and test using that.
shadowjk - Tuesday, September 29, 2020 - linkAs for tests metric wishlist:
- Waveform (this UPS can't possibly be truesine)
- peak voltage (relevant for 230V land, must not exceed rating of capacitors in PSU)
- total harmonic distortion
- does the included crapwa.. excuse me, software actually shut down the machine before UPS runs out of juice?
And test wishlist:
Full load test with simulated (if the anandtech heatsink bench is available) and real-life load, using both low efficiency PSU without 80+ rating (or lowest possible rating), and some 80+
There used to be PSUs and UPS that didn't get along, in particular APFC vs modified sine.
Cold start test (start from dead mains with PSU that has been without power at least 5 minutes).
Light load test with "wallwart" type loads such as WiFi router.
Examination of physical design, will the batteries still be extractable without special tools after they swell up into balloons, or will you have to cut through the chassis?
Superbonus if someone knowledgeable could look at the circuitry, is the battery charger temperature compensated, is the inverter section undersized or oversized in components and heatsinking, etc...
PaulHoule - Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - linkThe UPS is one of those market areas where the market doesn't really clear and products don't improve over time.
After a weekend-long power outage I researched UPSes in depth and wasn't happy with what I saw. In the end I bought a medium-sized APC UPS and use it just to power a DSL modem and a cordless phone basestation. The server and the internal network go down, but I have OK comms with cordless phones as well as laptops and tablets with the WiFi on the DSL modem that would otherwise be disabled as a source of QRM.
The UPS is great at what it does, but it costs more than the hardware that it protects.
My server is a moderate sized tower computer with a 1050 graphics card. The cost of a UPS system that could keep it running for more than a few minutes is eye-popping and if I really wanted to battery back-up the server I'd seriously consider building a minimum-power server which would probably means an off brand microprocessor, no RAID array, no GFX card, if Plex gets bogged down playing 720p video that is the price of having battery back-up. For that machine to be useful I'd have to also add at least one network switch and who knows what else. I'd spend a lot of time switching out components to get a system that is reliable on a good day with the expectation that the whole kit'n'kaboodle might burn up on the day that the power goes out.
I wargamed out a next-generation system that takes advantage of Lithium batteries, state-of-the-art-power supplies, DC-DC power conversion, etc. When I did so I found there are multiple reasons why the current state of the art is the state of the art. For instance with 12V power transmission you don't need to go far at all before you pay for the inverter.
shadowjk - Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - linkLi-Ion comes at a premium. if you have space or weight constraints it's worth paying the premium. Another "bonus" is that mistreated Li-Ion reacts rather violently, which incentives some bean-counters to not cheap out too much on battery management.
But most of the time for stationary applications lead-acid batteries makes the most sense.
At some point in time allegedly Google had motherboards built that accepted wide range of input voltage, so they could feed power directly from a 12V battery, and each server had its own battery built-in.
PaulHoule - Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - linkIf your goal was to make a "higher performance" UPS than what is on the market, say, have enough power to ride through a 2-day outage, then I think you'd think differently about the space constraint.
The UPS that can power two gadgets for 2 days is similar to the server in size and weight. That UPS might be able to power that server for a few minutes. A scaled-up UPS based on lead-acid batteries capable of "working through an outage" as opposed to "enjoy a few minutes of terror in which to save your work" would be an order of magnitude bigger and heavier than the server itself.
If you "aim low" there is no space constraint here, but if you "aim high" the space constraint is notable.
shadowjk - Thursday, October 1, 2020 - linkAh you're thinking on the scale of Tesla powerwall :)