The best uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can help protect even the sturdiest of PCs. If you're unfamiliar with the term, an uninterruptible power supply essentially acts as a fancy surge protector and protects your PC in the event of sudden power loss. There's the very real risk that expensive components can become damaged if exposed to too much—or too little—power, so it's definitely worth investing in a good uninterruptible power supply for peace of mind.
A UPS isn't the first thing you'll think to invest in when you're pricing out your next extreme gaming PC build but it's something that's worth considering if you want to safeguard your rig. Aside from the components inside the case, any device that is plugged into your gaming PC is also at risk from power fluctuations, like your gaming monitor or any other electronics—and, of course, UPS protection isn't limited to just gaming rigs. If you do decide to add one to your shopping list, you shouldn't have to replace it for several years since they have a good deal of longevity.
If you're still unsure if you need one, or want clarification on how it actually works, a UPS is basically a big car battery connected to a surge protector. When it's connected to a main power source (a wall outlet), the battery will charge and then maintain a regular power supply to whatever is connected to it. In the event of sudden power loss, the UPS will switch over to battery power, allowing your PC to run long enough for you to save your work and shut it down safely. There aren't many things out there that will help to safeguard your PC against acts of god, but a good uninterruptible power supply is certainly one of them.
The Best Uninterruptible Power Supplies for gaming
1. Cyberpower CP1500PFCLCD
The best UPS for most gamers
The CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD 1500VA is one of the best UPSes on the market. Several factors contribute to it being our top pick for most gamers. First, the CP1500PFCLCD 1500VA has enough juice to handle the majority of gaming machines on the market, even if you're running dual GPUs. Unless you've got systems with ten hard drives, quad-way GPU, 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.
Given its ample power reserves, the CP1500PFCLCD is also a great pick coming in at less than $220 for a 900 watt unit. This is a stunning price as just several short years ago, a similarly specced UPS would easily approach $500.
One of the most important features of the CP1500PFCLCD is its true sine-wave output. Most UPSes in its price range only provide simulated sine-wave output, which is 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 basically unheard of, so kudos to CyberPower for delivering on quality power output.
2. Cyberpower EC650LCD
The best UPS for your network and accessories
For smaller accessories and network equipment, the CyberPower EC650LCD is the best pick for most people. At a price point of less than $60 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 also 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. Essentially, 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 displays if your PC is asleep or powered down.
There are four surge-only sockets, three of which are ECO mode sockets, and four battery backed up sockets. I also like the fact that two of the ports have extra clearance around them for devices that have huge wall warts. The best use case for the EC650LCD is for connecting your displays and your network equipment. During testing, the EC650LCD successfully powered off both my display and my speakers when I powered off my PC. Power was promptly returned to both devices when the PC was turned back on.
3. APC BE600M1
The best UPS for small accessories
The name APC is synonymous with high-quality UPS products. I myself 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.
Out of the units that APC sent me, the BE600M1 Back-UPS was my favorite and one that is perfect for most users who want to protect their accessories and lower powered products, such as routers and peripherals. The BE600M1 is small and is made for sitting on a desk, where ports are in an arm's reach for conveniently plugging in a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.
APC's BE600M1 is great 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 wifi router, the unit will have enough juice in it to let you browse the Internet in peace for several hours while you're deprived of electricity in the rest of your house. Priorities.
The best part of the BE600M1 is its size. Most UPSes 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.