For Providing Us With This FINE Product to Review
While at a LAN or at Home, power is often an issue with computers. At some LANs, power outages can occur multiple times, and while you WERE playing a sweet game of quake 3 having a good time, you find yourself looking around as the people still getting power laugh at you. From Belkin comes this VERY high quality Universal UPS 800VA. If you do not exactly know what UPS stands for, it is basically a ?backup? source of power..also known as a battery. If power happens to go out in a room, this particular model can supply power to a computer for up to 45 minutes, depending on how much power the computer requires. To point out some of the key features with this product, it has the ability to hook into your computer via USB AND/OR Serial in order to communicate. You may be asking yourself why a power source would need to communicate with a computer? Well- Belkin also includes a copy of their Belkin Bulldown Shutdown Software which allows you to monitor the battery?s current charge %, incoming voltages, outgoing voltages, load % among others, but in order to transfer this information it needs to communicate. This is useful because it will allow you to keep an eye on the charge of the battery to make sure that your system is able to shut down properly-without having the computer do a ?hard? shut down. Another nice feature we saw on this product was the ability to have both surge port(2) and surge/battery ports(4). I know that if I was running multiple computers on this one battery, I would plug the monitors into the surge only ports in order to save battery power in the long run and allow a longer uptime for the computers.
After allowing the battery to charge for 6 hours (required before use), I finally had a chance to plug in my computer and for testing purposes, my 17? monitor. From a 96% battery charge, after pulling the plug, we had 15 minutes of uptime before the Bulldog software took charge and decided to shut the computer down at 20% in order to assure a proper shutdown. To let you get an idea of the amount of power my computer used, the configuration is as follows:
-AMD Athlon XP 1700+
-Gigabyte GA-7dxr Mobo
-512mb PC2100 DDR MICRON
-TWO 80gb Western Digital hdds @ 7200rpm
-Geforce 4 mx440 64mb
-Netgear 10/100 NIC
-Hewlett Packard 10x CDRW
-Generic 48x Cdrom
-92mm panaflo fan
-60mm , 5000rpm heatsink fan
-TWO 80mm Clear Fans
-Enermax 431watt PSU
-2- Cold Cathodes (BLUE)
-17? Shamrock CRT monitor
If I was to test WITHOUT the monitor, this battery should have allowed for well over 25 minutes of usage.
Taking a look at the GUI of the Bulldog software, it is quite simple. By right clicking the gauges on the right, you are able to change what they are monitoring. Also- it keeps an updated LOG file of what has been happening as far as power going down, regaining power, charging etc. In the options above, you can also choose to have the computer shutdown after a specific TIME of the power going out from 60 seconds to several hundred minutes (default: 5 minutes) or you can set it to shutdown when the battery reaches a ?low? state (default: 20%). When the power was unplugged, an accented voice would play over the speakers ?The UPS is operating on battery power,? and would also notify you when the power was regained. As if this was not enough, Belkin also made the UPS beep every so often when the power is out to notify you if you are NOT using the software. We did however find one bug in the Bulldog software which would tell us the battery charge% different in the actual GUI than it would on the taskbar. Belkin was already aware of the problem and a NEW version of the software can be downloaded from: Belkin Download Site
Taking a look at the front panel, it?s rather simple. When the power is connected and working, the green LED up top is illuminated. When the power is lost, an orange LED is the illuminated signifying a loss of power. Below is an up close picture showing this example.
This all seems great, but for LANS, this particular UPS might not be ideal. After looking at the packing information I noticed that this product weighed 27lbs. I don?t know about you, but I don?t know if I would be comfortable with carrying an extra 27lbs to a lan party after already taking the monitor and case. Either way- if you are a dedicated lanner, the UPS is VERY important. If you have an office which loses power often enough to notice, this would also be helpful to you in that your computer is not immediately shutdown without saving anything like a normal surge protector. Preventing data loss is SO easy with this and the bulldog software even saves all program information to a file before shutting down. One last thing I would like to point out is the Belkin connected hardware warranty. I have noticed that a lot of UPS companies insure connected hardware for up to $50,000 on average, but Belkin went above and beyond with a $150,000 warranty! If that is not cool enough for you, this battery is able to hold a charge for 6 months as long as it is not in use! That is outrageous! If you think you may be interested in getting one of these excellent products, they sell for $119.00 on Belkin.com!