Great site - my first posting!

I support a number of small business for all things computing. I protect the servers with APC Smart-UPS 1000. The do just what they were bought to do.

However, I dont protect any of the workstations. Recently we had a power surge and I have replaced four PC power supplies in the last few months.

Does anyone use surge protection for their workstations and if so what?

With regards

Graham Jones

  • 1
    I thought this post would be a rant against surge protection (i.e. anti- surge protection) Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 14:10
  • How about you play the devil's advocate and simulate an anti-surge protection rant for our amusement? =)
    – Wesley
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 14:43
  • 1
    This may help serverfault.com/questions/23064/… Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 15:12
  • There is a certain... personality on the net who rages against all surge protection except the premise type. He (and others) worship at the alter of the True Earth Ground. Having worked in the real world, and realizing that even airplanes have a concept of ground, we can safely ignore these personalities and apply these useful and money-saving devices.
    – kmarsh
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 15:54
  • Keep a close eye on those systems, btw. Since you have had to replace the power supplies, there is a better than average chance that you could have cascading failures. Good luck.
    – RascalKing
    Commented Jul 7, 2009 at 17:12

8 Answers 8


At the office every computer has a APC 350 for basic power protection. They don't last long, but with power chute installed they will last long enough to shut down gently. At home where the budget is a little smaller I use this guy:


It will save you 20% over or under on power surge and sag. For $20 you can't beat it.


At one place I worked at we had very dirty power (and the power company had a bad habit of cutting off service without prior warning). We let our HP DC series PCs fend for themselves on the dirty power (except for VIPs) and they were mostly fine. However we had a fleet of about 25 to 30 Mac G5s (and later the Intel variety). Those aluminium beasties are notoriously picky about the power that they want. The slightest change in voltage would cause "unfavorable results". Thus we mandated that with every Mac desktop that was purchased an APC RS 1500 must accompany it. Yes it was expensive, but it was fun to hear a symphony of power units beep all across the office whenever the voltage changed too much.


I've worked in old building where the electrical system was, let say, less then reliable. We had workstation plugged in UPS where we experience the most frequent fluctuation simply because we did not want the personnel to loose their work if a powerdip lasted long enough to cause the computer to shutdown. We used the smallest APC UPS we could get since it only needed to last for a few seconds (5 minutes at best if we had a power outage). The one thing we had to do however is buy the cheap child power outlet protector (you can get these everywhere) to prevent staff from plugging it fans or other motor into the unit.

In other parts of the building, where the electrical system had be redone "recently". We used APC brand surge protector. Our experience was that the cheap surge protector that you can get at Walmart did not always trip when it should thus allowing the powersupply and computer component to be damaged during a surge.


I can highly recommend the APC Back-UPS ES 700. We have a few at work and I also have a couple at home. They come with 8 sockets total, with 4 being battery backed. It also comes with a socket to plug your phone line into and you can connect to it via USB, so it can detect for power failures and perform an automatic shut down. Although I must admit the software is ropey.

Also, this post may be of use to you.


We use APC Smart-UPS 1000s on our workstations.


Every workstation, IP phone, monitor, printer, etc is protected by a consumer-grade surge protector here. In the case of mission-critical workstations, we have a mixture of APC UPS devices that provide surge protection, power cleaning, and battery backup.

This should be the case wherever electronics are used.


Even relatively low cost surge suppressors are vital (APC, Tripp Lite etc) in business operations. You can get bulk deals if you need to build in inventory for initial role out.

Be aware, you may protect your servers, but if a workstation is hit by a major strike, there is always a minor chance it can carry elsewhere on the network.


Yes, Brick Wall and Tripp-Lite ISOBAR are the gold standards in non-UPS power conditioning. I I use these for anything more costly than a standard IT workstation.

Even the cheap powerstrips can provide protection. I worked at a place where the 660V line crossed a lower voltage line just outside. Everything powered-on not on a cheap power strip died. Almost everything on a cheap surge protector lived (except for the power strip).

Mass market PC power supplies have high failure rates, though not quite as bad as a few years ago. Generally anything that is 80Plus certified is pretty reliable. Read http://www.JohnnyGuru.com for more details.

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