Even the best UPS can’t supply your PC with power long enough to allow you to finish that level or play an entire match of your favorite multiplayer title during a power outage. However, uninterruptible power supplies can give you at least a couple of minutes of power, enough to create a save, if the game supports manual saving.
If the outage’s short enough, a quality UPS is able to push your PC through the blackout unscathed, without turning it off. Uninterruptible power supplies also keep your PC from shutting down during brownouts (voltage drops that can shut the appliances down for a brief moment) and protect your devices from power surges.
Higher-end models come with voltage regulation and extra features such as LCD screens or true sine-wave inverters. Today we will show you the best uninterruptible power supplies for your gaming PC. Each of our picks works excellently with most gaming PCs. Even our budget choice has high-enough peak power output to keep a mid-range gaming PC alive for a few minutes.
What are Uninterruptible Power Supplies & How They Work?
In a nutshell, a UPS is a massive battery connected with some electronics and packed inside a case. A UPS can deliver power to various appliances during outages and brownouts. While most units are portable and relatively small, UPSs can get bigger if needed, especially industrial-grade ones.
Aside from the battery, every UPS also includes a power inverter needed to transform the battery’s (DC) power into AC power. Modern uninterruptible power supplies, even the most basic models, also come with surge protectors.
Then you have extra features such as voltage regulation, LCDs, coax and ethernet connectors, and true sine-wave inverters. These features are primarily found in pricier UPSs. We’ll discuss the differences between true and simulated sine-wave inverters later.
When it comes to the specs, aside from the battery capacity, UPSs are also ranked according to the maximum power output the included power inverter can deliver. This number is listed in volt-amps or watts. Most uninterruptible power supplies have their maximum power output listed both in volt-amps (VA) and watts (W).
There are three main types of UPS. UPSs found in the consumer market come in the standby and line-interactive flavors. The former is the basic design that turns on the battery power during a power outage. The latter includes active voltage regulation and can iron out the voltage and keep delivering direct AC in the case of negligible interferences and brownouts.
Finally, you have the online design. Online UPSs are sold to businesses and industrial clients. They feature the most advanced design that constantly supplies machines with stable power from the battery. These units are usually massive and include active cooling that’s pretty loud.
What is the Best Use Case for a UPS in a Gaming Room?
A UPS cannot power your gaming PC for a long time when in-game. Remember that a UPS isn’t a backup source of power. An UPS’ role is to give you enough time to save your work and shut down your computer, or to provide an appliance with enough power until a backup power generator turns on.
UPSs can power smaller devices, such as a router, for hours. However, in the case of gaming PCs, do not expect them to last more than a couple of dozens of minutes.
Depending on the battery capacity and maximum power output, you can expect anything from a couple of minutes to about 15-20 minutes, depending on the PC’s load. Also note that the labeled maximum power output is always higher than what you’d get in reality.
If you’re a hardcore gamer, the best use case for UPS is keeping your gaming PC’s components safe and sound while giving you a way to save your progress or let your teammates know what’s up and shut down your PC safely in the case of a power outage.
When connected to a UPS your components won’t get fried in the case of a massive power surge. A UPS with active voltage regulation can prolong the lifetime of your power supply by taking that burden on its backs. A model with USB ports can charge your phone and other gadgets such as Nintendo Switch.
Any gamer who uses their PC for work and needs an uninterrupted and stable power 24/7, 365 days a year should get a UPS. With a UPS, you’re able to write & send that super important email. Or keep your PC from shutting down until it finishes rendering your latest project. Now, let’s talk about those sine wave inverters.
What’s the difference between sine-wave and simulated sine-wave UPS?
Uninterruptible power supplies are a kind of mediator between your PC and the power outlet. They take power from the outlet and deliver it to your PC. That power is usually left untouched unless a power surge occurs.
However, during blackouts, the UPS uses battery power to keep your appliances powered on. And since batteries deliver DC (direct current), a UPS has to have an inverter that can turn DC into AC (alternating current) used by household appliances.
These inverters either deliver pure sine wave AC, the same you get from wall outlets, or an approximated – also called modified, simulated, etc. – sine wave AC, which has a choppier, less accurate waveform compared to a pure sine wave.
A true sine-wave inverter allows you to use a UPS with sensitive equipment, such as high-end audio systems that don’t play well with simulated sine-wave inverters. Or sensitive scientific equipment that needs true AC to function properly. Luckily, gaming PCs are neither of the two, and they (mostly) can work great with simulated sine-wave inverters.
Back in the day, when PC power supplies with aPFC (active power factor correction) started appearing, they would shut down during outages when paired with a simulated sine-wave UPS. However, aPFC technology has greatly evolved during the last decade. Most modern power supplies include the feature, and almost every PSU with aPFC works fine with a simulated sine-wave UPS.
When looking for a UPS, you shouldn’t worry too much about whether it features a true sine-wave inverter, as long as you have a relatively new PSU. If the PSU sells in EU markets and has a power of 300 watts or higher, it has to include an active power factor correction.
Further, all power supplies that feature the 80plus certification also need aPFC. The 80 Plus certificate demands a power factor correction of at least .90, and passive power factor correction cannot get a better result than ~0.7-0.85. This is why we didn’t include a pure sine-wave inverter as the top requirement for our selection process.
How Did We Pick the Best UPS for Gaming?
Maximum power output is the most important feature in our selection process. After all, gaming PCs aren’t known to be light users under load. A mid-range gaming PC (i5-12400F and an RX 6600XT along with two SSDs and a couple of fans) can use about 350-370 watts of power when gaming, and the GPU is under 100 percent load.
Maximum Power Output in VA/W – A UPS has to deliver at least 400 watts of power to be used with a gaming PC. And since power in volt-amps is usually 60 percent of the power in amps, our cutoff point is set at around 700 VA (700 times 0.6 is 420 watts).
Battery Capacity – battery capacity should be high enough to allow using the gaming PC for longer than a minute after the power goes down. While the battery capacity is usually listed in mAh (milliampere-hours) the manufacturer and reviewers usually list how long, in minutes, the device can power an appliance at its maximum power output.
Surge Protection & Voltage Regulation Features – Surge protection is ubiquitous in the UPS world, and any UPS worth considering has to offer surge protection. Next, while voltage regulation is nice to have it isn’t a crucial feature.
Pure Sine Wave Inverter – Our high-end and outlier picks come with pure sine-wave inverters. The budget option does not since this feature is usually only found on pricier models.
Replaceable Battery – Most UPSs come with replaceable batteries and every pick in our list has it. The budget pick doesn’t have an easily replaceable battery but you can replace it by watching tutorials or sending it to service.
Warranty Period and Equipment Protection Policy – We’ve looked at models that come with at least one year warranty. We also only checked UPSs that include explicit notification regarding equipment protection policy (basically, a guarantee from the manufacturer that it will reimburse any damages to your appliances caused by their UPS) on the manufacturer’s site.
Extra Features (Long Cable, USB ports, Monitoring Software, etc.) – Other features such as longer cables, USB ports for charging phones and other small electronic devices, monitoring software, etc. are cool to have. Still, we didn’t consider them crucial during the selection process.
The Best UPS For Your Gaming Setup: Eaton 5SC1500
Our high-end pick is perfect for high-end PCs. Its maximum power output is around 1080 watts, which should be enough even for a 12900KS & RTX 3090 Ti combo during the most heated moments in Cyberpunk 2077 or Spider-Man Remastered with all visual effects, including RT, set to maximum.
This UPS should also be enough for the upcoming flagship combo made of a 13900K/7950X and RTX 4090, the main reason we have picked it as our high-end option.
If you maximize its power output, the Eaton 5SC1500’s battery can keep your PC alive for 5 minutes. A much more realistic load of 650 watts will drain the battery in 10 minutes, which is plenty to save your game or the project you’re currently working on.
Other features include eight surge-protected power inputs, all of which are backed up by the battery. This should be enough outlets for your PC, monitor, speakers, router, NAS, or any other gadget you want to hook up. You’ve also got a USB-B port on the back for automatic integration with Windows.
The Eaton 5SC1500LCD includes automatic voltage regulation, a replaceable battery, and a pure sine-wave inverter. This UPS is also officially active PFC compatible and will 100 percent work with any PC power supply.
Other specs include a 6ft long cable, Eaton Intelligent Power Manager control software, and an LCD screen that shows the most important data. You’ve also got a three-year warranty and up to $150,000 if the UPS damages your equipment.
As for the downsides, firstly, you don’t get any USB ports to charge your phone or other small gadgets. Next, eight outlets are fine, but other models come with ten or more outlets. On the flip side, every outlet here includes battery power, which isn’t the case with most competitors. Finally, this is a very pricey UPS.
The Cheap UPS if You’re on a Budget: CyberPower EC850LCD
Moving on to our budget pick, we have the CyberPower EC850LCD. This isn’t the cheapest UPS around, but it’s one of the most affordable that can support a gaming PC. The maximum power output is about 500 watts, which is enough even for high-end PCs. The maximum runtime with max output is rated at 2.3 minutes.
This UPS doesn’t offer advanced features such as automatic voltage control or a true sine-wave inverter, but it does come with twelve power outlets, six of which are battery supported. You’ve also got an LCD, a USB-B port for connecting to your PC, and a 5ft cord.
As for the warranty, you’ve got a three-year warranty period and a $100,000 connected equipment guarantee. While it does not include advanced features, the EC850LCD is an affordable yet powerful UPS, perfect for any gamer on a tight budget.
The Outlier: APC Back-UPS Pro 1500VA for Gaming
Ok, for the outlier we have, wait for it, a gaming UPS. Yup, APC advertises the Back-UPS Pro 1500VA as a choice for gamers. And the most crucial part of every gamer’s identity is RGB. So yes, you’ve got RGB here.
RGB LEDs are placed at the top, forming a slick-looking circle around the even slicker-looking LCD. RGB here looks nice and is far from what we expected when we first heard about a UPS with RGB.
Now, RGB isn’t the only extra feature you’ll find here. The Back-UPS Pro 1500VA also includes two USB-A and one USB-C port for charging your phone and other gadgets. Pretty cool and very conveniently placed at the front of the device.
Other features include a true sine-wave inverter, automatic voltage regulation, and a TVSS (transient voltage surge suppressor). It also includes a LED that tells you if your wiring has issues. Cool to have if you plan on getting a powerline adapter.
You’ve got ten outlets, six of which are battery supported. The rear side also includes coaxial cable inputs and outputs for your TV since this is a gamer UPS. It also packs a gigabit ethernet protection, which is pretty cool for gamers with high-speed internet plans. We also have to commend the excellent design. This is a rare UPS you can prop on your desk without feeling second-hand embarrassment.
As for the maximum power and battery life, the Back-UPS Pro 1500VA can deliver up to 900 watts of power. The UPS can power your PC at its max power output for just over four minutes. Not the best result in the world, but excellent for such a high-power output. The power cable is 6ft long, and the battery is easily replaceable.
Finally, the Back-UPS Pro 1500VA comes with a three-year warranty and a $500,000-lifetime protection policy. Regarding downsides, this UPS is pretty expensive but still noticeably cheaper than our high-end pick.
UPS Warranty and What’s Covered in Case of Accident
The warranty period you get when buying a consumer-grade UPS is mostly one to three years. This warranty covers parts and batteries, technical support, and replacement or servicing.
Some manufacturers offer an extended warranty period that covers replacement parts, on-site technical support, or other extra services.
Finally, most UPSs come with some kind of protection in case of an accident. This coverage is called equipment protection, load protection, etc., and covers the potential damages caused by the UPS to the connected devices.
It ranges from a couple of tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands. As you imagine, the maximum amount depends on the price and brand of the particular device. If you find a UPS without accidental damage coverage, avoid it.
The Care, Wear and Tear Behind Owning a UPS
As you probably have guessed, the battery is the part that will take the brunt of regular usage. Batteries in UPS devices should last for many years. These are lead-acid batteries that can stay charged for quite a long time. They degrade, of course, so the best way to check whether your UPS battery is still up to snuff is to test if the battery can still keep your PC on or not.
In other words, to check whether the battery’s in good condition, unhook the UPS from the power outlet and see how long it can power your PC. If you notice that the power-on time has noticeably decreased since the last test, or the UPS cannot power the PC at all, it’s time to replace it. As for the used batteries, do not dump them along with other waste. Instead, try recycling them.
As for the other info, the most important thing to know is to connect the UPS directly into the wall socket. Do not use extension cables or surge protectors. Especially the latter since you can mess up both devices by doing that.
Also, do not use UPS for massive power hogs, such as space heaters, clothes irons, AC units, high-power blenders, washing machines, etc. These devices can damage the UPS or lead to rapid battery degradation. The perpetrator is found in their initial power draw, which is massive and can overload the UPS or its battery.
Best UPS For Your Gaming Rig – Conclusion
As you can see, you need a powerful UPS for your gaming PC. Low power & cheap but quality models won’t cut it since their maximum power output isn’t enough even for for an average, middle-of-the-road gaming rig.
We recommend at least 400 watts of peak power, but depending on your machine, you can go lower. If you know your components, you can calculate the wattage of your PC under max load online and get a UPS that fits your requirements.
Finally, while extra features such as voltage regulation and pure sine-wave inverter are nice to have, they also massively increase the price of a UPS. A quality and affordable unit without these features will suffice for essential protection against power surges, outages, and brownouts.
However, if you want the best and have the cash or your use case is unique (for instance, you’re an audiophile with a ton of high-end equipment), we recommend getting an advanced model that offers both automatic voltage regulation and a true sine-wave inverter.