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6/96 Reviews HW: ViewSonic Opti-UPS 650E

Complete listing of June 1996 reviews

Juice Still Flows When the Power Goes

By Cynthia Morgan

On the rare occasions when it rained in my desert hometown, we counted on three things: Electricity died for several hours, hospitals' maternity business would boom nine months later, and computer users without uninterruptible power supplies created new ways to fudge lost data.

Back then, it was difficult to justify buying a UPS for the average PC. But today, a UPS is both smarter and less expensive. A good example is the ViewSonic Opti-UPS 650E, which offers plenty of protection, off-site or on, for device-laden PCs.

Uninterruptible power systems protect against more than just total power loss; they also help regulate voltage spikes, sags or brownouts to the optimal 120V level. When a blackout does occur, the 650E can give you up to 15 minutes to close files and shut your system down safely. The OptiSafe+ software included with the 650E offers a graphical indication of what's going on, along with a countdown and audible alarms to remind you when battery power is waning.

Unless you're activating the niftier communications features of the 650E, there's really not much to using this UPS. Simply plug it into the wall, plug your devices into it, and turn it on. Be sure you know how much equipment you can safely plug into the unit (a simple calculation made by adding the wattage requirements of each piece of equipment you're protecting). Even with the recommended 20 percent safety margin, the 650E has an adequate capacity, far more than I needed for the 166MHz Pentium system with a 17-inch monitor I used in tests.

the Opti-UPS' hardware pluses are partially offset by DOS-like installation and communications software. Nevertheless, this is good power protection at a very good price.

Info File
ViewSonic Opti-UPS 650E
Pros: Configurability
Cons: Software
Platforms: Windows 95, NT
ViewSonic Corp.
800-THE-OPTI, 909-444-8800
WinMag Box Score: 3.0
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