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November 1996 Reviews TOC

11/96 Reviews HW: APC Smart-UPS 700

The Smartest UPS in Town

By Marc Spiwak and John Yacono

If you've never had your file server's power go out, you've been lucky. To maintain that lucky streak, invest in the APC's Smart-UPS 700. This uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is used with file servers and comes bundled with PowerChute Plus software, which can automatically shut down systems running UNIX, OS/2, NetWare and Windows NT. The unit also protects against power brownouts, swells, sags, surges and interference.

The Smart-UPS 700 has four protected outlets on its rear panel, along with sensitivity controls and a serial port for automated shutdown operations. Front-panel LEDs indicate the relative load connected to the UPS, whether line conditions are normal, if power is being trimmed or boosted, or if an overload is present. Intelligent battery management monitors the battery's status and replacement requirement (every five years or so).

Once you connect the UPS to a free serial port on the computer, installing PowerChute Plus software is easy. We tested it under Windows NT 4.0. During setup, a wizard asks what type of UPS you have and which comm port it's using. Reboot and set NT's UPS service to start automatically, allowing the software to communicate with the server to perform an orderly shutdown during power failure. The installation software didn't initiate the UPS service, but that's a minor complaint.

PowerChute Plus uses bar charts to show estimated battery runtime, percentage load and line voltage. There are menu options for scheduled or immediate shutdowns. Other options let you enable and set the size of data and event logs and view the collected data. You can set data logging of the power-line status, and even UPS temperature, at any desired interval. Options allow an event's occurrence to be signaled via e-mail, pager, LAN user and/or administrator. In emergency situations, you can choose to run a command file or shut down the server.

The menus can also activate diagnostic tests, including a self-test, power-outage simulation and battery runtime calibration. PowerChute also lets you manage other APC UPSes on the network, which is one of its most powerful features.

According to diagnostic data, the Smart-UPS 700 should provide backup power to a 166MHz Pentium and a 20-inch monitor for approximately 45 minutes. We don't doubt it: We unplugged the UPS from the AC line for more than 10 minutes with the same equipment connected, and saw barely a drop in battery level.

--Info File--
APC Smart-UPS 700
Pros: Complete, automatic power protection
Cons: NT setup not fully automated
Platforms: NT
American Power Conversion
800-877-4080, 401-789-5735
WinMag Box Score 4.0

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