Surge Protector For Gaming PC (Windows 10, 8) & MAC

Surge Protector For Gaming PC (Windows 10, 8) & MAC

Surge Protector For Gaming PC (Windows 10, 8) & MAC

Surge Protector For Gaming PC (Windows 10, 8) & MAC

Surge Protector For Gaming PC Windows & MAC

Surge Protector For Gaming PC In this post we’re taking a quick look at a commonly overlooked component of a computer system, surge protection.

Most people will come across this topic at some point when buying or building a new computer. The most common question asked is: Do I really need a surge protector?

The recommendation from us at PC Build Advisor is simple – Yes. This article will teach you why it’s worth getting a surge protection device as well as the types of devices that you can get.

Does a power strip protect my PC from surges?

If you want to protect your gaming PC and equipment from power fluctuations, you have to plug them in the right way.

Put down the dollar store power strip and slowly back away. The short answer is no, power strips do not protect your PC from any sort of electrical fluctuations. However, you can get more sophisticated strips that have surge protection built in. Not all power strips are created equal however, and inexpensive ones will often fail to protect your machine—here’s what you need to know.

Surge protectors are available as single outlet units but typically come in the form of power bars, providing several protected outlets. This is where the confusion comes in. Many people assume that all power bars have surge protection but unless it is specified, you’re components will be left unprotected.

SOME OF OUR FAVORITE SURGE STRIPS

Surges and spikes

To understand what kind of equipment you need, it’s important to understand what you are protecting your computer from. When you plug your computer or any electrical equipment into a regular power outlet, the device is supposed to be provided with a consistent voltage level to function correctly. Under certain conditions such as power outages or issues with the power grid, spikes or surges in voltage can occur. A spike is a momentary increase in voltage while a surge is a prolonged increase. Whether you experience a spike or surge, any sudden increase in voltage can damage your equipment and even convert them into very expensive paper weights.

One of the most common causes of damaged equipment from surges and spikes are when you have a blackout. When your power is restored, there is a momentary surge in electricity. This can be devastating to equipment.

Surge protection

The solution to these voltage increases is to use a surge protector. These protect your equipment by diverting the extra energy from a surge or spike into a protective component allowing only the appropriate voltage to reach your equipment.

Surge protection is one of the simplest things we can do to keep our equipment safe. It is also often overlooked, but buying a surge protector today could save you thousands tomorrow and while not all power bars are surge protectors, not all surge protectors provide the same level of protection. You get what you pay for.

Which ones should I get?

Many of us on the team like the strips from Belkin. They’re inexpensive and are made well. In general, look for strips that have room for large power bricks. Some devices use power bricks that will block two or more outlets. Our go-to strip is the Belkin BE112230-08 12-outlet strip, which has a total of 12 outlets but half of them are spaced apart to accommodate power bricks.

Strips that have surge protection will often have a joules rating on them, which will indicate how much of a surge they can take. The higher the rating, the better.

If you want to further protect your equipment, consider an uninterruptible power supply, or UPS. These devices come with built in batteries that can keep your equipment running in the event of a power outage, allowing you time to save your work and shutdown gracefully.

Why Do I Need Surge Protection?

Computers consist of many components which are very sensitive and require a clean and consistent voltage supply. Unfortunately, certain events can cause power surges in household electricity supply. These events can include other devices failing within the house, accidental shorts, lightning strikes, issues with the electricity supplier and many more. Such surges can also travel over phone or coaxial lines in rare circumstances.

To help prevent these events from damaging your equipment, manufactures sometimes build in some basic protection directly into the device. Unfortunately the built in protection is usually very basic and can wear out quickly if it is actively used.

Types of Surge Protection

To absorb the surges before they reach your expensive equipment you can use a range of devices in your home. These can range from devices used on the main electricity line to protect your entire home to power strips between the wall outlet and your equipment.

If you are interested in surge protection for your entire home please get in contact with a local electrician. Here we will focus on the devices you can use between the outlet and your equipment.

  • Surge Protection Power Strips
  • UPS – Uninterruptible Power Supplies

Let’s take a look at the most commonly used device type first.

Surge Protection Power Strips

These devices are simple power strips / outlet strips / outlet boards which incorporate some simple surge protection circuitry. Most of these work using a component (or components) called an MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor) which essentially soaks up (or shorts) the surges.

There is one very important fact that many people don’t know about these types of boards. They wear out! Each time the MOV in the board soaks up a surge it reduces it’s lifespan. In some extreme cases, such as a lighting strike, the MOV can die in one surge. Once the MOV dies, the board needs to be replaced. In some power strips when the MOV is used up / dies the board stops working entirely. In others, it continues to work without any surge protection leaving your equipment vulnerable.

Most good surge protection power strips will include an indicator light to allow you to monitor wether the surge protection is still working or if the board needs to be replaced.

Here are some examples high quality surge protector power strips.

APC P11GTV

This is an 11 outlet surge protected power strip from the very reputable company APC (American Power Conversion) by Schneider Electric. These boards are rated for 3400 joules and offer protection for 11 outlets, phone lines (to protect phones and modems) and coaxial (to protect TVs and cable boxes). APC offer a lifetime warranty and $300,000 Equipment Protection Policy on this particular model so you know they stand behind it’s abilities.

Another good option is the Belkin BP112230-08. This outlet strip offers a 4320 joule energy rating with 12 outlets, 4 of which can rotate to allow secure connection of large power adapters. It also provides telephone and coaxial protection. Similar to APC, Belkin back this product with a lifetime warranty and $300,000 Connected Equipment Warranty. 

UPS – Uninterruptible Power Supply

Another option you might consider looking at is an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). These devices act as a battery backup system for your equipment while also providing some basic surge protection. A UPS can keep your computer powered on and running when the power goes out in your house.

The surge protection used in consumer grade UPS devices is typically similar technology to what’s used in the surge protection power strips mentioned above (MOVs). As such, you can expect similar performance in terms of surge protection.

The main advantages of using a UPS come from power delivery problems other than surges. A few examples of such problems are:

  • Black outs – complete loss of power
  • Brown outs – a reduction in power supply to your house
  • Something tripping the circuit breaker in your house
  • Noise on the line – poor quality of power being supplied to your house

Without a UPS, the above problems could lead to your computer turning off immediately causing potential damage to your operating system from incorrect shutdown or even just loss of unsaved work.

If you run your computer off a UPS the UPS will detect such power conditions and immediately switch to battery power without your computer being affected. Your computer will continue to run off the UPS batteries for a duration of time depending on the model of UPS you have. This could range from 10 minutes to over an hour. Once power is restored the UPS will automatically switch back to mains power.

In the event of a long loss of power, some UPS can be configured to issue a shutdown request to your computer before the batteries run out. This means that if you’re out of the house and your house loses power for a long duration you know your computer will not experience a sudden loss of power either from the black out or the batteries in the UPS running out.

We plan to go into more detail on UPS devices and the many options available in the near future. For now, take a look as these high quality UPS for typical PCs.

APC BX1500M

This is another product by APC which I really like. I’ve used a few APC UPS over the years and they work well. This particular model is the Back-UPS Pro 1500VA / 900W version. For a typical PC and monitor this should provide at least an hour of runtime on the batteries.

APC Smart-UPS SMC1500

An alternate to the Back-UPS from APC is the Smart-UPS also from APC. This model is also a 1500VA / 900W and should provide about the same run time as the Back-UPS listed above. The Smart-UPS is their more premium offering designed for more sensitive workloads. It provides a “pure sine wave” output which is more compatible with devices like motors etc. Many of the Smart-UPS models also allow for additional battery banks to be added for longer power reserves.

We hope this has answered some of your questions about surge protection for you computer. We plan to make another post in the near future on UPS devices, their options and how to configure them. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section.

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, Surge Protector For Gaming PC (Windows 10, 8) & MAC

The best surge protectors for 2020

A surge protector is vital if you want to keep your electronics safe from electrical power spikes. The latest models have more than just a few outlets, as well as smart connectivity and energy-monitoring features.

In addition to controlling a surge protector from your smartphone, some of the top-rated protectors have added safety features, coaxial connectors, and adjustable cords for added convenience. Check out our list for a top-of-the-line surge protector for every home, office, and budget.

TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Strip

Today’s best surge protectors don’t just protect electrical devices: They also enable all kinds of useful connections. This excellent TP-Link strip, for example, has six smart outlets that can be individually controlled with an app, giving protection while allowing you to customize devices, set schedules and automatically turn them on or off. It’s also compatible with voice commands via Alexa, Google Assistant or Cortana. Three USB ports provide alternative connections for charging other devices too.

If all this wasn’t enough, this power strip also has energy monitoring features, measuring how much power everything is consuming so you can decrease power use, if necessary. You can also check out our larger list of the best smart surge protectors for more like this.

APC Desk Mount Power Station

This professional U-shaped protector is designed to hook onto the edge of a desk, for much easier access than trying to position a strip on the floor (you can also put it over a cubical wall, etc.) It provides 18 Joules of surge protection. This model is also one of the few available with a USB-C charging port, as well as two USB-A ports for other connections, making it a great fit for many offices.

Teckin Smart Power Strip

Teckin has a competitive smart power strip that you can control via app, perfect for larger entertainment systems or complex computer layouts. You can set timers and settings for each individual outlet, as well as setting shut off times to fully power down/up the power strip and save energy. In addition to compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant, the strip also works with IFTTT, ideal for those who prefer the customizable platform for their smart gadgets.

Belkin BE112230-08 12-Outlet

With many years of experience working with outlets and plug-in solutions, Belkin has experience making durable surge protectors. This 12-outlet model is a great professional piece with multiple options for cord length, sliding safety covers, and a 3,940 Joule energy rating that’s high enough to protect even the largest office equipment. There are also detachable cord clips to route all your cords through for better organization.

Tripp Lite 10-Outlet

Tripp’s contribution is a “home and office” surge protector suitable for all sorts of different electronic setups. It has handy LED diagnostic lights to warn of outlet status and a built-in splitter that can turn one RJ11 jack into two for a modem, fax (hey, some people still use them), or telephone/DSL line. Four of the outlets are spaced widely apart to fit more awkward adapter plugs, a feature we particularly liked.

There’s no choice for cord length here — you are stuck with the average 8-foot cord — but you can choose a version that comes with gold coaxial connectors, which can be used to help protect any coaxial TV connections you may be using in your home.

Belkin 6-Outlet SurgeMaster Wall Mount

This Belkin model offers a wall mount option for those set-ups where you neither need nor want a surge protector that lies on the floor and gets in the way. Plug this model into a wall outlet and it provides 6 separate, protected outlets for you to use, each with a 1045 Joule rating – enough for most average electronic devices. While you shouldn’t use this with big appliances, it’s a great solution for garage worktables, kitchens, home offices, and so on.

Globe Electric 7732001 6-Outlet

We love this surge protector because of its unique design. Unlike your typical plug or strip design, the Globe Electric outlet features a vertical swivel so that you can turn your outlets in different directions. The swivel is excellent for organizing many cords at once, allowing you to make the most of your space. And don’t be fooled by its convenient size – it’s built to handle large electrical equipment. The choice between 6 or 8 outlets is also super handy. 

Editors' Recommendations

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Surge Protector For Gaming PC (Windows 10, 8) & MAC

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People sometimes confuse surge protectors with power strips, but they're two very different technologies. It's important to learn the difference, as only one of them will protect your devices from a power spike!

Let's explore what a surge protector does and how it works.

What Does a Surge Protector Do?

Before we can define how a surge protector works, we need to define what it's protecting your electronics from---an electrical surge.

Think of the flow of electricity like water running through a pipe. Water moves from one end of a pipe to the other end due to water pressure---water moves from high pressure to low pressure.

Electricity operates in a similar way, moving from areas of high electric potential energy to areas of low electric potential energy. In this case, it's from one end of a wire to the other end.

Voltage is a measure of this electric potential energy---more specifically, the difference in electric potential energy. When the voltage increases above the norm for at least 3 nanoseconds, it's called a surge.

If the voltage of the wire is too great---meaning the difference in electric potential energy from one end to the other is too high---then the electricity will surge through. This heats up the wire; if it gets hot enough, it can burn the wire and render it useless.

The surge protector has one job: detect excess voltage and divert the extra electricity into the grounding wire. This is why all surge protectors will have a grounding pin (the third prong on a plug) and all surge protectors must be plugged into a properly grounded outlet for them to work as intended.

What Is an Electrical Surge?

So what causes an electrical surge? Most people think that the biggest culprit of electrical surging is lightning, but that's not wholly true.

Lightning can and does cause electrical surges, but it's not as common as other causes. In fact, buying a surge protector to save your electronics from a thunderstorm may not work in your favor.

While good surge protectors can take on a surge caused by a distant thunderstorm, a near or direct hit from a lightning bolt will fry it. As such, the best protection against thunderstorms is to unplug your electronics.

The primary culprits of electrical surges are devices that require lots of power to operate. Depending on the wiring of your home, you may notice at times that your lights flicker when powerful devices turn on and off, such as your air conditioner.

If these devices are switched on, they demand a lot of electricity, which puts a lot of strain on the grid and can cause surges.

Are Surge Protectors Necessary?

Given how surges can happen at any time, you don't need to worry about when to use a protector; just use it all the time. The real question is what you should plug into a surge protector.

You don't need a surge protector for your desk lamp or your standing fan, but you do want a surge protector for expensive devices that have intricate microprocessors, like computers, televisions, stereo systems, and media centers. In short, anything electronic and expensive benefits from a surge protector.

Think of it this way: if there was an electrical surge that destroyed all of the devices connected to your outlets, which lost devices would pain you the most? Plug those into a surge protector. It's better to be safe than sorry.

On an offbeat note, surge protectors can be useful for reducing cable clutter and improving organization with your electronics. All of the cables end up being directed to the same destination, making it much easier for you to handle them all neatly.

Choosing the Best Surge Protector For You

It can be difficult finding the right surge protector for your needs at a good value. What makes a surge protector good? And why are some surge protectors much more expensive than others? Are there any features you should be looking out for?

Let's break down the basics to look out for when getting a surge protector.

Indicator Lights

Surge protectors only have a limited lifespan depending on how hard they work. Even when the surge protector properly diverts a surge, the protector itself can suffer damage in the process.

As such, one of the most important features is an indicator light. An indicator light will let you know that your surge protector is working fine. Is the indicator light not working? Time to buy a new surge protector.

UL Rating

As for protection power, good surge protectors will come with a UL rating, a rating put out by the independent Underwriters Laboratories that test the safety of electronic devices.

Don't bother with a surge protector that doesn't have a UL rating. Also, make sure that the product is a "transient voltage surge suppressor" as many UL-rated power strips still might not offer surge protection.

Clamping Voltage

The clamping voltage is the measurement that prompts the surge protector to start redirecting the excess electricity away from the plugged-in devices. In other words, a surge protector with a lower clamping voltage will trigger earlier, thus protecting your devices quicker.

Any surge protector with a clamping voltage below 400 volts should be good enough for home use.

Joule Rating

This is the maximum amount of energy the surge protector can absorb. If the surge breaches this maximum, it renders the surge protector useless.

The higher the joule rating, the more energy can be absorbed by the surge protector, so a higher joule rating will often indicate a longer lifespan for the product.

For best household protection, you'll want a surge protector with a joule rating of at least 600.

Response Time

The response time is how long it takes for the surge protector to detect a surge in electricity. A lower value means a faster response. This reduces the time that your plugged-in devices are exposed to the surge, thus protecting them better.

Ideally, you'll want a surge protector with a response time of 1 nanosecond or faster.

Recommended Surge Protectors

If you're still stuck on which surge protector to buy, don't worry. We covered your best options in our article on the best surge protectors for every use case, from the budget-minded spender to someone protecting an expensive home cinema.

Defending Against the Surge

All electrical grids experience electrical surges; some more than others. These surges can damage electronics and surge protectors are there to control them as much as possible.

You'll want to use surge protectors for complex and valuable electronics, such as computers, appliances, and media centers. Keep in mind that it's not enough to have a surge protector; you need one that's properly suited to your needs.

Given how power-hungry devices cause surges, it's a good idea to learn how much energy your PC uses in case it's a prime culprit.

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About The Author
Simon Batt (222 Articles Published)

A Computer Science BSc graduate with a deep passion for all things security. After working for an indie game studio, he found his passion for writing and decided to use his skill set to write about all things tech.

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