A friend of mine recommended to me few years back but I didn't get one because I thought it was a waste of money. Then one day, we had a black out in our house for short period of time and when the power came back on, my computer would not start for some reason. It turns out that the sudden power outage during the black out damaged by hard drive. And because I didn't have proper back ups, I lost LOTS of valuable data in my computer.
So, I learned my lesson the hard way...
Our current house in Pearl River has intermittent power outage that lasts for less than 1 second in my office room upstairs. Although the outage is less than a second, it's long enough to turn off and turn on all electronics in my office.
Since I now have two desktops in my office so I purchased two UPS for my computers.
These things cost anywhere from $40 to $100+ depending on the capacity of the battery. If you take a look at the above picture carefully, you will notice that the four plug-ins on the lower side are only surge protected and the other four plug-ins on top are battery backed up and surge protected. This means that any electronics connected to the lower plug-ins will be shut off immediately when there is a power outage and only the ones that are connected to the top plug-ins will continue to stay on, running on the battery inside the UPS.
The more expensive UPS models will have more battery capacity, which will usually have more battery backed up plug-ins as well as the longer stay-on time after the black out.
You can usually find them on sales time to time from Staples or Office Depot. I got mine for less than $50 on sale from local office store.
When purchasing one of these, however, you should also consider one key feature: automatic computer shut-down program option.
The low-end (cheaper) models don't provide this option but the mid to high end models all have this feature, which comes with a software CD and a USB cable.
The USB cable connects the UPS to the computer and the software provides amazing information such as:
* how many times there was an electric outage in past x weeks,
* how many times there was an electric noise in past x weeks,
* how many minutes of power will the UPS provide if there is an outage
* when should the battery be replaced
The software also allows the UPS to automatically shut down your computer if there is a power outage and if the remaining battery power can provide only x number of minutes. This is really a cool feature since my UPS models can only provide less than 10 minutes of power during the electric outage.
If there's a short outage or electric noise in my house, then my computer is not interrupted since it will stay on with UPS battery for few seconds until the house electric power come back on. However, if the outage is more than 10 minutes and if I'm not at home, then the UPS battery would be completely drained and it would shut off my computer as if somebody unplugged my computer power. This is where this cool software comes in. It will automatic shut-down my computer as if I was logging off and shutting down the computer.
So I strongly recommend that you get UPS for your desktops and get the ones with the automatic computer shutdown software. I think APC calls it PowerChute software (sometimes known as Shutdown Manager).
If you are still not sure, then take a look at the picture on the box and make sure it has a USB Data Port, as shown in the picture below.