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IOGear’s Professional Online 1000W UPS (model GBB1000N) tries to straddle two worlds that need an uninterruptible power supply (UPS): the traditional server room, and high-end consumers and small businesses with particular kinds of audio, processing, or computer hardware that work best with top-notch power conditioning while also benefitting from protection against power sags, spikes, and outages.
TechHive doesn’t review data-center products, so if you don’t count yourself among the other audience segment, the $749.95 price tag should dissuade you: it’s triple the cost of the best UPS gear suitable for nearly all consumers and small businesses. Consider, for instance, the CyberPower PFC Sinewave model series; we reviewed the 600W unit, which is less than $200.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best uninterruptible power supplies. Click the preceding link to find a buyers guide featuring issues to consider when shopping for this type of product, as well as links to other top-rated UPSes.
IOGear’s pitch for its high-end model is to people who run audio amplifiers, editing and recording suites, bulb-based projector systems, or home-entertainment gear that’s susceptible to interference from power noise or damage with erratic power or a sudden loss of electricity. For instance, many high-intensity projectors run a fan on their bulb for 10 minutes after it turns off to ensure proper cooling to avoid an expensive bulb’s early demise.
If you fit that bill, the price tag of this IOGear model might be worth it, as it could prevent loss of work or actual damage far exceeding the UPS’s differential cost. IOGear’s model is among the lowest-priced in its specialized category: some manufacturers have units at about the same price; others having a starting price hundreds of dollars more.
The reason for the price is that this UPS employs the gold standard for critical power needs: double conversion. Every watt of incoming power from the grid to the UPS’s eight AC outlets is filtered through internal circuitry to provide consistent and clean output. An internal battery helps in the task when it isn’t needed for backup power. When there’s an outage, the battery kicks in with a zero-second delay. In a briefing, the company described it quite concisely as “isolating your system entirely from the electrical grid.”
This differs from a line-interactive UPS, such as the CyberPower line linked above, which conditions incoming power only as necessary, cleaning it up along the way, and tapping the battery during sags as well as having a quick switchover—just 4 milliseconds. That’s sufficient for personal electronics and computing gear.
If you’re looking for longevity during an outage, the IOGear isn’t the unit to buy. IOGear rates its battery at providing just under three minutes of continuous power at a full 1,000-watt load; with a load of 500W, that jumps to just over 10 minutes. You can find much cheaper line-interactive systems that have run times of three times or longer than that.
IOGear, however, has an ace up its sleeve: it offers additional battery packs for $499.95 each, up to four of which can be daisy-chained from the main unit. Add one pack and suddenly you can get about 40 minutes of backup power at a 500W load. (These packs are more expensive for the higher-capacity models in the series.) The costs add up quickly, but where time is money, outages frequent, and the need for perfectly conditioned power paramount, the payoff might be there, too.
Practical considerations of the IOGear GBB1000N
Now for the practical. The unit is a standard 2U rack size of 3.5 x 17.3 x 16 x (40.7 by 44 by 8.9cm) (HxWxD) and weighs 28.4 pounds (12.9kg). The Professional Online UPS comes ready for standard server-room rack mounting, but also ships with two easy-to-assemble plastic stand pieces that let it rest steadily when perpendicular to the floor. The design features a clever option to allow both configurations: removing the front panel lets you rotate the LCD display screen to the correction orientation for rack mounting or as a floor-positioned unit.
The LCD provides a large array of information, including a flowchart that depicts the current power-conditioning status.
The UPS has eight standard 3-prong AC outlets on the back (NEMA 5-15R style) spaced closely together—but it’s unlikely you’d be plugging in a DC adapter, so spacing shouldn’t matter. The external battery connector for daisy chaining is in the rear.
IOGear offers monitoring and configuration software for the Professional Online UPS which, among other things, optionally allows the four outlets in one bank to receive only conditioning and not backup power in the event of an outage. (An illustration inaccurately labeled which bank was which.)
The manual, however, referred atavistically to an included CD-ROM—none was in the package. There was no link to download the software and the company’s website revealed no connected software, either. A press representative provided a download link for Windows-only software, something to consider for Mac and Linux users.
The software is ancient: it has to install a Java runtime package, is accessed via a web interface, and has a truly antique design—think late 1990s. Its navigation and labeling are below subpar. Figuring out the correct setting label and how to apply was a mystery, which I finally unraveled. Fortunately, you should rarely need to use the software, or not at all if you don’t want to change defaults. IOGear includes USB and two older forms of serial connectors to monitor the UPS.
Unlike consumer-grade UPSes, this unit doesn’t mention a warranty for repair or damage of attached equipment. Many firms offer consumers $25,000 or higher policies in case a surge passes through or other damage occurs. Those policies, however, are typically quite restrictive, and require filing a claim in as little as 10 days from the time of damage to qualify. They’re mostly a marketing bullet point.
The IOGear GBB1000N is worth its high price under the right circumstances
The IOGear Professional Online UPS appeals to a very specific audience, and you probably know who you are if you’ve read this far. Unlike high-priced scams, such as gold-plated HDMI cables and the like, there’s a substantial and expensive-to-manufacture difference between a $250 line-interactive UPS and a $750 double-online UPS. If your needs match up with that higher price, the IOGear model GBB1000N is worth considering once they sort out their software and documentation issues.
Best Prices Today: IOGear Professional Online 1000W UPS (model GBB1000N)