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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Power | External Power | Uninterruptible Power Supplies | Uninterruptible Power Supply Functions and Features ]

Form Factors

The form factor of a piece of equipment refers to its general shape and size. It may not be technically accurate to speak of UPSes having form factors in the way that you would of cases or power supplies. In fact, regular UPSes don't generally come in predefined, standardized  form factors the way many other components do. The main reason for this is that UPSes are big! :^) More specifically, the more battery the unit contains, the larger its capacity, but also the larger its size. Therefore virtually every different capacity level of UPS has a different size.

Most UPSes do come in two general categories of form factor however: the stand-alone model and the rack-mount model. Stand-alone UPSes are the ones you usually see; they come in a box and are normally intended to sit on the floor near the loads they are powering. Rack-mount UPSes are specially designed to go into the racks used for rack-mounts PCs, network hardware and other equipment. Rack mounts are often used in industrial or commercial applications to save floor space because they allow components to be stacked vertically several feet. In many situations they also make connections between equipment easier since it is usually closer together.

A rack-mount form factor UPS in a rack mount.

Image American Power Conversion Corp.
Image used with permission.

One concern with rack mounts is cooling. One must be careful not to overload them with too much equipment in a place that will not be able to provide them with sufficient ventilation.

Next: Capacity and Run Time

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