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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Power | External Power | Protection Against Power Problems ]

Line Conditioners

Line conditioners work by filtering and smoothing the power stream to eliminate dips, fluctuations and interference that can cause power to be "noisy". Their ability to reduce noise is measured in decibels over a given frequency range (just like noise reduction in your home stereo system). The more noise reduction, the better. Good line conditioners can be quite costly due to the high quality of components required to do the best job. In some ways, a surge suppressor can be consider the "poor man's line conditioner".

A line conditioning unit.

Image American Power Conversion Corp.
Image used with permission.

In practice, relatively few PC users employ line conditioners. Those who can afford to spend hundreds of dollars protecting their equipment tend to prefer instead uninterruptible power supplies, because while line conditioners provide very good protection against other power problems, they do not help in the event of a blackout.

Next: Protecting the Modem and Other Peripherals

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