I'm looking for stability and something that won't fry my stuff, basically.
Noise is not a big problem (I turn it off when I don't use it)
I know Seasonic are supposed to be very good, but they are just way too expensive.
So, please suggest a decent one for my use - within a reasonable price.
What are good brands - apart from Seasonic?
The SeaSonics are too expensive for you? What's your budget then? With your setup you would do well with 400W of power or less. 300W would be plenty as long as the ampres are divided up well. My recommendation would be the SeaSonic 330W which is only $60 at newegg.
You'll actually use less power with this PSU becasue it's got a good efficiency rating to start with, and you won't be under-loading the PSU. With a 1KW PSU you're going to be using 10-20% of the rated power, which means you're going to have very poor efficiency at the PSU. I don't know what kind of efficiency = fn(loading) curve there is, I just know you'll save some electricity if you get a PSU that's not extreme overkill.
Its listed on newegg for $80... there are higher end 520 or 600 watt versions as well but they are over $100... Enermax is a good brand just like Seasonic.
At 80% efficiency, that Enermax PSU provides 20 amps on the 12 volt rails which is more than most power supplies provide in that price range (most average around 12 to 16 amps). The air flow with the 120mm fan is very good, its quiet, and it has good weight to it.
I learned a lot from shopping around. Don't let the wattage fool you. Believe it or not 400 watts should be sufficient because its all about how efficiently the Power Supply converts the wattage into amps. I actually got his system to work on a temporary 320 watt Passive power supply and it worked fine (very loud and warm... not hot). The more efficient, generally the more quiet and coolor the PSU will operate. Also... that supply has a 3 year warranty if it were to die which is tough to find on supplies under $100.
BTW, my friend's computer has similar specs as yours minus 2 hard drives. I told him that Enermax will probably work in the next system because its BTX compatible. He has:
AMD Athlon 64 3500+
Artic Cooling Silent 64 CPU fan
ABIT nForce 4 KN8
1 GB (2x512mb) Corsair Performance ram
250 GB Seagate SATA drive
Its worth getting a good Active Power Supply. Look at the amperages on the labels you'll see why I suggested the Enermax PSU.
Can anyone explain to me why a Seasonic S12-500 is twice as expensive as the S12-430 ?
I'm now thinking the SeaSonic S12-430 would be the best buy.
Like I just mentioned... look at the Output in the Specs. The reasons I see the price higher is the demand for 500 watts is higher. Really, the two aren't much different other than the $125 will give 3 more amps on the 12 volt rails. That Corsair PSU has three 12volt rails at 18amps... here look at the specs. The main output you need is on the 12 volt rails... thats why there are dual rails, three or four 12 volt rails on higher end PSUs.
Energmax ELT500AWT converts 500 watts at $109 with a $10 rebate
+3.3V@28A, +5V@30A, +12V1@22A, +12V2@22A, -12V@0.6A, +5VSB@3A
Corsiar CMPSU-520 converts 500 watts on three rails at $120
If you're willing to spend $120... the Corsair looks like a good value. But in all honesty, I don't think that much juice is needed unless you're running three 8800 GTX video cards and all three of your hard drives.