I just bought a Seasonic S12II-380 for my HTPC build on an Antec Fusion, powering MSI-890 motherboard with onboard Radeon 4290, Athlon X4-640, 4GB DDR3, 2 SATA HDD, DVDRW.
For SOME REASON, the one I got is NOT 80plus Bronze, and only is 80plus! While all Seasonic S12II models on their website are 80plus Bronze! I looked around locally and no one could gaurantee a 80+ Bronze model.
To me it looks like they're identical otherwise, any idea which would be a better buy for my HTPC, should I assume retail one is quieter and has better components? Local prices are SS-400ES $42, S12II-380 $60, S12II-520 $75.
Apart from retail packaging, and cable sleeves, is the retail one actually better PSU even if it's NOT 80+ Bronze?
the 380 unit is fine for your purpose. i would not waste the hassle changing anything now that you have it. if you must, get the antec earthwatts 380, its probably cheaper and is manufactured by seasonic.
So, it's worth paying $20 more for the non-Bronze retail version vs. Bronze OEM one? I got a power cable, so I don't care and apart from looking nicer, I am not sure what cable sleeves do for a PSU?!
Are they really quieter though? How? Using different fans? or having better components inside?
What does having a power cable have to do with cable sleeving?
Sleeving makes cable management within the HTPC's case easier. It also reduces the blockage of airflow through the HTPC's case.
The fan in the OEM unit ramps up sooner starting a t 50% PSU load whereas the retail unit starts to ramp up at 75% PSU load. At 100% PSU load the OEM version's fan noise is clearly audible and the retail version's isn't.