Seasonic still has a 3 year warranty. At least that's better than most bottom barrel parts.
Yes, but it will cost anyone around $10 to RMA a PSU under warranty. If you are going to buy cheap, then buy PSUs consistently made of better stuff and better design. [Rock bottom cost Seasonics may
fall into that category and could be proposed with collected test article links to back it up.]
While admittedly imprecise and ambitious, Eggxpert has a Tiered list of PSU make/models
based upon the dozen or so international computer hardware sites that actually employ a rare $10,000 PSU torture load testing equipment as well as opening up and documenting components and design layout inside the PSU (the list is inside the now very lengthy thread but not conveniently linked).
Tier 3 are acceptable no frills units that deliver rated quality power under specified loads and temps. Tier 4 and 5 are "punt" and "run away, run away" units respectively that have failed.
The list is maintained by a single person (Currently GmsCool
) with occasional nominations from other site users based upon a published report or two from one of the rare testing sites that actually
test non-manufacturer supplied PSUs and post their testing methodology. It is an impossible list to maintain as makers change unit model family designations for annual marketing, but it is the best (maintained, the only one I am aware of) list I have found where debate breaks out from time to time and units can get downgraded if a maker is found cheating down the road. And only a few handfuls of different PSUs are annually openly examined and potentially destroyed during testing which limits additions.
Otherwise, you are correct, you are limited in evaluating based upon warranty (a good place to start), reputation (user comments), unit weight (heavier still generally is better) and marketing claims that may hint at components and designs used.