OEM vs Retail
You may be wondering what the difference between OEM vs retail is. You may be temped to buy OEM software or hardware, but be aware of the differences between the two. Sometimes it’s worth it to save the money, sometimes it’s not.
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer and is mostly utilized by big corporations like Dell or HP. These versions are often cheaper than their retail counterparts, but have restrictions on them.
OEM software is available for system builders. A system builder can be you if you buy certain components such as a motherboard, harddrive, and RAM. The software will state it’s restrictions with it.
These products have limited packages, cannot be returned, do not provide support from the manufacturer. Microsoft OEM products are common and easily obtainable. Microsoft OEM operating systems are tied to the motherboard. Meaning that you cannot transfer the software to another computer. Also note than you cannot upgrade a Microsoft 32 bit OEM OS to a 64 bit one. If you want to upgrade to 64 bit you must buy another OEM copy for 64 bit or buy the retail version
OEM hardware is even more obtainable and can also save you money. There are no restrictions to buy or transfer it. These products come with limited packaging, limited support, and a shorter warranty. In the case of an OEM cpu, the OEM version may only come with a 90 day warranty as opposed to a 3 year one. In addition this version will not come with a heat sink, requiring you to buy an after market cooler.
I try to buy OEM whenever I can. I act as my own support. If I have a problem, a few searches online will find me an answer and computer components rarely have failed on me within their warranty period. Don’t be afraid of OEM, save yourself the money.