First time builder, first time Windows user. Need OS advice.

Hey everyone. I'm building a computer for film and visual effects. I do freelance work, as well as my own personal films. Since it's not only my first time building, but my first Windows computer, I thought I'd ask for a little help on that topic.

I don't know anything about Windows or anything relating to Windows. I opted for 8.1 simply because it is the newest version, but many people seem to think that Windows 7 is better. I don't know, I generally feel that it's better to be up to date.

First, I have the option of buying the retail or the OEM. I don't like that the OEM is tied to the motherboard, or that it lacks support, but it is significantly cheaper than the retail. Is OEM a good option and/or is it common for people building computers to purchase the OEM version?

Second, I can get the professional version or the home version, and I see that there are a few differences, but I don't really know if it's worth the extra $40. I'm leaning towards the professional though. Is it worth it?

Third, after a horribly unhelpful experience on, I learned that the student version is download only, and only for current windows users. I take that to mean that the student discount is only an upgrade. Is this true, or is there actually a student discount version of 8.1 that I can install on my new machine?

Thanks in advance for your help!
2 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about time builder time windows user advice
  1. Best answer
    1. OEM vs Retail. For Windows 8/8.1, do not fret. The main difference is who you can call for support. Retail, you can call MS. OEM, you can call you. But the likelihood of needing to call MS approaches zero.
    Windows 7 OEM is indeed tied to the original motherboard. Win 8/8.1 is not.

    2. Pro vs non-Pro.
    Unless you really, really need the extra corporate features (joning a domain, hosting a RDC, etc), you do not need the Pro version. Performance is exactly the same.

    3. Yes, the Student version appears to be Upgrade only.
  2. Thanks for the quick response! You've been very helpful, and now that I know all this, I can feel more confident in getting Windows 8.1 OEM, non-Pro version.
Ask a new question

Read More

Windows Computers Windows 8 Build OEM retail