OEM just omits the pretty graphics on the box, maybe not all the assortments of cables that might come in a retail box, maybe not even the paper manual, just a driver disk with a pdf manual, or maybe nothing at all. I don't need that stuff. If you do, get retail.
Open boxes I avoid because I don't know how the product was handled. If, for example, it is for a blender at the appliance store, that is one thing cause you can look at it for damage and it's fairly obvious. But, if you're talking about electronics at an e-tailer, how do you know it was handled properly or what happened to it to be returned? You don't. Pay the extra to get a sealed box, IMO.
OEM - It will save you some cash and the product is still new. It may not include the original packaging, documentation/CDs, installation equipment, and cables. Usually you just get the item. For instance, an OEM hard drive will just be the drive in a box. No screws, IDE cable, mounting brackets, format software, etc. Usually parts that require drivers will come with them on CD. So it's up to you. If you already have all the extra parts and are okay with downloading the documentation/drivers from the manufacturer's website, then OEM is a fine option. You can check reviews for OEM products to see what is left out (ie. on newegg)
Open Box - AKA Refurbished. The product has been purchased, shipped, opened, reshipped, tested, repackaged, and reshipped to you. All that handling, would you really trust it? It is possible that the company did thorough testing to verify that the product was working and replaced any broken parts. But maybe they missed something. For instance, a hard drive could have been starting to fail and have intermittant problems. The person ships it back. The company tests it and doesn't see the problem so they send it to you. Now you have a hard drive just prime to fail. Open Box can save you even more money but at high risk! If you do buy this way make sure the company is reputable and has a good return policy (ie. newegg!). Check to see if it still has a warranty. Buyer beware! The part may or may not come with everything.
Is it worth it get an open box or oem card? what exactly does a card come with that i would be missing out on? Thanks
As stated by others OEM parts are good. The only parts that I will absolutely only buy at retail are:
Everything else like hard drives, DVD drives, sound cards, and GPUs are okay to buy OEM in my book.
The only open box or refurbished item I ever bought is my Viewsonic PS90(?) monitor back in 1999. It still works, but is slowly dying since it takes a of time for the monitor to display colors brightly and correctly. I guess it's almost time to replace it.
As other have said, OEM is safe...just the basic parts and basic documentation (if that). OEM PC parts are likely safe if you're very comfortable with handling/installing hardware without a lot of documented guidance.
Open Box? ...for PC parts? Two words only (for me, anyways): NewEgg Only.
...N.E. simply treats its customers right as far as I can tell.
I have to agree with most of what the others posted but you need to remember one thing. Many oem parts are only warranty covered through the system builder, in this case that is you. If you buy the oem part from a store and they did not build your system for you then you usually will not get the full 1 year or 2 year warranty.
I've snagged a slew of OEM, open box, used, and refurbed items over the years...my general opinion is and will always be, if you can get it for cheaper then why not...of course I take into consideration the part, the seller, etc...if you can get a re-furb/oem at a cheap price and still RMA or return it (ala Newegg) then what is there to lose...some people prefer the pretty colors of the retail box and the braggin rights that come with overpaying off the shelf, and that's cool, it's their money...but once you throw away the retail box and it's in the machine, if it performs to factory spec, who the hell cares!
I've built machines solely from used parts off Ebay with nary a burp, fart, or hiccup...my current machine is a mix of retail, oem, and used parts.
I say it's all good, but as they say "Buyer Beware", just use some common sense when making your purchases.
If you buy open box items be prepared to do some work like downloading drivers & manuals or finding accessories as they are not guranteed to be there with the suipplied products/items.
That said, NEWEGG is by far the best place to purchase anything based solely on their customer service,,, its excellent.
I have purchased hundreds of items from Newegg both new & refurbed & have had very few problems, & those few were dealt with promptly.
Open box from NewEgg is completely safe if you know what you are doing. You can return the item if it doesn't work, but certain parts have a smaller return window is all. I think the shortest is 10 days or two weeks.
My OEM graphics card came without any crappy games that I never play anyway.
My BOXED (not open box) Opteron CPU came with a matched heatsink that not only works great but is pretty too (and I was going to get water until I saw all the pretty heat pipes).
My Open Box laptop broke after 6 months, and Circuit City refused to fix it because it was still under the HP 1 year warranty, and HP refused to fix it because the 1 year warranty had expired (and multiple attempts to prove otherwise failed until the 1 year warranty really did expire), and finally Circuit City refused to fix it because they are Jack asses and would not fix the broken power jack unless I let them have my hard disk too.
I would be very careful about an OEM CPU. A BOXED cpu is sealed at the factory, an OEM CPU is handled by the seller. He has a sheet of cpu's pressed into anti static material, and pulls one out, places it in or on a suitable sized anti static package of its own, wraps it up and sends it to you. More handling than I want.
I just got an open box mobo from Newegg. Read the fine print... It doesn't come with accessories... it wound up costing me more than had I bought a superior Mobo new.
The worst part is... some of the pins are broken! I'm really poor so i was building a budget system. the mobo in question is only $40 bucks. But when you take into account for 15% handling fee newegg charges for refund... plus $10 or whatever UPS shipping cost... plus already mentioned cost of missing cables, manual....
NOT WORTH IT.
And I haven't even booted my system yet... but if you are building budget system, don't go with Open Box. Do it only if you like gambling.
I bought an open box hard drive....which failed after about 3 months.
No problem...I thought... Seagate is good for three years so I proceeded to work with the Seagate web site for an RMA...
To my surprise oook! The drive was manufactured back in 2003 and of course out of factory warranty. The egg took care of me, though I will certainly be inspecting the date of manufacture if I buy open box again.
Depends on what you buy. I got a X-fi Xtreme Music oem brand new on ebay for $45.00, system specific for my box. I already had the cable I needed to hook-up the front-panel jacks that I had ordered previously.
um...OEM RAM and retail RAM is identical...without the fancy box it comes in, there are not manuals anyway...
OEM is the way to go for me, I dont use the crap drivers that come with retail parts anyway because inevitably they are out of date by at least a year by the time i get the part.
retail for CPU and Mobo and GPU only so that you have the cables and screws and heatsinks and what the hell ever else you need...unless you are 3 or 4 builds in then by now you should have what you need so Mobo becomes the only part i buy retail...because they dont sell OEM motherboards or OEM video cards at the egg for that matter so its a moot point