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Difference between OEM and Retail CPUs?

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October 25, 2006 4:44:41 AM

I was wondering what is the difference between OEM (unboxed, tray, or white-box) and Retail (boxed) CPUs. I know that OEM have shorter warranties and don't come with a heatsink and fan, but I heard that they also don't preform as well and last as long as the Boxed ones. Such an example was that the L1 and L2 caches are smaller and it doesn't have the pathways needed to achieve the CPU's true potential. So in a way, the OEM version of the CPU was underclocked or they reduced its performance. Is that true? This person read something on this and also did a side by side test using same hardware, just OEM or Retail CPUs as the variable. Supposably the test confirmed this idea but I wanted confirmation on this if anyone else knows.

Finding an answer to this will help me greatly by being able to decide which type works best.

Thanks for any help you can give :D 
October 25, 2006 2:41:31 PM

There is no difference, at all, between a Retail and a OEM processor. Period.

As mentioned previously, the Retail processor does come with a longer warranty, a heatsink/fan assembly, and a pretty box.

When Dell buys 50,000 processors, they don't need or want the pretty box or HSF, as they've got their own thermal solutions and would just end up chucking the box and documentation.

The processors are 100% identical. Do not let somebody fool you into thinking the retail boxed processors are superior.

Greg
October 25, 2006 3:04:02 PM

Quote:
I was wondering what is the difference between OEM (unboxed, tray, or white-box) and Retail (boxed) CPUs. I know that OEM have shorter warranties and don't come with a heatsink and fan, but I heard that they also don't preform as well and last as long as the Boxed ones. Such an example was that the L1 and L2 caches are smaller and it doesn't have the pathways needed to achieve the CPU's true potential. So in a way, the OEM version of the CPU was underclocked or they reduced its performance. Is that true? This person read something on this and also did a side by side test using same hardware, just OEM or Retail CPUs as the variable. Supposably the test confirmed this idea but I wanted confirmation on this if anyone else knows.

Finding an answer to this will help me greatly by being able to decide which type works best.

Thanks for any help you can give :D 


In a nutshell - -

There is no difference. At least physically with the CPU.

OEM processors, as you would buy them, are the gray market processors that Intel referred to when they announced they were 'leveling the pricing for OEMs and the channel'. Here is how it works.

OEMs place an order and get volume discounting, sometimes significant depending on the amount of the order and the negotiating skills of the buyers. Often times the larger the order the better the discount, thus they will significantly over order what they need. They hold the inventory for sometime, then sell the excess back into the channel at pricing lower than what Intel (or AMD) would sell into the channel.

As such, you get 'cheaper' CPU's, the OEMs sell the excess for slightly over the volume discount so they get a profit, and the channel players sell them to you for a small mark up. Everyone makes money except the manufactures who 'lose' revenue due to processors they sold at lower prices.

Retail CPUs are sold direct through the distributor to the channel or retailer/e-tailer. They are boxed, branded and, tada come with their own HSF.

Another difference, and one to pay attention to, is the warranty. Since Intel or AMD transfers ownership to the OEM, the OEM assumes warranty responsibility, thus when they shove them off to the gray market, they typically only offer up 30 day warrantee's. Intel or AMD are not responsible for the warrantee on an OEM processor as those were itended to be into finished boxes which are themselves unit/warranteed by the OEM. (At least that was the way the warranty was described to me, I could be wrong).

Jack

Awesome description. I learned something today :wink:

I would've just said, "OEM has no box, heat sink, fan, or warranty," but I like your reply much better :) 
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October 25, 2006 3:31:36 PM

So if you want to buy a cpu and you already have a cpu cooler or planning to get a better cpu cooler, water cooling or other cooling then you need the OEM. Just like me, got my 840 as OEM and I bought a much better HSF at the same time. Saves me like $20.
October 25, 2006 4:28:55 PM

I brought OEM P4 lately. :lol: 

I wonder if I should take a picture of my old P4, use photoshop, and put:

Grimmy's C2Q
8Ghz / 16MB L2
Engineer Sample

Cores are not to be
sold separately

BTW the Intel fairy hasn't left me any money after putting it under my pillow at nite...
:oops:  <(J/K!!)
a b à CPUs
October 25, 2006 4:53:36 PM

Although they may tell you the warranty is only 30days in actuality it's 3Years with the manufacturer. I know this from experience. The difference is that the customer needs to RMA the item directly with the manufacturer after 30days and not through the vendor.

I've RMA'd many OEM CPU's without a problem. The only company ever to give me a problem was AMD. When I RMA'd a retail AMD AthlonXP 2400+ they hassled me about the Stock Cooler (as the Serial Number on the cooler had to match that of the CPU). Thing is I chucked out the retail cooler in favour of a better third party cooler.

So in the end I did not get an RMA. AMD have apparently changed this though.
October 25, 2006 5:20:15 PM

Quote:
There is no difference, at all, between a Retail and a OEM processor. Period.


I'm not 100% confident that this is true. I know that in the past it was claimed that boxed CPUs would overclock better.

It would also make sense from Intel's point of view - namely that they have speed grades, but some CPUs are capable of the higher speed grades but need to be binned lower to satisfy demand (but where the price schedule ultimately maximises income). So Intel then has a E6700 that they need to label as an E6600, so where are they going to put it? In an OEM container where it will likely only ever be used as an E6600, or in a box where enthusiasts pay extra money and want the best?

But in my circumstance, the decision was ultimately simple to make. I spent a bit over $1500 on my build - not including monitor. The difference between a boxed and an OEM E6600 was around $20 - so a trivial amount relative to the cost of the rest of the computer. But a boxed CPU meant that there was a chance that I could better exploit the rest of the premium components in my system (good ram and motherboard).

At the end of the day, my system overclocked from 2.4 to 3.4 Ghz without any difficulty at all, and I simply haven't tried any higher yet as there is no need. However, I have heard of others that have had difficulty hitting 3 Ghz. It might have nothing to do with me getting a boxed CPU and them getting an OEM one, but for $20, why would you take the risk??
October 25, 2006 10:32:44 PM

Thanks for all the information :D  I think I'll just go with OEM then unless many people say that boxed is better but it sounds like that is not true.

You guys here are very helpful. Thanks again.
October 26, 2006 3:16:43 AM

It's as said above.

My contribution is that the OEM is not necessarily the cheapest option for the processor. I bought my E6600 retail as the cheapest going available to me as a new processor in the UK and not a scammer (TescoBox I'm looking at you). So OEM/retail? Go with what is cheapest.
October 26, 2006 4:23:19 AM

J square thats gotta be the tightest f%ckin' avatar in the community, but anyways i'll put my two cents out there. I got a A64 3200 OEM that hit 2.5 easy got impatient with testing so I left it there, prolly could have done more. Just bought a Opty 170 retail and got it to 2.4 with out even breakin a sweat and im sure its got more in it than that, its just drinkin and womanizing is more fun than screwing with this damn devil box...peace 8)
October 26, 2006 4:29:03 AM

Quote:
There is no difference, at all, between a Retail and a OEM processor. Period.


I'm not 100% confident that this is true. I know that in the past it was claimed that boxed CPUs would overclock better.

It would also make sense from Intel's point of view - namely that they have speed grades, but some CPUs are capable of the higher speed grades but need to be binned lower to satisfy demand (but where the price schedule ultimately maximises income). So Intel then has a E6700 that they need to label as an E6600, so where are they going to put it? In an OEM container where it will likely only ever be used as an E6600, or in a box where enthusiasts pay extra money and want the best?

But in my circumstance, the decision was ultimately simple to make. I spent a bit over $1500 on my build - not including monitor. The difference between a boxed and an OEM E6600 was around $20 - so a trivial amount relative to the cost of the rest of the computer. But a boxed CPU meant that there was a chance that I could better exploit the rest of the premium components in my system (good ram and motherboard).

At the end of the day, my system overclocked from 2.4 to 3.4 Ghz without any difficulty at all, and I simply haven't tried any higher yet as there is no need. However, I have heard of others that have had difficulty hitting 3 Ghz. It might have nothing to do with me getting a boxed CPU and them getting an OEM one, but for $20, why would you take the risk??Yes, it was generally said(though i'm not sure how true) that retail P4's(Northwood) overclocked better than OEM. :?
October 26, 2006 4:52:05 AM

I was under the impression that OEM items were the same as retail items, without the boxes, instructions and generally less expensive and a shorter warranty. But this may not be true 100% all of the time.
I was surfing Newegg.com the other day, and came across an AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Windsor 2.6GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor - OEM that doesn't support virtualization. I believe that these new AM2 socket X2 processors are supposed to support virtualization.
I contacted Newegg to see if maybe lack of virtualization support was a misprint, but they were unable to provide an answer and referred me to AMD. I contacted AMD, and hopefully they will give me an answer.
October 26, 2006 4:52:26 AM

Quote:
J square thats gotta be the tightest f%ckin' avatar in the community, but anyways i'll put my two cents out there. I got a A64 3200 OEM that hit 2.5 easy got impatient with testing so I left it there, prolly could have done more. Just bought a Opty 170 retail and got it to 2.4 with out even breakin a sweat and im sure its got more in it than that, its just drinkin and womanizing is more fun than screwing with this damn devil box...peace 8)


:)  :)  Thanks... the darn software limits you to 10 KB GIF or JPG for the avatar, it took me a few iterations with a GIF animator to fit it in and still have it look ok.

When I had my two AMDs, many years ago, go bad --- AMD was a much different company then... Ruiz has done one helluva job turning that company around and making it successful --- key to this is the customer centric philosophy he brought to the company.

I am sure I would not have had the issues I had if it were under different management at the time.

Here is what is funny, I lived in Austin when all that crap went down --- I personally drove the CPU to AMD and handed to them, they would not replace/honor the warranty.And so, little by little, the reason for your preference of owning Intel comes out. :wink: I would feel the same way.
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