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OEM vs Retail

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June 15, 2007 11:20:05 PM

Hi everyone,

I've found out that OEM versions of XP and Vista are cheaper than Retail versions, so what's wrong with them? Which are the differences?

And by the way, I've seen that Vista Home Basic only support one processor. I have a core duo, so, does this mean that the OS will only use one processor? And what about programs that run on it, will they use one or two processors?

And one last thing, I'm thinking of a dual boot PC, with XP Home 32 bit and a Vista Home Basic 32 bit (I won't buy this one :p ). Is this possible? Do I need two hard drives, or with one hard drive and two partitions is enough?

Thanks,

Prototype00

More about : oem retail

June 16, 2007 7:30:58 AM

OEM are cheaper, as they are intended to be sold with a complete computer. Other than a fancy box and support from MS, there aren't too many other differences. The only other major difference is the licensing... OEM may only be installed on one computer and it may NOT be moved to a different computer. If you sell that computer, the OEM version of Windows must be provided with it.

Home Basic and Home Premium only support one processor. However, (at least with Home Premium... not sure about Basic) that processor can have multiple cores. If you have a dual-core CPU... it is still considered to be one physical CPU and not two. So when they refer to number of CPUs, they mean number of CPU sockets on the motherboard, not the number of cores on the processor.

I prefer Home Premium and usually recommend it over Basic.
June 16, 2007 7:20:10 PM

Per your dual boot question, I have xp and Vista prem on dual boot with 2 hdd's and all is good there.

You can run with just one hdd with partitions, but with the price of drives so low you can save a few bucks rather than buying a good partition manager.

Plus, if you can go with Vista premium instead of the basic edition. You get alot more for your money.
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June 16, 2007 9:22:34 PM

But and I'm not very experienced at installing OS and making partitions, so I will probably have to reinstall Windows sometimes. Can I reinstall the OEM version every time I'll need it while while I don't change my computer (motherboard I suppose) ? And make a dual boot with OEM ?

My processor is an Intel Core2 Duo E6420. Is it still a one physical CPU?

I have choosen Basic because I don't wont Aero to steal me some RAM and waste energies of my graphic card. I like windows as they are now, and I don't want to flip them in 3D, it's useless. In which way Premium is better than Basic?
June 16, 2007 10:53:47 PM

There's a comparison chart on MS's website as to what features each OS has: MS Vista Comparison Chart

As to the Core2 Duo question... I'm not sure how much more plainly I can put it... but look at it this way. It's one single chip in the palm of your hand, right? It plugs into a single socket on the motherboard, correct? That means it is ONE physical CPU. It can have 32 billion cores, but it still only plugs into one CPU socket, making it one physical CPU. Now if you had two chips that plugged into two sockets on the motherboard, then you would have TWO physical CPUs. Disregard the number of cores when discussing how many CPUs you have. All editions of Vista support multi-core single CPUs.
June 16, 2007 11:11:11 PM

Thank you for the comparison chart and the information about cores. But I still have one doubt missing (apart from the one about reinstalling). I'm buying a graphic card nVidia 8800 GTX which is DirectX10 compatible, but I don't know if all versions of Vista (specially Basic OEM) includes Directx10, and this information doesn't exist anywhere, they only talk about Aero (which every day I dislike more). So, final question, all versions of Vista (OEM included) have Directx10?

Prototype00
Anonymous
June 20, 2007 7:05:57 PM

To the best of my knoweldge, all versions of Vista and Direct x10 go hand-in-hand.
June 20, 2007 7:48:49 PM

Due to the demand of this question, I'm making this a Sticky.

Now you can yell at people to read the stickies.
June 26, 2007 1:47:27 AM

Hello, and am very interested in this thread. Will be purchasing equipment soon with the ability to choose Vista or XpSp2.

1) Can the OEM version be 'custom installed' or is it an all or nothing proposition?

2) I notice that Home Basic does not have a lot of the 'sharing' capabilities that, frankly lead to a lot of spy/vir/mal problems, and this at least superficially, 'looks' safer.

3) Like the many elder systems before it, can I make a copy of the boot sector (reportedly about 1.5 gig?!?!?) in case S#1T happens? (probably on a DVD at that size)

4) I notice that in other forums, not in this posting yet, anyways, that aero is quite the resource hog for its slick appearance.

5) Apropo to 4) is that the less DRM built in, the less time wasted protecting it. (makes me think the 'other' sysops in a dual-boot should be W98se!)

6) No matter what I purchase, I will just say no to OutEx/Mail, and fetch my mail from the mailserver my self.

So I guess what my real question boils down to is if I can custom install, and to what fineness can I do this. I have heard that OEM's are full install only, no customization.

Thanks
f61
June 26, 2007 3:34:27 PM

You can fully customize it.

If you buy a Dell computer, it comes with an OEM version of Windows on it. That's what you're buying.

Aero is a desktop theme. You can easily disable it. You also need to understand that with Vista, all your resources basically show up as being used. In older version of Windows, you had 400-500MB of memory "unused." Vista will "use" this memory or have it ready to be used if something is needed. Its not "hogging" it per say but really optimizing it.

I can open a Lotus Notes on an XP machine and it'll use up 60MB of memory. I close it, 60MB are freed.
Vista: I open Lotus Notes, the memory use changes by maybe 1MB. I close it, it changes by maybe 1MB.

Vista goes and caches your heavily used programs - being a cache, it can clear it out for other programs and recache it if needed later on when memory is freed up. Thus, your system is more optimized than having unused memory doing nothing at all.
July 31, 2007 11:27:39 PM

So if your motherboard dies with the OEM version, do you just have to buy a whole new copy or is there some mechanism to be able to use it with another motherboard?
August 3, 2007 1:41:40 PM

I have the OEM version of Vista 64 bit Ultimate. While I haven't changed much in the way of hardware since I originally got it, I have had zero problems reinstalling the OS 3 times.

I think a copy of your hardware profile or MAC address is stored on MS computers somewhere and associated with your key. Because the third time I reinstalled the OS, it didn't even bother to tell me to activate it.

Basically I removed everything of use to a secondary drive, then completely blew away the Vista system partition and reinstall it. I thought the retail SKU contained copies of the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the OS but only allowed to you install one or the other.

Since I knew I was going 64-bit from day zero, I went with the cheaper OEM version.
August 3, 2007 10:06:25 PM

Quote:
tawnos wrote :

So if your motherboard dies with the OEM version, do you just have to buy a whole new copy or is there some mechanism to be able to use it with another motherboard?



read this thread http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/ [...] se#t851237 :) 

Ok Assman (hahahaha) I read that post, so make sure I'm getting this right. I also want to dual boot XP and Vista, and I purchased an OEM copy of XP pro with the Vista upgrade. I'm running the OEM XPpro now and plan on tossing in another drive to dual boot it with Vista. Because it is an upgrade, I assume that I have to install the OEMXPpro on that drive also, and then upgrade to Vista on that drive (any info on how to do this dual boot would be helpful, hehe). Now, after reading through the post that you so kindly directed us towards, I'm understanding that I will have no problem with this because I'm using the same mobo. Am I catching this correctly? I've only activated once, so I should be able to avoid phone activation? The answer should help clear up a lot. Thanks!!!!
August 6, 2007 12:31:42 PM

I read somewhere that you can only install vista so many times before that key is disabled for good. Is this just a myth from people who hate M$.
August 6, 2007 5:48:39 PM

read the thread in my previous post here.
If you have a genuine retail vista, they can't disable the key you purchased, what might happend is that after a couple of re-installs (and therefore re-activations of windows) during an activation procedure instead of the message "You have successfully activated your copy of windows" they'll ask you to call m$ and activate by phone.
August 8, 2007 10:10:13 AM

Dual-Booting Vista and XP with OEM XP + OEM Vista Business upgrade:
Just tried to do this by using the Vista DVD and a separate hard drive (XP already installed on another HDD). I took the "clean install" route (not installing XP on the 2nd drive, installing vista on the 2nd drive and waiting until after the install to activate Vista). Unfortunately (maybe obviously) an attempted activation returns an error that says something like 'this key can only be used as an upgrade.' Well, that settles that. I'll try to install XP on that 2nd drive and see if they let me activate it and upgrade it to Vista (dual boot) while still keeping XP active on the first drive (anyone know if this will work?). I know it says in the link that assman posted that OEM only allows 1 copy on 1 computer, but I wonder if anyone has actually tried to do this OEM-to-Vista-upgrade dual boot deal.
August 8, 2007 7:44:02 PM

Thanks Assman! I wasnt going to get vista but now I will (damn dx10). I was concerned with not being able to reinstall. Glad to see its not true b/c I reinstall frequently.
August 8, 2007 7:47:26 PM

You're welcome, I wish you a pleasant Vista Experience :) 
September 23, 2007 4:07:25 AM

if you going to get any ver of vista make sure its Home Premium (OEM) if your getting vista basic just use XP agane as you lose Aero interface on basic

allso for good responce out of pcs best to use 2gb of ram over 1gb as you may find your pc running out of ram (pc slow down alot when that happens untill you close that program down or game) for gameing use better to have 3gb or Heavy pageing may happen (run out of ram slow down game some times)

--------- edit ops this is an month old heh------
September 27, 2007 8:39:32 PM

Nope, I own a Vista Ultimate x64 OEM as well, My mobo died today and vista required another activation which has failed online but i just phoned them up and it was sorted within minutes.

There is a set amount of activations you can for a set time. I don't know the exact number but you can not activate the same vista twice in a month, not automatically anyway, you have to phone them up.
November 4, 2007 3:59:03 AM

Ive heard that the OEM versions are pretty much the same thing as the retail except cheaper and dont come with any manuals or anything? Is this true? If so i think i will get the retail version as this will be my first clean install on my first build.
November 4, 2007 9:57:36 AM

The OEM version allows installation on one, and only one computer.

The Retail version can be uninstalled and moved to another PC.
November 5, 2007 7:26:10 AM

Thats it? It still comes with everything in the retail box?
November 6, 2007 2:53:14 PM

If you consider "A DVD and a Pamphlet" to be everything in thd retail box. <grin> Then yes, it's the same in both cases. Software's the same.
November 8, 2007 11:42:59 AM

Locking this thread so it doesn't get carried away as a thread - Its a sticky!

If anyone has any questions/comments about it, PM me and we can resolve.

Thanks
!