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CPUs: OEM vs Retail vs Engineering Samples (ES)

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August 25, 2008 9:17:32 PM

The obvious difference between an OEM CPU and a retail one are no manual, no heatsink/fan, and a reduced warranty for an OEM CPU compared to a retail one. In my case, I don't care about the manual, I use a third party heatsink/fan, and am not worried about the warranty since the CPU will likely be lapped/overclocked anyways (which of course voids the warranty).

Now BESIDES these, are there any other differences between OEM and retail? I'm looking in terms of how well they compare with overclocking, temperatures, etc... Any advantages to one or the other, or are they the same?

Also, what about ES (engineering samples) CPUs? Are these the same as OEMs? Any other differences like the ones mentioned above?

If no major differences, buying an OEM/ES CPU will let me save some major $$$.
August 25, 2008 9:27:14 PM

ES cpus arn't for sale and have an unlocked multiplier
August 25, 2008 9:48:23 PM

In AUS OEM's arent generally sold anywhere so i have always bought retail for that reason. However, if the OEM version of the CPU you want is available and cheaper definetly get it in your case.
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August 25, 2008 9:49:33 PM

also, ES cpu's are pre-production, and therefore some features are subject to change.

also, if you manage to buy an ES, tell intel/amd and you may get rewarded for your efforts.. I remember someone (I believe here in Toms forums) that got 1, sent it back, got another (different one), and then contacted intel. when all was done, he had a brand new top of the line extreme edition for his troubles.
August 25, 2008 10:47:04 PM

Heh, I'm seeing ES CPUs being sold at ebay all the time. I think I read somewhere they aren't supposed to be sold though.

Anyways I'm more interested in the differences among these if anyone knows (apart from manual, heatsink, and warranty).
August 25, 2008 11:11:53 PM

michiganteddybear said:
also, ES cpu's are pre-production, and therefore some features are subject to change.

also, if you manage to buy an ES, tell intel/amd and you may get rewarded for your efforts.. I remember someone (I believe here in Toms forums) that got 1, sent it back, got another (different one), and then contacted intel. when all was done, he had a brand new top of the line extreme edition for his troubles.


Yup, i believe someone bought an x6800 ES. he notified intel and got the new Qx6800 or Qx6700 (can't remember exactly) plus he got his money back through his credit company. So he won in that case :D 
August 26, 2008 12:23:08 AM

Also ES CPUs could have unforeseen issues laying in them, since they are preproduction samples all the bugs haven't been ironed out. Retail/OEM CPUs are the final product, modeled after ES samples.
October 15, 2008 5:22:02 AM

I find mixed views on ES and retail CPU's. Seems like half the people say ES cpus are bad due to extreme stress testing and/or disabled functions and other half think they are the best.

I just bought a new comp that has an E8600 ES cpu and I'm wondering whether to return it. I don't want to have problems 1-2 years from now cause it died.
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October 15, 2008 8:40:18 AM

zubovsergei said:
I just bought a new comp that has an E8600 ES cpu and I'm wondering whether to return it. I don't want to have problems 1-2 years from now cause it died.

Technically you don't have a choice (technically). What you bought belongs to Intel - not the place you bought it from and not you. It should not have been sold to you in the first place.
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