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OEM vs. Retail

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December 15, 2003 6:13:19 PM

When I shop for hardware and software, I see different prices for products with notations of OEM and Retail. What is the difference? Which products are OK to get in OEM?

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December 15, 2003 6:46:03 PM

OEM = No retail box, no manuals, no HSF (in the case of CPUs) and no warranty (or reduced warranty). CPUs typically have a 30 day manufacturer warranty... anything beyond that the store that sold you the CPU would have to cover.

Retail = Full retail packaging and warranty. Usually more expensive (although not by much most of the time), but well worth it considering the warranty.

<font color=red> If you design software that is fool-proof, only a fool will want to use it. </font color=red>
December 15, 2003 6:52:11 PM

Generally the retail versions have longer warranties & have the cables or such provided. OEM is barebones. If the difference in price is slight it's worth buying the retail. A good example is the WD Raptor HD. I bought one OEM and it had no cable. The SATA cable that came w/ my mobo was a loose fit & didn't work. I ended up having to buy the WD cable seperately.
Retail CPU's usually come w/ heatsinks.
Windows XP sometimes doesn't have drivers available for some newer OEM products & you'll have to search for them.
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December 15, 2003 7:02:24 PM

most oem products (other than drives) come with a driver cd.


If it isn't a P6 then it isn't a procesor
110% BX fanboy
December 15, 2003 7:03:36 PM

Yup thats how it works.. Some hardware thats retail comes with better instructions manuel and software like games mp3 recording stuff etc. One area I always go oem is windows itself. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer (I think) I know CPU's that are OEM don't come with a fan yet you need a fan to run it so if your buying OEM look into it first.

If I glanced at a spilt box of tooth picks on the floor, could I tell you how many are in the pile. Not a chance, But then again I don't have to buy my underware at Kmart.
December 15, 2003 7:07:13 PM

bah <i>buy</i> windows?


If it isn't a P6 then it isn't a procesor
110% BX fanboy
December 15, 2003 7:22:48 PM

It all boils down to whether or not the retail box, warranty, and retail "extras" (like cables sometimes) are worth it to you.

My personal preference is to usually spend a little extra $$ because no matter how good you are, you are going to need support or a replacement part someday. When that day comes, the money you spent will be well worth it. Also, just like anything else, buy from a reputable dealer.
December 15, 2003 7:39:02 PM

AND OEM can also mean fewer SMT components on the boards because they use (TH) through hole components that are cheaper. CRIMINAL!!

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December 15, 2003 9:23:15 PM

Yes in fact you will see this problem specifically to Graphics cards. Not as much with Motherboards but it does happen.
You could hold a GeForce MX 2 for example and it all has SMT components including CAP's that are higher-end SMT or surface mount components.

If you look at the same exact card OEM from another supplier like XFX you will see they use substandard components including Electrolytic capacitors that are through hole (TH).

Any time you face an OEM product you can run across this sub standards in components as different companies use the schematics to make the circuit boards but they are not forced to use the new SMT technology they can cut corners by drafting the circuit boards to accept TH components that are cheaper to buy and do not need Robotics placement machines to build the boards. Manual labour to Stuff the components!!

Plus many test units Robotics machines that use flying probe systems that can check circuit boards for continuity are now old fashioned in the industry and are much cheaper as a company's capitol purchase.

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December 15, 2003 11:08:37 PM

just cause its electrolythic does not mean it has to be through hole. My saphire oem card uses all smt electrolythic caps, hell i cannot find one non surface mount component on my gpu. Also WTF are you talking about higher end components are surface mount, just take 1 look at the dozen or so caps around your cpu, those are non surface mount, same with inside your powersupply.

BAH you are full of [-peep-]...go home...i'm no EE but i know hot air when i see it.


If it isn't a P6 then it isn't a procesor
110% BX fanboy
December 16, 2003 12:23:45 AM

SMT Capacitors are either Ceramic based or plastic/carbon elements there is no LIQUID hence the name electrolytic material in an SMT component. The reason SMT or surface mount components have no liquid materials in them is because they go through a BIG ASS 4 STAGE OVEN that melts all the solder around the component footprints therefore affixing them to the circuit board.

Oh I have worked as an electronics surface mount specialist for the last 20 years.............As well as many other Engineering attributes.

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December 16, 2003 12:34:12 AM

hmm thats odd...digikey has 62 pages worth of electrolythic smp capacitors!


If it isn't a P6 then it isn't a procesor
110% BX fanboy
December 16, 2003 12:45:13 AM

SodNightHawk, you want respect around here your going to have to earn it like everyone else.

You will get little respect from me or any others by continously bringing up your "Engineering attributes".

Play fair, respect others and quit telling us how big your dad is.

You might be right on this one but I'd be very suprized if you are. This is because no one respects you, including me. You are very opinionated and usually wrong.

Just my two cents.


If I glanced at a spilt box of tooth picks on the floor, could I tell you how many are in the pile. Not a chance, But then again I don't have to buy my underware at Kmart.
December 16, 2003 1:21:44 AM

Oh I was so.... waiting for you to hang your self on the large very visible electrolytic radial capacitors around your CPU.

The reason is very simple, see if you can follow this concept.

Micro ferret or µ <--Greek symbol for Micro.

The larger the micro ferrite of a capacitor the larger the capacitor has to be to perform the job in a physical size, it is still cheaper for even top of the line motherboard manufacturers to use YES the lower grade electrolytic TH Radial capacitors in certain areas of the motherboard, you in fact still find some companies using AXIAL Electrolytic capacitors that are even cheaper that they manually or machine bend the leads to fit the TH locations on the boards.

In the case of Space available it is some times much easier for the design engineer to cheat on board space by using an upright radial electrolytic capacitor then it is for them to get enough pads/footprint space available for SMT placement of larger 1206 SMT components on a circuit board. I am sure you have seen all the white lettering/numbering on a circuit board they are called board designators and are only there for a visual reference location by human eye the fact that they can overlap so they are hardly legible is a none event.

Robotics place the components and those component locations according to size type and value are all pre-programmed into a CAD placement file that is uploaded to the robotics machines. The robots use what are called Feducial points on the boards or on removable snap outs that the robots use with camera vision to align them selves with so they can place the thousands of components. (Feducial) means Trusted or reference point. You will see them as small round lead circles or even triangle shaped or square.

Also in some cases heat dissipation is taken into account and the design engineer again cheats the cost down by using Axial carbon TH resistors in certain areas that do not require large heat dissipation or extra cooling.

As SMT components can take massive amounts of heat up to 400 degrees they are prime material for building high grade electronics used in military components.

In some cases and this applies to boards with 5 different layers in them and most motherboards exceed this, they use a TH component to again reduce cost because the CAD Design team does not have to add another conductive layer in the board or provide more traces for connection for SMT components. So the TH component because it solders directly through every layer in the board through the VIA's they can cheat the cost down again by stuffing in the cheaper part.

Lastly it is much easier for a manufacture to perform warranty work on TH components (In Areas of high risk on the board) because the manual skill-sets needed to perform the rework is much lower in a manufacturing environment, you want your SMT specialists providing in house builds with support not reworking boards that are DOA or found dead on arrival and shipped back for warranty rework. And again the replacement parts are much cheaper because they can be purchased in small quantities.

SMT components because they are reel fed or Pick and place from trays by robotics equipment are purchased in thousands per reel and each reel or tray can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for a build of 500 to 1000 boards a week. A typical 12 Ohm SMT resister could be needed in up to 900 different locations on one board and some boards are double sided meaning they have SMT components placed on both sides the Primary and secondary side.

In a manufacturing environment the actual cost of the robotics is quickly replaced because you don't need a plant of thousands all stuffing in TH components, but the skill sets required for the operation on the robotics and maintenance and operations is cutting edge technology. If it is not SMT then it is antique.

I was working in high tech when we started to see the first SMT components come into the industry and have followed the progression of them and the reliance we still have and always will have for many reasons on the original but older TH technology.

TH components are penty-anti stuff in most cases.

HEY HE ASKED!!

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December 16, 2003 1:36:00 AM

piii Man there is no such thing as an SMT component that contains any type of liquid.
The components you are looking at are used where a circuit board is under the design stage and the engineer leaves the option open for either a TH or SMT component so there are both holes and pads on the board.
The caps you were looking at are hybrid components for design and not sold to civilian users and they still would not contain any type of electrolytic materials.

If you had an SMT component that had a liquid in it the part would blow up in the reflow oven.................Dumb Ass.

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December 16, 2003 1:38:14 AM

The OEM product has no manufacturer waranty to the end user (you), the Retail Box comes with a 3 year warranty. Now, the Retail Box also includes a cooler, which is usually worth at least as much as the price difference.

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December 16, 2003 1:49:22 AM

SoDNighthawk,

I'm curious... How old are you and how many different things have you done? I thought I read a post where you said you did something with telephones in the middle east... you must be a busy guy!


So you are saying that manufacturers will alter their manufacturing process for their OEM product-line in order to save money on capacitors?

I know that manufacturers DO alter their manufacturing processes and use different materials when manufacturing products for many reasons. Simple example... look at the different types of memory the same graphics cards may come with from the same manufacturer.

I also know for a fact that it's <b>not</b> true that an OEM product is necessarily of poorer quality than the retail... for example, you can go out and buy a 9800 Non-Pro OEM with Samsung memory that has the potential to perform better than the infinion memory you'll likely get with a retail card today.

Since it's not <b>always</b> true that an OEM is inferior, is it true that OEM products are manufactured to lesser specs more often than not? Can you give me an example of a manufacturer that produces OEM of product X which is always/usually inferior to their corresponding retail product X?

This is something I've never heard before... please expand. Personally, I think I've found as much disparity in the same retail product as I have OEM products.
December 16, 2003 2:33:17 AM

You're the first person to ever claim that OEM is inferior to Retail.

Who does this? Which manufacturers should we look out for?

_________________________________________
<font color=red>12 bit... The way games are meant to be played!</font color=red>
December 16, 2003 4:06:06 AM

Sadam makes OEM products and windows..
What do you think?

p4 2.8 533fsb
intel mobo
1gb rdram pc 800
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December 16, 2003 7:26:39 AM

Yes you are right not all OEM is inferior to retail however if it looks like a lemon and smells like a lemon it's proly a lemon. Ok now that that is out of the road.

I will give you the fastest breakdown I can on my life LOL.

My dad was an air force pilot he left the RCAF and went into very senior management in Bell Canada.

At 15 I was enlisted into the Canadian Army I wanted to be a Helicopter pilot but since we don't have any....I went into Jump school same thing accept you fall instead of fly. All this after I turned 16

In 1987 I crushed both T2 and T3 vertebra in my neck in a training jump where I was training others....ouch.

The military paid my schooling and I went into Aero jet engine mechanics.

After that I went to work at the central input output Office at 78 O'Connor downtown Ottawa the capitol and spent a year testing main frame circuitry then when they built the new Air Traffic Control tower at the Ottawa airport I worked in what they call the RIM CREW pulling all the communication cables through the concrete structure for the built in flight and control radars.

After that I spent more time in college then went into a small company that was just specializing in SMT on a small scale for military contracts. This is where I spent 7 years as a SMT specialist and the learning curve for the manufacturing process was just being understood, so I in fact invented some of the procedures for SMT and was one of the first in Ottawa to work with BGA or Ball Array chips.
During that seven years I took night courses and got an Electronics Technologists Diploma.

I then went to JDS and worked for them for a couple years and got my Fibre Optic tickets.
As JDS and Nortel work hand in hand I moved out of the design proto type's at JDS to the hardware electronic side at Nortel Networks during my time there before the Big Nortel crash I ended up as an Instructor for the robotics group training operations staff how to run the robots that placed the optics Wafers etc for the OC192 product line that runs our current internet. At that time Nortel had most of the market about 85 percent of the worlds business. Oh the shares I had..............Zippo............

After Nortel crashed I ended up working for a small company that makes laser devices also related to fibre optics and we made quite powerful lasers used in Colleges for experimentation purposes.

Oh at Nortel I also learned to work in wafer fab in the design of the wafers that are used in the production of CPU's from the glue up to the final design's

During all this time I finalized my Electrical engineering courses and also a Network engineering course on the side. School never ends even in the job I currently have.

If you want to become an Engineer it is understood in the industry that you will be in school until the day you die or retire it is part of the job.

Well that's it in a nut shell so much was not written I hope this gives you a little chronological time line.

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December 16, 2003 1:30:44 PM

I have to agree with buddy here that OEM products are sometimes inferior to retail products. Manufacturers probably do not change the production lines just for different types of products, but they do divide the finished products into different quality categories after final inspections. I'm pretty sure you've all heard tier1, tier2 and tier3 products. Tier1 is the best quality and goes into retail products, and tier2 & 3 are then sold as OEM products or to OEMs.

For example, when Intel extracts all the chips from a wafer, they test each one indivuidually and decides the clock rating. Then ones that dont function properly get their L2 cache cut to quarter and tested as Celeron processors. I believe that is how ATI decides which chips are the 9800 pro chips and which ones become the 9800SE chips.

Hope this helps :) 
December 16, 2003 4:45:01 PM

Most of the online stores that I use only sell CPUs and HDD/optical drives in OEM form; I have only seen retail packs for HDDs in walk-in computer stores.

OEM is just the way goods are packaged for system builders/resellers etc.; if you are going to sell someone a computer (or computers) with an XXX GB HDD, there is no point receiving the thing(s) with all of the packaging and accessories that someone buying a single HDD from a retailer (for their computer) would get.

OEM CPUs are not worth the small saving IMHO; I bought one as an emergency backup (Duron), but the thing arrived in barely adequate packinging and had a couple of minorly bent pins. The packaging for retail CPUs is the tamper proof indestructible plastic stuff.

"Some mice have two buttons. Macintosh has one. So it's extremely difficult to push the wrong button." - Apple ad. circa 1984.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by captainnemo on 12/16/03 01:53 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 16, 2003 5:58:19 PM

How about Windows XP Professional? The OEM version costs $137 and retail version costs almost $300. Which one to buy? I understand there will be no technical support and manuals with OEM version. Is it advisable to buy OEM when building a new PC?
December 16, 2003 6:25:49 PM

Grr you piss me off!

First off the mobo caps were an example bud, i also stated the smt caps on just about all ATI gpus. I was just challanging how stupid you sounded saying that electrolythic caps are non surface mount, because they can be, like i said digikey has over 60 pages purly devoted to SMT Electrolythic caps, and i have seen many OEM graphics cards using SMT electrolythic caps.

Ok that microferrite stuff is bullshit, why? Because the caps in your powersupply are a hell of a lot bigger than the caps on your mobo however a mobo cap probably is rated for 2x the uf. WHY? Voltage num nuts.

The rest i didn't read cause it was too long. As for your biography, BS. I have no degrees in EE or anything electircal but yet i can still see that what you are saying is totally wrong.

Also about smt components being able to take heat? WTF? When attemting an agp mod on my motherboard i was using an SMT oscillator that was only rated for 70c durring mounting.


If it isn't a P6 then it isn't a procesor
110% BX fanboy
December 16, 2003 6:50:00 PM

Maybe the admins will tag him with a "special title" like "Village Idiot" or tag all of his posts with a sticky warning. Nice poll about that in the polls forum ;) 

<A HREF="http://www.lochel.com/THGC/html/shadus.html" target="_new">Shadus</A>
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December 16, 2003 10:31:29 PM

Yes, by all means buy the OEM version of Windows! The big difference is that you can't install OEM Windows on a system that already has another version of Windows. Just back up your stuff, format the drive, and use the OEM version!

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