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Buying OEM Products To Save Money

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I am going to be building a new computer system this week and decided to build it myself mostly for fun and figured I would save money doing so anyways. Now obviously to do so that would mean I would have to buy the computer parts and software.

I guess most people are familiar with buying computer parts and software from a store in the traditional sense as it comes in a retail package. Most often for a lot of computer parts you can buy OEM versions of that same product, which stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. In most cases the product you would be getting is the same as the one you would buy in a retail package except for this you are mainly getting the product without the packaging.

I guess the best example would be buying say an operating system. For example, if you were to buy a full retail version of Windows Vista Ultimate here, it can be found on average for about $499.99. In comparison, an OEM version can be bought for about $250. That is quite a substantial difference. Similarly, a keyboard that I would see for say $20 would cost about $10 if you bought the OEM version. Of course you must be asking that there must be a catch and there is indeed.

With OEM products for computer parts they are suppose to be sold with the intent that the person is building a new computer system. Like with the operating system, the vendor is selling it to the company for a cheap price as they assume they are using them to build a lot of say pre-made computer systems. It makes sense too if you think about it as why would you want all of that packaging if you were building a lot of systems? Even if you are just building one computer system as a consumer you can still usually buy OEM parts from companies.

The only other catch is in regards to some software products where the OEM versions actually don’t have all of the features compared to its full retail versions. Because of that, it is important to do your research still. At the same time, not everything has an OEM version. While this may be old news for a lot of the more savvy computer users out there, if you happen to be the complete opposite and are looking to get a new computer system this is definitely a good thing to look into and research about to save money. I’m sure you can find at least one person who is good with technology around your networking circle as well if you need help.

2 Comments to Buying OEM Products To Save Money

  • My understanding of OEM vs. retail, especially when it comes to software, is that there is no difference in the actual item. The catch is that there is usually no user manual included, just an installation manual, and the manufacturer doesn’t provide any support as the the computer builder (Dell, Lenovo, Gateway, etc) is suppose to provide the user support.

    joewatch 5/29/2007 6:26 am
  • When it comes to software the common items I’d say where the OEM version may not have the same features as the retail version is the DVD/CD burner software. For the most part they are the same though and you are correct about the warranty.

    The only other thing which shouldn’t be a big deal is that if you buy an OEM product and it came with the software, many times that software is actually tied to it where it would only install if it recognizes that specific hardware product whereas a retail version can be installed freely.

    Alan Yu 5/30/2007 7:15 pm

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