If you have purchased computer parts or software online, you may have found the acronym OEM. This means Original Equipment Manufacturer, and is usually labeled on hardware or software that is less expensive than regular retail products.
What can make you wonder: should you buy an OEM product or is there a problem that is preparing you? problem? The truth is that they differ from retail products and it is important to know the differences.
What does OEM mean?
As mentioned, OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. The acronym does not comment on who sells the product, but on whom the product should be sold.
OEM hardware and software are packaged for distribution to companies that develop systems, such as Dell and Apple. These companies are the original equipment manufacturers.
This is why OEM products are usually sold in a generic box or package instead of retail packaging. They are not designed to be on store shelves.
And generally they are not. Most retail stores never sell OEM products. However, online stores do not care about retail packaging, so they are more than happy to stock up on these products and sell them to customers.
These retailers know that there are many bargain hunterslooking for the lowest possible price. Do not worry, it is totally legal to buy an OEM product. But there are stipulations attached to the product that you accept when you buy it.
OEM for hardware products
OEM hardware is exactly the same In capabilities and performance as your retail counterpart . Hard drives, optical drives, and some PCI expansion cards are the most common types of components offered as OEMs. But many other products can be offered in this way in limited quantities.
However, hardware is generally not delivered with additional components, even those that are critical for hardware operation. OEM computer processors, for example, can not be shipped with fans. An OEM hard disk or video card is often not shipped with the cables or adapters needed to use it.
There may also be restrictions on the warranty. When compared to a retail guarantee, the offered length can be reduced or nonexistent. This is because the system manufacturer is expected to provide it.
Since the purchase of an OEM part makes it the manufacturer, it may be impossible for you to receive direct assistance.
OEM for software products
Windows is the most common example of OEM software, and is often built by people They build their own machines, but there are also OEM versions of security suites, Utilities system and productivity software.
When you purchase this software, you are usually provided with only a sleeve containing the software and a license key. Do not wait to receive any documentation. In fact, most software with an OEM license comes without technical support.
OEM software is usually licensed per system, which means that it can not be installed on another computer. In theory, this means that an OEM version of Windows is linked to the compilation of the specific computer on which you install it, but Microsoft is very kind about it.
Windows reactivation only requires contacting your customer service.
But Microsoft does not have to do that, and other companies could be more restrictive. It is a risk you take with OEM products. It costs less, but you may have to buy the software again if you replace your PC or upgrade the motherboard.
Is it worth buying OEM?
 Buying OEM is perfectly safe and legal, but you should be aware of the risks.
You can usually save a decent amount of money with OEM products, but if you run into a problem, you may find yourself completely unsupported. That might be fine if you have a technical mindset; if it is not, the retail version could be the best option.
The amount of discount you can get will vary depending on the product and the retailer. For example, the original antivirus softwareis usually from 25% to 50% cheaper. Some utility programs have similar discounts.
The main problem you will encounter is public availability. Most developers only offer a commercial version of their product.
Hardware is more unpredictable. Sometimes you can save decently if you go with OEM hardware. However, you may find that buying the extras that are missing from the hardware, such as cables or fans, makes up for the money saved.
Sometimes, OEM hardware can be more expensive than retail. This usually happens when it is reaching the end of its useful life. Sometimes, the spare stock is put up for sale as an original part and then sold for a price higher or lower than the retail price.
Make a quick price comparison before making your choice. Know exactly what is and what does not come with your purchase. And trust that you can get assistance if you need it.
Creating your own PC with OEM products
You are probably looking for OEM products because you want to build your own computer.
If that is the case, check our advice on whether it is cheaper to build your own PC. Then, if you are ready to take the step, we cover it with the definitive guide to build a PC.
Explore more about: Buying tips ,.