anushahanna used Ask the Experts™
Generally, if a hardware is advertised as OEM, is it better, generally?

I am comparing these 2:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136111 - Does not mention as OEM

Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. It does not imply anything about the quality of hardware.

Where it is mentioned in relation to hardware, it generally means that the hardware is not packed in a retail pack... i.e. no shiny box. For a hard drive, it will generally just be supplied in a silver antistatic bag.
Both are same hardware, both "OEM" in Mike Carrol definition.
The two drives you are looking at are identical.

Other differences between OEM and retail are:

1.  Typically, with OEM products, you have to go back to the distributor for warranty and support, where with retail, you can go to the manufacturer.  For example, when you buy a PC with a Dell, HP, Sony, or other PC manufacturer's label, they are responsible for the warranty on the hard drive, NIC (network card), monitor/screen, and so on.  If you buy a hard drive at Best Buy, then Seagate, Western Digital, Hitachi, or whatever are responsible and will provide support.

2.  The warranty from an OEM on any embedded parts is either one or three years, depending on the warranty you got with the system.  With retail parts, mostly hard drives, the manufacturer's warranty is three-to-five years.

Another example is with Microsoft Windows or Office.  If you lose the activation key for a Microsoft product you bought at the store that is not part of a larger system, Microsoft will, under many circumstances, replace the key for you as long as you have proof you have he original CD in your hands.  The OEM, however, will probably not ever replace the key, since they pay Microsoft for each key.  (Moral - don't lose your keys, no matter where you go them!)
Success in ‘20 With a Profitable Pricing Strategy

Do you wonder if your IT business is truly profitable or if you should raise your prices? Learn how to calculate your overhead burden using our free interactive tool and use it to determine the right price for your IT services. Start calculating Now!

Top Expert 2012
For things like cpus, OEM means it doesn't come with a heatsink/fan and the warranty period is shorter.  For hard drives, OEM has almost no difference from retail because the only thing the vendor might provide is cables and, in the old days, mounting hardware for 5-1/4 bays (which almost no one needs these days).  I buy "bare" drives all the time.

@Callandor -

Part of your comment seems to refute what I said, and I don't think you meant to do that.  Your words, "For hard drives, OEM has almost no difference from retail" only really apply to what's in the box, not to the warranty or service.
Top Expert 2012


You are correct - the warranty and support are like the situation with cpus - the warranty is shorter for OEM versus retail, and support depends on the vendor versus the manufacturer.  I was not intending for it to be a rebuttal of anything you posted, and I should have been more clear.

Thank you for the clarification!


Thank you Experts.

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial