Home Tech What Does OEM Mean? Are OEM Products Worth Buying

What Does OEM Mean? Are OEM Products Worth Buying

OEM or Original Equipment Manufacturer, as the name would suggest, is a sign to show the Original Manufacturer of that product.

All the electronics companies out there in the market such as Apple, Samsung, etc are not making their own products, instead, they outsource them. This in return makes the product cheaper and hence they get more profit out of it.

If you still can’t understand, think of it this way. Your favorite Burger such as Big Mac, the Burger, the Ham, spices, etc are all not made by Macdonald’s they outsource it from outside to cut down their expenses.

Sometimes, to reduce the price of a PC, we buy its part separately. You will see that there will be a sticker stuck to it, in order to show that the part is an OEM.

In this article, we are going to talk about OEM in detail. So let’s get started.

What Does OEM Mean? 🤔

As mentioned earlier, OEM is an abbreviation of Original Equipment Manufacturer. It is a tag printed or stuck on a device. 

What Does OEM Mean

OEM does not indicate who makes the product, but it shows the sign of the company for which it was made. For example, your iPhones are manufactured by Foxconn, but it’s Apple whose name will always be there on the device.

It is not like they don’t do that because they can’t afford a factory; they do that because outsourcing can save them tons of money.

By outsourcing, they save tons of money upfront by cutting on building the facility, and labor, and by leveraging the supply chain activity and the overall volume that large manufacturer acquires of raw material in bulk at great prices.

OEM Hardware:-

There are tons of OEM hardware out there in the market such as Hard drives, optical drives, and PCI expansion, which are a lot cheaper than the retail ones. 

The best part about OEM hardware is that even though they are cheaper, they do no comprise the quality and capability of the product. 

What Does OEM Mean? Are OEM Products Worth Buying

All the OEM(if even manufactured by the same manufacturer) do not come together. Instead, they come separately. For example, an OEM motherboard will not come with OEM RAM installed in it or Hard Drive with its cables and adapters.

OEM hardware may or may not have a different warranty period. For example, an OEM motherboard’s warranty might differ from the RAM, or the cable’s warranty may be more than the adapter’s.

OEM manufacturers are not answerable to the customers of the OEM buyer. For example, if your iPhone starts behaving weirdly during the warranty period, you will not take it to Foxconn, instead, you will look for apple’s customer care center near you.

OEM Software:-

Before talking about tons of application software in the market, we should first discuss the most important system software out there in the market, Operating System. 

All the Operating Systems manufacturer does not do outsourcing, such as Apple’s Macintosh.

But one of the most famous OS, Microsoft’s Windows is an example of OEM Software. Its security settings, utilities, etc are programmed by the OEM developers.

What Does OEM Mean

When you buy an OEM software, you will receive a product to ensure that you have bought that software. Most of the time, they do not provide the buyer with a legal software document.

Usually, you can not run OEM software on more than two computers. But they are ways by which you can do that. 

Since Microsoft Windows is an OEM OS, therefore, it can be used without buying. The non-genuine Windows will have a watermark placed on the bottom left corner of your screen.

But it is not a hard and fast rule as they are lots of OEM software which are strict.

OEM has a lot of merits, but one of the biggest demerits of using OEM is that, if you lost your laptop or your hard disk malfunctions then you need to buy that software again.

OEM Vs Retail

This is a long, hard discussion, but we are not going to that instead, we are going to compare these in the shadow of a few products:-

OEM vs Retail – Windows 10

You might have seen tons of websites, that give windows keys at a very cheap rate. Sometimes, these offers might leave you with the thought “Isn’t it too good to be true?”. Let’s find out!

I don’t know many guys who would buy Windows OS separately, instead, they rely on the CD that comes with the PC. 

What Does OEM Mean? Are OEM Products Worth Buying

On the other hand, if someone wants to buy a Windows OS, they end up buying a retail version. They are often referred to as Box Copies because of their packaging. You can buy them from Microsoft’s official website with its product key.

The retail version is very expensive and a bit over-priced as well. Instead, you should buy Windows 10 OEM version. In the USA, Windows 10 retails for about $119-120 for the home version, and the pro version will cost you around $200.

On the other hand, Windows 10 OEM version will cost you around $22 and $32.99 for Home and pro respectively.

There is no particular difference between these two, other than one being overly priced. Both of them will offer you the same feature and will ensure you regular updates and security.

Now, let’s look at the reason behind this drastic difference in price:-

OEM Copy will make you a manufacturer:-

isn’t that cool? It will be if you are a computer genius. The demerit of being a manufacturer is that you can not call Microsft for your OS’s malfunction.

Therefore, you need to solve any malfunction by yourself. But you will rarely face any issues as you are not buying hardware; you are just buying an activation key.

We recommend that you check the software’s compatibility before buying it as the system compatibility is the only problem.

Will work on just one PC:-

One of the biggest reasons for OEM OS being cheaper is that it can only be used for one PC. This means that if you are thinking to buy OEM OS for your office, then you might have to buy one for each PC.

Is it good to buy a cheap OEM key?

Let’s conclude that discussion here. First of all, you should know that OEMs are illegal. There are tons of genuine well-known sites such as Amazon, Lizengo, etc where you can buy the OEM key.

What Does OEM Mean? Are OEM Products Worth Buying

One thing that you should do before buying an OEM key is to check the product’s description. I know it’s boring, but just don’t be lazy here. There are different variants of Windows 10, so pick the right one for your system.

If you are thinking to buy an OS for your office with thousands of users, then it’s better for you to buy a retailed version as it will be inexpensive comparatively.

If you are entertaining the idea of not buying OEM because of the lack of technical support, then you should stop worrying, as there are a lot of troubleshooting tutorials on youtube and Rediff which will guide you. 

But, if you have tons of cash to spend and want peace of mind, you should go for the retailed version.

OEM Vs Retail-PC parts:-

Now, let’s talk about OEM hardware more specifically your PC’s parts. Retail PCs are expensive. That’s a well-known fact. On the other hand, OEM PC or PC parts are relatively cheaper.

Let’s talk about one of the parts of the PC, your CPU. When you buy a PC from Dell or Lenovo, you will get an OEM PC.

A retail CPU will always come in a box with instructions and a manual wrapped around it, sometimes depending on the specification, you might get a heatsink as well. 

Both of them will have the same level of configuration and performance. But they will have a different warranty period, a retail version will give you a long warranty period compared to the OEM version.

Should I buy the OEM CPU?

The only thing stopping one from buying an OEM CPU is the less warranty and the fancy box. When it comes to the fancy boxes and instructions, it’s up to you and your preference, do you want to go aesthetics or cheap? I would personally go cheap.

What Does OEM Mean? Are OEM Products Worth Buying

When it comes to warranty, one thing you should always keep in mind, CPUs are indestructible and can serve you for ages. You might not feel a difference between OEM CPU and retail CPU regarding warranty.

Are OEM products worth buying?

Now, let’s conclude this discussion in this subset. Are OEM products worth buying? The answer would depend on your need. 

Sometimes OEM can be expensive, yes you read it right. After all this talk that OEMs are a cheaper alternative of retail, I am making this contradictory remark. OEM software can only be used on a single computer, therefore, they are not cheap for an office setting.

On the other hand, if you are buying it for your house or a small office with two or three computers, then OEM software is the way to go.

OEM hardware on the hand, are cheap but you are not going to see a drastic difference. 

In short, OEM is good after thorough speculation of your needs and demands.


OEM is an abbreviation of the Original Equipment Manufacturer. It is a tag printed or stuck on a device.

OEM software is cheaper but they don’t come with customer care support and can only be installed on one PC.

OEM hardware is cheaper but not drastically, they have a small warranty window as compared to retail hardware.

Both the OEM products and Retail products have the same specification and functionality.