OEM vs Custom: Which one is better?

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You see the acronym OEM lot in the news, and we understand that many of you wonder what it means. Clue: it has to do with a product category and may be related to companies.

It is not a term that is only coined in technology, but that it has to do with the type of product we are dealing with. You will see OEM in the automotive sector to describe the authenticity of a product or to know where it comes from. Without a doubt, they are acronyms that are of great importance, so we are going to address everything about it.

What does OEM mean in computing

OEM means Original Equipment Manufacturer. In the technology industry, where we see it most is in hardware, and it is a term used for relationships between suppliers, manufacturers and distributors.

Let’s say that there is a kind of “subcontract” or a third-party partnership relationship between manufacturer and assembler because the products are usually sold unassembled (parts or components). The idea of ​​the OEM materializes when a company developed its products and then resells them to another brand, but this concept has evolved over the years.

As the communication channel that we are, you will see a lot of news about graphics cards or OEM processors, what does that mean? Is the processor that we bought on Amazon or other websites is not authentic? One thing has nothing to do with the other.

OEM graphics cards are those that cannot be bought loose in any store: they come pre-installed in the PC and can only be enjoyed if we buy all the equipment pre-assembled. They do not usually stand out for having spectacular features, they even tend to offer less frequency than many custom models.

However, we can find OEM GPUs that are not sold separately, why? It would be necessary to look at a multitude of factors: contracts between brands, suppliers, distributors, etc. What should be clear to you is that this are not usually very interesting products to sell in retail stores because there are already more interesting alternatives on the market or because they do not have as much potential.

Some examples? Sure, the Ryzen 9 5900 and Ryzen 7 5800 are OEM-exclusive processors, but we’ve also seen this in some Radeon GPUs (RX 6400 and 6300). And if you are wondering if it is only AMD that does this, we answer that it is not because we have also seen it in Intel (i9-9900XE).

Is it a bad product? Not at all, simply that you can get more profit if you sell wholesale: pay attention to the “rappels”. Rappels are purchase discounts that exist in the commercial field for companies that make a large purchase, making the product unit cheaper.

Considering what we have said, and putting it into practice, we are going to build an example with the Ryzen 5 5900.

  • The Ryzen 5 5900X is more powerful and costs €420.86.
  • Let’s say the Ryzen 9 5900 costs about €370 PVP AMD – HP, for example.
  • Now, HP buys 1000 Ryzen 9 5900 for some gaming equipment that they want to sell, so they start negotiating the price.
  • In the end, they can agree on €320-350 (even less) per unit of product, which is saving a good deal because you get into Ryzen 7 prices and almost Ryzen 5.

What are OEM products for?

This issue was already explained by the CEO of Professional Review in what an OEM product is, but he placed more emphasis on Windows licenses, ink cartridges and other software licenses. Mainly they have the following functions:

  • This issue was already explained by the CEO of Professional Review on what an OEM product is, but he placed more emphasis on Windows licenses, ink cartridges and other software licenses. On a first glance, they serve the following purpose. Companies can focus more on their own products.
  • More specialization of companies in their products.
  • Lower development and production costs for brands (HP, Acer, Dell, ASUS, MSI, etc.).
  • “Exclusivity”, even if the consumer does not hold the component in high esteem.

In the case of OEM licenses, there is a problem: they are linked to the one PC and cannot be used on another. This is the first reason why they are cheaper than a retail license, and they can be canceled when updating some component of the PC.

Therefore, it differs from the rest of the components or parts that are bought at retail in that they are planned and configured for a specific ecosystem (the one chosen by the brand). That said, we understand that there are questions to answer.

  • Can an OEM component be used on any PC? Yes, as long as the brand (AMD, NVIDIA or Intel) provides the drivers.
  • What happens if I change a component on an OEM PC? In the first place, you will lose the warranty (if you still have it) for opening the PC case, unless the brand establishes exceptions. Secondly, there may be a problem with the Windows license because it considers that it is being used on another computer when changing this component. Finally, incompatibilities can arise if we don’t do things the right way.
  • What to do if I want to upgrade parts on my OEM PC? Look at component compatibility in the brand of your PC. Here we refer to brands that work with Windows, such as Mac: study which packs are the most compatible with your computer.
  • How can buying a gaming PC with OEM parts benefit the user? At a lower price, than if we buy the PC by parts. This will be contingent on the price of the PC and its features, as well as the equivalent price of parts. You will find gaming PCs that are more expensive than if we assembled them ourselves, but there is always a bargain on the market.

When to turn to OEM gaming PCs

After explaining what OEM means, we assume that you already understand what we mean and what brands refer to when they transcribe it. Seeing that there are OEM components that are only found in this type of product, we understand that you ask yourselves questions about when to use them.

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that the stages of component shortages cause a significant increase in their prices. Buying AMD Ryzen graphics cards and processors between 2020 and 2021 meant accepting an exorbitant price premium that made them inaccessible.

What has happened in the OEM market? At the time, we already warned that it was more interesting to buy an entire gaming PC than a separate GPU. Thank God, prices have been adjusting to the official NVIDIA or AMD RRP, but 2020-2021 was a period of real madness: a mid-range GPU was worth more than an entire gaming PC.

I’m not a fan of coincidences, and I have to say that many online stores put equipment with RTX 3060 and 3070 at around $1500-1800: it was cheaper than buying the same GPU separately on PCs pre-assembled by the store itself. You already know that there are stores that sell their own pre-assembled PCs (no ASUS, MSI, GIGABYTE, HP, etc.), but what a coincidence that PC does not cost $3,000 USD.

You just have to do the math and my advice is that you only resort to OEM gaming PCs when they are at a much more attractive price than if you could assemble them + original Windows. Never forget that many gaming PCs can be $100-150 more expensive than a PC in parts, but it comes with Windows installed.

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