OEM Drive Has Better Warranty Than Retail

Hey Fred, Love the newsletter. I just bought two new hard drives. They are 250GB Maxtor DiamondMax 10 PATA 133MB 16M cache. I plan to install them in a RAID configuration.

The reason I am writing is to ask if you are aware that OEM drives, from Maxtor, have a longer warranty. That drive is available from a big chain of stores in its retail form (box, CD, cable, etc.) and has a warranty of 1 year. The same drive, in its OEM form, has a warranty of three years and can be bought from just about any computer shop. It is also cheaper.. I just can’t understand why! Keep up the great work. You make your readers look amazing… Ciao. —Serge Desaulniers

That an OEM drive has a longer warranty than an ostensibly identical retail one is indeed unusual, although not unheard of. Usually OEM components are cheaper (as yours was), but that better price is accompanied by reduced support (such as warranty support).

On the TigerDirect Web site and the sites of other major legitimate component online stores, your "OEM" drive is available with a 36-month warranty and tech support supplied by Maxtor. It’s all quite above board and legitimate. But OEM component purchase stories don’t always have a happy ending.

OEM are the initials for "original equipment manufacturer." The term has been around for a long time, and is used differently in various industries. The way it’s used in the PC industry is a bit of a misnomer. Usually, a PC company— Dell, HP, Gateway, etc.— is called an "OEM"— even if it merely assembles hard drives, DVD and CD drives, motherboards, fans, video cards, monitors, keyboards, cabling and other parts and peripherals manufactured by other companies.

Parts and components built and packaged for sale to these OEMs are usually slightly different from those sold at retail stores. They may come without cabling, f

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Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.