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11. What's the difference between an Intel boxed processor and an OEM version?

The Intel boxed Pentium processor comes with the Intel Inside® sticker, certificate of authenticity, product registration card, and a three year warranty from Intel. Some of the chips also come with an integrated heatsink/fan/fan cable, but some do not. The boxed processors come in their own sealed box and are generally more expensive than 'tray' processors. The boxes these chips come in are shrink wrapped in a special cellophane that has 'Intel Corporation' written on it in white lettering. If it has no Intel writing on the cellophane enclosing the box, it may have been tampered with. A boxed processor will have the letters BP as the first two letters in its identification string. Such as: BP80503200.

Tray processors (often called 'OEM' processors) are loose units that only come with a heatsink and fan if the third party distributor bundles them with it (usually they don't). These processor actually come on a tray, and are not packaged individually like the Boxed processors. The only warranty for the chip comes from the vendor (usually one year). Intel passes no warranty for 'tray' processors onto the consumer. If your processor bites the dust, the only recourse is to contact the person you bought it from. If your vendor went out of business while the chip was still under warranty, you should try contacting Intel to see if they will be willing to replace the chip. The non-boxed versions come with the letters 'A' or 'FV' or 'DC' or 'KB' that begins the identification string on the chip.

Be aware that some so-called 'tray' processors may have actually come from the "grey" market where an Original Equipment Manufacturer will pass on extra chips that were originally intended to go in OEM machines. These chips are then sold to customers as 'tray' processors even though they didn't go through the proper distribution channels. These chips originally had only a 30 day warranty to allow the OEM to send back any defects. Of course, this has long since expired by the time it reaches the hands of a consumer. Be sure to ask the vendor you are buying from about the warranty on the chip. These types of loose chips are also much more likely to be 'remarked' chips than those that come as 'boxed' or 'tray' processors from an authorized Intel dealer. If you find a processor that seems like it has a too-good-to-be-true price, it probably is.

AMD, Cyrix, and Intel all have authorized reseller programs that legitimate dealers sign up with in order to be assured that they receive product from authorized sources only.

AMD Boxed processor information: Boxed K6.
AMD warranty information: AMD Warranty.
How to contact AMD.
Intel processor warranty: Intel Warranty Info.



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