Boxed Processor Vs. Tray Processor


Choosing the right type of processor is difficult enough with all the technical statistics to consider: clock speed, onboard cache, socket type, etc. Boxed processors are easily distinguished from tray processors because of the packaging used to distribute each of them; accordingly, boxed processors are shipped in boxes, and tray processors are shipped in plastic trays. But there's a little more to it than that.

Boxed Processor

  • A boxed processor is one that is boxed and sold by the initial retailer, usually Intel or AMD, the two most popular processor brands. A boxed processor, or retail processor box, will be sealed and contain the following items: the processor and a heatsink/fan combination unit, a manual for installing them, and a written certificate of authenticity. Usually there will also be a sticker advertising the brand, AMD or Intel, to place on the outside of a computer tower.

Tray Processor

  • Tray processors are more commonly called original equipment manufacturer (OEM) processors. OEM means that the product has already been sold by its original company (Intel or AMD) to a different manufacturer or distributing company, such as Dell, HP or any other company. These OEM processors are intended for installation in a computer and not for resale. They typically do not come with heatsink/fan combination units, but may include other product information as dictated by the distributing company.

Reason for Name

  • OEM processors got the name "tray processors" for two reasons: It differentiates them from their boxed processor counterparts and it reflects the fact that they are usually packaged in plastic or recycled polystyrene trays.

Warranties and Certificates

  • Boxed processors' warranties are handled through the manufacturer, either Intel or AMD. Both AMD and Intel retail processors sport three-year limited warranties and certificates of authenticity, effective at the time of purchase.
    Tray or OEM processors' warranties are handled through the manufacturer or company to which the processor was sold (Dell, HP, etc.), and will vary depending on the company providing the OEM processor.

Advantage of Tray Processors

  • Computer enthusiasts who like to install their own special high-powered cooling hardware inside of their computer cases prefer OEM processors because they tend to be a little bit cheaper than the retail processors, or box processors, which include lower-grade heatsink/fan combinations that they won't be using.

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