Posted by Ed Flachbarth
On December 14, 2009 06:33
If you’re confused by the different terms used by computer manufacturers and resellers, you’re not alone. I get a lot of questions asking about the difference between “new” and “unused” or “remanufactured” and “refurbished” servers, storage, and networking equipment. If you’re a buyer of IT equipment, not knowing the difference makes it difficult to accurately compare prices. To alleviate this confusion and help you become a more informed consumer, I’ve defined some of the most commonly-used terms below.
New: This refers to unused IT equipment that’s coming directly from an authorized channel, like a dealer. The phrase authorized channel sounds important but all it really means is that the manufacturer’s representative receives commission on the sale. With new IT equipment, the full manufacturer’s warranty is in effect.
Factory Sealed or Unused: This means the IT equipment is new, but it’s not distributed by an authorized channel. This equipment usually runs about 50-70% off the list price, but the existing warranty may or may not transfer – it depends on the situation. As for maintenance, the manufacturer will be happy to sell you a maintenance contract. They don’t like it when companies purchase non-new equipment, but they certainly don’t want to lose out on lucrative support contracts.
Remanufactured: Manufacturers sell used equipment, but they like to call it remanufactured, which means it was refurbished by the manufacturer itself and not a third party. Remanufacturing means that the manufacturer audited, tested and updated the equipment.
Refurbished: Refurbished equipment is used IT equipment that has been audited, cleaned and tested by a third party, not the manufacturer. The refurbishing process includes bringing any OS or microcode/firmware up to the latest levels and updating any drivers or patches. Refurbished equipment can sell for between 60-90% off the list price.
Used: Used refers to computer equipment that was in prior productive use. Often the term “used” is synonymous with “As-Is,” which is described below.
As-Is: This is used computer equipment that’s being sold without any updates, cleaning and limited testing. When you see computer equipment advertised with super cheap prices, this is what you’re getting. My daughter likes to say, “You get what you get and don’t pitch a fit.” If you choose to buy As-Is, you should take this advice to heart.
Does this cover all the terms you’ve seen? If not, let me know in the comments what other terms you’d like defined. Also, in an upcoming post, I’ll talk about why remanufactured IT equipment isn’t necessarily more reliable. In fact, it might even be less reliable. Stay tuned.