Looking into buying pro, and I'm curious if there is any real difference between OEM versions of WinXP (cheaper by $60 on average) and boxed retail versions. I can't seem to find anything online about it.
The oem version is intended to be bundled with computer. Most retailers are supposed to sell them. But some private retailers do and its exactly like Winxp boxed version. Its justs Microsoft doesnt want them too.
When I got my OEM copy of XP Professional from Newegg, I had to get a $5 molex splitter which they gave to me for free . As for differences between the versions, they've already been mentioned (packaging and price). They both act exactly the same when you use them.
OEM versions of XP usually also come with a system builder install. So the system builder can install all the applications they wish, and then ship it off, then when the user starts up its a welcome thingy. Its pretty useful for system builders, and cheap for personal use