Pros & Cons for OEM Memory Cards and Flash Drives

Categories: News & Resources

What are OEM Flash Drives and Memory Cards?

OEM flash drives and memory cards are leftover, generic parts produced by manufacturers that other companies rebrand and distribute. Even though they are branded as the same, the combination of controller and flash components are not guaranteed to be uniform. These devices are typically sold in bulk and are available to be customized with the branding of the purchasing company. They come in various capacities and formats, still operating as portable digital memory. Because they are OEM, they tend to be cheaper and available in large quantities. The quality and performance of OEM flash drives and memory cards can vary. However, we are ready to provide them to our customers who fully comprehend and acknowledge the associated uncertainties, and still feel OEM is the right choice for them. There are some pros and cons to discuss and a few warnings before purchasing your first bulk order of OEM Cards/Drives.

Pros & Cons For OEM Cards/Drives

It goes without saying that no matter what flash drive or SD card you go with there are pros and cons to that decision. Regarding OEM models, these are a few we felt were important to address before a purchase in bulk or for testing.

Pros for OEM Cards/Drives:

  • Cost-effective with non-volatile pricing
  • Options for branding and customization
  • Availability in large quantities

Cons for OEM Cards/Drives:

  • Inconsistent performance
  • Compatibility Concerns
    • No guarantee of using the same parts in manufacturing
  • Testing and Sampling Limitations
    • Less rigorous testing
    • Higher failure rate
    • Shorter lifespan

OEM Cards/Drives in today’s digital age provide a cheaper, brandless alternative to branded cards like SanDisk or Kingston. Let’s explore the drawbacks when deciding whether OEM Cards/Drives are the right choice for you.

Inconsistent Performance Considerations

OEM cards and drives are subjected to less stringent testing standards compared to well-established brands. Manufacturers frequently interchange parts, introducing an additional level of unpredictability. As a result, ensuring consistent performance across all devices with OEM products becomes challenging. It is important to emphasize that we cannot wholeheartedly endorse OEM cards and drives due to these inherent risks. However, we are ready to provide them to you if you fully comprehend and acknowledge the associated uncertainties.

Compatibility Concerns with OEM Models

The biggest complaint we get from our customers is that their OEM parts do not work in a specific device. Sometimes they even say there is a high fail rate! OEM cards and drives pose a greater risk of compatibility issues when compared to established brands such as SanDisk. It is essential to recognize that complaints about compatibility do not necessarily imply a card failure. While OEM cards may work seamlessly in one device, they may encounter inexplicable issues when used with specific other devices. Various factors, such as disparities in card or camera components, can hinder smooth interoperability and contribute to these compatibility challenges. Much of this is caused by the fact that OEM cards are not guaranteed to use the same parts in manufacturing.

Testing and Sampling Limitations for Cards and Drives

Even when testing and sampling OEM cards, there is no guarantee of long-term compatibility. The challenge with OEM samples lies in the uncertainty surrounding the availability of the same “solution” during the ordering process. This “solution” refers to the pairing of the flash and controller, two separate parts manufactured independently and assembled into an SD card. It becomes challenging to ensure consistent quality and performance with OEM products, unless a higher quality OEM option is chosen. Simply put, while you may find an OEM sample that works well, there is no assurance that the same performance will be replicated in a full order.

Recommended and Not Recommended Uses

To aid in your decision-making process, let’s outline some recommended and not recommended use cases for OEM cards/drives. OEM options are well-suited for handouts, promotional giveaways, basic office tasks, and other low-risk applications. The primary advantage of opting for OEM is their cost-effectiveness per unit. Here’s a quick list below for recommended and not recommended purposes for OEM Cards/Drives. It should be said that all of these recommendations, pros, and cons are also the same for any customized SD and Flash Drives.

Recommended for:

  • Event handouts
  • Promotional giveaways
  • Branding and marketing initiatives
  • Basic office use (file transfers, document sharing, etc.)
  • Transferring pictures and video files under 128GB
  • Low-risk applications
  • One-time uses

Not recommended for:

  • Imaging purposes
  • Running software
  • Extensive field use
  • Duplication or preloading tasks
  • Long-term use
  • Industrial applications
  • Use in custom devices, machines, or consoles
  • Transferring more than 128GB of data quickly
  • When consistency, speed, or performance outweigh cost considerations
  • Photo/video packages for capturing one-time experiences (weddings, ziplines, parasailing, etc.)
  • When a high level of compatibility with a specific device is expected

What Next? Are OEM Cards/Drives for You?

While OEM cards/drives may offer affordability and customization options, they come with inherent risks such as compatibility issues, uncertainty in testing and sampling, and variable quality and performance. We offer OEM options while emphasizing the associated uncertainties and limitations. Consider your specific needs, weigh the pros and cons outlined in this article, and make an informed decision that aligns with your requirements for quality, performance, and cost-effectiveness. If you haven’t been able to narrow down whether or not OEM options are right for you, our team of sales specialists are here to help. You can reach out on the website, by phone, or by email!