PC vs. PLC in 1997

As I assemble our 15th anniversary issue, which looks back and excerpts our content over the years, I reread the first issue of Control Design. The leading industrial PC technology of the time had 200 MHz Pentium processors, 512 MB RAM, powered by Windows NT.

A PLC supplier scornfully asks, "Can a $7,000-10,000 PC system survive delivery?"

A PC supporter returns fire: "A 200 MHz Pentium performs 15-20 times faster than hard PLCs. With the rapid development of PC hardware, users can upgrade system performance more quickly, as well as scale up more easily."

Oh, yeah? "I can get replacement parts for a 10-year-old PLC, but good luck finding parts for a five-year-old PC," counters another.

Nice to see so much has changed in 15 years......or not......