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I'm just starting to develop HMIs for our next lot of factory automation. I imagine there will be around 10-12 screens of 1920 x 1024 resolution with a lot of Modbus TCP coms going on between HMI and PLC. I would like some guidance of whether a PC with an Atom E3845 and 4GB ram would be sufficient or whether an i7 would be necessary. The Atom is preferable as it's cheaper and probably will be cooler running in its enclosure but no good if it would be struggling.

Any advice appreciated.


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Its actually more about the historical graphing than anything else.  I'm working on a system with a single Atom that runs 3 copies of DAQFactory simultaneously (to connect to three identical systems), but using OPC, but with about 1000+ channels each.  But most of the automation is being done in the PLC, and DAQFactory is largely just an HMI in this case.  The HMI has minimal historical trending, but does log to a CSV about 100 channels.  The Atom is more than capable for this application and really only bogs down when I fire up the PLC's development environment, which is a bit of a behemoth and has nothing to do with DAQFactory.   For that I had the customer buy an i7 laptop so that we don't have to run that PLC programming software on the atom.

I'm working on a separate Atom powered system that is only about 15 tags, but does things at high speed (50 hz software sampled data rates) and stores and trends huge amounts of data.  For this application I feel like the Atom was a bit underpowered.  It works fine for the acquisition, but when they do the analysis and trending, it seems a bit sluggish for my taste.

In general DAQFactory is 20 years old and was originally designed at its core to run on slow PC's 20 years ago.  Even the slowest of today's computers are way faster than ones available 20 years ago, so DAQFactory should do fine.  The issue often comes down to the OS: is the processor fast enough to adequately run the latest version of Windows?  After that, it unfortunately comes down to the details of your application and, if the application has a lot of data processing, how efficient you are in your scripting, but this really only applies on more advanced applications.

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Thanks that does help. I'm not doing any trending, graphing or indeed maintaining any historical data, it is just displaying current status. It's unlikely to be doing any control as that will be left to the PLC. It will be the operator interface for them to interact with the PLC. The main thing is it will be fetching about 600 MW of data about once per second via Modbus TCP to display on the screen. It will be a 100MBit network. From what you've written I reckon the Atom will be up for the job. Many thanks for your advice.

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