FAQ: Industrial PC vs Commercial PC – What’s the Difference?

By January 24, 2020FAQ

The similar looks of an Industrial PC (IPC) compared to a home or commercial PC can be deceiving. From the outside, you may notice little difference as most have slim bezels, the latest screen technologies, and run Windows 10. It’s not until you look at the build quality and specifications that things start to look different.

1. Cooling mechanisms

When you look at the rear of an industrial PC, you won’t find a fan. PC fans would have a high failure rate in an industrial environment, so Industrial PCs rely on convection cooling over heatsinks to run efficiently in their specified temperature range.

2. Mounted touchscreens

Many industrial PCs have touch screens enabling operators to change values in software. They can also be panel mounted into industrial cabinets, or VESA mounted as required.

3. Serial ports

On IPCs you will also notice that they have serial ports, which were removed from commercial PCs many years ago. Serial interfaces are still used extensively in industry today, so Industrial PCs can be specified with a variety of serial interfaces to suit an application.

4. Protection rating

Another difference is that Industrial PCs offer IP protection, whereas commercial PCs don’t. The IP rating, or the Ingress Protection rating, is used to define the levels of sealing effectiveness against foreign bodies such as dust and water. Many Industrial PCs when panel mounted in a watertight enclosure can reach IP66, while some standalone IPCs can reach IP69, meaning dust and watertight.

We’ve partnered with leading IIoT specialists Advantech to provide a superior selection of bundled PC packages, making it easy for you to choose an industrial PC solution.


For more information on Pacific Automation’s range of Industrial PCs