DAQ Card Buying Guide

A spec comparison between Advantech and National Instruments DAQ Cards

It's no secret that National Instruments is an industry leader in DAQ card solutions, and for many integrators and system designers in the test and measuring space they are the go-to, no questions asked. 

But, what if you do ask the question?


Advantech has long been a mainstay in the DAQ card industry, but still for many it may come as a surprise that their DAQ cards more than stand up to the National Instruments offerings, include LabVIEW support as standard, and come in at a fraction of the price.

Here we do a comparison of a few of the most popular DAQ cards from National Instruments alongside the Advantech equivalent. 

Analog Output DAQ Cards

Analog Output DAQ Cards cater for applications where data needs to be transmitted to devices and machinery that require more than a simple on/off state. Analog Output DAQ Cards convert digital information generated by software into analog voltage or current signals which are delivered across a spectrum, allowing for accurate control of such things as frequency inverters, the partial opening and closing of valves or sliders, the brightness of lights, and other machinery controlled by motors and mechnical transducers.

N.I. PCI-6704 vs Advantech's PCI-1724U
When it comes to Analog Output DAQ Cards Advantech's PCI-1724U ticks a lot of boxes. Pitted against National Instruments' PCI-6704, it stands tall by offering the same or more functionality, bringing the same output channels, a wider voltage range and comparable output resolution at around half the price.

N.I. - PCI-6704Advantech - PCI-1724U
32 channel analog output card32 channel analog output card
Warranty 1 year2 years
LabVIEW support YesYes
Bus PCIPCI
Connector SCSI-ii 68-pinDB62
Analog output
Analog output Channels 16 Current, 16 Voltage32
Analog output resolution 16-bit14-bit
Output rate Static updateStatic update
Voltage Range ±0 V to ±10VDC±0 to ±30VDC
Isolation -1500VDC
 
Operating Temp 0°C to +55°C0° to +60°C
Dimensions (mm) 175 x 99175 x 100
Certifications FCC, CE, RoHSFCC, CE, RoHS
£1222
Price accurate as of Aug 2021
£643
FREE DELIVERY
BUY NOW

Still not sure?
Try before you buy
Need a complete Rack system?

Click here

Analog Input DAQ Cards

Analog Input DAQ Cards allow applications to transmit analog values, such as temperature readings, values from pressure sensors, etc, and store them as digital values on a computer. The readings are transmitted as voltage values, then the computer converts this voltage value into its original type (temperature, pressure, etc), and stores it in a file, either locally or in the cloud. This information can then be reported on, or alerts set up to warn of issues with machinery. 

N.I. PCIe-63x1 vs Advantech PCIe-1816 & PCIe-1816H
National Instruments' PCIe-63x1 range of 16-bit Multifunction 16-ch Analog Input DAQ cards is very popular at the moment, but Advantech's comparable cards stack up remarkably well. Here's a quick, high-level comparison of the main lines, and underneath we've compared what we class as the best of the bunch: N.I.'s PCIe-6361 vs Advantech PCIe-1816H.

N.I. - PCIe-6321
16-ch AI 250KS/s, 2-ch AO 840 KS/s, 24 xDIO, 2 xCounter 32-bit
£685
Price accurate as of Sep 2021
N.I. - PCIe-6341
16-ch AI 500KS/s, 2-ch AO 840 KS/s, 24 xDIO, 2 xCounter 32-bit
£955
Price accurate as of Sep 2021
Advantech - PCIe-1816
16-ch AI 500KS/s, 2-ch AO 3MS/s, 24 xDIO, 2 xCounter 32-bit
£419
FREE DELIVERY
N.I. - PCIe-6351
16-ch AI 1MS/s, 2-ch AO 2MKS/s, 24 xDIO, 2 xCounter 32-bit
£1240
Price accurate as of Sep 2021
N.I. - PCIe-6361
16-ch AI 1MS/s, 2-ch AO 2MS/s, 24 xDIO, 2 xCounter 32-bit
£1460
Price accurate as of Sep 2021
Advantech - PCIe-1816H
16-ch AI 1MS/s, 2-ch AO 3MS/s, 24 xDIO, 2 xCounter 32-bit
£570
FREE DELIVERY

N.I. PCIe-6361 vs Advantech PCIe-1816H
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Praesent lobortis vulputate sollicitudin. Duis mattis mollis lacinia. Quisque id velit et urna aliquet venenatis. Donec id pharetra turpis. Nunc suscipit diam dui, eu laoreet leo accumsan in. Phasellus a dolor finibus, elementum sapien sed, faucibus arcu.

N.I. - PCIe-6361Advantech - PCIe-1816H
16-bit Multifunction 16-ch Analog Input card16-bit Multifunction 16-ch Analog Input card
LabVIEW support YesYes
Warranty 1 year2 years
Bus PCIePCIe
Analog input
Analog input channels 1616
Analog input resolution 16-bit16-bit
Maximum input sample rate 1 MS/s1 MS/s
Input voltage range ±0 to ±10VDC±0 to ±10VDC
Analog output
Analog output channels 22
Analog output resolution 16-bit16-bit
Maximum output sample rate 2MS/s3MS/s
Output voltage range ±0 to ±10VDC±0 to ±10VDC
Isolation No2500VDC
Digital I/O
Channels 2424
Resolution 32 bits32 bits
Compatibility 5 V/TTL5 V/TTL
Counter
Channels 22
Resolution 32-bit32-bit
Compatibility 5 V/TTL5 V/TTL
 
Operating Temp 0 °C to +50 °C0 to +60°C
Dimensions (mm) 168 x 99167 x 100
Certifications FCC, CE, RoHSFCC, CE, RoHS
£1460
Price accurate as of Sep 2021
£570
FREE DELIVERY
BUY NOW

Still not sure?
Try before you buy
Need a complete Rack system?

Click here

N.I. USB-4431 vs Advantech USB-5801
Advantech's USB-5801 is a high-accuracy dynamic signal acquisition USB 3.0 module specifically designed for acoustic and vibration measurements. Comparing it to its National Instruments counterpart, it offers the same four simultaneously sampled, 24-bit, IEPE sensor inputs, but where they differ is Advantech's offering provides a sample rate of up to 192 kS/s over N.I.'s 102.4 kS/s. And even with additional digital input and output features available in the Advantech unit, this versatile, cost-effective USB DAQ card comes in at less than half the price of its N.I. competitor. 

N.I. - USB-4431Advantech - USB-5801
4 channel analog output card4-ch, 24-bit, 192 kS/s Dynamic Signal
Warranty 1 year2 years
LabVIEW support YesYes
Bus USBUSB
Connector BNCBNC
Analog input
Analog input channels 44
Analog input resolution 24-bit24-bit
Maximum input sample rate 102.4kS/s192 kS/s
Input voltage range ±0 to ±10VDC±0 to ±10VDC
Isolation No2500VDC
Analog output
Analog output channels 12
Analog output resolution 24-bit24-bit
Maximum output sample rate 96 kS/s192 kS/s
Output voltage range ±0 to ±10VDC±0 to ±10VDC
Isolation No2500VDC
Digital input
Digital input channels N/A4
Isolation N/A2500VDC
Max input voltage N/A30VDC
Voltage range N/A±0 to ±30VDC
Digital output
Digital output channels N/A4
Isolation N/A2500VDC
Max output voltage N/A40VDC
Voltage range N/A±5 to ±40VDC
 
Operating Temp –30 °C to 70 °C0 to +60°C
Dimensions (mm) 142 × 180 × 38168 x 120 x 40
Certifications FCC, CE, RoHSFCC, CE, RoHS
£2534
Price accurate as of Aug 2021
£975
FREE DELIVERY
BUY NOW

Still not sure?
Try before you buy
Need a complete Rack system?

Click here

RE: National Instruments NI-STC3
"Some N.I. DAQ cards offer their 'NI-STC3' function, which adds a marginal amount of accuracy to their counter/timer functionality. NI-STC3 is designed for the highest-end applications and most likely wouldn't be needed for the majority of DAQ systems."
Chris Durose, Technical Lead - Industrial Computing

Multi-function DAQ Cards

The Swiss Army Knife of data acquisition, Multi-function DAQ Cards provide analog I/O, digital I/O, and counter/timer functionality in a single device. Designed for applications with varying input and output requirements, such as laboratory automation, research, and design verification, Multi-function DAQ Cards provide a mix of I/O with varying channel counts, sample rates, output rates, and other features to meet many common measurement requirements. 

N.I. PCI-6115 vs Advantech PCI-1714U / PCI-1721
While there isn't strictly a single Advantech multi-function DAQ card which compares feature-wise to National Instruments' PCI-6115, by combining the Advantech PCI-1714U and PCI-1721 you can achieve even more functionality at around a third the price (combined) of the National Instruments offering. As most DAQ cards are installed in capacious industrial computing systems with many slots, the trade-off of the addition of a second card vs the vast cost savings of the Advantech solution is a no-brainer. Furthermore, due to its form factor the N.I. card is suitable only for 4U racks, whereas the Advantech solution can fit in chassis as small as a shoebox. 

Dual card solution
N.I. - PCI-6115Advantech - PCI-1714UAdvantech - PCI-1721
4-ch Multifunction I/O Device4-CH simultaneous AI universal4-ch Analog Output w/ 16bit DIO
Warranty 1 year2 years2 years
LabVIEW support YesYesYes
Bus PCIPCIPCI
Connector 68-pin male SCSIBNC68-pin male SCSI
Analog input
Analog Input Channels 44
Analog input resolution 12-bit12-bit
Maximum sample rate 10 MS/s30 MS/s
Voltage Range ±42VDC±0.5VDC, ±1VDC, ±2.5VDC, ±5VDC
Analog output
Analog output Channels 24
Analog output resolution 12-bit12-bit
Maximum sample rate 4MS/s10MS/s
Voltage Range ±10 V±10 V
Digital Input
Digital Input Channels 8 DI (shared)16 DI (shared)
Max input Voltage 5V5V
Voltage range 0 to 5VDC0 to 5VDC
Digital Output
Digital Output Channels 8 DO (shared)16 DO (shared)
Max Output Voltage 5V5V
Voltage range 0 to 5VDC0 to 5VDC
Operating Temp 0°C to +55°C0 to +60°C
Dimensions (mm) 312 x 106175 x 100175 x 100
Certifications FCC, CE, RoHSFCC, CE, RoHS
£4,410
Price accurate as of Aug 2021
£1037
FREE DELIVERY
£490
FREE DELIVERY
BUY NOW

Still not sure?
Try before you buy
BUY NOW

Still not sure?
Try before you buy
Need a complete Rack system?

Click here

N.I. PCIE-6346 vs Advantech PCIE-1812-AE
Advantech's PCIE-1812-AE trumps the National Instruments PCIE-6346 in a few key areas. It dips a little in the sample rate (for most applications 250 kS/s is more than adequate) but comes out top with an extra 8 input & output channels and more than three times the output rate. 

N.I. - PCIE-6346Advantech - PCIE-1812-AE
Multifunction I/O Device8-ch multifunction card
Warranty 1 year2 years
LabVIEW support YesYes
Bus PCIePCIe
Connector 68 pin SCSI100-pin SCSI
Analog Input
Analog Input Channels 88 Differential input
Analog input resolution 16-bit16-bit
Maximum sample rate 500 kS/s250 kS/s
Voltage Range ±1V, ±2V, ±5V, ±10VDC±0 V to ±10VDC
Analog Output
Analog output Channels 22
Analog output resolution 16-bit16-bit
Output Rate 840 kS/s3000 kS/s
Voltage Range ±10VDC±5VDC , ±10VDC
Isolation N/AN/A
Digital Input
Digital Input Channels 24 (shared)32 (shared)
Isolation N/AN/A
Max input Voltage 5.25V5V
Voltage range 0 to 5.25VDC0 to 5VDC
Digital Output
Digital Output Channels 24 (shared)32 (shared)
Isolation N/AN/A
Max Output Voltage 5.25V5V
Voltage range 0 to 5.25VDC±0 to ±5VDC
 
Operating Temp 0°C to +55°C0°C to +60°C
Dimensions (mm) 168 x 111167 x 100
Certifications FCC, CE, RoHSFCC, CE, RoHS
£1,953
Price accurate as of Aug 2021
£929
FREE DELIVERY
BUY NOW

Still not sure?
Try before you buy
Need a complete Rack system?

Click here

Isolated DIO DAQ Cards

Isolated DIO DAQ cards offer digital I/O with isolation protection. Isolation is a method of electrically separating the DAQ card's sensor signals, which can be exposed to potentially unpredictable high voltages, from the low-voltage backplane, ensuring protection for more expensive and vulnerable components, removal of potential ground loops, plus improved noise immunity and common-mode voltage rejection. Isolated DAQ cards generally have a voltage isolation tolerance, which can vary between manufacturers and individual isolated DAQ cards.

N.I. PCI-6514 vs Advantech PCI-1756
When comparing National Instruments' PCI-6514 to the equivalent Advantech PCI-1756, the specs speak for themselves. With key attributes matching or even bettering the N.I. card, and coming in at roughly a third of the price, Advantech's PCI-1756 is a fantastic, cost-effective alternative to its competition.

N.I. - PCI-6514Advantech - PCI-1756 / PCIe-1756
32DI to 32DO32DI to 32DO
Warranty 1 year2 years
LabVIEW support YesYes
Bus PCIPCI / PCIe
Connector 100-pin SCSI female100-pin SCSI female
Digital Input
Digital Input Channels 3232
Isolation Yes (VDC unstated)2500VDC
Max input Voltage 30VDC50VDC
Voltage range 0 to 30VDC0 to 50VDC / 0 to 30VDC (PCIe)
Digital Output
Digital Output Channels 3232
Isolation Yes (VDC unstated)2500VDC
Max Output Voltage 30VDC40VDC
Voltage range 0 to 30VDC5 to 40VDC
 
Operating Temp –30 °C to 70 °C0 to +60°C
Dimensions (mm) 142 × 180 × 38168 x 120 x 40
Certifications FCC, CE, RoHSFCC, CE, RoHS
£445
Price accurate as of Aug 2021
from £135
BUY NOW

Still not sure?
Try before you buy
Need a complete Rack system?

Click here

N.I. PCI-6518 vs Advantech PCI-1730U
As you may expect, the comparison of National Instruments' PCI-6518 and Advantech's PCI-1730U is much the same story as the previous 32 channel card. High quality manufacturing, with same or better stats, at a third of the price. 

N.I. - PCI-6518Advantech - PCI-1730U / PCIE-1730-BE
16-ch DI/ 16-ch DO card16-ch DI/ 16-ch DO card
Warranty 1 year2 years
LabVIEW support YesYes
Bus PCIPCI / PCIe
Connector 37-pin D-SUB37-pin D-SUB
Digital Input
Digital Input Channels 1616
Isolation Yes (VDC unstated)2500VDC
Max input Voltage 30VDC30VDC
Voltage range 0 to 30VDC0 to 30VDC
Digital Output
Digital Output Channels 1616
Isolation Yes (VDC unstated)2500VDC
Max Output Voltage 30VDC40VDC
Voltage range 0 to 30VDC5 to 40VDC
 
Operating Temp 0°C to +55 °C0°C to +60°C
Dimensions (mm) 141 x 114175 x 100
Certifications FCC, CE, RoHSFCC, CE, RoHS
£378
Price accurate as of Aug 2021
£111
BUY NOW

Still not sure?
Try before you buy
Need a complete Rack system?

Click here

TTL DIO DAQ Cards

N.I. PCI-6503 vs Advantech PCI-1737U
If you can't live without the jaunty angle of the PCB on National Instruments' PCI-6503 TTL DIO DAQ Card, and that's worth paying three times the price for, then Advantech's PCI-1737U will struggle to compete. But if looks aren't a factor, and functionality is what you look for in a DAQ card, then the Advantech offering hits it out of the park when it comes to key comparable attributes.

N.I. - PCI-6503Advantech - PCI-1737U
24-ch Digital I/O universal PCI card24-ch Digital I/O universal PCI card
Warranty 1 year2 years
LabVIEW support YesYes
Bus PCIPCI
Connector 50-pin box header50-pin box header
Digital Input
Digital Input Channels 24 (shared)24 (shared)
Isolation N/AN/A
Max input Voltage 5V5V
Voltage range 0 to 5VDC0 to 5VDC
Digital Output
Digital Output Channels 24 (shared)24 (shared)
Isolation N/AN/A
Max Output Voltage 5V5V
Voltage range 0 to 5VDC0 to 5VDC
 
Operating Temp 0°C to +55 °C0°C to +60°C
Dimensions (mm) 122 x 95170 x 100
Certifications FCC, CE, RoHSFCC, CE, RoHS
£200
Price accurate as of Aug 2021
£65
BUY NOW

Still not sure?
Try before you buy
Need a complete Rack system?

Click here

N.I. PCI-6509 vs Advantech PCIe-1753
The comparison between N.I.'s PCIe-6509 and Advantech's PCIe-1753 is one of the most clean-cut here. Just two key attributes differ: an extra five degrees on the temperature tolerance, and the price, which is (you guessed it) half that of the N.I. PCI-6509.

N.I. - PCIe-6509Advantech - PCIe-1753
96-Ch Digital I/O PCI Express Card96-Ch Digital I/O PCI Express Card
Warranty 1 year2 years
LabVIEW support YesYes
Bus PCIePCIe
Connector 100-pin SCSI100-pin SCSI
Digital Input
Digital Input Channels 96 (shared)96 (shared)
Isolation N/AN/A
Max input Voltage 5V5V
Voltage range 0 to 5VDC0 to 5VDC
Digital Output
Digital Output Channels 96 (shared)96 (shared)
Isolation N/AN/A
Max Output Voltage 5V5V
Voltage range 0 to 5VDC0 to 5VDC
 
Operating Temp 0°C to +55 °C0°C to +60°C
Dimensions (mm) 142 x 104168 x 100
Certifications FCC, CE, RoHSFCC, CE, RoHS
£355
Price accurate as of Aug 2021
£152
FREE DELIVERY
BUY NOW

Still not sure?
Try before you buy
Need a complete Rack system?

Click here

N.I. PCI-6501 vs Advantech USB-4751L
The main difference between the N.I. USB-6501 and Advantech's USB-4751L is the connector, with the N.I. unit offering a Phoenix Terminal and Advantech using a 50-pin box header. But don't worry — should you need it Advantech offers a discreet adaptor board which converts the box header on the PCIe-1753 into a Phoenix Terminal.

N.I. - USB-6501Advantech - USB-4751L
24-Ch Digital I/O USB Module24-Ch Digital I/O USB Module
Warranty 1 year2 years
LabVIEW support YesYes
Bus USB2.0USB2.0
Connector Pheonix Terminal50-pin box header
Digital Input
Digital Input Channels 24 (shared)24 (shared)
Isolation N/AN/A
Max input Voltage 5V5V
Voltage range 0 to 5VDC0 to 5VDC
Digital Output
Digital Output Channels 24 (shared)24 (shared)
Isolation N/AN/A
Max Output Voltage 5V5V
Voltage range 0 to 5VDC0 to 5VDC
 
Operating Temp 0°C to +55 °C0°C to +60°C
Dimensions (mm) 63 x 85 x 23132 x 80 x 32
Certifications FCC, CE, RoHSFCC, CE, RoHS
£106
Price accurate as of Aug 2021
£76
BUY NOW

Still not sure?
Try before you buy
Need a complete Rack system?

Click here
Need a complete rack system, or some more info on DAQ cards?
Live chat offline
Live chat is avaialble between 8:30am and 5:00pm UK, Monday to Friday.
Simply spend a few moments filling in your details and let us find the product you need:
+44(0)1782 337 800
STOCK ALERT!Rack PCs, Embedded Box PCs, SBCs, and IIoT devices in stock and ready to ship.
Andrew .
Very helpful in sourcing the kit required and arrived when it was required.
...
Sep 2021
+44(0)1782 337 800