Can a dedicated DAQ board and desktop PC with xPC Target replace a Speedgoat?

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I'm building an exoskeleton with a group of students and we are figuring out our electrical topology. There are some discussions going on with regards to running our real time simulink model.
We have decided on that we want to be able to run our simulink model in real time on a backpack computer on the exoskeleton. From what we understand is that a speedgoat target pc allows that; the simulink model can be uploaded directly to the machine and doesn't require hours of compilation time. However we will be doing all our DAQ on dedicated boards in the joints of the exoskeleton and communicating all of the information using EtherCAT.
So I have this fundamental question: What exactly is the difference between a Speedgoat target PC and a regular desktop PC running a real time kernel?
From what I understand is that the speedgoat also handles all the DAQ and is very modular. But like I said, we will be doing our DAQ on dedicated boards so we figured why not just put an Intel NUC in the backpack, hook it up to an ethernet coupler and communicate with the DAQ boards through that. We're just still unsure how communication through EtherCAT works in simulink.
Would there be any benefit in choosing a Speedgoat over a regular PC running a real time kernel on Linux and xPC target?

Answers (1)

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 12 Sep 2015
"These state-of-the-art solutions work out of the box, have highest computational performance, custom I/O connectivity, and are accompanied by quality services."
That is, Speedgoat has done the systems integration and testing and optimization for the hardware they use. But you can do the same thing yourself. Speedgoat does not do anything you could not do yourself with sufficient time and funds.

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