An embedded PC is a modularly structured, compact industrial PC. It is an embedded system with a computer architecture based on that of a standard PC. In this case, however, only those components required for the relevant application are included in the system. Due to their smaller memory requirement, such PCs are frequently employed without a hard disk (using, e.g., a CF card instead). Embedded PCs can be found in products of the automotive industry, traffic technology, production and manufacturing technology, telecommunication and many more.
Orientation to the standard PC architecture is an advantage, because of the familiar hardware and software environment and the availability of relevant PC software.
Most embedded systems contain special embedded versions of standard operating systems, such as Windows (XP Embedded, WIN 7 Embedded), which in turn are adapted to the necessary functions of an application and are therefore reduced in size compared with the standard versions. This means that such embedded systems cannot be upgraded simply with normal standard updates for the respective original version.
Embedded PCs are employed where the properties and processing power of industrial PCs are required. They can frequently be fitted in the smallest of spaces. In spite of the compactness of the system, comparatively powerful processors are often used.
Embedded PCs can also be found in hardness testers, above all in semi-automatic hardness testing machines, which are used for simpler hardness testing tasks.