If the title of this article caught your attention, you’re one of two types of people: a big fan of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, or the purchasing representative for a hospital or clinic considering the purchase of an R/F room (Sorry movie buffs, but since this is an imaging industry blog, we recommend you navigate away from this page and go check out IMDB; we’re going to talk turkey with the latter type).
Judging from your interest in this article, you’ve already done some legwork on your R/F purchase or upgrade and have arrived at a pivotal crossroads. It has become obvious to you that GE is an industry leader and that they have two very popular R/F room models: The Legacy and the Precision 500D. But which one is “the best”?
That’s an excellent (albeit subjective) question, and to help answer it we’ve assembled a rundown on each unit that should help clarify the distinctions between the two:
|Feature||GE Legacy||GE P500D|
|Table Side Control||X||X|
|Table Tilting options||X||X|
|Digital Imaging Chain||X||X|
|DICOM- Worklist, Send, Print||X||X|
|ABS Automatic Brightness System||X||X|
80kW or 100kW
|Virtual Collimation for Dose Reduction||X||X|
|ROC- Remote Online Center||X||X|
|Digital Spot Film Device||X||X|
|Overhead Tube Hanger||X||X|
|Image Intensifier- 12" & 16"||X||X|
|Image Intensifier- 9"||X|
|Analog CCD Camera
|12 bit CCD Camera
|Patient Protocols Direct From PACS||X|
The table above is offered as a quick reference to the major features of both R/F rooms, but must be taken with a proverbial “grain of salt”: the system with the most check marks is not automatically the best. For example, contrary to what the numbers suggest, a camera with 1024 x 1024 resolution is not “twice as good” as a 512 x 512 camera. With proper calibration by an experienced engineer, the image quality difference between the two would be negligible. Let’s break it down a little further for more clarity:
Where the P500D wins:
Autoex – adjusts image acquisition parameters in real time.
Camera Resolution- P500D uses a 12 bit CCD camera 1024 x 1024 imaging matrix while the GE Legacy uses an analog camera known as the VIC camera where resolution is 512 X 512.
Workflow – newly updated on the P500D – this may be moot for some.
CAN - overhead tube crane and table are the same, but P500D uses a new software communication tool called CAN to move these components. This ties everything together.
User Interface – newly updated interface has touch screen and a new software platform (proprietary GE for all models).
Where the Legacy wins:
Service/Maintenance Cost – A full service agreement for the P500D costs on average 40% more. The main reason is that the P500D imaging chain relies on a dual-module system (the Saturn and Mars modules) which GE will not part-out. The only option is to have an entire module ordered for $80-$85,000 (trust us; these are non-existent in the secondary market). The average cost of replacement boards for the Legacy DRS module is $2,000-$4,000.
Parts/Engineering Availability- Due to the huge number of these systems installed worldwide, the secondary market is flush with replacement parts and independent engineers who know the equipment inside and out.
Acquisition Cost – the most affordable GE R/F option.
Outcomes – virtually the same outcome from a diagnostics perspective (for most studies). While researching, we found it quite intriguing that many engineers, owners/techs we spoke with (who either have one of each or had recently upgraded from Legacy to P500D), stated the images to be of similar diagnostic quality.
So Which One is The Best For You?
It is certainly not our goal to tell our customers which system they want. The exact needs of your facility aren’t really known by anyone but the team at your site. However, the majority of the features on these two systems are identical and, hopefully, the information you’ve just read has helped cast them in relief. Perhaps the most important point to take away from this article is this: When the choice falls between GE R/F rooms, it’s important to consider carefully just how much the extra features of the Precision 500D will benefit your day-to-day imaging.