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An expanding number of test system architectural choices has caused confusion in the test engineering community. This will show the strengths and weaknesses of existing test system architectures including rack and stack systems with GPIB instruments and modular systems like VXI and PXI. It will provide a glimpse into an emerging new architecture: LAN-based test systems. The paper reviews key concerns such as costs, channel counts, footprints, IO speeds, ease-of-integration, and flexibility. The objective of the paper is to provide engineers insight into the most effective test systems for their future applications.