OEC Elite CFD vs. Siemens Cios Alpha

OEC and Siemens are two of the biggest names among C-arm manufacturers. They both have a reputation for quality, and they both have current, flat-panel detector models. So, for those in the market for a fully digital C-arm, the question becomes: "How do I choose between the OEC Elite CFD and the Siemens Cios Alpha?"

To help answer that, we've compiled the following comparison of hardware and technology elements, as well as several ownership experience elements. Keep reading to learn about where each model is strongest and what those strengths mean for you.

C-Arms Compared: Elite CFD, Cios Alpha

Generator Power

The Cios Alpha is a clear frontrunner when it comes to sheer power. Siemens offers the option for Alpha units to have a 25kW generator. The standard Elite CFD generator produces only 15kW.

For most C-arm procedures, and for most patient volume levels, a 15kW generator is sufficient. For facilities that specialize in more demanding work (bariatrics, lateral abdominals, run-offs, etc.) at a higher volume, the extra power of the Cios Alpha will come in handy.

Field of View

In terms of total viewing area, the Elite CFD comes out at a slight advantage, with its larger-sized option measuring 31cm x 31cm. The detector on the Cios Alpha measures just below at 30cm x 30cm. 

elite-cfd-no-bgIt should be noted that, if your specialty does not require the largest detector size, the Elite CFD is also available with a 21cm x 21cm detector option.

Control Accessibility

Another area where we see these two models running neck-and-neck is control accessibility. Both models feature full controls on the workstation and the C-arm, a "hotspot" reference monitor on the C-arm, and an integrated laser aimer for precision positioning.


There is a significant difference in monitor configurations. The Cios Alpha features two 19" monitors that have some rotation flexibility. The Elite CFD features a single, 27" monitor on an articulating arm that extends 27" with a full range of motion.

If sheer monitor area is a priority for you, the Cios Alpha has more. If flexibility for positioning the monitor wherever you need it is the priority, the Elite CFD offers more.


The detector technology of both these models is comparable and leading edge. The Elite CFD and the Cios Alpha each come with complimentary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) detectors.


There isn't a very big difference between the overall footprint of these systems. 

  • Cios Alpha: C-arm- 77.6 x 32.7 x 65, Workstation- 27.6 x 29.1 x 70.7 
  • Elite CFD: C-arm 80.25 x 33.2 x 70.75, Workstation- 25.8 x 34.1 x 67.5

The more dramatic difference is in their weight. Note: system weight will vary based on which generator and detector options are chosen.

  • Cios Alpha Total Weight: 1,304 - 1,321 lbs.
  • Elite CFD Total Weight: 1,038 - 1,088 lbs.

If maneuverability or structural concerns are part of your scenario, it pays to be aware of the 230+ pounds separating these systems.


Currently, the Cios Alpha has higher availability on the secondary market than the Elite CFD. This is due, in part, to the fact that the Alpha has been in production for about six years, whereas the CFD has only been in production for about three. Facilities with more timebound purchasing goals will likely find a Cios Alpha filling that need.


Before you pull the trigger on your C-arm purchase based on technical specs, it pays to think practically about keeping the system running. In terms of maintenance and repair, the Elite CFD has the edge over the Cios Alpha. Service for an OEC C-arm is generally easier to find (3rd party), costs less, and is subject to fewer proprietary restrictions than service for a Siemens C-arm.


Purchase prices for Cios Alpha and Elite CFD systems vary based on the date of manufacture and which software package they come with. That said, here are some general tips for setting your expectations:

  • An Elite CFD is likely to be newer and, therefore, cost more
  • Either model will cost over $200,000 to purchase new from the manufacturer
  • Either model will start at $125,000 on the secondary market

The Takeaway

Because we know a C-arm isn't a one-size-fits-all purchase, we'll tell you this: both the Elite CFD and the Cios Alpha are high-quality systems that can meet the day-to-day needs of most imaging facilities. But, if you're hoping for a verdict on where each truly shines, we'll add the following:

  • If your facility is looking for a system to accommodate general surgical use and has some headroom in the budget, an Elite CFD will meet those clinical needs, provide greater maneuverability and positioning flexibility, and more than offset the purchase price in service savings down the road.
  • If your facility is looking for a system to accommodate demanding procedures or exceptional patient volume, the Cios Alpha will serve you well- and you'll probably find one sooner.
Picture of Gary Dodge

Gary Dodge

Gary Dodge is a C-Arm Product Manager at Block Imaging. Gary loves to consult with buyers and help them find the best solution for their C-Arm needs. Outside of the office, Gary loves trying new kinds of ethnic cuisine and visiting the Smokey Mountains with his family.