One of the advantages which a picture archiving and communications system (PACS) is supposed to provide over film-based operation is improved performance in retrieving images. While is seems self-evident that this should be so, we wanted to verify this, and provide some time comparisons for the two methods. The experiment consisted of randomly selecting ultrasound (US) and computed tomography (CT) cases and determining how long it took to retrieve them at one of our PACS workstations, and to retrieve them in person from the film room. To simulate actual retrieval volumes, a total of 40 cases from current to six months old, 20 cases from the past year, and 10 cases over one year old, was selected. Results indicate that indeed, PACS retrieval can be faster than file room retrieval. However, the difference is less for recent cases than for older cases. For cases six or fewer months old, the workstation retrieval was about two and one-half minutes faster per case than the film file room. This time difference increased markedly when extended to the one year and over one year groups. This paper details the results of this study, and will also provide information about the reliability of the two archives.