An analysis and comparison are made of two multisensor multiobservation detection schemes, and their hardware complexity (number of sensors) is discussed. The schemes are a Bayesian optimal parallel-sensor centralized architecture and a suboptimal binary distributed-detection system. The authors demonstrate the tradeoff between performance and hardware complexity and calculate the cost (in terms of hardware units) of the design simplicity which characterizes the suboptimal system. The results are useful for comparing different distributed-sensor detection schemes. It is shown that in the Gaussian case, a high signal-to-noise ratio decentralized system with 2N sensor/detectors performs at least as well as the centralized system with N sensors and a single detector.