To get started with RTXI for your experiments, there are some hardware requirements you need to satisfy. They’re pretty easy to meet, and they’ll get you set up with a properly performing RTXI installation.

If you are not familiar with RTXI or what it can do, we recommend looking through the manual first.

You will need:

  1. Computer
  2. Data acquisition card (DAQ)
  3. Graphics card (may come with computer)


Most computers built in the last few years will run Linux, but some will perform better for real-time applications. Here are some points to consider when buying new hardware:

  1. What is the CPU type? We recommend using Intel processors, though AMD ones work, too.
  2. How many PCI/PCIe slots are there? Most computers now come with only PCIe slots, so make sure to get a PCIe compatible DAQ card. Currently RTXI only supports National Instrument DAQ cards.

Also, you should have a machine with at least 4 GB of RAM. While Linux can run with less, you will see degraded performance. Over the past few years, operating systems have been built under the assumption of increasingly capable hardware, and Linux has been no exception.


RTXI is tested and developed on systems using National Instruments (NI) cards. The Xenomai project may still support PCI cards, but not PCIe, and we do not test them so we cannot give you a recommendation to use them. Instead we advice downloading and installing the NIDAQmx library, which supports a wide range of National Instruments DAQ cards and is the interface used by RTXI. Here are a list of resources for downloading and installing NIDAQmx:

Graphics Card

NOTE: The information in this section was compiled over a decade ago, and a lot has changed since then. Nvidia now provides better support for linux drivers. Research whether your graphics card has driver support for linux.

You should get a discrete graphics card. Using integrated graphics will cause UI computation to be offloaded to the CPU, which at the same time has to handle real-time processes. Based on the systems we’ve benchmarked so far, you’re better off using an AMD card than an Nvidia one. You are also recommended to use open-source drivers instead of their proprietary counterparts.

What this means for you is that when buying/acquiring a computer, you need to check the type of graphics card it has. You also need to check whether it is supported by open-source drivers. (Often, newer hardware needs some time for the people who code the drivers to extend support for them.)

Here is a list of graphics card supported by the Nvidia open-source driver (nouveau) and the AMD one (radeon):

Installing RTXI

Look through our installation instructions to see how to install RTXI 3.0.0. If you run into issues, look through our available documentation, and if it doesn’t help, email us or submit an issue on GitHub. We recommend you do the latter.


Let us know if any links are broken. They are all supposed to point directly to lists of hardware compatible with drivers. If they don’t, something went terribly wrong, and we need to fix the links.