Expansion I/O Product Comparison

Publish Date: Aug 25, 2016 | 1 Ratings | 5.00 out of 5 | Print


NI reconfigurable I/O (RIO) products are used in system-level applications that require high-speed, closed-loop control with high-precision measurement on a flexible development platform. Sometimes, these applications require more channels or a more distributed architecture than what the core system can provide. Expansion I/O systems make a 1-to-N system topology possible with one controller and “N” field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and I/O nodes for flexible, high-channel-count systems that can perform both distributed control and localized processing.

Table of Contents

  1. Product Comparison
  2. Want More Detail?
  3. Additional Resources

1. Product Comparison


MXI-Express RIO

Use the high-performance expansion chassis for high-channel-count applications.

Ethernet RIO

Add FPGA-enabled I/O to anywhere on your Ethernet network.


Use deterministic I/O over EtherCAT for distributed applications.


Easily monitor your assets with reliable, battery-powered measurement nodes.

I/O Count 8 or 14 C Series slots 4 or 8 C Series slots 8 C Series slots 36 Nodes/Gateway
FPGA Virtex-5 (LX50/LX85/LX110) Artix-7/Spartan 2M/Spartan 6 (LX45) Spartan 2M  N/A
Network Topology Daisy Chain/Star Same as Ethernet Daisy Chain/Star  Star/Tree/Mesh
Distance 7 m between chassis 100 m before hub 100 m before repeater  Up to 300 m single hop range
Multidevice Synchronization FPGA-based DIO FPGA-based DIO Implicit in bus  Shared network time base
Communication Jitter <10 μs No Spec <1 μs No Spec
Bus Throughput 250 MB/s 25 MB/s 12.5 MB/s 250 kb/s
API Support FPGA Host Interface FPGA Host Interface/RSI RSI  RSI
Host Windows/Real-Time Windows/Real-Time Real-Time Only Windows/Real-Time


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2. Want More Detail?

Need more details on choosing the right expansion I/O option?  

Read an in-depth feature comparison

View an overview webcast comparing expansion I/O options

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3. Additional Resources

Configure a Complete NI CompactRIO System With the NI Online Product Advisor

See more resources for Expansion I/O

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