Requirements for Desktop PCs as Phar Lap ETS Real-Time Targets


This document provides specific guidelines regarding the requirements and installation instructions for LabVIEW Real-Time and LabWindows™/CVI Real-Time on a desktop PC.


The mark LabWindows is used under a license from Microsoft Corporation. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries.



The LabVIEW Real-Time Module and LabWindows/CVI Real-Time Module support using desktop PCs as real-time targets running Phar Lap ETS. The conversion process includes checking for supported hardware and software, formatting the hard drive of the target to FAT32, and running the LabVIEW Real-Time Module PC Evaluator. A LabVIEW Real-Time Debug/Deploy License is required for each target machine. NI does not recommend a specific set of hardware components for a desktop PC to be used as real-time target. The reason for this is twofold. First, different manufacturer revisions of the same model number do not necessarily have the same components. Second, we would like customer feedback on what works well. This allows for greater testing and larger selection of supported hardware.

NOTE: NI is not currently planning on supporting conversion of desktop PCs to NI Linux Real-Time targets. Conversion of desktop PCs to Phar Lap ETS targets is supported. However, NI will remove support for Phar Lap for cRIO in the NI 2020 Software Release and for PXI in the NI 2022 Software Release. For more information, please see the Phar Lap RT OS EOL Road Map.

Software/License Requirements

  • For the Development Machine
    • NI LabVIEW Development System for Windows (version 8.0 or later)
    • LabVIEW Real-Time Module version 8.0 or later - or - LabWindows/CVI Real-Time Module version 8.0 or later
  • For the RT Target(s)
  • LabVIEW Real-Time for Desktop PC Utility USB Drive. This can be created within Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX) by selecting Tools » Create Desktop PC Utility USB Driver on the host computer. For older versions of MAX, select Tools » RT Disk Utilities.

System Hardware Requirements 

NI cannot guarantee that the configuration of 3rd-party computer systems will not change over time.  Therefore, NI provides a list of LabVIEW Real-Time compatible components rather than recommending specific 3rd-party systems.  These requirements must be met by the computer system in order to run LabVIEW or LabWindows/CVI Real-Time.


Supported Processors:  

The table below lists the supported processors for the different Real-Time versions. In the chart below, LabVIEW Real-Time version 7.1 supports only Intel® Pentium® 3 and Intel® Pentium® 4 processors. All later version of LabVIEW Real-Time also support the Intel® Pentium® 3 and Intel® Pentium® 4.

LabVIEW Real-Time versionProcessors supported

Intel® Pentium® 3

Intel® Pentium® 4


Intel® Celeron®

Intel® Pentium® M

AMD Athlon™ 64

AMD Athlon™ XP


Intel® Core 2 family of processors

Intel® Pentium® D

Intel® Multi-core Xeon®

AMD Multi-core Opteron®


Intel® Core i3

Intel® Core i5

Intel® Core i7


Intel® Core i3 (Sandy Bridge architecture)

Intel® Core i5 (Sandy Bridge architecture)

Intel® Core i7 (Sandy Bridge architecture)

AMD Quad-Core A6-Series APUs


Intel® Core i3 (Ivy Bridge architecture)

Intel® Core i5 (Ivy Bridge architecture)

Intel® Core i7 (Ivy Bridge architecture)


Intel® Core i3 (Haswell architecture)

Intel® Core i5 (Haswell architecture)

Intel® Core i7 (Haswell architecture)


NOTE The 2014+ hardware architectures have been tested and confirmed to work with LabVIEW 2018.. NI does not plan on testing new RT PC compatible hardware for future version of LabVIEW.


Supported Ethernet Chipsets:

A network adapter with a supported ethernet chipset is required. The adapter can be integrated with the motherboard or PCI.  Network interface card (NIC) chipset manufacturers may produce various configurations of a given NIC with an identical model number. Some NICs will have a model number different from the installed chipset. To check if your NIC is a supported chipset, review the specifications section for the NIC to determine the embedded chipset. If you are using a separate NIC and want to disable the built-in one, do so in the BIOS.

In the table below, the model number may be followed by the product ID (also known as chipset ID or model ID) in quotes. Note that if an ID is listed for a given model, only chipsets with that ID will be supported. For more information on the model ID of a particular chipset, look in the product specifications or contact the manufacturer.

LabVIEW Real-Time VersionSupported Ethernet Chipsets

Intel® 82557

Intel® 82558

Intel® 82559 "0x1229"

Intel® 82559er "0x1209"

Intel® 82551

NI-PCI-8232 GPIB/Gigabit Ethernet


Intel® 82550

Intel® 82540

Broadcom® BCM5751 "0x1677"

8.2.1+Intel® 82573

Intel® InBusiness® 82559 "0x103A"82562em "0x2449"

Intel® 82562et "0x1039"

Intel® 82562etb "0x103B"

Intel® Pro/100 VM "0x1033, 0x1034, 0x1038, 0x103C, 0x103E"

Intel® Pro/100 VE "0x1032, 0x103D"

Intel® 82801 CAM (ICH3) "0x1031, 0x1035, 0x1036, 0x1037"

Intel® 82540EM "0x100E"

Intel® 82541EI "0x1013"

Intel® 82541EP "0x1018"

Intel® 82541GI "0x1076"

Intel® 82541GI-Mobile "0x1077"

Intel® 82541ER "0x1078"

Intel® 82573E/V "0x108B"

Intel® 82573E/V w/AMT "0x108C"

Intel® 82573L "0x109A"


nVidia® nForce MCP

nVidia® nForce MCP2

nVidia® nForce MCP3

nVidia® nForce 400 MCP4

nVidia® nForce 400 MCP5

nVidia® nForce 250 MCP6

nVidia® nForce MCP7

nVidia® nForce CK804 MCP8

nVidia® nForce CK804 MCP9

nVidia® nForce 430 MCP12

nVidia® nForce 430 MCP13

nVidia® nForce MCP04

nVidia® nForce MCP55

nVidia® nForce MCP61

nVidia® nForce MCP65


Intel® 82571xx

Intel® 82572 - Quadport

Intel® 82563EB

Intel® 82567 "0x10BE" and "0x10F5"

VLX Emulated Ethernet



Intel® 82574L CT "0x10D3"

Intel® 82546EB PCI-X Ethernet "0x1010"

Intel® 82546EB PCI-X Ethernet "0x1079"

Intel® 82545EM PCI-X Ethernet "0x100F"

Intel® 82545GM PCI-X Ethernet "0x1026"

Intel® 82540EP_LP Ethernet "0x101E"

Intel® 82545EM Ethernet "0x100F"

Intel® 82545GM Ethernet "0x1026"

Intel® 82572EI Ethernet "0x10B9"

Intel® 4-port LP(2x82571EB) Ethernet "0x10BC"


Intel® PCH-LM 82577 (Hanksville) "0x10EA"

Intel® PCH-LC 82577 (Hanksville) "0x10EB"

Intel® PCH-DM 82577 (Hanksville) "0x10EF"

Intel® PCH-DC 82577 (Hanksville) "0x10F0"

Intel® 82541PI "0x107C"


Intel® 82577LM

Intel® 82579LM*


Intel® 82579LM (Lewisville)

Intel® 82579V (Lewisville)


Intel® I217-LM Gigabit Clarkville Ethernet

Intel® I217-V Gigabit Clarkville Ethernet

Intel® I210-AS Gigabit Ethernet

Intel® I210-AT Gigabit Ethernet

Intel® I210-CS Gigabit Ethernet

Intel® I210-IS Gigabit Ethernet

Intel® I210-IT Gigabit Ethernet


*This Ethernet chipset is not natively supported by the LabVIEW 2011 Real-Time module. Support can be added by using the USB utilities and Ethernet drivers linked in the Downloads section. The attached drivers also include important patches; these drivers are recommended for all new Real-Time PCs. The readme file included in the ZIP file provides instructions for running the utilities.

An example of a board that carries the Intel® 82540 chipset is the NI-PCI-8232 GPIB/Gigabit Ethernet. An example of a commercially available board that carries the 82550 chipset is the Intel Pro/100 S.


Hard Drive: 

All LabVIEW Real-Time versions support Parallel ATA in IDE while LabVIEW 8.5 (and above) and LabWindows/CVI RT 8.5 (and above) support Serial ATA only in AHCI. LabVIEW Real-Time and LabWindows/CVI RT versions prior to 8.5 do not support Serial ATA. LabVIEW Real-Time 8.6.1 and previous supports hard drives up to 126 GiB. LabVIEW Real-Time 2009 and above support hard drives up to 1.99 TiB. The following options may be available depending on the specific desktop PC.

  • A Parallel ATA drive can be installed and the Serial ATA controllers can be disabled in the BIOS.
  • The BIOS may have the option of setting the Serial ATA controller to a mode making the drive appear to be Parallel ATA. This may be referred to with different names such as "PATA", "Legacy", "Compatibility", or other names. An example of this mode is discussed in section 4.1 of Intel® 82801EB (ICH5) and Intel® 82801ER (ICH5R) Serial ATA Controller - Programmer’s Reference Manual (PRM). Some PC BIOS may not support this mode, such as the Dell Precision 360. Sometimes it is helpful to disable the UDMA-mode.
  • If AHCI, IDE or compatibility/legacy mode isn't available or doesn't work, try RAID to get HDD recognized



LabVIEW Real-Time currently supports up to 4 GB (gigabytes) of RAM. In Real-Time 8.5 and previous, more than 2 GB of RAM will cause deployment errors. In LabVIEW Real-Time 8.5.1 through 2009 SP1, support is provided for systems with RAM greater than 2 GB, however the real-time operating system will only utilize 2 GB. LabVIEW Real-Time 2010 and later utilizes up to 4 GB.



The volt rails should be 3.3 and 5 volts on the motherboard.  Some server class, industrial, or non-dell motherboards may lack the 3.3 volt rail required by NI M-Series boards.  The BIOS may have a description of the power rails supported by the motherboard.

Formatting & Setup 

To install LabVIEW Real-Time on the desktop PC, you will need the following equipment

  • Desktop PC with a hard drive formatted in FAT32. If the hard drive has been partitioned, the partition for LabVIEW Real-Time needs to be on the primary partition and active hard drive. The steps to format the hard drive to FAT32 can be found at Microsoft KB 313348.
  • 3.5 inch floppy drive (1.44 MB) or a USB flash drive. NI recommends using a USB flash drive formatted in FAT32 file system. The USB flash drive is supported only in versions LabVIEW Real-Time 8.2 or later.
  • PS2 or USB keyboard. This is required when you format the desktop using the LabVIEW Real-Time Format Disk option.

You have two options to boot LabVIEW Real-Time:

  • Hard drive: If you use a USB floppy drive to execute the LabVIEW Real-Time Format Disk, the software will be installed in the hard drive. After the installation is complete, disable USB in the BIOS to prevent jitter. The USB floppy drive and/or keyboard are only required in the initial set up of the system.
  • USB or floppy drive: Instead of booting from the hard drive, you can boot Real-Time from the USB or floppy drive. In this case, LabVIEW is not installed on the hard drive. However, the hard drive still needs to formatted to FAT32 file system and the first 2 GB on the hard drive needs to be available.

BIOS Settings on Desktop ETS 

LabVIEW Real-Time 8.2.1 and previous and LabWindows/CVI Real-Time 8.2.1 and previous require that the BIOS include the PCI BIOS interface function set. Whether the BIOS includes PCI BIOS support is generally not specified on data sheets and may be difficult to determine. If the PCI BIOS interface function set is not present in the BIOS, LabVIEW Real-Time and LabWindows/CVI Real-Time will not be able to access PCI devices and will generally display an error that it failed to find and configure a network adapter. An example motherboard which does not include PCI BIOS support is the Intel® D915GEV. LabVIEW Real-Time 8.5 and LabWindows/CVI Real-Time 8.5 do not require that the BIOS include the PCI BIOS interface function set.

Disable hyper-threading in BIOS for any Intel processor that supports hyper-threading.  If enabled, the Real-Time operating system will detect two cores per processor and may become unstable. Legacy USB must be enabled to find Desktop PC Utility USB drive. You may also need to set USB Emulation Mode to recognize USB drives as a hard drive.

Testing an Existing Setup 

It is possible to test the compatibility of an existing system with the LabVIEW Real-Time Module PC Evaluator. PCs that pass the test can be successfully converted into a LabVIEW Real-Time 8.5 (or later) target. The hard drive needs to be formatted to FAT32 before the software is used on the target PC.

Configuration Instructions 

Refer to Converting a Desktop PC to a LabVIEW Real-Time Target  for step-by-step configuration instructions.

NI Validated Hardware Component List

At the request of customers, NI has created a page hosting validated components for the current version of LabVIEW Real-Time. See NI Community page LabVIEW Real-Time Desktop ETS Validated Hardware Component List.

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