With the development of atomic force microscopes that allow higher scan speeds, the need for data acquisition systems (DAQ) that are capable of handling the increased amounts of data in real time arises. We have developed a low cost data acquisition and scan control system around a commercially available DAQ board in a WINDOWS environment. By minimizing the involvement of the processor in the data transfer using direct memory access, and generation of the scan signals synchronously with the data acquisition, we were able to record 30 frames per second with a pixel resolution of 150x150 pixels and 14 bit per channel. (C) 2005 American Institute of Physics.