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The rapid advancements in electronics technologies have made software-based beamformers for ultrasound array imaging feasible, thus facilitating the rapid development of high-performance and potentially low-cost systems. However, one challenge to realizing a fully software-based system is transferring data from the analog front end to the software back end at rates of up to a few gigabits per second. This study investigated the use of data compression to reduce the data transfer requirements and optimize the associated trade-off with beamforming quality. JPEG and JPEG2000 compression techniques were adopted. The acoustic data of a line phantom were acquired with a 128-channel array transducer at a center frequency of 3.5 MHz, and the acoustic data of a cyst phantom were acquired with a 64-channel array transducer at a center frequency of 3.33 MHz. The receive-channel data associated with each transmit event are separated into 8 × 8 blocks and several tiles before JPEG and JPEG2000 data compression is applied, respectively. In one scheme, the compression was applied to raw RF data, while in another only the amplitude of baseband data was compressed. The maximum compression ratio of RF data compression to produce an average error of lower than 5 dB was 15 with JPEG compression and 20 with JPEG2000 compression. The image quality is higher with baseband amplitude data compression than with RF data compression; although the maximum overall compression ratio (compared with the original RF data size), which was limited by the data size of uncompressed phase data, was lower than 12, the average error in this case was lower than 1 dB when the compression ratio was lower than 8.