In this paper, we address the problem of determining the optimum antenna configuration for a multi-input multi-output (MIMO) system at any given signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). We used two-level differential evolution (DE) algorithm that finds both an appropriate expression among a set of candidate expressions within the list of the optimization software used, and the parameter values (coefficients) belonging to the selected expression. The results of the proposed expression are compared with the results of high SNR approximation, asymptotic approach and optimum antenna number ratios. It is shown that the numerical outcomes produced by the new expression exhibit very good agreement with the optimum antenna number ratios, and this agreement is almost independent of the specific value of SNR. Copyright (C) 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.