2.2. Minimum Hardware Requirements

The hardware requirements to install FreeBSD vary by the FreeBSD version and the hardware architecture. Hardware architectures and devices supported by a FreeBSD release are listed in the Hardware Notes file. Usually named HARDWARE.TXT, the file is located in the root directory of the release media. Copies of the supported hardware list are also available on the Release Information page of the FreeBSD web site (http://www.FreeBSD.org/releases/index.html).

A FreeBSD installation will require at least 64 MB of RAM and 1.5 GB of free hard drive space for the most minimal installation. However, that is a very minimal install, leaving almost no free space. A more realistic minimum is 4 GB without a graphical environment, and 8 GB or more if a graphical user interface will be used. Third-party application software requires more space. It is recommended to increase RAM and hard drive space to meet the needs of the applications that will be used and the amount of data that will be stored.

The processor requirements for each architecture can be summarized as follows:

amd64

There are two classes of processors capable of running amd64. The first are AMD64 processors, including the AMD Athlon™64 and AMD Opteron™ processors.

The second class of processors includes those using the Intel® EM64T architecture. Examples of these processors include all multi-core Intel® Xeon™ processors except Sossaman, the single-core Intel® Xeon™ processors Nocona, Irwindale, Potomac, and Cranford, the Intel® Core™ 2 (not Core Duo) and later processors, all Intel® Pentium® D processors, the Intel® Pentium® 4s and Celeron Ds using the Cedar Mill core, and some Intel® Pentium® 4s and Celeron Ds using the Prescott core.

Both Uniprocessor (UP) and Symmetric Multi-processor (SMP) configurations are supported.

i386

Almost all i386-compatible processors with a floating point unit are supported. All Intel® processors 486 or higher are supported.

FreeBSD will take advantage of Physical Address Extensions (PAE) support on CPUs that support this feature. A kernel with the PAE feature enabled will detect memory above 4 GB and allow it to be used by the system. This feature places constraints on the device drivers and other features of FreeBSD which may be used; refer to pae(4) for details.

ia64

Currently supported processors are the Itanium® and the Itanium® 2. Supported chipsets include the HP zx1, Intel® 460GX, and Intel® E8870. Both Uniprocessor (UP) and Symmetric Multi-processor (SMP) configurations are supported.

pc98

NEC PC-9801/9821 series with almost all i386-compatible processors, including 80486, Pentium®, Pentium® Pro, and Pentium® II, are all supported. All i386-compatible processors by AMD, Cyrix, IBM, and IDT are also supported. EPSON PC-386/486/586 series, which are compatible with NEC PC-9801 series, are supported. The NEC FC-9801/9821 and NEC SV-98 series should be supported.

High-resolution mode is not supported. NEC PC-98XA/XL/RL/XL^2, and NEC PC-H98 series are supported in normal (PC-9801 compatible) mode only. The SMP-related features of FreeBSD are not supported. The New Extend Standard Architecture (NESA) bus used in the PC-H98, SV-H98, and FC-H98 series, is not supported.

powerpc

All New World ROM Apple® Mac® systems with built-in USB are supported. SMP is supported on machines with multiple CPUs.

A 32-bit kernel can only use the first 2 GB of RAM.

sparc64

Systems supported by FreeBSD/sparc64 are listed at the FreeBSD/sparc64 Project (http://www.freebsd.org/platforms/sparc.html).

SMP is supported on all systems with more than 1 processor. A dedicated disk is required as it is not possible to share a disk with another operating system at this time.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at http://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/doc/

Questions that are not answered by the documentation may be sent to <freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.org>.
Send questions about this document to <freebsd-doc@FreeBSD.org>.