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 on the Release Information page of the FreeBSD web site (http://www.FreeBSD.org/releases/index.html).

A FreeBSD installation will require a minimum 64 MB of RAM and 1.5 GB of free hard drive space for the most minimal installation. However, that is a minimal install, leaving almost no free space. RAM requirements depend on usage. Specialized FreeBSD systems can run in as little as 128MB RAM while desktop systems should have at least 4 GB of RAM.

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


This is the most common type of processor desktop and laptop computers will have. Other vendors may call this architecture x86-64.

There are two primary vendors of amd64 processors: Intel® (which produces Intel64 class processors) and AMD (which produces AMD64).

Examples of amd64 compatible processsors include: AMD Athlon™64, AMD Opteron™, multi-core Intel® Xeon™, and Intel® Core™ 2 and later processors.


This architecture is the 32-bit x86 architecture.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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>.