PC‑BSD® has moderate hardware requirements and commonly uses less resources than its commercial counterparts. Before installing PC-BSD®, make sure that your hardware or virtual machine at least meets the minimum requirements. To get the most out of your PC‑BSD® experience, refer to the recommended system requirements.
Minimum System Requirements
At a bare minimum, you need to meet these requirements in order to install PC-BSD®:
- 64-bit processor
- 1 GB RAM
- 20GB of free hard drive space on a primary partition for a TrueOS® server installation
- Network card
Recommended System Requirements
The following are the minimum recommended requirements. The more RAM and available disk space, the better your computing experience:
- 64-bit processor
- 4 GB of RAM
- 50GB of free hard drive space on a primary partition for a desktop installation
- Network card
- Sound card
- NVIDIA 3D accelerated video card
The PC-BSD® installer's hardware check will display a warning message if the selected partition contains less than 20GB for a server installation or less than 50GB for a desktop installation. The installation itself does not require this much disk space. Instead the minimum recommendation is to provide sufficient room for the installation of multiple desktops, applications, and to store local ZFS snapshots.
You can never have too much RAM, so install as much as you can afford. To play modern video games, you should use a fast CPU. If you want to create a collection of tunes and movies on your computer, you will want a large hard disk drive which can be internal or external.
PC-BSD® should install on any system containing a 64-bit (also called amd64) processor. Despite the amd64 name, a 64-bit processor does not need to be manufactured by AMD in order to be supported. Thelists the amd64 processors known to work.
Supported Video Cards
Like most open source operating systems, PC-BSD® uses X.org drivers for graphics support. PC-BSD® will automatically detect the optimal video settings for supported video drivers. You can verify that your graphics hardware is supported by clicking the Hardware Compatibility icon within the installer.
Support for the major graphic vendors is as follows:
NVIDIA: if you want to use 3D acceleration, NVIDIA is currently the best supported as there is a native driver for PC-BSD®. If an NVIDIA video card is detected, an "nVidia settings" icon will be added to the Control Panel for managing NVIDIA settings.
Intel: 3D acceleration on most Intel graphics is supported. Due to the current KMS support, you will not be able to switch between the graphical console and a virtual console using Crtl+Alt+F#.
ATI/Radeon: 3D acceleration on most ATI and Radeon cards is supported.
Optimus: at this timehas not been ported to FreeBSD, meaning that there is no switching support between the two graphics adapters provided by Optimus. Optimus implementations vary, so PC-BSD® may or may not be able to successfully load a graphics driver on your hardware. If you get a blank screen after installation, check your BIOS to see if it has an option to disable one of the graphics adapters or to set “discrete” mode. If the BIOS does not provide a discrete mode, PC-BSD® will default to the 3D Intel driver and disable NVIDIA. This will change in the future when the NVIDIA driver supports Optimus.
PC-BSD® has built-in support for dozens of wireless networking cards. You can check if your card has. If it does, it should "just work". A list of supported Atheros devices and known limitations can be found on the .
PC-BSD® will automatically detect available wireless networks for supported wireless devices. You can verify that your device is supported by clicking the Hardware Compatibility icon within the installer. If it is an external wireless device, insert it before running the Hardware Compatibility utility.
Certain Broadcom devices, typically found in cheap laptops, are quite buggy and can have lockups when in DMA mode. If the device freezes, try switching to PIO mode in the BIOS. Alternately, add the line hw.bwn.usedma=0 to /boot/loader.conf and reboot to see if that makes a difference.
Checking Hardware Compatibility
If you wish to check your hardware before installing PC-BSD®, a good place to start is the Hardware Compatibility icon.. Another good resource is to start the installer and click the
While most hardware "just works" with PC-BSD®, it is possible that you will run across a piece of hardware that does not. It should be remembered that PC-BSD® is really FreeBSD, meaning that any hardware that works on FreeBSD will work on PC-BSD®. If you are experiencing problems with a device, start with a web search for the term "FreeBSD" plus the type and model of the hardware. This will let you know if there is a known issue with the device. If there are many search results, concentrate on the most recent ones as often hardware that used to be problematic has since been fixed or the missing driver will be available in an upcoming release of FreeBSD. If you experience problems with a device that should work but does not or you can not find any existing problem reports for your hardware, you can help improve hardware support for all PC-BSD® users by reporting the problem so that it can be addressed by the developers.