Hardware Requirements/9.2

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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®:

  • Pentium II or higher
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 10GB of free hard drive space on a primary partition
  • Network card

Recommended System Requirements

The following are the minimum recommended requirements. The more RAM and available disk space, the better your computing experience:

  • Pentium 4 or higher
  • 1024 MB of RAM
  • 20GB of free hard drive space (if you will be installing KDE, GNOME, or lots of software)
  • Network card
  • Sound card
  • NVIDIA 3D accelerated video card

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.

Supported Processors

PC-BSD® should install on any system containing a 32-bit (also called i386) or 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. The FreeBSD Hardware Notes[1] list the i386 and amd64 processors known to work. THIS URL DOES NOT WORK YET

Supported Video Cards

Like most open source operating systems, PC-BSD® uses X.org drivers for graphics support. X.org supports many video cards; you can check if your video card is supported at the X.org Drivers[2] page.

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®. An "nVidia settings" icon is included in Control Panel for managing NVIDIA settings.

Intel: as of 9.1, 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 will not work on ATI or Radeon cards until FreeBSD completes its TTM work (possibly for 9.2). You can still use these cards, but you will have to choose the 2D driver, and if that does not work, you will need to resort to using the Vesa driver. Some older ATI cards on 32-bit systems do not support KMS. If Display Manager can not configure one of these cards, try installing the legacy driver in

Wireless Cards

PC-BSD® has built-in support for dozens of wireless networking cards. You can check if your card has a FreeBSD driver[3]. If it does, it should "just work".

Currently there are some missing wireless drivers, typically in the Broadcom and newer Realtek series. More information is available on the Wireless Testing page.

Checking Hardware Compatibility

If you wish to check your hardware before installing PC-BSD®, a good place to start is the FreeBSD 9.1 Hardware Notes[4]. URL DOES NOT WORK YET

Another good resource is to run PC-BSD® in Live Mode; that way you can test your various devices before committing to an install.

While most hardware "just works" with PC-BSD®, it is possible that you will run across a piece of hardware that does not. If you do, you can help improve hardware support for all PC-BSD® users by reporting the problem so that it can be addressed by the developers. It should be remembered that PC-BSD® is really FreeBSD, meaning that any hardware that works on FreeBSD will work on PC-BSD®.


  1. http://www.freebsd.org/releases/9.1R/hardware.html#PROC
  2. http://www.x.org/wiki/Projects/Drivers
  3. http://www.freebsd.org/releases/9.0R/hardware.html#WLAN
  4. http://www.freebsd.org/releases/9.0R/hardware.html
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