The hardware requirements to install FreeBSD vary by architecture. Hardware architectures and devices supported by a FreeBSD release are listed on the FreeBSD Release Information page. The FreeBSD download page also has recommendations for choosing the correct image for different architectures.
A FreeBSD installation requires a minimum of 96MB of RAM and 1.5GB of free hard drive space. However, such small amounts of memory and disk space are really only suitable for custom applications like embedded appliances. General-purpose desktop systems need more resources. 2-4GB RAM and at least 8GB hard drive space is a good starting point.
These are the processor requirements for each architecture:
This is the most common desktop and laptop processor type, used in most modern systems. Intel calls it Intel64. Other manufacturers sometimes call it x86-64.
Examples of amd64 compatible processsors include: AMDAthlon™64, AMDOpteron™, multi-core IntelXeon™, and IntelCore™2 and later processors.
Older desktops and laptops often use this 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 with this feature. A kernel with the PAE feature enabled will detect memory above 4GB and allow it to be used by the system. However, using PAE places constraints on device drivers and other features of FreeBSD. 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 2GB of RAM.
Systems supported by FreeBSD/sparc64 are listed at the FreeBSD/sparc64 Project.
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.