Trying to find the Linux distribution with the highest system requirements? What is the most demanding of all the Linux OS according to the published minimum specifications of each distro? Based on default graphical installation.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Rui F Ribeiro, Jakuje, Jeff Schaller, garethTheRed, don_crissti Mar 2 '16 at 16:20

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  • Your question is a bit vague. What is highest system requirements? Example: RHEL 7 is available only for 64 bit systems whereas SLES 12 is available for 32 bit and 64 bit systems. Which one has the highest system requirements? In addition, some distros are dropping support for little used architecture (e.g. 486), but on those architecture it was anyway not possible to run Gnome Shell, whereas the same distro support Gnome Shell for high end systems. I guess you need to reformulate your question. – Huygens Mar 2 '16 at 15:32

I would shoot for a KDE based distro like OpenSUSE or Kubuntu. KDE is probably the heaviest desktop environment.

Requirements for SUSE:

  • Pentium* 4 1.6 GHz or higher processor (Pentium 4 2.4 GHz or higher or any AMD64 or Intel64 processor recommended)
  • Main memory: 1 GB physical RAM (2 GB recommended)
  • Hard disk: 3 GB available disk space for a minimal install, 5 GB available for a graphical desktop (more recommended)
  • Sound and graphics cards: supports most modern sound and graphics cards, 800 x 600 display resolution (1024 x 768 or higher recommended)
  • Booting from DVD drive or USB-Stick for installation, or support for booting over network (you need to setup PXE by yourself, look also at PXE boot installation) or an existing installation of openSUSE, more information at Installation without CD

Oh no wait, I got it.

Qubes OS is most likely the most resource hungry distribution. https://www.qubes-os.org/doc/system-requirements/

Minimum Requirements:

  • 64-bit Intel or AMD processor (x86_64 aka x64 aka AMD64)
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 32 GB disk space
  • legacy boot mode (UEFI not supported yet)

But that distro is pretty specialized (it's based on a security through compartmentalization approach, and it prioritizes security over convenience, so it's VMs don't even support hardware accelerations; and yes it runs all programs inside VMs which is why it is pretty damn hungry)

However, seems like the OP was looking for the distro that is most bleeding edge, so I'd like to include that Sabayon is probably what he is looking for. It ships with the latest KDE packages, and the latest packages of everything else in general, it is gentoo based and doesn't seem to mind stressing the hardware a little. It is also one of the few distros that seems to make gaming a priority and ships with proprietary drivers (or at least I think they do; they at least don't make them hard to install like some distros >_> (I'm looking at you, mint!))


Very interesting question. Usually everyone's goal is to make his distribution as lighter as it can be. Also i think there is no big difference between the different distributions base installation, as most of them use more or less the same things (graphical interface, linux core, file system etc.). So to give you some sort of answer I will give you some numbers according to the most used distro websites:


  • Recommended system requirements are 1GHz processor, 512MB memory, 5GB hard-drive.


  • Recommended system requirements are 800MB memory, 1GHz processor, and 5GB hard-drive.

Linux Mint

  • Recommended system requirements are 1GHz processor, 1GB memory, and 10GB hard-drive


  • Recommended system requirements are 1GB memory and 10GB hard-drive

As you can see all of listed above require more or less the same resources. You can find pretty good article(and more complete list) here: Click

  • Thanks Svetlin, a good list. Although I would have assumed there is a "bleeding edge/always running latest" tech distro out there. It is the most demanding based on the default graphical installation of the distro I am looking for. – flint781 Mar 2 '16 at 15:15
  • 1
    The answer is highly subjective; the distros are pretty much the same thing, and the distinction between Debian and Ubuntu is suspect as they derive from the same code base. At the end of the day it boils down to what you install and use. I have servers using from 30MB of memory to other application servers using 16GB of memory. In the past I standardised in a 2GB OS base partition, nowadays I feel more comfortable with 5GB, with setups having at minimum 300MB of installed software. (...) – Rui F Ribeiro Mar 2 '16 at 15:19
  • Each distro have "bleeding edge/always running latest tech" version. For example on debian if you switch to unstable repository you will always get newest and latest releases, yet that does not means it consumes most resources. If you are looking for best looking graphics my personal choice is gnome-shell: gnome.org/gnome-3 – Svetlin Tonchev Mar 2 '16 at 15:20
  • @flint781 there are a few bleeding edge distros, but none that particularly stand out as what you are looking for (I'm actually hoping to make one though). These would include Arch and Gentoo, always pretty much bleeding edge. And Sabayon which is based on gentoo but doesn't require you to compile everything the same way gentoo does (so best of both arch and gentoo, and ships with an out of the box desktop environment unlike these other two) that might be what you are looking for. – Cestarian Mar 3 '16 at 8:25

Everyone had every different expectation of the Linux distributions. I believe you are looking at the memory usage and disk space. I had installed many different distributions Slackware, Gentoo, Ubuntu, RedHat, CentOS, Knoppix, and PuppyLinux.

Consider the scenario you compile the kernel yourself, and turn on all the kernel modules. Then the system memory will grow very fast, as you have enabled many features. Due to the modules and the applications installed, the disk space requirement will grow as well.

A more layman answer would be the more features you enabled, more memory and more disk space will be required.

From personal experience, PuppyLinux had the lowest memory and disk space requirement. You just have to try whether it fits your needs.


kernel modules and puppy Linux

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