Debian does not impose hardware requirements beyond the requirements
of the Linux kernel and the GNU tool-sets. Therefore, any
architecture or platform to which the Linux kernel, libc,
gcc, etc. have been ported, and for which a Debian
port exists, can run Debian. Please refer to the Ports pages at
more details on Intel x86 architecture systems which have been
tested with Debian.
Rather than attempting to describe all the different hardware
configurations which are supported for Intel x86, this section
contains general information and pointers to where additional
information can be found.
2.1.1. Supported Architectures
Debian 3.1 supports eleven major architectures and several
variations of each architecture known as “flavors”.
|ARM and StrongARM
|MIPS (big endian)
||SGI Indy/Indigo 2
|Broadcom BCM91250A (SWARM)
|MIPS (little endian)
|Broadcom BCM91250A (SWARM)
||IPL from VM-reader and DASD
|IPL from tape
This document covers installation for the
Intel x86 architecture. If you are looking
for information on any of the other Debian-supported architectures
take a look at the
2.1.2. CPU, Main Boards, and Video Support
Complete information concerning supported peripherals can be found at
Linux Hardware Compatibility HOWTO.
This section merely outlines the basics.
Nearly all x86-based processors are supported; this includes AMD and
VIA (former Cyrix) processors as well. Also the new processors like
Athlon XP and Intel P4 Xeon are supported. However, Linux will
not run on 286 or earlier processors.
The system bus is the part of the motherboard which allows the CPU to
communicate with peripherals such as storage devices. Your computer
must use the ISA, EISA, PCI, the Microchannel Architecture (MCA, used
in IBM's PS/2 line), or VESA Local Bus (VLB, sometimes called the VL
You should be using a VGA-compatible display interface for the console
terminal. Nearly every modern display card is compatible with
VGA. Ancient standards such CGA, MDA, or HGA should also work,
assuming you do not require X11 support. Note that X11 is not used
during the installation process described in this document.
Debian's support for graphical interfaces is determined by the
underlying support found in XFree86's X11 system. Most AGP, PCI and
PCIe video cards work under XFree86. Details on supported graphics
buses, cards, monitors, and pointing devices can be found at
http://www.xfree86.org/. Debian 3.1 ships
with XFree86 version 4.3.0.
Laptops are also supported. Laptops are often specialized or contain
proprietary hardware. To see if your particular laptop works well
with GNU/Linux, see the
Linux Laptop pages
2.1.5. Multiple Processors
Multi-processor support — also called “symmetric
multi-processing” or SMP — is supported for this architecture,
and is supported by a precompiled Debian kernel image. Depending on your
install media, this SMP-capable kernel may or may not be installed by
default. This should not prevent installation, since the standard,
non-SMP kernel should boot on SMP systems; the kernel will simply use
the first CPU.
In order to take advantage of multiple processors, you should check to see
if a kernel package that supports SMP is installed, and if not, choose an
appropriate kernel package.
You can also build your own customized kernel to support SMP. You can find
a discussion of how to do this in Section 8.5, “Compiling a New Kernel”. At this
time (kernel version 2.6.8) the way you enable SMP is to select
“Symmetric multi-processing support” in the “Processor type and features”
section of the kernel config.