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I'm thinking about installing Ubuntu Desktop, but I don't know what flavor is the better for my system. What are the minimum and recommended hardware requirements? What kind of CPU? How much memory? Should I have Hardware Acceleration? What flavor should I use?

This is an attempt of a canonical answer. My answers have the "official requirements", the recommended are a mix of official sources and opinion based (along with the answer it's told the source). You can comment or edit if you feel that the information is obsolete or incomplete.

Is a good rule of thumb that any system capable to run Windows Vista, 7, 8 x86 OS X will almost always be a lot faster with any Ubuntu flavor even if they are lower-spec than described below.

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I actually like that you have attempted to provide information only for latest LTS and latest non-LTS with both minimum requirements and recommeded requirements. Along with 1-answer-per-derivative approach. Everything seems to be just right about this question. –  Aditya Oct 29 '13 at 17:04
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6 Answers 6

Ubuntu Desktop

The following covers Ubuntu and Edubuntu:

Minimum

  • Trusty Tahr (14.04 64-bit)
    • 384 MB of RAM
    • 700 MHz processor (about Intel Celeron or better)
    • 5 GB of hard-drive space
    • VGA capable of 1024x768 screen resolution
    • Either a CD/DVD drive or a USB port for the installer media

Recommended

  • Trusty Tahr (14.04 64-bit)
    • 1 GB of RAM
    • Dual Core processor
    • 10 GB of hard-drive space or SSD (the more hard disk capacity, the better)
    • Any graphics card with OpenGL 1.4 support (All GPUs released today by either NVidia, AMD or Intel; GPUs released by NVidia and AMD over the last 5 years; GPUs released by Intel after the GMA 950)
    • Either a CD/DVD drive or a USB port for the installer media
    • Internet access is helpful

(Requirements for Trusty hasn't been updated in official Release Notes, so, it's safe to presume that all the Desktop versions of Ubuntu still have the same requirements as Precise/Saucy)

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It is my personal experience that 1Gb RAM is too small for a smooth experience with Ubuntu. Therefore, I recommend using Lubuntu for under 2Gb, and Ubuntu for 2Gb or more. If you have under 512Mb RAM, consider even smaller distros such as Bodhi, which is Ubuntu-based, but not an official Canonical distribution. –  Paddy Landau Aug 21 '13 at 13:20
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Lubuntu and Xubuntu

The lightweight flavors of Ubuntu using LXDE or XFCE. The follows are minimum requirements for Xubuntu:

  • 512 MiB of system memory (RAM)
  • 5 GB of disk space
  • Graphics card and monitor capable of 800x600 resolution
  • 700 MHz Processor

Is reported that Lubuntu can run with even less:

  • Pentium II
  • 128 MiB RAM
  • PAE supported CPU

For non-PAE see this page

(This settings are for system fully installed and running, not counting before the installation nor text-based versions)

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Are you sure that this is correct? I'd guess that Xubuntu requires less resources than ubuntu? Maybe these are recommended values? –  jb. Aug 17 '13 at 18:39
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That's what is said in the official wiki page that I linked, it also reports that 512 MB and 500MHz processor is too slow for xubuntu. –  Braiam Aug 17 '13 at 18:43
    
the xubuntu home page says 64mb. I run xububtu on my netbook with 512 mb ram and there are no speed issues at all –  exussum Aug 18 '13 at 8:13
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@user1281385 that's the alternative cd memory requirement, before installation. The page also says: Once installed, it is strongly recommended to have at least 512 MB of memory. –  Braiam Aug 18 '13 at 11:24
    
I'm running Xubuntu on a PC with 512 MB. There are a few programs that use a lot of RAM and can sometimes lead to swap space being used. Firefox and Evince are examples. Instead of evince you can use xpdf, but I don't know a good alternative to firefox, I'm afraid... –  soulsource Sep 16 '13 at 15:10
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Kubuntu

System requirements by Kubuntu, the Ubuntu derivative using KDE.

Minimum

  • 512 MB of RAM
  • 1 GHz (x86) processor
  • 4 GB of hard-drive space
  • VGA capable of 640x480 screen resolution

Recommended

  • 1 GB of RAM
  • Better than 1 GHz (x86) or Dual Core processor
  • 10 GB of hard-drive space or SSD (the more hard disk capacity, the better)
  • VGA capable of 1024x768 screen resolution. If desktop effects are desired, a supported GPU is required
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Mythbuntu

Designed for creating a home theatre PC with MythTV. Advanced information in the Hardware Requirements Page. A list of tested hardware by the community.

Minimum

  • 1.0 GHz x86 or x86_64 Processor
  • 512 MB of system memory (RAM)
  • 2 GB of disk space (Frontend Role)
  • 10GB + 1.5GB/hour for storage of SD material (Backend Role)
  • Graphics card capable of 1024x768 resolution (if using VDPAU, 256MB minimum)
  • Supported TV Tuner Card (Backend Role)

Recommended

  • 2.0 Ghz x86 or x86_64 Processor (2+ cores)
  • 2GB MB of system memory (RAM)
  • 10 GB disk space (Frontend Role)
  • 10GB + 5GB/hour for storage of HD material (Backend Role)
  • nVidia GT 4xx+ 512MB+ Graphics Card
  • Supported TV Tuner Card (Backend Role)
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UbuntuKilyn

Ubuntu variant for Chinese users.

Minimum

  • 1 GHz processor (for example Intel Celeron or better)
  • 1 GiB RAM (system memory)
  • 8 GB of free hard drive space for installation
  • Either a CD/DVD drive or a USB port for the installer media
  • Internet access is helpful (for installing updates during the installation process).
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Ubuntu GNOME remix

These share most of system requirements with Ubuntu normal releases:

  • Trusty Tahr (14.04)
    • 1.5 GiB of RAM
    • 1 GHz processor
    • 7 GB of free hard drive space for installation (the more hard disk capacity, the better)
    • Either a CD/DVD drive or a USB port for the installer media
    • Internet access is helpful
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