We previously announced the new hardware certification requirements for Qubes 4.x. Today, we’re announcing the minimum requirements for this release series. In light of these new minimum requirements, we’re also announcing extended support for Qubes OS 3.2.

(For background information, please see the Qubes Version Scheme and supported releases.)

Types of system requirements

There are three types of system requirements specified for Qubes OS:

  • Hardware certification requirements
  • Recommended system requirements
  • Minimum system requirements

Hardware certification requirements are the most stringent. With these requirements, we aim to set the highest reasonable standard of security and privacy available.

Recommended system requirements are typically less specific than hardware certification requirements. These highlight what we consider to be the most important to the Qubes user experience.

Minimum system requirements are the least stringent. These requirements specify the bare necessities that a device must meet in order to run Qubes at all.

You can always view both the minimum and recommended system requirements for all Qubes OS releases here.

Minimum requirements for Qubes OS 4.x

Here are the minimum requirements for Qubes OS 4.x:

  • 64-bit Intel or AMD processor (x86_64 aka x64 aka AMD64)
  • Intel VT-x with EPT or AMD-V with RVI
  • Intel VT-d or AMD-Vi
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 32 GB disk space

In past Qubes OS releases, Intel VT-x/AMD-V and Intel VT-d/AMD-Vi (aka AMD IOMMU) were recommended but not required. In the 4.x release series, both will be required. Moreover, Intel VT-x must support Extended Page Tables (EPT), and AMD-V must support Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI). EPT and RVI are Intel’s and AMD’s respective implementations of Second Level Address Translation (SLAT). For the rationale behind this requirement, please see the new hardware certification requirements for Qubes 4.x announcement.

In the interest of making it easier for users to find out whether their processors will be supported by Qubes 4.x and to make purchasing decisions, here is a list of Intel processors that meet the minimum requirements for Qubes 4.x. (This list should automatically be updated whenever Intel releases new processors.) Unfortunately, there is no comparable list of AMD processors. (A list of IOMMU-supporting hardware, including AMD processors, is available here, but note that IOMMU is only one of the requirements.) Users are advised to check the specifications of any AMD processors they wish to use with Qubes 4.x.

In addition, we recommend consulting the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) for real-world compatibility test results. The HCL is useful thanks to users who have contributed their results to it, so we kindly ask that you consider submitting an HCL report of your own.

Extended Support for Qubes OS 3.2

We realize that the new minimum requirements for Qubes OS 4.x may be difficult for some users to meet. In light of this, we will extend the support period for Qubes 3.2 (which is currently in the final stages of testing) to one full year after the release of Qubes 4.0 (instead of the usual six months).

In addition, the qubes-hcl-report tool, which is used for submitting an HCL report, will be updated in Qubes 3.2. It will report on all the processor features listed in the minimum requirements for Qubes 4.x, which will make it easier for users of Qubes 3.2 to evaluate whether their machines will be supported by the 4.x series. We hope that this, along with the flexibility provided by the extended 3.2 support period, will help to ease the transition to the 4.x series.