OpenBSD/i386 runs on the standard PC's and clones, with a wide variety of processors, I/O bus architectures and peripherals supported.

Table of contents


The OpenBSD/i386 port has been present since the inception of the project. Over the years, more and more hardware support has been written specifically for OpenBSD (such as the cryptographic accelerator drivers), or adapted from FreeBSD and NetBSD.

Current status:

It can be expected to install and run with minimal difficulty on most current hardware. Machines using custom BIOS (such as older proprietary PC's, laptops, and some specialized server machines) may cause problems.

X Window System support is available for most graphics cards, using the X.Org server. As with other free operating systems it is highly recommended that Nvidia cards are avoided since this vendor continues to show tremendous resistance towards releasing information that would allow X.Org to support their hardware properly.

Supported hardware:

The list of supported hardware is relevant to OpenBSD-current. It will differ slightly from the support provided in the latest release version.


All CPU chips compatible with the Intel 80386 (i386) architecture, except for the 80386 itself, are supported:

Regular floating-point coprocessors (80487SX) are required when not built into the processor.

Everything that is a clone of the 486 or up should work fine.

SMP support

Starting with OpenBSD 3.6, OpenBSD/i386 supports most SMP (Symmetrical MultiProcessor) systems. To support SMP operation, a separate SMP kernel (bsd.mp) is included with the installation file sets.

As this is a new feature, developers will want to see what hardware does and doesn't work when running SMP, so it is even more important to send a dmesg after install.


The MCA bus found in various official IBM PCs is not supported.

Bus interfaces

Entropy sources

Disk Controllers

PCI IDE and Serial ATA Controllers (pciide)

Some of these chips are sometimes used in low-cost software-based RAID systems. This mode of operation is not supported in OpenBSD.

SCSI Host Adapters

RAID and Cache Controllers

CD-ROM and DVD-ROM Drives

Sony and Panasonic proprietary CD-ROM interfaces are not supported.

Tape Drives

Display Adapters

Note that not all of the display adapters OpenBSD/i386 supports can be used under the X Window System.

Serial Ports

Parallel Ports

Communications Controllers

Ethernet Adapters

Please be aware that many NE2000 adapters fail or perform very poorly. We do not recommend using them, but your mileage may vary.

Wireless Ethernet Adapters

Gigabit Ethernet Adapters

10Gb Ethernet Adapters

ATM Adapters

FDDI Adapters

WAN Adapters

Cryptography Accelerators

PC Cards (PCMCIA/CardBus (B))

Universal Serial Bus (USB) Devices (A) (B) (C)

Pointing Devices (G)

Sound Devices (G)

The following drivers are not extensively tested:

Radio Receiver Devices (radio)

Miscellaneous Devices


If a device does not work, be sure to mail the output of dmesg(8) to dmesg@openbsd.org, and we will try to add support.

(G) Drivers for hardware marked with (G) are only included in the GENERIC kernels, but are not included on the various distribution floppies (including the cd-rom boot image).

(A) Drivers for hardware marked with (A) are not included in floppy A.

(B) Drivers for hardware marked with (B) are not included in floppy B.

(C) Drivers for hardware marked with (C) are not included in floppy C.

(*) Support for devices marked with (*) is not included on the distribution media or in the GENERIC kernel, and will require you to compile a custom kernel to enable it.

Unsupported Hardware:

Unsupported hardware may be supported in the future, and your donation of time, hardware, or documentation can accelerate this support!

Installation with other operating systems:

OpenBSD/i386 can be installed to share the system disks with other operating systems, such as MS-DOS, Windows or Linux, using the MBR/partition table scheme, and an optional boot selector program. Everyday operation is trouble free, but setup requires care, and several operating systems, such as Windows 95, are known to be careless about pre-existing MBR information.

Also, some laptop computers use a specific partition as suspend-to-disk storage, which should not be clobbered.

More details on this process can be found in the Installation Guide and Disk Setup Manual.

Getting and installing OpenBSD/i386:

The latest supported OpenBSD/i386 release is OpenBSD 4.8. Here are the OpenBSD/i386 4.8 installation instructions .

Snapshots are made available from time to time, in this location as well as in a few mirrors. Here are the OpenBSD/i386 snapshot installation instructions as well.

There are several installation media provided:

Supported platforms
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