Re: [Rd] Minumum memory requirements to run R.

From: Hin-Tak Leung <>
Date: Mon 23 Jan 2006 - 15:18:29 GMT

Prof Brian Ripley wrote:
> That's a different question. I said RAM, you quote virtual. I am
> suprised at your figure though, as I am used to seeing 40-50Mb virtual
> at startup on an Opteron.

I am somewhat surprised by it as well. But there is nothing unusual about the build - it is just rebuilding the rpm on CRAN on a FC4 system with everything as shipped, and should be quite reproducible. I'll probably have a better look in time.

"R --vanilla" doesn't improve. Still 90+ MB virtual, 20+MB resident.

> The distinction is important: even those small Windows machines had 100s
> of Mb of virtual memory available, it was RAM that was in short supply.

Yes and no. Virtual means it will possibly be used - and it is a big gray scale between unresponsible/intolerably-slow and slow.

>> There are correponding increases with Python and Perl as well; I
>> suspect R suffers a bit on 64-bit
>> platform due to extensive use of pointers internally. The fundamental
>> unit in R, SEXP, is 6 pointers + 1 int, (and another
>> pointer for itself). So I would probably say 64MB is questionable on
>> 64-bit, but then probably nobody is stupid enough to do that...
> We know: we even document it in the appropriate places.

I went and have a look - it is the last section of R-admin (and of course, for those who "read the source", R/include/Rinternals.h). It would be good to mention this in the FAQ (which it doesn't, or maybe I didn't look hard enough), or the beginning of R-admin?

> Some of us were running 64-bit R last century on machines with 128Mb
> (and others with much more, of course). When I tried in 1997, Solaris
> would not run in 64-bit mode with 64Mb RAM (which then cost 1000 or so).
> mailing list Received on Tue Jan 24 02:22:03 2006

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