Computer specifications for 16S/metagenomics analysis

Hi all,

I am new to the field of microbiome analysis and I need to set up my workstation for 16S and metagenomics analysis of human samples. I was wondering whether a powerful desktop computer (24 cores, 256 GB RAM) would be able to conduct such analysis or whether the only option is a cluster (we do not have one in my institute). What would be the realistic technical requirements for such analyses?

Thank you in advance!

Some steps will be faster on more cores, but the greater limitation is RAM.

I do most of my analysis on

  • An old Windows 10 PC with 16 GB of RAM
  • M1 MacBook Air with 16 GB of RAM
  • A Digital Ocean droplet with 16 GB of RAM

Amplicon analysis usually does not need as much memory as metagenomics.

256 GB will probably be plenty. :white_check_mark:

When I need a computer with more RAM, I rent one by the hour :money_with_wings:


Thank you very much for your prompt reply and the provided link! With regard to metagenomics, do you run read-based or assembly-based on the computers that you shared?

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Mostly read based, as that's a good fit for targeted amplicon sequencing.

More memory, sometimes lots more memory, is helpful for untargeted genomics and transcriptomics.

Your colleagues a other institutions may be able to give you access to a super computer with more memory on the occasions when you need it. While renting cloud-compute is convenient, there are other options too!