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Larger GitHub Actions runners

When your workflows demand more power and you find the standard GitHub Actions runners lacking, it might be time to consider using larger runners.

Availability and configuration

GitHub larger runners are not a default feature in all plans. They are specifically available under the GitHub Team and Enterprise plan. To utilize these larger runners, you need to configure them in the GitHub UI for your organization, under Settings > Actions > Runners.

You give them a name, platform, image, size, maximum concurrency and assign them to a specific runner group.

Once you create the new runner configuration, you can then use the name in your runs-on: definition.


Official larger runners are pretty expensive, with the price per minute doubling every time you double the core count. For instance a 16 core Linux runner will cost you $0.064/min vs $0.008/min for the standard 2 core Linux runner.

Hardware considerations

It’s important to note that while these larger runners provide more memory and potentially more storage, they operate on the same CPU types as the standard runners. This means that while you’ll get more cores, the single-thread speed of the CPU will remain identical to the standard runners (and it’s not great).

A better alternative with RunsOn

If you’re looking for not just more cores but also significantly better performance, consider RunsOn. By using EC2 instances as self-hosted runners, you can get much larger runners for much cheaper, with superior CPU performance. This means faster builds, all while reducing your CI spend.

RunsOn is fully compatible with your existing workflows, making it an easy switch for teams looking for more power without the hassle of maintaining their own home-grown solution.