An imaging system model, based upon linear systems theory, has been developed for a microcomputer with less than 32K of free random access memory (RAM). The model includes diffraction effects of the optics, aberrations in the optics, and atmospheric propagation transfer functions. Variables include pupil geometry, magnitude and character of the aberrations, and strength of atmospheric turbulence ("seeing"). Both coherent and incoherent image formation can be evaluated. The techniques employed for crowding the model into a very small computer will be discussed in detail. Simplifying assumptions for the diffraction and aberration phenomena will be shown along with practical considerations in modeling the optical system. Particular emphasis is placed on avoiding inaccuracies in modeling the pupil and the associated optical transfer function knowing limits on spatial frequency content and resolution. Memory and runtime constraints are analyzed stressing the efficient use of assembly language Fourier transform routines, disk input/output, and graphic displays. The compromises between computer time, limited RAM, and scientific accuracy will be given with techniques for balancing these parameters for individual needs.