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Most software provide a minimum and/or recommended spec of hardware in order to the software. Within this list, we're usually informed of a clock speed for the CPU.

For example, Visual Studio has, as part of it's spec

1.6 GHz or faster processor

MS Office

1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster x86- or x64-bit processor with SSE2 instruction set

QuarkXpress

CPU with two cores

Adobe Photoshop

Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor (2 GHz or faster)

So, it means that if I run Visual Studio, which requires a 1.6Ghz processor with a 0.8Ghz processer (half the clock speed) then I'm likely to experience issues. However, the M-5Y10C is clocked at 0.8Ghz but according to CPU Benchmark's passmark, it scores 2590 where as something like Intel Atom 230 @ 1.60GHz scores only 230! Does this really mean that out of the 2 that only the Atom is 'guaranteed' to work?

Now, with Adobe Photoshop, it provides the model's makes so we can at least look them up and see the benchmark and get some idea of performance and make a decision based upon that.

I get the impression that the clock speed is fairly meaningless but, they still show the clock speed as a min spec meaning there must be something valid about it.

When companies show X ghz, or even CPU with two cores (so no Ghz are displayed), how can we be sure the CPU we choose will suffice?

  • Either your overthinking it or they are underthinking it. Most people look at the minimum specs and make an assumption , and just know if thier smaller or mobile device will survive, or be having a terrible time running it or not. no other information is needed. Indeed the actual processing (and any GPU) capabilities are more important than the clock numbers, but most people realise this. – Psycogeek Apr 29 '15 at 7:59
  • @Psycogeek, I agreed to a point but I think your comment is saying "you (anyone) don't know if the hardware will suffice based upon the clockspeed alone". I also think you comment "most people realise this" may not be correct. People like yourselves yes, but us normal folk (he he) often don't! I didn't and I've been a programmer for the last 10 years so feel I am fairly IT literate – MyDaftQuestions Apr 29 '15 at 8:02
  • I just do not desire to see a 20 page list or a 3 page analisis when minimum requirements are listed. They are loose, fast , guesstimates of about what you need to use the program, and a good excuse for all the times someone says it runs poorly. Anything else we would hope that persons buying a weak (efficient) computer had read at least the first review or user info about what they were buying. – Psycogeek Apr 29 '15 at 8:09
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The speed is just a guideline, they tested the product and it ran WELL ENOUGH on a cpu running at that speed, possibly a virtual machine with said specs. And supposedly it didn't run acceptably on slower cpu speeds. It is possible that the clock speed is required to avoid crashes, but you won't find that out until you either contact them or try it yourself. They can't test the software on everything so they have to do generalized testing for their software and thus come up with generalized reqs, though some things they can monitor to let you know how much you need, like hdd space and ram reqs. Either way, it's up to the consumer to decide if they want to purchase the software. Hope this helps.

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The one that you see, is the name of the cpu (or type) that the program is TESTED with. (They dont have that time and effort to test with all available cpus!)
Unfortunately naming cpus is not that accurate. As you said, Intel Core-I series are greatly more powerful than the Atom ones Although you see that the Atoms had a greater cpu frequency but it is weak.
I think the more benchmark the more it gets powerful .

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Normally, this doesn't mean a whole lot. As previously stated, these benchmarks are generally the minimum recommended requirement for what the manufacturers consider to be "acceptable performance" when testing and benchmarking their applications. This has inherant problems in that acceptable performance is a subjective term and can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Some applications are designed to work with multiple cores at a time and will die if ran on a machine with fewer than required cores. I used to occasionally have to reboot a server for a client who had an application which suffered this problem - but can't for the life of me remember what it was called now!

Some application installers will detect whether a machine meets the minimum spec and will refuse to install if these requirements are not met.

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