I've been trying to find an answer to this but everytime I seem to be getting a different response than what I wanted. So I'll try to give a scenario than an answer to a solution.
Let's say I have a 2.6GHZ Dual Core CPU right now and there is a software I wanted to buy that has a minimum requirement of 3.2GHZ or equivalent CPU. (there is no such software at the moment, but let's say it's abit into the future)
1.) Will my Dual-Core CPU run this software? Why or Why not?
Now, let's say the software has a requirement of 5.3GHZ CPU.
1.) Will my CPU run it? Again why or why not?
2.) What if I have a quad-core CPU of the same speed or more cores. Will my CPU run this software? Why or why not?
Let's just assume that I passed the other requirements since their way of metrics have not yet changed.
That's basically the question. I'll leave the solutions to this to you since when I try to ask answers for a solution I thought of I always got an answer for a different problem. What I wanted was how to know if a certain software can be run on my PC if the CPU requirement is greater than my CPU speed for/on a single core.
I tried reading alot of articles about this and it seems like most authors are more concerned on multi-tasking (which is rightfully so). But I have yet to see/read industry naming standards change from citing raw single processor power to another metric that takes multi core CPUs into consideration. So the question.
the way i see the question, is that if the minimum requirement for the software is a 3.2GHz processor... the software should specify whether they mean single core, dual core, or multi core... if the software is 'only' single threaded in this instance, a single core cpu will have to be running at 3.2GHz (not taking processor efficiency into account, like, amd and intel cpu comparisons), and no amount of additional cores will help alleviate that
if the software is multithreaded, and they still say it takes a minimum of a 3.2GHz processor, and they dont specify what kind of processor it requires, you can make an assumption that the more cores you have, the more the requirement is cut down, 3.2GHz single core = 1.6GHz dual core = 800MHz quad core etc... or the opposite extreme, a 3.2GHz quad core = 6.4GHz dual core = 12.8GHz single core... so, without really knowing what kind of processor it requires, the developer kinda leaves their customers in the dark
but, in the end i think the software developer should specify what kind of processor it would require to run at 3.2GHz... ie a 3.2GHz pentium 4 single core, is not equal to a 3.2GHz AMD64 single core, is not equal to a 3.2GHz multi core... and theres a problem right off the bat... so, you would need to know what kind of cpu they are referring to (and then be able to compare benchmarks and such to know what an equilavent cpu of a different architecture would quality as sufficient to run that software), because of architecture differences between cpus... so 3.2GHz would only be relative between the individual cpus then
but, simply, addressing a different part of your question... if the requirement is too great, the software might simply not run
again, the software developer will probably specify if the software is capable of taking advantage of multiple cpu cores, if its actually able to, it might say something like 'supports hyperthreading' or 'supports dual core' etc... and then youll know for certain if the software in question is single threaded, or multi threaded (which is an essential part of being able to take advantage of multiple cores)
Most likely minimum requirements will be changing over the next few years from Ghz to cores and Ghz. Most of today's non-server software is single threaded, so it can only take advantage of one core. Having a dual core system with this software will increase performance a small amount, since OS and background functions can run on the other core, giving a small ~5-10% performance increase. So your 2.6Ghz dual core will not perform much better than a single core for these apps.
Some computing tasks lend themselves to multithreading and those will be/are the first multithreaded software available. Often they are marketed as xx performance per processor, ie 100 concurrent users per processor, or 1000 transactions/sec per processor.
Some applications don't really lend themselves to multithreaded design, but with multicore processors becoming standard these may be written in a multithreaded fashion to offload utility tasks from the primary processing thread. Like the single threaded app on a dual core processor, the main processing task will still be Ghz limited, but getting those utility functions into a separate thread will give some increase in performance.
When you buy software that has a performance advantage on multicore systems in a few years, they will probably say something like 'optimal performance on dual core systems', or 'Recommended HW: 73 cores running at 43.87Ghz, or 11 cores running at 330Ghz or faster.'
So we can say unless the industry started changing requirements to adopt to current cpu trend, the best way we can gauge a specific requirement is to know if the software requirement is raw cpu power or other processes can be possibly extended to other cores to lower the requirement.
I really hope standard requirement naming actually change to make my life easier.
Thanks for the fast replies guys. They helped alot.
1- NEVER multiply the frequency of a dual core do get an approximate performance.
2- NEVER compare two different architectures on GHz ratings; the E6300 @ 1.83GHz kills all the PentiumDs, be they 2.6, 2.8, 3.2GHz etc.
TBH, you wont have anything to worry about, unless they say specifically that it requires a 3.2GHz Dual Core... then even having a 6.4GHz single core probably wont matter, as the software will probably require having multiple cores to perform certain functions that a single core would simply be incapable of doing well (future games for example might require at least a dual core cpu, and it will probably say that on the box, or in the manual)... so unless it specifically states that it actually requires a dual core or better, you wont have to worry about it... the typical naming convention is with pentiums in mind anyhow