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Anyone have a good minimum Passmark score for basic system?

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  • Anyone have a good minimum Passmark score for basic system?

    I work on computers for a living. Unfortunately I come across some real dogs that people bought at a store where you can also buy diapers and toilet paper. They are cheap and what you would expect for something with minimum specs. These end users are often the most demanding and I recently ran across a woman running her small business off a low-end AMD based system. She had no antivirus installed and the computer was a disaster. So, I clean up the computer and had Kaspersky Internet Security installed. The problem now is that the computer doesn't have enough power to run basic tasks such as e-mail, web, and Microsoft Office with the antivirus running in the background. She is upset with me as I charged her for the service and feels that she didn't gain anything.

    Basically, I am now going to have the end user sign a form acknowledging some limitation that will impact performance and is outside my control. I am going to include slow internet speeds as well as CPU speeds and RAM. I still feel that 4GB of RAM is more than adequate for a lower end system to operate decently. I haven't settled on a Passmark score for the CPU yet but feel that somewhere in the 1300-2000 range should be the lowest score of any CPU on the market. The computer that prompted me to do this was well below 1000 on the score. So,, I am going to have a form that I will require people to sign if the internet speed is below 3MBPS, they have less than 4GB of RAM, and/or their CPU falls below a certain number on the Passmark scores. I don't benchmark the computers. I just lookup the CPU score on Passmark online once I see what CPU they are running.

    I know certain things can influence the performance of a computer. A slower older CPU will do better with an SSD and a nice modern CPU will fall on its face when mated to a slow 5400RPM mechanical hard drive. I have worked on some Core 2 Duo systems with a Passmark score of around 2000 and a SSD. They hold up quite nicely in terms of user experience and "snap" of applications opening/closing, etc. I also find that Windows 10 and even 8/8.1 run much better than Windows 7 on similar hardware due to more efficient resource usage.

    I basically want to have a score that can do most things that most users today will be able to do without many issues. I figure on this system having onboard graphics and not a discrete card. This is a basic system, not an enthusiast or gamer rig. Running a decent antivirus in the background without maxing out the CPU is a must! I have also run into a few modern but cheap systems that cannot play videos recorded using current cameras and cell phones. Most of these are encoding in x.265 which takes more CPU power to decode. I was able to decode a 1080P x.265 video without trouble on a Core 2 Duo that scored 1110 on the Passmark score. It was pretty much maxed out but was able to play the video.

    So, I want to hear opinions on what a person should consider as a minimal Passmark score for a decent user experience. We all know how people buy whatever is cheap and then complain when there is nothing they can do about it so they blame you. I will make people acknowledge their system CPU's Passmark score alongside what I consider to be minimal before doing any work on their systems if they are low-end junk. I feel that this number will be in the 1300-2000 range. Anyone have other opinions or a more narrowed range and why?



  • #2
    I don't think there is any fixed number that is the cut off. It depend on the usage of the PC and how demanding the user is. A lot of people get by with really slow mobile phones.

    For a new PC there should never be any need to accept a CPU with a CPUMark less than 2500 (as at March 2017). There shouldn't be any significant cost savings below this level.

    As you point out, you can have a pretty awful CPU and still have it be OK for E-Mail if everything else is good (enough RAM, fast internet, fast hard drive & clean Windows install).

    In cases where the PC is already just very marginal, then you might be better off not installing any 3rd party Anti-virus. They can stick with the in-built Win10 anti-virus. Of course they'll stuff it up again in 6 months, but that's not your problem.


    • #3
      I agree. This is just to protect me from those who think they are owed everything and that the cheapest computer on the market is a "good computer". On the other hand, those dual core AMDs scoring like a 600-700 on the Passmark index are miserable to do anything with.

      The score of 2500 sounds like a good minimum one for a new computer. I always tell people to get a Core i3 or better. The slowest available 6th gen Core i3 far surpasses 2500. Where is an article explaining this determination? Is there one? As for an older or existing computer, what do you think is the cutoff for providing service? It is basically like wasting time and money to repair some of the things that people buy. It is pretty sad that you can still buy such low end bargain basement systems. They are terrible but people buy them simply because they are cheap.

      I have become much more biased to suggesting Intels in recent years. I know AMD has some huge fans but I think Intel CPUs have been a better processor overall. Yes, they do cost more. The other thing is that I don't think you can find a new Intel much below the 2500 score unless you really look. It is really easy to find pathetic AMDs out there. These are always the worst customers and I don't think that it is ever a good idea to try to corner the market on the low-end. I have been focusing on businesses and higher end residential customers with my business. I respect Intel more as they seem more focused on at least middle of the road CPUs.



      • #4
        "I think Intel CPUs have been a better processor overall." "...have been" being the key point, up to now. Well, your post is more or less pre-Ryzen CPU performance chart listing so, I won't take your AMD bashing too hard... There are quite a few refurbished systems hitting the market with Windows 10 installed on them these days - Even Walmart is selling these old (mostly) Core Duo based systems, with their old 160 to 250 GB 5400RPM hard drives. So, there is a "new" glut of under-performing Intel CPU based systems hitting the "bargain" consumer market in 2017: Not at all just older AMD CPU based systems causing complaints. For most end users who buy a "bargain" refurbished system, an AMD Athlon dual core, or an Intel Duo will perform well enough, if all they are going to do is surf the web and check their friends posts on facebook, or whatever. Slow is just slow, (tell them it comes with the price tag.) There are many inexpensive, (used), CPUs for both of the major brands that can be suggested or used, if a faster CPU is really going to be needed to help improve overall performance. The MB's chipset and BIOS are going to be the problematic factors in considering whether or not to upgrade though and, that takes time to research, (adding to the client's expense.)

        Really, considering the factors involved, there is no economical solution for your clients performance problems, short of suggesting that they stop adding software to their PC, unless they want to pay for an upgrade or two.

        (Note: When I first read your subject title, I wanted to come and explain how impossible it is to use an overall PassMark PC performance score to determine a "good minimum." I have a very capable AMD FX 6100 (95w TDP) based desktop system I just migrated away from using daily, because of my desire to have a much better than "average" performance system. That system had a PassMark system score of over 2300, until I pulled the ColorPower HD 6850 graphics card out of it, (leaving the system graphics to the on-board GPU.) The system now gets an overall performance score of just around 880. The Radeon HD 6850 was never "top of the line." It was a "budget friendly" upper mid-range gaming card when it was introduced - about three years ago. A new graphics card would likely only help a little though, in boosting that system's overall performance as, it is based on an ASRock GX 890 Pro3 MB, which has a PCIe 2.0 controller with it's Nvida chipset. My present system is built on a Gigabyte X99-SLI Ultra Durable Series MB with an Intel X99 chipset, and a Xeon E5-2650L v3 (ES) CPU, for efficient power and performance, without the need for exotic cooling systems. A high powered 2650L would be pretty pricey too, if I were not able to pick up an Engineering Sample (ES) of one on eBay for under $200. No, it doesn't get the performance score of the OEM production model but, it is getting low 11,000s; (11,282 being it's current best with the current configuration.) Not too shabby for a 75 watt TDP Intel CPU with a sub $200 price tag.)
        Last edited by DavidLee; Apr-14-2017, 09:34 PM.