MS reveals Office 2010 system requirements

Software Overlord of the Universe, Microsoft has decreed that anyone using Office 2007 should be able to use the latest incarnation of its all-encompassing suite of secretary-friendly business software, but warns that anyone upgrading from Office 2003 might be looking at a trip to their local PC superstore.

Alex Dubec - who is Program Manager for the Office team - says in an MS blog that, in most cases, the CPU and RAM requirements of the upcoming release are the same as for Office 2007. He also points out that adding a GPU to the mix will move some features along at a better pace.

The basic mantra goes, if you can run 2007 you can run 2010. If you're buying a new laptop or netbook it can run 2010. If you've got a multi-core processor you can run 2010 much faster. And if you're running 2003, it's possible you might just be able to run 2010 with all the bells and whistles switched off, but it's really time you thought about upgrading.

Minimum specs are based on "the average Office user" being able to open and edit a 20-page Word document, create simple pie charts or put together a few slides for a presentation. Dubec also says that anyone who has the minimum spec - that's a 500MHz processor and 256MB or ram - should be able to comfortably run two applications simultaneously.

To put things in perspective, that's probably about the average specs for a consumer machine shipped in 1999 or 2000. Anyone who still has a machine of that age, with all of its original internal gubbins unadulterated, should be very proud.

Microsoft reckons today's average desktop has a 2.1GHz dual core CPU and 2GB of RAM, and the average notebook has a 1.6GHz CPU and 1GB or RAM.

The usual Microsoft bloatware adds up to an additional 1.5GB of hard disk space eaten by a full install of the suite over 2007.

Operating system support is pretty simple. If you haven't got at least XP with Service Pack 3 installed, you can forget it.

For the first time ever Office offers GPU support, which will speed graphics rendering of charts and transitions, but isn't essential for basic functionality. Having said that, even most integrated GPUs have at least 256MB of memory which is more than enough, according to Dubec.