AMD Phenom™ II X4 965 vs AMD Phenom™ II X4 955 3.2GHz
is 965 worth the extra bucks?
How many extra bucks are we talking about? The 965 is just a higher clocked 955. The difference is that the 965 is guaranteed to run at 3.4Ghz whereas the 955 is only guaranteed to run at 3.2Ghz. You would have to overclock the 955 by 6% to match the 965. The only caveat is that overclocking is not guaranteed and could void the warranty on the CPU.
I was able to get a Phenom II x4 940 BE to 3.9GHz stable on Air. However it was getting hot and required a large voltage bump. I ended up throttling it back to 3.8 with a smaller voltage bump for long term use.
You may or may not have similar results, depending on chip quality, cooling and motherboard. But I can see a 955 getting close to this without much difficulty.
BEs were designed to be unlocked and overclocked. But you have to be careful and know what you are doing to really push them. Just bear in mind the caveat above.