I've decided to get the Phenom II x4 965 for my new build and just want to make sure that the Asus M5A87 will support it out of the box. I don't have an AM3+ CPU available to update the BIOS revision if it is not supported so I was hoping somebody could help me with this.
Trust me when I tell you that 965's have worked perfectly fine since even the M4A series motherboards I was selling over a year ago. There is no sure-fire way to tell the BIOS revision of a motherboard prior to using it... I often run into this sort of problem when new processors come out.
Sometimes, the BIOS version that came with the board is on a sticker inside the manual. Or else, check the production date of the board (you may have to decipher the code on the box, it is usually written in weeks into a year). For reference, the 0502 bios was released in June of 2011, so if your board is manufactured past that, you know it will come with newer BIOS versions than that. Also, the 331 BIOS is what ASUS lists as the first BIOS you can update to (Initial Release), which means the 0302 BIOS was either the initial shipping BIOS, or internal testing BIOS, and thus the 965 was supported the minute the board shipped more than 1 year ago. SO, you are SAFE.