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Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition: Vitals And Overclocking

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Review
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As we've already mentioned, the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition is an update to a familiar design. In fact, AMD readily admits that the silicon belongs to the same revision used to enable its Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition, running at 3.2 GHz. To that end, it centers on a 45nm manufacturing process, it features a 6MB L3 cache, boasts Cool'n'Quiet 3.0 technology, and better branch prediction than the first-generation Phenom family.

Like its predecessors, the Phenom II X4 965 sports 64KB of L1 data and instruction cache per core, plus 512KB L2 cache per core, to complement the shared L3. 

An integrated 128-bit DDR2/DDR3 memory controller (running at 2 GHz by default) interfaces with a pair of 64-bit channels. If you're using the X4 965 on an AM2+ motherboard, speeds of up to DDR2-1066 are officially available. If you're using it on an AM3 platform, you can install DDR3-1333, though it should be noted that only one module per channel works at that frequency. And whereas AMD shipped its Phenom II X4 940 with a 1,800 MHz HyperTransport link, the X4 965 accelerates that to 2 GHz--just like the X4 955 before it. 

The chip's nominal voltage range is .825V-1.425V, so we won't be surprised if power consumption falls within the previous flagship's ballpark. Because it runs at 3.4 GHz, however, AMD is rating the X4 965 at 140W instead of the 125W used in previous flagship Phenom IIs.

Socket AM3/AM2+ Processors
Model

Frequency

L3 Cache

Voltage

Model #’s

Socket

Phenom II X4 965 BE3.4 GHz
6 MB
.0825-1.425V
Tray: HDZ965FBK4DGI;
PIB: HDZ965FBGIBOX
AM3, AM2+, AM2
Phenom II X4 955 BE
3.2 GHz
6 MB
0.875-1.5V
Tray: HDZ955FBK4DGI;
PIB: HDZ955FBGIBOX
AM3, AM2+, AM2
Phenom II X4 945
3.0 GHz
6 MB
0.875-1.5V
Tray: HDX945FBK4DGI;
PIB: HDX945FBGIBOX
AM3, AM2+, AM2
Phenom II X4 910

2.6 GHz

6 MB

0.875-1.425V 

Tray: HDX910WFK4DGI

AM3, AM2+, AM2

Phenom II X4 810

2.6 GHz

4 MB

0.875-1.425V 

Tray: HDX810WFK4FGI; PIB: HDX810WFGIBOX

AM3, AM2+, AM2

Phenom II X4 805

2.5 GHz

4 MB

0.875-1.425V 

Tray: HDX805WFK4FGI

AM3, AM2+, AM2

Phenom II X3 720 BE

2.8 GHz

6 MB

0.850-1.425V 

Tray: HDZ720WFK3DGI; PIB: HDZ720WFGIBOX

AM3, AM2+, AM2

Phenom II X3 710

2.6 GHz

6 MB

0.875-1.425V 

Tray: HDX710WFK3DGI; PIB: HDX710WFGIBOX

AM3, AM2+, AM2

Phenom II X4 940 BE

3.0 GHz

6 MB

0.875-1.5V

Tray: HDZ940XCJ4DGI; PIB: HDZ940XCGIBOX

AM2+, AM2

Phenom II X4 920

2.8 GHz

6 MB

0.875-1.5V

Tray: HDX920XCJ4DGI; PIB: HDX920XCGIBOX

AM2+, AM2


Overclocking

In past Phenom II reviews, we’ve stuck to AMD’s processor-in-box solution for our overclocking efforts, very consistently falling short of the 4 GHz level so many enthusiasts aim for with flagship CPUs. Thermalright was kind enough to send over the Socket AM3-compatible bracket for its Ultra 120 Extreme, which we’ve started using in reviews.

Yes, we know Phenom II scales well with better cooling, doesn’t suffer from a “cold bug,” and will run in excess of 6 GHz. But high-end air cooling is really as aggressive as most enthusiasts are willing to go, with the exception of those running water. Even there, room temperature is as much as you can hope for.

Using 1.5V on Asus’ M4A79T Deluxe—already a fairly aggressive voltage setting—we were able to hit 4 GHz with the 3.4 GHz Phenom II X4 965. That setting was unstable, though, and we scaled back to 3.9 GHz. Unfortunately, crashes in a couple of our benchmarks forced us to drop back to 3.8 GHz, where we were able to complete the full suite of tests. The top result in each forthcoming chart reflects the performance improvement of adding 400 MHz to AMD’s new flagship.

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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    Nintendork , August 13, 2009 7:32 AM
    core2duo was released in 2006.

    The AMD owning saga started in 2000 with the Athlons. A bit more performance at same mhz but for less price. The only con was the lack of quality mobos.
  • 20 Hide
    AMDnoob , August 13, 2009 4:35 AM
    ugh... i want to love AMD but I'm not sure this cuts it. I mean, if you get an AMD Phenom II 955 and the 965, they're completely identical except for multiplier. And you can get both processors to 3.8Ghz most of the time. So really whats new???? The 965 has just got a faster stock frequency. But anybody who buys a 955 or 965 is prolly an enthusiast that will end up OCing them to ~3.8Ghz. So just go for the cheaper 955. The 965 sounds like AMD is trying to make something "new", but it's just another Phenom II 45nm chip w/ the same 6mb cache, etc. They need to release a new line for these up coming Intel chips.
  • 18 Hide
    Raidur , August 13, 2009 5:13 AM
    AMD has a looong way to go. :( 
Other Comments
  • 17 Hide
    XD_dued , August 13, 2009 4:26 AM
    Hmmm...i hope the rest of the OC better. I also hope that AMD won't have to price cut too much to compete with i5. Either way, AMD really needs something new and fast....Hopefully they'll do well with the dx11 cards.
  • 20 Hide
    AMDnoob , August 13, 2009 4:35 AM
    ugh... i want to love AMD but I'm not sure this cuts it. I mean, if you get an AMD Phenom II 955 and the 965, they're completely identical except for multiplier. And you can get both processors to 3.8Ghz most of the time. So really whats new???? The 965 has just got a faster stock frequency. But anybody who buys a 955 or 965 is prolly an enthusiast that will end up OCing them to ~3.8Ghz. So just go for the cheaper 955. The 965 sounds like AMD is trying to make something "new", but it's just another Phenom II 45nm chip w/ the same 6mb cache, etc. They need to release a new line for these up coming Intel chips.
  • 7 Hide
    hunter315 , August 13, 2009 4:35 AM
    Excellent timing, i was just wondering when i was going to see a performance review for the new 965. Though i would like to see a benchmark comparing the overclocking potential of the 955 to the 965, im curious if its just a higher binned processor or the same one just clocked higher.
  • 5 Hide
    megamanx00 , August 13, 2009 4:39 AM
    I better pick up the 955 BE before they are all gone. Doesn't seem like the 965 has any advantage other than the stock clock, and of course I don't plan on leaving it at stock :D .
  • 5 Hide
    chaohsiangchen , August 13, 2009 4:51 AM
    Good article! Judging from what AMD did with 65nm Phenom, they would perhaps release 125W version in early 2010. However, that's pure projection. I will probably get this one and wait for AMD 32nm. Somebody got to support the underdog. Unfortunately, this is the same situation AMD faced during mid 2006 all over again. Intel 32nm is going to be awesome, and it seems that AMD is going to be left without an answer in H1 2010 until they can upgrade production for 32nm.
  • 1 Hide
    anonymous x , August 13, 2009 5:11 AM
    but that Q9550 can overclock well, to the level of the phenom II 965 here and beyond, and clock for clock it is faster than phenom II.
    Can't wait for a AM3 vs LGA 1156 battle soon!
  • 18 Hide
    Raidur , August 13, 2009 5:13 AM
    AMD has a looong way to go. :( 
  • -2 Hide
    steel_icon , August 13, 2009 5:21 AM
    Will this run on an old AsuS Crosshair NV590A-SLI motherboard? I surely do hope so...
  • 3 Hide
    bk420 , August 13, 2009 5:22 AM
    Pleasant surprise. I love you AMD!
  • 1 Hide
    Nogard , August 13, 2009 5:53 AM
    wow, those are some pretty ordinary results for AMD.
  • -8 Hide
    Why_Me , August 13, 2009 6:02 AM
    AMD got rox0red by Intel.
  • 7 Hide
    Nintendork , August 13, 2009 6:13 AM
    Why_Me

    In what?
    Games, your everiday programs? I think not.

    Your useless synthetic benchs? As it would matter...


    Actually the prices on street are:

    PII 945 95w $169
    PII 955 125w $199

    *newegg
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , August 13, 2009 6:44 AM
    intel fanboism, dont like it
  • -8 Hide
    Why_Me , August 13, 2009 6:47 AM
    Quote:
    Why_Me

    In what?
    Games, your everiday programs? I think not.

    Your useless synthetic benchs? As it would matter...


    Actually the prices on street are:

    PII 945 95w $169
    PII 955 125w $199

    *newegg


    I'l explain my comment. The i7 920 can easily be over clocked to 4.0GHz or better (air cooling)...especially with these new D0 stepping i7 920's that are commonly hitting 4.4GHz on air cooling. The i7 in the review was run at stock speed. Down below is an i7 920 OEM that goes for $251.88 w/the promo code. Over clock the 17 920 and it destroy's that AMD 955 even more so than what was showed in that review. AMD is moving backwards, not forward.

    http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=I7-920 $271.88 Free Ground Shipping
    $20 off with Code MINIPICO20 Intel Core i7 Processor i7-920 2.66GHz 8MB LGA1366 CPU, OEM
  • 9 Hide
    ravenware , August 13, 2009 7:15 AM
    Where did this thing come from?
    I must be out of the loop.

    Not bad,I guess but it is only closing the gap between the Phenom chips and the i7 920 in minute levels.

    I want to see AMD bitch slap intel like they did during the 2003-2006 era.
  • 2 Hide
    Korok , August 13, 2009 7:31 AM
    Would anyone buy this over the i7? Not seeing any reason why
  • 20 Hide
    Nintendork , August 13, 2009 7:32 AM
    core2duo was released in 2006.

    The AMD owning saga started in 2000 with the Athlons. A bit more performance at same mhz but for less price. The only con was the lack of quality mobos.
  • 10 Hide
    zerapio , August 13, 2009 7:33 AM
    C2D came out in late August 2006
  • 3 Hide
    Nintendork , August 13, 2009 7:34 AM
    And also there is the 945 95 + biostar 790GX combo @225 on newegg. Difficult to beat that.
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