AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE: Same Speed, Less Power

Test System

We chose the Asus M4A785TD-V EVO motherboard for our CPU benchmarks, as it supports both the new and old revisions of the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition CPUs that we will be testing. In addition, the integrated 785G graphics chipset will allow us to test power usage at the wall without a discrete graphics card present.

We're using a ZEROtherm Nirvana NV120 cooler to give the CPU a little more overclocking headroom. It's a great heatsink and a good representation of the type of aftermarket cooler an enthusiast might pair the Phenom II X4 965 with.


AMD Test System
CPU

Phenom II X4 965 BE (3.4 GHz, 6MB shared L3 Cache)
OPN: HDZ965FBK4DGI
Phenom II X4 965 BE (3.4 GHz, 6MB shared L3 Cache)
OPN: HDZ965FBK4DGM

Motherboard

Asus M4A785TD-V EVO
AMD 785G, BIOS 0410

Networking
Onboard Gigabit LAN controller
Memory

Mushkin PC3-10700
  2 x 2,048 MB, DDR3-1066, CL 9-9-9-24-33 1T

Graphics

Integrated Radeon HD 4200

Hard Drive

Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/s

Power

ePower EP-1200P10-T2
1,200W, ATX 12V, EPS 12v

Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 x64
DirectX versionDirectX 11
Graphics Drivers

ATI Catalyst 9.9

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    Top Comments
  • osse
    Well my regular job is in economic, and not in laguage, as u can tell of my english skills, in order to give Intel real competion AMD need round 30-35 of the marked, why u can ask.

    Intels R&d last yr was as big as AMDs total sale, take in account that thay also fight Nvidia, so then u maybe understand why AMD is not best. If AMD drops farther down, what are we nerds left with, the answear should be clear to anyone that can think, we are left with only Intel.

    I do build riggs, guess round 100 over 18 yr, for friends and stuff, i do refuse to build Intel riggs, why ?, becouse of the marked situation, we lost cyris as a cpu vendor, if we loose AMD to, then my fellow nerds, we are in troubel. I do however never recomend an AMD built if Intel is clearly supperiour, therefor we builder need to know the limits. AS toms has stated in severual test, AMD is good at budget riggs, but how far up can an Athl II 435, an Phii 720 suppurt a grapfic card, well even the phii955 is dirt cheap here.
    10
  • Other Comments
  • Anonymous
    Every little bit of clockspeed and efficiency help out. I'm sure when Intel were testing their I7s they had to do some tweaking as well and later revisions had changes invoked. Hopefully we'll see phenom x6 soon and possibly a more refined architecture in future steppings.
    4
  • Silmarunya
    I'd like to see its power consumption being put against the i5's. They are both more than good enough for gaming, yet in Europe the price difference between a 965 and an i5 is far larger than in the US. So I'd like to know about other factors like power consumption and motherboard quality. An idea for a new article perhaps?
    3
  • Anonymous
    In the year 2012 we shall see AMD challenging Intel in high-end category, by then Global Foundries [4.2 billion dollar ] Fab 2 should be in full-scale production . Also as times goes by Global Foundries will purchase more Semiconductor firms (they recently purchased Chartered Semiconductor).
    6
  • butcher
    a change for the better is always good

    its a bigger change than say the step from C0 to D0 with the 1366 I7's
    0
  • osse
    Well i kinda liked that on 1920x1080 the phII 965 beats the I7-940 at stock in 2 of 4 games, tie one, looses one with the 5870 at guru 3d review of phii 965.

    Its not like im a normal AMD fanboy, i just dont like monopolistisk tendenses, so as a builder i do have to know when i can tell u get the best rig with AMD or do u have to go to Intel.

    I still hope Toms and preferabel Cleave comes with a review when a cpu bottelneck 5850 and 5870 at best grapic settings. Hilbert shows us that the AThlon II 435 do bottelneck a 5870, but since 5850 is round 15% slower than 5870, even the athlII 435 at stock should be close to take advantage of a radeon 5850.
    3
  • cyberkuberiah
    Amd is trying hard , and we appreciate the efforts .
    5
  • osse
    Well my regular job is in economic, and not in laguage, as u can tell of my english skills, in order to give Intel real competion AMD need round 30-35 of the marked, why u can ask.

    Intels R&d last yr was as big as AMDs total sale, take in account that thay also fight Nvidia, so then u maybe understand why AMD is not best. If AMD drops farther down, what are we nerds left with, the answear should be clear to anyone that can think, we are left with only Intel.

    I do build riggs, guess round 100 over 18 yr, for friends and stuff, i do refuse to build Intel riggs, why ?, becouse of the marked situation, we lost cyris as a cpu vendor, if we loose AMD to, then my fellow nerds, we are in troubel. I do however never recomend an AMD built if Intel is clearly supperiour, therefor we builder need to know the limits. AS toms has stated in severual test, AMD is good at budget riggs, but how far up can an Athl II 435, an Phii 720 suppurt a grapfic card, well even the phii955 is dirt cheap here.
    10
  • Silmarunya
    True... AMD is going down too fast for my liking. However, ATI is performing quite well afaik, and AMD is showing hopeful signs. R&D is profitable and Global Foundries is nearly out of the red digits. They'll probably be the first to deliver affordable 6 cores as well, since Gulftown's prices will be through the roof I think.

    Still, that doesn't solve my issue as another potential builder: since AMD and Intel now make equally well performing CPU's (for gaming purposes, that is), is there a reason not to pick the cheaper AMD? Higher power consumption, or less well performing motherboards, or something along these lines?
    6
  • raptor550
    Nice use of a 1200watt PSU. Good to see that you really thought out this article by using a PSU so overpowered that it wouldn't be efficient. That is especially important when measuring total system efficiency.

    Try harder next time.
    5
  • cyberkuberiah
    Don WoligroskiWithout a crystal ball, it's impossible to answer these questions ...


    for speculation , in apps/games that really use 4 cores (x264/gta4), it would not be up to phenom II X4's and even Phenom II X3's .

    in apps/games that dont use more than two cores , it would take out every amd offering . although it would be "in line' upgrade for anyone with a core 2 duo , quads are getting more and more important . i also hope that the rumors of very high clock speeds/practical everyday use overclockability are true . lets all wait now !
    2
  • cleeve
    raptor550Nice use of a 1200watt PSU. Good to see that you really thought out this article by using a PSU so overpowered that it wouldn't be efficient.


    Are you suggesting that a 1200W PSU will magically add power usage to one revision of the 965 CPU and not the other?

    I'm not sure how PSUs work in the magic fairytale land you come from, but in reality they tend to work a little more predictably than that...

    We're looking for the delta between the two, not criticizing total system efficiency. Try harder to understand the point of the benchmark next time. :D
    3
  • restrain_oligopolies
    AMD processors handle ECC parity memory; Intel processors do not.
    With excessive effort, whenever I purchase a new processor,
    I find that the AMD processors (Athlon, Phenom, and of course Opteron) support ECC parity memory.
    At Intel, I never find that their processors support ECC memory,
    unless they are very expensive server class processors (Xeon).

    I buy AMD processors rather than Intel processors because the AMD processors support ECC memory, and for NO other reason.
    Without ECC memory, since I run my computers 24/7, about every 5 years I will see a catastrophic error, which I like to attribute to a memory parity problem.
    For example, 4 years ago on one of my computers,
    the operating system disk drive,
    a secondary disk drive,
    and a USB mounted disk drive
    were all scrambled around 1:30am on my non-ECC computer.
    I was cautious enough to have a backup, but the backup was mounted,
    so it was also scrambled,
    costing me a couple hundred hours of lost work and a client's wrath.

    Reliability accommodates such long time periods that we almost always fail to account for it -- whether in stock markets, plagues, or computer processors.

    Far more important than a little more processor performance is robustness against failure, particularly against corruption of media.
    These failures come so infrequently that reviewers can not test for them,
    but infrequent catastrophic consequences outweigh performance gains that reviewers do test.
    4
  • ryman546
    CleeveAre you suggesting that a 1200 CPU will magically add power usage to one revision of the 965 CPU and not the other? I'm not sure how PSUs work in the magic fairytale land you come from, but in reality they tend to work a little more predictably than that... We're looking for the delta between the two, not criticizing total system efficiency. Try harder to understand the point of the benchmark next time.

    Someone just got bent over the knee and issued a swift spanking.
    6
  • masterasia
    Alright, Finally 125W TDP. This is great. The biggest downfall of the X4 965 was the 140W TDP. Why was there a need for an extra 15W to gain only 200Mhz over the X4 955? Makes me want to get one now, but I like my high end Intels better. I would probably get still a 1156 over AM3 because the P55 chipset allows me to choose SLI or CFX, and the article did imply that the i5 750 is probably a better chip than the X4 965, even with the new stepping.
    -7
  • mapesdhs
    The Test System summary describes the CPUs as being Athlon IIs. I
    assume this is supposed to read Phenom II?

    Ian.
    0
  • cleeve
    Thanks Ian, fixed!
    0
  • Silmarunya
    masterasiaI would probably get still a 1156 over AM3 because the P55 chipset allows me to choose SLI or CFX, and the article did imply that the i5 750 is probably a better chip than the X4 965, even with the new stepping.


    How did this article imply the i5 750 to be better than the 955? Yes, there is the CF and SLI advantage of the chipset itself, but does that make the i5 itself superior to the 965?
    -2
  • tester24
    I do like the fact you can just drop in the next chip from AMD's platforms, but will this continue when the release Bulldozer? I heard they were supposed to jump over to an LGA socket. But knowing AMD they will continue to keep the same socket for many of their processors.
    0
  • tester24
    Another thing I might note sure the i5 750s are faster than AMD's flagship but they don't have as many PCIe 2.0 pipelines as AMD does. So you can never have 2 x16 2.0 Gen cards run full.
    4
  • cleeve
    SilmarunyaYes, there is the CF and SLI advantage of the chipset itself, but does that make the i5 itself superior to the 965?


    No, but the performance does. At stock speeds the i5 750 will outperform the 965 the great majority of the time, and when they're both overclocked the i5 will surpass an the 965 by a substantial margin. Check the reviews.
    -4