AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Review

Power Consumption

At idle, all of our Phenom IIs clock down to 800 MHz and employ similar voltage levels, so it’s no surprise to see them consume 160W each. The overclocked X4 965 Also scales back to 800 MHz, but because its voltage is manually keyed in at 1.5V, it uses significantly more power at idle.

The Core 2 Quad Q9550’s result isn’t really comparable, since we’ve been using the chip’s performance to indicate the speed of Intel’s 95W $220 CPU, and not the 65W $350 part shown here. Nevertheless, it’s interesting that Intel’s low-power part only barely beats AMD’s 130W Phenom IIs at idle. In comparison, the Core i7-920 consumes an extra 26W at idle (though to put the cost of that power into perspective, check out Don Woligroski’s analysis in How Many CPU Cores Do You Need?).

The field is separated more decisively with a full load applied to each processor (Prime95) and GPU (FurMark).

At 1.5V, the overclocked Phenom II X4 965 is the least power-friendly option—such is the price you pay for pushing these CPUs as far as possible on air. Intel’s Core i7-920 places in between the new 965 and its predecessor, the 955. Most surprising, perhaps, is the Phenom II X3 720, which uses more power than the quad-core Phenom II X4 955. And again, we see the reason Intel charges an extra $130 for its ‘S-class’ 65W chips, as the Core 2 Quad Q9550S ducks in with the lowest consumption results.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • XD_dued
    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.
  • AMDnoob
    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.
  • hunter315
    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.
  • megamanx00
    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.
  • chaohsiangchen
    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.
  • anonymous x
    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!
  • Raidur
    AMD has a looong way to go. :(
  • steel_icon
    Will this run on an old AsuS Crosshair NV590A-SLI motherboard? I surely do hope so...
  • bk420
    Pleasant surprise. I love you AMD!
  • Nogard
    wow, those are some pretty ordinary results for AMD.