AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Review

Benchmark Results: A/V Encoding

The Phenom II easily bests Intel’s second-fastest Core 2 Quad (the fastest being the Q9650), but isn’t able to overtake the Core i7-920 running at its stock frequency. Losing one core and a ton of clock rate puts the fastest Phenom II X3 part way behind the rest of these quad-core contenders.

The results here scale well according to clock rate and architecture, as iTunes really only utilizes a single thread. Both of Intel’s offerings score similarly, tying for first place in this one.

TMPGEnc consists of DivX and Xvid-based transcoding workloads, the first of which is nicely optimized for threading, while the latter demonstrates consistent 25% utilization on today’s quad-core CPUs.

Intel’s Core i7 dominates the DivX test, followed by AMD’s Phenom II X4 965. If the Core i5 launch wasn’t imminent, this would be a compelling value win for AMD, since its offering is quite a bit faster than the Core 2 Quad. However, if you flip back to our simulated Core i5 results, you’ll see that the planned sub-$200 i5-750 maneuvers past AMD’s flagship.

In our Xvid test, the simulated Core i5 is even faster than the new Phenom II, though this chart shows AMD beating Intel’s Core 2 Quad fairly easily. The loss of a core doesn’t affect AMD’s Phenom II X3 as much, since Xvid doesn’t even fully utilize dual-core processors. Instead, dropping to 2.8 GHz is what causes the X3 to fall behind its higher-clocked family members.

Another single-threaded test, Lame makes the clock speed scaling in AMD’s Deneb design quite clear. Both Intel processors duck in under the conversation times of AMD’s fastest CPU. And in the case of Intel’s Core 2 Quad Q9550, at a price point $25 cheaper, too.

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.