AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Review

Benchmark Results: Productivity

Again we see clock rate scaling, as WinZip only utilizes one of the Phenom II family’s cores. Despite a clock rate disadvantage, Core i7-920 bests Core 2 Quad—both processors turning in times faster than AMD’s best effort. Only after a 400 MHz overclock does the Phenom II X4 965 take a first place finish

In stark contrast, WinRAR is heavily optimized to not only take advantage of multiple cores, but also to these platforms’ 64-bit capabilities. The Phenom II X4s perform admirably, easily sliding past the triple-core X3. However, Intel’s Core i7-920 simply delivers a different level of performance here, even blowing past the Core 2 Quad.

We see the effects of turning off Hyper-Threading and pulling one memory channel in our previous simulated Core i5 tests, which complete 10 seconds slower than an i7-920. That’s still faster than a Core 2 Quad Q9550 or overclocked Phenom II X4 965.

Here’s another one well-optimized for multi-core processors. 3ds Max 2009 runs best on a Core i7, but the Phenom II is a powerful option as well, edging out the Core 2 Quad by three seconds. The triple-core Phenom II X3 720 loses significant speed due to its lower clock rate and core count.

AVG’s free anti-virus is another application with a real proclivity for Intel’s Core i7 architecture. And even with nothing else running, it’s clear that you really benefit from a quad-core CPU as AMD’s Phenom II X3 falls way behind.

Meanwhile, the Phenom II X4 965 goes head-to-head against Intel’s Core 2 Quad, but needs to be overclocked in order to overtake it.

Our threaded Photoshop benchmark favors quad-core CPUs, and as clock rate increases, the Phenom II X4s shed time from the workload.

Though it runs at a slower frequency than the Core 2 Quad Q9550, Intel’s Core i7-920 is the fastest solution in CS4. The new Phenom II trails by a significant margin.

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.