AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Review

Benchmark Results: Far Cry 2 And Stalker

Normally we’d benchmark new CPUs with our reference platform, which includes a GeForce GTX 260 Core 216. However, we’ve heard your requests in the comments section to see AMD CPUs tested with ATI graphics cards. Hoping to simultaneously emphasize any possible CPU limitations in our gaming tests, we stepped up to a Radeon HD 4870 X2 for this evaluation.

Far Cry 2 is known to be a somewhat platform-limited title. With no anti-aliasing, we see a clear progression as clock rate increases on the AMD processors, culminating with the overclocked Phenom II X4 965. Very similar 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 results suggest we’re still largely processor-bound in each case.

Though the flagship Phenom II and Core 2 Quad Q9550 deliver comparable frame rates, the Core i7-920 is a runaway, serving up performance nearly 30% faster at 1680x1050.

Enabling 4x AA normalizes the field a little bit, but you’re still looking at speeds 13% faster when comparing Core i7 to Phenom II.

Stalker is most certainly a graphically-taxing title, so we’d expect less influence from the CPUs in play. For the most part, we see our expected results with anti-aliasing turned off. The Phenom II X4 965 outperforms the Core 2 Quad by a narrow margin, the Core i7-920 is even faster than the Phenom II by a similarly tight range, and the overclocked Phenom II matches pace.

Enabling anti-aliasing gives us a decided graphics bottleneck, as all of our contenders jam up between 40 and 41 frames per second at 1680x1050 and right around 36 frames per second at 1920x1200.

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.