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

A Little Bit Better: The Revised Phenom II X4 965 BE CPU

The new revision of the Phenom II X4 965 is not major news by any stretch of the imagination. With the exact same clock speeds and core features as the previous revision, this new CPU will offer exactly the same performance. So, if you would like to refresh your memory, we suggest reading our Phenom II X4 965 launch article. In addition, the Core i5-750 CPU was launched recently and is priced similarly to the Phenom II X4 965, so you might want to see how it performs in relation to the Phenom II X4 in this article.

Today, we'll be discussing what makes the new Phenom II X4 965 different from the previous stepping. The newest stepping offers three changes of note:

- Maximum power usage has been lowered from 140 watts TDP to 125 watts TDP
- C1E power switching management has been moved into the hardware, rather than being BIOS-based
- The CPU's memory controller will now officially support "heavy" load DDR3-1333, four DDR3 DIMMs at the same time

None of these features are game-changers, of course. Of the three, the lower maximum power usage is the most significant, as it theoretically opens up AMD's flagship processor to upgraders who have boards that support a maximum 125 watts TDP.

According to AMD, this new revision will have hardware control of C1E power switching which should equate to faster switching of power states. We've found that Phenom II's are pretty good at switching power states with the Cool'n'Quiet feature, so this C1E enhancement should offer largely theoretical advantages. Similarly, official support for "heavy" load DDR3-1333 with four DIMMs may already be a non-issue if your motherboard has good RAM support. Our older Phenom II X4 965 BE sample handled four DDR3 DIMMs at 1333 MT/s just fine on our Asus M4A785TD-V EVO motherboard, even after extensive stress testing. Perhaps this feature will be more meaningful on low-end boards that don't support fast memory as well as our test bed does.

How do we identify which CPU is the original and which is the new revision? By the Ordering Part Number, or OPN. The OPN of the original 140W Phenom II X4 965 is HDZ965FBK4DGI.  The OPN of the new 125W Phenom II X4 965 is HDZ965FBK4DGM. This identification number can be seen directly on the CPU:

Here's what CPU-Z has to say about the original and new Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition CPUs. Note that the only difference is the revision and stepping: the older CPU shows up as the RB-C2 revision, while the new version is identified as the RB-C3 revision.

  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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?
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  • In the year 2012 we shall see AMD challenging Intel in high-end category, by then Global Foundries 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).

    Reply
  • 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
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  • 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.
    Reply
  • cyberkuberiah
    Amd is trying hard , and we appreciate the efforts .
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  • 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.
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  • 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?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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 !
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