AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition CPU Review - HotHardware

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition CPU Review

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AMD is launching a brand new flagship desktop processor today, dubbed the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition. As you can probably surmise from its name--if you're familiar with AMD's naming convention--the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition is virtually identical to the 955 it supplants at the top of AMD's desktop processor line-up, save for the 965's higher default clock speed. Whereas the 955 clocked in at a speedy 3.2GHz, the new 965 arrives at a lofty 3.4GHz, making it the highest clocked CPU to come from AMD to date.

The Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition is based on the same core as all current socket AM3, quad-core Phenom II processors and it as the same cache configuration and overall feature set. There are some slight differences to its specifications, however, which we have listed for you below. The 965 BE's differentiating features are, as we've mentioned, it's higher frequency of 3.4GHz and also its higher maximum TDP of 140W. Please take note of the higher TDP, as not all socket AM2+/AM3 motherboards will support it.

Once you're done taking a gander at the specifications below, check out some related articles and hunker down for some testing and benchmarks as we find out what
AMD's new Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition is made of...


AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Processor

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Processors 
Specifications and Features

Model / Processor Frequency: AMD Phenom II Processor Model X4 965 (3.4GHz)
L1 Cache Sizes: 64K of L1 instruction and 64K of L1 data cache per core (512KB total L1 per processor)
L2 Cache Sizes: 512KB of L2 data cache per core (2MB total L2 per X4 processor)
L3 Cache Size (shared): 6MB
Total Cache (L2+L3): 8MB
Memory Controller Type: Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller, capable of being configured for dual 64-bit channels for simultaneous read/writes
Memory Controller Frequency: Up to 2.0GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management
Types of Memory: Unreg. DIMMs up to PC2 8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) and PC3 1333 (DDR3-1333MHz)
HyperTransport 3.0: One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 4000MHz full duplex
Total Processor Bandwidth: Up to 37.3 GB/s bandwidth (Up to 21.3GB/s memory bandwidth)
Packaging: Socket AM3 938-pin organic micro pin grid array (micro-PGA) (backward compatible with Socket AM2)
Fab location: GLOBALFOUNDARIES Fab 1 module 1 Dresden, Germany
Process Technology: 45nm (.045-micron) DSL Silicon on Insulator (SOI)
Approximate Transistor count: approx. ~758 million (65nm)
Approximate Die Size: 258 mm2 (45nm)
Nominal Voltage: .0825-1.5 Volts
Max Ambient Case Temp: 65 degress Celsius
Max TDP: 140 Watts
*Note: MC configurable for dual 64-bit channels for simultaneous read/writes
**Note: for DDR3-1333, AM3 boards will support 1-DIMM-per-channel @ 1333MHz


The new Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition is an update to AMD's Dragon Platform. The Dragon Platform itself is not new, however. In fact, most of its core components have already been available for quite some time now. As such, we have already covered them in-depth here on HotHardware in previous articles, so we won't do the same again here. We will, however, recommend that you take a look at a few recent articles to get familiar with the underlying technology and components that comprise AMD's Dragon platform.

All of the various 7-series chipset, Phenom, Phenom II, Athlon, and Spider related articles listed above cover the gamut of features that make up the majority of the Dragon the platform--with the exception of the new Phenom II 965 Black Edition featured here, of course.

Article Index:

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140 watts? Holy Hot Heck, Batman! But then I read further into the article and I saw this chart:

Notice the Phenom 965 vs. the Core i-7 920 and Core 2 Duo E6850. As power-hungry as the Phenom 965 appears to be, the Phenom system uses less power than those Intel rigs, and I find that to be quite interesting. The Core 2 Duo E6850 (3.0 GHz) is a 65 watt dual-core processor, so why does that system use more power than the Phenom 965 system?

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Good going on AMDs part the 1st 3.4ghz CPU on the market at a reasonable price on Newegg for $249.00. Unless I somehow smoke mt Phenom 720 dont plan on getting rid of it but sure would like to plant this new toy on my board and try it out!

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Aw geez, now I have to consider AM3 motherboards for my new system build! Any advice on motherboards, Dave? And how does it (slurp) overclock?

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Perhaps THIS article will give you some ideas, ClemSnide. If you do decide to go with that Phenom II 965 mentioned here just make sure your new mobo will support it. Our resident Phenom overclock guru, AMDCrankItUp, can probably answer any overclock question you might have!

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There seems to be a problem with your overclock.  Every other review on the web has hit 3.8Ghz on stock voltages/cooler in x64 OS and 4Ghz on stock voltages/cooler in x86 OS.

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@ Super Dave:  the E6850 draws quite a bit of power due to leakage and 65nm size, so it isnt surprising to see it sucking down alot of juice.  Intel usually understates its TDP where as AMD overstates it.  The Phenom II 125w chips dont really pull 125w, they pull less, but AMD is playing it on the safe side since there will likely be some in a batch that need to pull more watts.

@InfinityzeN:  Yeah the HH oc seems very weak.  Likely the RAM and NB were not tested at stock enough to find how hard they can be pushed and what volts they need.  Both of these settings kinda depend on what the IMC in the chip likes, and if it likes volts which the 965 seems to like then that is probably the root of the low OC.  I have seen folks with the 965 ES which almost always oc crappier than retail manage to hit 4.1ghz on air with a little tweaking, which mainly consisted of getting that IMC stable by upping the volts on the NB, IMC and RAM.

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No "problem" with the overclock, that's just what our particlur chip did with the stock cooler and a bump in voltage.

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If anyone is looking for a x4 965 be sure and hit the for sale or trade section. I have a new in box black edition ready to go

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