AMD Launches 125W Phenom II X4 965 CPU

What's New?

August marked the launch of AMD's current flagship desktop processor, the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition. Today, we have a fresh revision of this CPU that brings some new features to the table. Unfortunately, these new aspects do not improve stock performance of the 3.4GHz quad-core chip. Instead, they tweak it in other areas that many enthusiasts care about. Here's a quick run down of those improvements.

New and Improved Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition CPU

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Processor
New Features
Max TDP: 125 Watts (previously 140W)
Hardware C1E Implementation: Faster switching of power states
Heavy Load Support for DDR3-1333: Memory controller supports up to 4 DIMMs of DDR3-1333
OPN: HDZ965FBK4DGM (M indicates new revision)

Thermal design power (TDP) represents the maximum power consumption of the CPU when running applications under a heavy load. Transitioning from 140W to 125W TDP results in a cooler, more efficient processor with added benefits like lower case temperature and decreased power draw. In addition, the revised hardware C1E implementation provides faster switching of power states and minimizes any impact to performance caused by CPU power management.  

Overclocking The New Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition
Pedal To The Metal

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Overclocked to 4.12GHz

New CPU revisions usually feature improved overclocking capability and this particular chip did not disappoint. With CPU core voltage at 1.5V, we reached a speedy 4.12GHz rock solid stable overclock. That's a 300MHz+ increase over the 3.8GHz overclock achieved using the previous revision of the Phenom II X4 965.

 Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA 2009
 Synthetic Benchmarks

Phenom II X4 965 BE
CPU Arithmetic

Phenom II X4 965 BE

Phenom II X4 965 BE
Mem. Bandwidth: DDR3-1333

Phenom II X4 965 BE
Cache & Mem: DDR3-1333

We ran the new 965 through a series of synthetic SiSoft SANDRA tests and it provided suitable performance throughout the evaluation. The Phenom II X4 kept pace with Intel's Core i5 processor while scoring well in the multimedia benchmark. For a full run down of the 965's performance, please see our original launch article.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage
Simulated Application Performance


PCMark Vantage runs through a host of different usage scenarios to simulate different types of workloads including High Definition TV and movie playback, gaming, image editing, music compression, communications, and productivity.  Most of the tests are multi-threaded as well, so the tests can exploit the additional resources offered by a quad-core CPU. The Phenom II X4 scored 6814 overall in this benchmark, which was somewhat higher than the original revision.

Total System Power Consumption
Tested at the Outlet


While performance numbers remain largely the same, the 965's lower TDP results in lower power draw during normal operation. The new revision required 13 fewer watts than the previous model under load conditions. We feel that anytime a product can improve or maintain performance while lowering energy consumption, its taking a step in the right direction.

And if you're wondering about pricing for the new revision, we have good news. AMD actually dropped the price to $195 for both versions of the 965 processor, making it even more affordable than before and an attractive option for those looking to upgrade their chip or planning a new build.   

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