The quad-core AMD
Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition processor is the fastest chip to date for the
socket AM3 platform, and quite affordable at $265 CDN ($245 USD, £165 GBP). In terms
of performance this 3.4GHz chip is slightly quicker in the benchmarks than the
previous forerunner, the Phenom II X4 955 BE. Not surprising since the AMD
Phenom II X4 965 BE and 955BE share the same 45nm AMD 'Deneb' silicon.
Overclocking is the name of the game with a Black Edition processor, and the socket AM3 Phenom II
X4 965 Black Edition doesn't disappoint! Using a mix of multiplier and bus speed
increases, PCSTATS was able to coax the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition from its
default 3.4GHz clock speed to a respectable 3.93GHz. Individually, the CPU multiplier
overclocked as high as 19.5x on the chip
PCSTATS tested, the Bus speed to a good 240MHz.
Enthusiasts will find the range of tweaking and voltage
adjustments in the Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P motherboard provide plenty of
'wiggle room' to take full advantage of a multiplier-unlocked CPU such as the
Phenom II X4 965BE!
overclocking, one of the most endearing aspects of AMD socket AM3 processors
like the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition is a wonderful degree of backwards
compatibility with Socket AM2+ and AM2 motherboards, not to mention bilingual
memory support for DDR2 and DDR3 RAM. That's set to change in 2010 as AMD
roadmaps transition to DDR3, but for the time being you've got your pick of
super-cheap DDR2 memory and a vast selection of AMD motherboards.
The 200MHz speed refresh has bumped power draw for the
3.4 GHz Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition to 140W (vs. 125W for the 955BE), but
under most test conditions this amounts to roughly 10W extra total system power
draw. In other words, you can hold on to your existing CPU cooler and power
From a platform perspective, upgrading a Core 2 Duo
(LGA775) PC to a Core i5 processor (LGA1156) is still somewhat pricey. The Core
i5 demands a new motherboard and thermal
solution... possibly a new power supply too. The question we cannot answer
yet, is how the Core i5's performance stacks up against the Phenom II X4...
To sum it all up, AMD's quad-core 3.4GHz Phenom II X4
965 Black Edition is an easy CPU to recommend. In particular for those already
running an AMD PC who want the performance in massive parallel tasks that
quad-cores provide, the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition does compete well against
Intel's eight-thread Core i7 920.
Enthusiasts will appreciate the overclocking prowess
that an unlocked CPU multiplier makes possible - overclocking AMD Black Edition
chips is a dream! You owe it to yourself to consider AMD's Phenom II X4 965
Black Edition CPU, when it comes to sheer value for performance it's hard to
argue with such an affordable platform as a whole!
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