AMD Phenom II X4 965 Processor New Revision Reviewajmatson - November 3, 2009
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Not too long ago, we saw AMD's latest flagship processor, the AMD Phenom II X4 965 processor. This processor is clocked at 3.4GHz and has an L2 cache of 512KB per core for a total of 2MB, and a shared L3 cache of 6MB. The Phenom II X4 965 is a socket AM3 processor, which can support DDR3 memory up to 1333MHz when used in an AM3 motherboard, and DDR2 memory up to 1066MHz when paired up with an AM2+ motherboard. Just as with the first version of the Phenom II X4 965, the refresh also supports HyperTransport 3.0, which helps the processor have a total CPU to system bandwidth of up to 37.3GB/s when paired with DDR3-1333MHz memory. The one big difference between the original Phenom II X4 965 and the refresh, however, is the power dissipation of it. The original Phenom II X4 965 has a maximum TDP of 140 watts and the refresh has a maximum of 125 watts. In case you are not familiar with this term, TDP stands for Thermal Design Power. TDP is the amount of power that the cooling system of the processor needs to dissipate, to keep the CPU running under the threshold before failure. For example, if your processor has a 125W TDP, you need a cooler that will dissipate at least 125W of heat to keep the processor under the maximum operating temperature. If you place a cooler on it that has a maximum TDP dissipation of 95W, then your CPU will overheat. With a lower core voltage of .875V to 1.4V, there is less heat to dissipate, which gives the processor a lower TDP for the same speeds. In addition to the lower TDP, the processor now has improved C1E support, which allows the system to switch power states faster with little to no impact to performance. Also with corrected BIOS', the new processor can support four modules up to 1333MHz on the memory controller, without any issues. Now you can load up your computer with the maximum memory and not have to worry about it failing. At launch, the refresh of the Phenom II X4 965 will be $195, which is lower than the original launch price of $245 for the first generation 965. Now that we have the differences set down between the first generation Phenom II X4 965 and the refresh, let's see how it compared performance-wise head to head.
On the surface, the new refresh of the Phenom II X4 965 looks exactly the same. They both are AM3 socket processors with 939 pins and both have the same outer design. The only way to tell the difference between the two is at the end of the part number string. The old part number is HDZ965FBK4DGI and the new part number is HDZ965FBK4DGM, which the "M" designates the refresh of the Phenom II X4 965 processors. Other than that, there are no visual differences that you will be able to see.
Let's now move on to the performance testing, to see how they differ under the skin.