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AMD Phenom II 965 Processor Review



The Phenom II X4 965 processor is a nice contender if you are in the market for an AMD based processor. Apples to apples, when compared to the Phenom II X4 955, the X4 965 performed marginally better. Does that mean you should go out and upgrade to the latest right away? Not necessarily; as I stated, the performance gain was marginal and not enough to justify paying a premium for slightly better performance. When you compare apples to oranges, with the Core i7 920 being the orange, the Phenom II X4 965 is close in some aspects but overall it was slower than the Intel chip. Factor in only the CPU price, the I7 920 can be had for anywhere from $200 to $265 (depending on where you shop) vs the Phenom II X4 965 at $245 and price to performance the Phenom II X4 965 falls behind. Where the Phenom II X4 965 takes the lead is when you factor in the platform as a whole. Most premium X58 motherboards cost $200 or more when a 790FX motherboard can be had for as little as $90.

When it came to overclocking the Phenom II X4 965, I aimed high trying to get over 4.0GHz on air. For this I used a Thermaltake ISGC-400 CPU cooler with the fan speed set on high. Even with this the temperatures soared over the 62C threshold for the CPU. With the voltage at 1.52v, which is a bit over the specified maximum, I was only able to push the processor to 3.914GHz before the system became too unstable to run benchmarks. Overall, the Phenom II X4 965 is a nice CPU for AMD, however I would not consider it a "flagship" until it can provide a step closer to Intel's i7 920 speeds considering they are selling for almost the same price or less now. If you are looking to build an AMD based Dragon system, then by all means I would recommend the X4 965 processor if you have the money to spend. If not, for under $200 you can grab the X4 955 that offers similar performance for less money.



  • Compatible with AM2+ and AM3 motherboards
  • Can use DDR2 or DDR3 memory based on motherboard
  • Inexpensive upgrade path with compatibility
  • Fast stock clock speed of 3.4GHz
  • Faster than the Phenom II X4 955 CPU



  • Limited overclocking headroom
  • Runs very hot when overclocked



OCC Silver

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Specifications & Features
  3. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  4. Testing: Apophysis, WinRAR
  5. Testing: SPECviewperf 10, PCMark Vantage
  6. Testing: Sandra 2009 Professional
  7. Testing: ScienceMark, CineBench 10, HD Tune
  8. Testing: Far Cry 2
  9. Testing: Crysis Warhead
  10. Testing: BioShock
  11. Testing: Call of Duty World at War
  12. Testing: Dead Space
  13. Testing: Fallout 3
  14. Testing: Left 4 Dead
  15. Testing: 3DMark06
  16. Testing: 3DMark Vantage Professional
  17. Conclusion
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