REVIEW / AMD Phenom II X4 965

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Régis Jehl Published on January 12, 2010
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  • Socket AM3
  • Number of cores 4
  • Clock rate 3.4 GHz
  • Cache 2.0E-6 MB
  • Thermal Design Power 125 W
  • Technology 0 nm
In this test, we're looking at AMD's new Phenom II X4 965 processor, which has seen a few changes compared to the old version.

The TDP has decreased from 140 W to 125 W, which sounds pretty technical, doesn't it?  It's actually not that complicated: the TDP describes the thermal limits of a component.  When it falls, as it has here, it implies that the energy consumption and amount of heat produced by the CPU have gone down.  Apart from that, though, it's still a quad-core model, without hyper-threading or Turbo mode.

Energy consumption

This reduction in energy consumption--if it's there at all--still doesn't allow us to call this an efficient processor, and it's a long way behind Intel's 7000 and 8000 series in terms of energy usage.  Even when idle, our test machine required 130 W, which climbed to 228 W when active.

Performance: Applications

When running our application tests, the processor sometimes came in at the same level as an Intel Core i5 750, and sometimes beat it by a long stretch.  Let's take the example of encoding a Blu-ray disc as x264.  This Phenom II X4 965 did the job in 4 minutes 29 seconds, while the Core i5 750 took a very similar 4 m 32s: we'd say it's definitely a draw.  Another test, though, involves exporting an album of RAW photos as JPEG files.  Here, the X4 965 took 5 m 47 s while the i5 570 needed 4 m 57 s.  Overall, across all tests, the Intel Core i7 750 is 6.5% faster than the Phenom II X4 965.

General overall average.
Click on the graph to see all of our results and compare this CPU to other models.
Performance: Gaming

This processor is quite comfortable with handling games.  In general, it's better choice than a dual-core chip like the Intel Core 2 Duo E8500.  In World of Conflict, for instance, the 965 reached a maximum framerate of 50 fps, while the E8500 managed 43 fps and the Core i5 750 reached 54 fps.  In Crysis Warhead, the match was a draw: 47 fps for both the 965 and the E8500, and 46 fps for the 750.

View Performance Index Table

AMD's Range
The Phenom II family was unveiled in January 2009 with the X4 900 series the first to become available. AMD then went on to expand the range with more frequencies and new models.

The Athlon X4 900 CPUs are based on the K10 architecture, with four cores and 2 MB of cache. They fit an AM2+ or AM3 socket, and, compared to the first generation of Phenoms, they are manufactured using a finer process, at 45 nm, rather than 65 nm. Their TDP remains high at 125 W, although it was 145 W for the first member of the 965 series.


  • Performs well with demanding apps
  • Good gaming performance


  • Uses a lot of energy
  • No Turbo mode
  • No hyper-threading


This is a mid-range quad-core processor that does it's job well, and is particularly comfortable powering games.
3 AMD Phenom II X4 965 DigitalVersus 2010-01-12 00:00:00
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