Review: AMD Phenom II X4 965

Our score: 3/5
Reviewed: January 11, 2010 11:00 PM
Published: January 11, 2010 11:00 PM
By Régis Jehl
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

3/5 AMD Phenom II X4 965 DigitalVersus 2010-01-12 00:00:00


  • 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.