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AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition - AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition

By Edward Chester



  • Recommended by TR
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition


Our Score:


Test Setup

The 965 BE's main competitor is currently Intel's Core 2 Q9550 so that's the CPU we'll be concentrating our comparisons on. However, as this is AMD's fastest chip, we've also included results for Intel's fastest chip, the Core i7 965 (hmmm, coincidental names there). The next closest competitor from Intel is the Core i7 920 and AMD's second fastest chip is the 955 BE, so we've included figures for these two as well.

Common System Components

AMD ATI Radeon 4870 X2 Graphics Card

Western Digital Raptor X 150GB Hard Drive

Pioneer BDC-S02BK Blu-ray Drive

2 x 1GB Qimonda IMSH1GU03A1F1C-10F PC3-8500 DDR3 RAM

Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit.

Core i7 Test System

Asus P6T Deluxe

Core 2 test System

Asus P5E3 Motherboard

AMD Phenom II AM3 Test System

Asus M4A79T Deluxe Motherboard


Starting with our gaming benchmarks, the 965 BE really impresses, clearly coming out on top in the low resolution Crysis test though just missing out to the Intel Q5550 in the high resolution, 1,920 x 1,200, test. It's a less rosy picture when we look at Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, where the multi-core power of the i7 965 maintains a healthy lead. Nonetheless, the Phenom II X4 965 BE certainly holds its own against other CPUs in its price bracket.

3D rendering has always been a strength of Intel's processors and while the 965 BE's increased clock speed closes the gap a bit, our results in the popular Cinebench and POVRay benchmarks show it still has a way to catch up. It's a similar story in our file compression tests, though the margins are so small that we wouldn't call it as quite so conclusive. Also, against its price competitor, the Q9550, the 965 BE holds its own.

Looking at mp3 encoding, it's a reasonably close run thing until we look at the DBPowerAmp batch test. Here, again, the multicore advantage of the i7 processors pays dividends but more importantly the Q9550 doesn't pull away from the 965 BE.

Our penultimate test is in image editing using Photoshop Elements 4.0. This is a really good test for showing baseline, single-core performance and in this case demonstrates that the 965 BE is very competitive, even against the all conquering i7 965.

Finally, we've looked at video encoding performance using VirtualDub (running in single thread mode) and AutoMKV, which is a multi-threaded test. In VirtualDub, it's a close call between the Q9550 and 965 BE with the latter just coming out on top (but both still trail both Core i7 chips). As for AutoMKV, it's essentially exactly the same situation. The Core i7's are simply more efficient CPUs and still the choice if you're looking for ultimate performance. Nevertheless, the 965 BE is impressive for its price in terms of default clock speed performance. The real question now, is how does it overclock?


August 25, 2009, 11:54 am

Well this review confirms what me and my mates have been seeing. The Phenom II 955 is actually faster than the core i7 920. We both have the same graphics cards, same amount of ram and same OS. But for some reason my Phenom II gives higher frames per second in games than his i7 920.

This seems to be very true in Crysis. We tried 1280 by 1024 and 1920 by 1200.

That’s really strange though, for some reason Tom’s hardware shows the opposite.

According to Tom’s hardware the Core i7 920 has gained 30% extra speed for no reason since they first tested it.

See it for yourself.

Core i7 920 Vs Phenom II 955


Core i7 920 Vs Phenom II 965


Well there is no way I am going to believe any reviews from Tom’s anymore… hehe


August 25, 2009, 3:38 pm

Baron, they use different graphics cards in those tests. The first is the Zotac GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896 MB, the second is the Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2 2 GB.


August 25, 2009, 6:46 pm

Then again, it's pretty straight forward to OC the i7 920 from 2.66 to 4+ GHz, steady and stable with only air cooling. Now that's great value for money!

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