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AMD Phenom II 965 Black Edition Quad Core Processor

Upon Closer Inspection:

Judging solely by price the AMD 965 finds its closest competitor in the Intel Q9550 which is currently approximately ~$219 according to several price indexes online. You can expect that price along with several others in the Intel lineup to start dropping as of this writing if Intel has not already done so in expectation.

While the Q9550 is a 2.83GHz CPU and the 965 is a 3.4Ghz CPU both are still quad core parts based around a 45nm process.  Differences begin after that point. The Q9550 has double the L2 Cache of the 965 at 12MB and we have already seen how important cache is in overall processor performance. So while the 965 B.E. has the edge in CPU cycles this matchup is far from decided.

Our Test Machine:

  • Asus Crosshair III Formula Motherboard
  • 4GB OCZ DDR3 1333
  • NZXT Khaos Case
  • Seagate 1.5TB Hard Drive
  • AMD Phenom II 965
  • Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
  • Palit Nvidia Geforce 280 GTX
  • Glacialtech GP-AL 650W PSU

Software Parameters

  • Windows Vista 32bit Business
  • Windows 7 x64
  • Nvidia GeForce/Ion Driver Release 190.38 x64
  • All Updates

Benchmark and Informational Software Used:

  • Sisoft Sandra 5.15.99
  • CrystalMark 2004R3
  • CPUZ
  • Unreal Tournament 2004
  • Call of Duty 4
  • Crysis: Warhead

IMPORTANT NOTE: Windows 7 Overclocking via the Asus TurboV program could not be done as the program did not support Windows 7. All results on Windows 7 were at default speed.


The Asus Turbo V program allows for a software GUI which directly interfaces with the system bus, voltages, and cpu speed. The program further saves its information directly to the bios such that if you restart and enter the bios all settings entered into the Turbo V program will appear in the appropriate place in the bios.  Using this program we were able to hit a semi-stable speed of 4008MHz in Windows Vista. Since the TurboV program is not compatible with Windows 7 we used the bios to achieve similar results at 4025MHz. These results are shown below:


We hit a hard wall around 231 – 235MHz on the bus speed and couldnt go any further with the ram we had access to. Once we obtain some 1600 MHz rated ram we will attempt to overclock further. That being said the OCZ3G1333 performed very well and even when we set it to 1.85V it ran cool.  With a bit high grade ram I am certain that 4GHz would be entirely stable.

AMD warns us that overclocking could lead to potential problems and not to tempt the Happy Fun Balls though the same could be said especially for Nvidia GPU’s and all of Intel’s lineup.

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