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Closer Look at Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition

So far the new Deneb processor stepping marked as C3 didn’t allow AMD to raise the clock frequencies of their processor lineup. Therefore, AMD refrained from launching the new CPUs and decided to introduce the new core into the already existing processor models first. Especially since the lowering of the top processor model thermal design power by 15 W is a definite improvement that will inevitably increase the attractiveness of this CPU model.

So, there will be two versions of Phenom II X4 965 processors with different cores: with 140 W and 125 W heat dissipation. Moreover, in terms of formal specs there are no other differences between them. Both CPUs even belong to the same Black Edition series that implies an unlocked multiplier. Nevertheless, processors with different stepping will have appropriate marking that will help distinguish between the solutions with different TDP. For example, CPUs based on C3 Deneb core will be marked as HDX965FBK4DGM, while Phenom II X4 965 processors with an old core will have the marking HDX965FBK4DGI. In other words, you can tell the processor stepping by the last symbol in the marking.

The new Phenom II X4 965 has the following specifications:

I have to say that besides lowering the maximum thermal design power, they have also changed the electrical characteristics of the new processor. While Phenom II X4 965 on the old core had a maximum nominal Vcore of 1.45 V, the new processor stepping has lower maximum Vcore of 1.4 V. All this suggests that the introduction of the new more economical processor stepping may also increase the frequency potential of the new processors revealed during overclocking.

The diagnostic CPU-Z utility has no problems identifying Phenom II X4 965 with the new C3 stepping. The screenshot below shows very well that the new CPU supports slightly lower core voltage:

I would like to stress that the improved specifications of Phenom II X4 965 processor will not affect their price. Just like their predecessors on the old core, the newcomers will be officially sold at $195. However, it doesn’t mean that the CPUs on the new core will quickly oust their predecessors from the market. AMD is going to ship both types of Phenom II X4 965 simultaneously and this will go on at least until March 2010. Therefore, if you are not looking specifically for the CPU on the new core, then you should pay attention to the processor markings.

 
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