The primary advantage of the new processor stepping – lower heat dissipation – should in fact tell on the frequency potential growth. To check this assumption we performed a few traditional overclocking experiments. We used a system built around Gigabyte MA790FXT-UD5P mainboard and used a Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme processor air cooler with an Enermax Magma fan installed on it.
Since Phenom II X4 965 processor we are talking about today belongs to the Black Edition series we decided to overclock it in the most natural way in this particular situation: by raising its clock frequency multiplier. At the same time I would like to remind you that as we have already seen many times before, the alternative approach using increased clock generator frequency is just as efficient.
Speaking of the overclocking results I would like to say that the CPU with new processor stepping did in fact demonstrate higher frequency potential. I would like to remind you that during the first Phenom II X4 965 C2 processor stepping tests we could get the CPU to work stably only when we increased its clock frequency from the default 3.4 to 3.8 GHz. With the new Phenom II X4 965 the overclocking maximum with an air cooler was immediately increased by 200 MHz.
When we increased the CPU Vcore by 0.175 V above the nominal value, our test processor achieved stability at 4.0 GHz clock.
At the same time we managed to increase the frequency of the North Bridge built into the processor to 2.4 GHz. We also had to increase the corresponding voltage by 0.075 V.
It is a highly positive thing that Phenom II X4 965 processor managed to hit 4.0 GHz bar during overclocking. It indicates that the new core can not only lower the heat dissipation of the top model in the AMD quad-core lineup. Its increased frequency potential may allow the manufacturer to design an even faster solution than Phenom II X4 965. However, at this point there is no credible information that a Phenom II X4 975 will ever come out.