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Testbed and Methods

We have already discussed the performance of the Phenom II X4 965 processor with previous stepping. Keeping in mind that the new processor stepping doesn’t have any microarchitectural improvements it doesn’t make much sense to test the performance of another similar CPU one more time. Nevertheless, since the new Phenom II X4 965 managed to overclock to the psychologically important 4.0 GHz barrier, we decided to compare the performance of this overclocked processor against the performance of other overclocked processors with comparable price tags. This test session will allow us to conclude which of the existing mainstream quad-core CPUs will be the best fit for an overclocker platform.

We are going to compare Phenom II X4 965 against two Intel solutions with similar price point: Core 2 Quad Q9400 and Core i5-750. This way, we ended up using three major testbeds during our test session:

  1. Socket AM3 platform:
    • CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 (Deneb, 3.4 GHz, 4 x 512 KB L2, 6 MB L3);
    • Mainboard: Gigabyte MA790FXT-UD5P (Socket AM3, AMD 790FX + SB750, DDR3 SDRAM).
    • Memory: 2 x 2 GB, DDR3-1333 SDRAM, 7-7-7-18 (Mushkin 996601).
  2. LGA775 platform:
    • CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 (Yorkfield, 2.66 GHz, 1333 MHz FSB, 3 + 3 MB L2);
    • Mainboard: ASUS P5Q3 (LGA775, Intel P45 Express, DDR3 SDRAM).
    • Memory: 2 x 2 GB, DDR3-1333 SDRAM, 7-7-7-18 (Mushkin 996601).
  3. LGA1156 platform:
    • CPU: Intel Core i5-750 (Lynnfield, 2.66 GHz, 4.8 GHz QPI, 4 x 256 KB L2, 8 MB L3);
    • Mainboard: Asus P7P55D Deluxe (LGA1156, Intel P55 Express);
    • Memory: 2 x 2 GB, DDR3-1333 SDRAM, 7-7-7-18 (Mushkin 996601).

Besides the above mentioned components all testbeds also included the following:

  • ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card.
  • Western Digital WD1500AHFD HDD.
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64 OS.
  • Drivers:
    • Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility 9.1.1.1019;
    • ATI Catalyst 9.10 Display Driver.

The parameters of tested processors in their nominal mode and during overclocking are summed up in the table below:

 
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