The introduction of 45 nm manufacturing process turned things around for AMD and fortune started to smile upon them again. New processor cores that were used for Phenom II and Athlon II CPUs allowed AMD to significantly increase the cache memory size and clock frequencies. These improvements were enough to make the new AMD offerings make a successful comeback into the mainstream segment. At this time the price-to-performance ratio offered by AMD processors on 45 nm cores is attractive enough for them to compete successfully against most Intel solutions. Of course, AMD hasn’t yet managed to become a threat for Intel in the upper price segment, but even despite this fact, Phenom II and Athlon II processors are a definite success: the growing consumer interest to these solutions is a clear indication of that.
However, AMD’s immediate future doesn’t look too rosy. Intel has long been preparing a significant refresh of their solutions lineup in $200+ price range. The long awaited Intel Lynnfield processors and new LGA1156 platform that should start selling some time in September have every chance to become extremely interesting offerings and attract a lot of attention. And even though most Phenom II processors are priced a little lower, which saves them from the need to compete directly against LGA1156 newcomers, AMD shows signs of concern about this whole situation. Despite their initial plans, the company is working really hard on increasing the clock speeds of their high-end processor models even despite extremely increased heat dissipation. Following Phenom II X4 955 working at 3.2 GHz clock speed, AMD decided to announce an even faster model – Phenom II X4 965 supporting 3.4 GHz clock frequency at 140 W typical heat dissipation, which is 15 W higher than the TDP of all other solutions in this family. We are going to find out a little later if t this sacrifice is worth it and if the new Phenom II X4 965 will be able to stand even against the junior Lynnfield solution. Today, however, we are going to introduce the newcomer to you and see how well it performs against the already selling processors.
It is important to point out that by launching the new Phenom II X4 965 the manufacturer doesn’t raise the price bar any higher: the new CPU will sell at the same exact official price as its predecessor - $245. Moreover, due to close partnership with other components manufacturers AMD managed to arrange very attractive discounts on kits including new CPUs, mainboards and maybe memory and graphics card, too. In some cases the discounts may reach up to $40 (this will most likely occur only in the US market, though). So, AMD is not really trying to conquer higher-end market: the company is only attempting to compete against Intel Core 2 Quad and if they are lucky – the upcoming Core i5.