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Closer Look at the New Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition CPU

This time our story of the new processor will be pretty short. Phenom II X4 965 is based on exactly the same semiconductor Deneb core as other Socket AM3 Phenom II X4 processors. In other words, Phenom II X4 965 is the result of simple increase in the clock speed to 3.4 GHz. In fact, it is a pretty logical solution. As we have seen from our previous overclocking tests, contemporary 45 nm quad-core AMD processors can work perfectly fine at frequencies up to 3.6-3.8 GHz with air-cooling alone. That is why it is not surprising at all that AMD decided to strengthen their position in the CPU market by simply increasing the clock frequency by another 200 MHz increment.

There is only one thing: this time clock frequency increase wasn’t really free: it led to increase in Phenom II X4 965 heat dissipation beyond the initially set Socket AM3 processors TDP of 125 W. The new CPU has a TDP of 140 W. However, the processor voltage regulator circuitry on most Socket AM3 mainboards can deal with this load just fine.

After everything we have just said, the specifications of the new Phenom II X4 965 processor look quite logical:

Just like all previous top Phenom II X4 processor models, the new solution also belongs to the Black Edition series. It means that the CPU has an unlocked clock frequency multiplier that makes overclocking experiments way easier to perform.

Looks like Phenom II X4 965 is the last addition to the “top” of the Phenom II X4 family. Increased heat dissipation and proximity to exhausting the overclocking potential suggest that it won’t be soon before AMD increases the clock speed of their CPUs again. There is only one thing they can do to increase the performance of their solution without changing anything in the microarchitecture or releasing new Deneb processor stepping: they can increase the working frequency of the North Bridge part built into the CPU or support of faster memory, especially since Phenom II X4 processor can already work with DDR3-1600, though unofficially. However, I don’t think you should really bet on these improvements, as they will have minimal effect on the overall performance.

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