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AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4 GHz Socket AM3 125W Processor Review

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4 GHz Socket AM3 125W Processor Review - PCSTATS
Price Check: $/£/€
Abstract: In most other respects the quad core 3.4GHz Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 125W revision remains the same. The architecture is "Deneb", the socket is AM3 and the CPU still features 6MB of shared L3 and 512KB of L2 cache for each of the four cores.
 81% Rating:   
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: AMD Nov 04 2009   Julian Apong  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > AMD henom II X4 965 Black Edition C3

125W Black Edition Overclocking - Breaking 4.0GHz?

Overclocking Results:
Stock Max. OC
Processor Speed: 3.4 GHz

4.05 GHz

Multiplier / Bus Speed: 17x 200MHz

18x 225Hz

If you're new to Overclocking and not sure what to do, check out these two excellent Guides for some pointers:
Overclocking the CPU and Memory
Overclocking the Videocard

Intel has its Extreme Edition processors and AMD has Black Edition processors, but what do these two chips have in common? Both enthusiast grade processor families are multiplier unlocked! Being 'multiplier unlocked' means the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) processor can be overclocked from its default clock speed of 3.4GHz simply by adjusting the clock multiplier. It can be overclocked in the standard way too, by increasing the motherboard bus speed, or even a combination of the two settings.

That kind flexibility is wonderful stuff. Plus, by changing the CPU multiplier from the default of 17x, to say... 20x, the CPU will run faster without affecting bus speeds at all. Multiplier-based overclocking makes it easy for enthusiasts to reach high CPU speeds with lower bus speeds - the best of both worlds really.

PCSTATS is going to use a combination of multiplier and bus speeds to overclock the Phenom II X4 965 BE (125W) chip, our aim is at least 4.0GHz.

Pre-Overclocking Warm up...

Before overclocking begins there are a few things we need to change to give the processor the best possible chance of maxing out. First, the Corsair CM3X2G1600C9DHX memory is set to run in DDR3-800 MHz mode, from DDR3-1066. This way the memory won't be holding the CPU back as bus speeds increase. The standard AMD reference AVC Z7U7414001 heatsink will be used for cooling. For the latest and greatest cooling solutions have a look at PCSTATS' sister website, Frostytech.com.

Overclocking is always luck of the draw, but if you choose good PC hardware you won't be held back by a weak link in the chain. PCSTATS selected a Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P motherboard, a 750W PC Power and Cooling power supply, and two sticks of the aforementioned Corsair memory. When it comes to overclocking, PCSTATS almost always relies on Corsair RAM - why settle for junk DIMMs?

Okay, let's getting down to business. AMD's Phenom II X4 965 BE (125W) CPU operates with a 17x multiplier by default, so the first step will be increasing this to 18x, 19x, then 19.5x and 20x. The multiplier was overclocked to 20.5x as well, but this caused the Phenom II X4 965 BE (125W) to BSOD while loading Windows Vsita. Still, as far as overclocks go 20.5x is pretty good - effectively 4.1GHz.

To recap, while the processor would POST at 20.5x, it wasn't stable so we were forced to settle on a maximum multiplier overclock of 20x, or 4.00 GHz for the Phenom II X4 965 BE (125W).

Overclocking the Motherboard Bus Speed

With the CPU multiplier back at 17x, PCSTATS set about overclocking the Phenom II X4 965 BE (125W) by bus speed alone. Starting from 200MHz, the Phenom II X4 965 BE was overclocked to 230MHz, 240MHz and 245MHz in quick succession before the Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT board balked out at 250MHz. After some trial and error, we eventually settled on a moderate overclock of 240Hz bus speed, or a processor speed of 4.08GHz!!

Bus + Multiplier Overclocking

For our final round of overclocking fun, the bus speed was reset to 200MHz and CPU multiplier to 17x, then we started increasing each setting towards its previous maximum. It didn't take very long before the Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT motherboard was running at 225MHz, and the multiplier at 18.5x - effectively 4.16GHz.

The system would POST but crash while loading Vista, so the bus had to be dropped down to 225MHz.

While your milage may vary, in the we settled on a 18x multiplier and 225MHz bus speed which left us with a CPU overclock of 4.05GHz. That's a pretty decent overclock of 650MHz above the stock speed of the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) processor! Next up, PCSTATS has several round of benchmarks to test the Phenom II X4's multi-threading capabilities and how it stacks up against CPUs like the Core i5 750!

Prelude to Benchmarks

For this review PCSTATS is running the benchmark suite in both Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Windows 7 operating systems. Hopefully this will help you make an informed decision in the coming months as Windows 7 adoption firms up. For the most part, benchmark results are not significantly different between the two operating systems, although certain tests do see advantages under Win 7.

Over the following page we'll be running AMD's 3.4GHz quad-core Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W revision) processor though PCSTATS standard set of gaming, productivity, and multi-threaded processor benchmarks. There are a wide variety of gaming and synthetic benchmarks here to illustrate what kind of performance boost users can expect from the latest quad-core socket AM3 AMD processor. Please take a moment to look over PCSTATS test system configurations before moving on to the individual benchmark results on the next several pages.

PCSTATS Test System Configurations
Test System Reference System #1 Reference System #2 Reference System #3
Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (140W)
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W)
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition
AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition
AMD Athlon II X4 620
AMD Athlon II X3 435
AMD Athlon II X2 250
AMD Athlon II X2 240e

Intel Core i5 750

Intel Core i7 920 Intel Core 2 Duo E8500
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
CPU Process Technology: 45nm 45nm 45nm 45nm
Socket: Socket AM3 Socket LGA1156 Socket LGA1366 Socket LGA775
Clock Speed:

17x 200MHz = 3.4 GHz (965 BE)
16x 200MHz = 3.2 GHz(955 BE)
14 x 200 MHz = 2.8 GHz (720 BE)
15.5x 200MHz = 3.1 GHz (550BE)
13x 200MHz = 2.6 GHz (AIIX4 620)
14.5x 200MHz = 2.9 GHz (AIIX3 435)
15x 200MHz = 3.0 GHz (AIIX2 250)
14x 200 MHz = 2.8 GHz (AIIX2 240e)

20x 133MHz = 2.66 GHz 20 x 133 MHz = 2.67 GHz 9.5 x 333 MHz = 3.16GHz (E8500)
9 x 333 MHz = 3.0 GHz (E8500)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P (AMD 790FX) Gigabyte GA-P55-UD6 (Intel P55)
MSI X58 Platinum (X58 Express)

MSI X48 Platinum (X48 Express)

Videocard: ASUS ENGTS250 DK
(Geforce GTS250)
(Geforce GTS250)
(Geforce GTS 250)
(Geforce 8800GTS)

2x2GB Corsair XMS3-1600C9 DDR3
2x1GB Patriot PDC32G1600LLK DDR3

2x2GB Corsair XMS3-1600C8 DDR3 3x2GB Corsair TR3X6G1600C8D DDR3

2x1GB Patriot PDC32G1600LLK DDR3

Hard Drive:

74GB Western Digital Raptor WD740

Optical Drive:


Power Supply:

PC Power & Cooling TurboCool 750W


Athlon64 K8 Reference Heatsink

Intel Reference 1156 Heatsink Intel Reference 1366 Heatsink Intel Reference 775 Heatsink
Software Setup:

Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate
AMD Catalyst 9.8
nVIDIA Forceware 190.62

Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate
nVIDIA Forceware 190.62

Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate
Intel INF
nVIDIA Forceware 182.08

Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate
Intel INF
nVIDIA Forceware 169.25

System Benchmarks:
SYSmark 2007
PCMark Vantage
SiSoft Sandra 2009

Calculation B/M:
Super Pi 1.5
wPrime 2.0
ScienceMark 2.3
WinRAR 3.8
Bibble 5

Rendering B/M:
Cinebench R10
POV-Ray 3.7
SPECviewPerf 10

Gaming B/M:
3DMark Vantage

< Previous Page © 2019 PCSTATS.com Next Page >


Contents of Article: AMD henom II X4 965 Black Edition C3
 Pg 1.  AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4 GHz Socket AM3 125W Processor Review
 Pg 2.  Core-by-Core System Power Draw
 Pg 3.  — 125W Black Edition Overclocking - Breaking 4.0GHz?
 Pg 4.  CPU System Benchmarks: Sysmark 2007
 Pg 5.  CPU System Benchmarks: PCMark Vantage
 Pg 6.  CPU Synthetic Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra Processor
 Pg 7.  CPU Synthetic Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra Memory
 Pg 8.  CPU Calculation Benchmarks: Super Pi
 Pg 9.  CPU Calculation Benchmarks: wPrime2.0
 Pg 10.  CPU Calculation Benchmarks: ScienceMark2, WinRAR
 Pg 11.  CPU Rendering Benchmarks: Cinebench R10, Bibble 5
 Pg 12.  CPU Rendering Benchmarks: POV-Ray 3.7
 Pg 13.  CPU Rendering Benchmarks: SPECviewPerf 10
 Pg 14.  CPU Synthetic Gaming Benchmarks: 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 06
 Pg 15.  CPU Gaming Benchmarks: Crysis
 Pg 16.  CPU Gaming Benchmarks: FEAR
 Pg 17.  Same Performance, More Energy Efficient

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   10 / 23 / 2019 | 6:00AM
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