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AMD's Phenom II 965, 3.4GHz, 140 Watts, $245 273

Vigile writes "While AMD does not have the muscle to push around the i7, they certainly have the ability to give the older and more common Core 2 Quads a run for their money. With the release of the Phenom II X4 965, AMD further attempts to dethrone the Core 2 Quad as the premier midrange CPU offering. While it may not be a world-beater by any stretch of the imagination, it certainly is catching Intel's attention in the breadbasket of the CPU market. The X4 965 is the fastest clocked processor that AMD has ever produced, much less shipped in mass quantities. While the speed bump is appreciated, the cost in terms of power and heat will make the introduction of the X4 965 problematic for some. Many of us thought that we would never see another 140 watt processor (as the Phenom 9950 was), but unfortunately those days are back. Still, AMD offers a compelling part at a reasonable price, and their motherboard support for this new 140 watt processor is robust."
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AMD's Phenom II 965, 3.4GHz, 140 Watts, $245

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  • Re:This is midrange? (Score:3, Informative)

    by kieran ( 20691 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:09AM (#29052611)

    Don't let the quad-core bit fool you; that'll be low-end in a couple of years, no doubt.

    Still, the chip in question is definitely at the upper reaches of "mid-range" in my book. I've just picked up the X3 720 model for my home machine, and that was stretching the wallet as far as I was inclined to.

  • by lukas84 ( 912874 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:10AM (#29052633) Homepage

    Yeah, but the i7-920 requires a mainboard with triple channel memory and a quick path interface. They're more expensive than the AMD board, making the price comparison a bit more difficult.

    That said, i bought an i7-920, i think it's the better choice - so far, i haven't been disappointed. We have a few new servers with 5540 Xeons, and they're absurdly fast.

  • Re:More cores? (Score:4, Informative)

    by lukas84 ( 912874 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:23AM (#29052863) Homepage

    Beckton, the 8 core / 16 threads Nehalem CPU will be out in Q1 2010.

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/opinion/1050976/intel-bunch-fun-cpus-moves-2010 [theinquirer.net]

  • Re:FAIL (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:25AM (#29052893)
    Intel and AMD release different numbers for their CPU's power consumption. Intel gives an average and AMD gives a maximum. They're not comparible. In real world testing, the X4 965 uses slightly less power at idle and slightly more power at full load than a stock Q9550.
  • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:28AM (#29052939)

    You can get an i7 920 for $200, so not only is it faster and lower power, it's also cheeper.

    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0302727 [microcenter.com]

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:33AM (#29053017)

    Are you kidding? It wasn't THAT long ago that $245 bought you a budget CPU, and plenty of people without "marble toilets" had computers back then. Yes, it costs a bit more than the $50 budget chips that are available now, but I think you're exaggerating the impact of the price here. It's not that bad . . .

  • Re:Q6600 (Score:5, Informative)

    by PotatoFarmer ( 1250696 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:35AM (#29053039)

    That's a long time to not see a jump in speed, what happened to "doubling every 18 months"? We should be around 24ghz by now.

    If you're referring to Moore's law, it's not a doubling of speed every 18 months, it's a doubling of transistor counts. Clock speed has never been part of that equation, no matter what intel's late-1990s marketing department would have you believe.

  • Re:This is midrange? (Score:2, Informative)

    by nobodylocalhost ( 1343981 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:51AM (#29053323)

    huh? what planet do you live on to pay 350 for i7 920? i paid $199 for mine, given it was on a sale, but normal price for 920 are in the low 200 usd range.

    here is a link:
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0302727 [microcenter.com]

  • Re:This is midrange? (Score:3, Informative)

    by anagama ( 611277 ) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:56AM (#29053399) Homepage
    I think he was including the motherboard in the price.
  • Re:Q6600 (Score:3, Informative)

    by mdm-adph ( 1030332 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @12:16PM (#29053651)

    The newer batches of the Q6600 (2.4 GHz stock, by the way) are terrible overclockers -- you'll have to buy one of the older ones off of Ebay to have any chance of getting it above 3.2 GHz (even experienced overclockers had tons of trouble with the newest Q6600's).

    Just get a Q9400 -- it's both faster, cooler, and has more overclocking headroom.

  • Re:This is midrange? (Score:3, Informative)

    by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <slashdot AT pitabred DOT dyndns DOT org> on Thursday August 13, 2009 @12:18PM (#29053687) Homepage
    You still need DDR3 RAM, and an i7 mobo. Those are both more expensive than an AM3 motherboard with DDR2 RAM. Not as fast overall, but it's a fair bit better value for the buck. Not to mention that you can upgrade incrementally with AMD... the AM3 CPU's work with both DDR2/AM2+ motherboards and DDR2/AM3 and DDR3/AM3 motherboards.
  • Re:FAIL (Score:2, Informative)

    by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @12:30PM (#29053879) Homepage Journal

    Let's wait a month - and see price then. AMD drops prices for their CPUs quite soon.

    Still, 140W is bit over the top. Considering that workstation market is dominated by Intel CPUs which have now lead in both performance and power consumption, the CPU have few niches left.

  • Re:More cores? (Score:3, Informative)

    by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @12:35PM (#29053941) Journal

    in a multi chip module (MCM), intel calls it a Multi Chip Package (MCP).
    It's two single chips of 6 cores each in one package.
    It is two chips in one socket.

  • by JumpDrive ( 1437895 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @12:38PM (#29053967)
    I'd mod you up.
    But this is the customer line they are looking for. We currently use 6 computers with Phenom II 940's onboard at this time for data analysis. When comparing these with Intel computers the cost would have been much higher. What we found repeatedly during matrix calculations was that the performance vs cost just wasn't a contest.
    I am really really beginning to wonder how much calculation stress people put on their computer in this mid-range market, because I hear and see all of these benchmarks and people discussing their performance and I just don't see a cost performance comparison. I have talked with other people who do some of the same type of work and they see the same thing.
    We do take some added cautions with air circulation just to make sure that we don't run into issues. We repeatedly have cranked these things for 24 hours straight with cpu's running at 70 to 95% of capacity and actually had one occasion where the systems ran over a weekend (limits weren't set correctly).
  • by Nuno Sa ( 1095047 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @01:22PM (#29054595)

    Yeah. Intel's TDP definition is different from AMD's. AMD reports the maximum wattage the CPU can burn at full load. Intel reports a "typical" number.

    If this was an Intel CPU the number would be something like 90W or 95W for the very same CPU.

    Anyway, everybody knows that. You can't trust vendor's numbers. Just do your own checking with a power meter.

  • Re:FAIL (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rudeboy777 ( 214749 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @01:35PM (#29054763)
    The difference is not quite so stark at Anandtech, I wonder what the difference is between their tests?

    http://anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3619&p=8 [anandtech.com]
  • Re:FAIL (Score:5, Informative)

    by A Friendly Troll ( 1017492 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @01:36PM (#29054793)

    Tech Report tells a different story: ... A story that says that you can't necessarily compare like-for-like when using different motherboards.

    Which is why X-bit Labs did this:

    To get a better idea of the situation, we performed a separate Phenom II X4 965 power consumption test under heavy load when none of the other system components are taken into account. To be more exact, we measured the consumption along the 12 V power line connected directly to the processor voltage regulator on the mainboard. In other words, this measurement method didnt take into account the efficiency of the voltage regulator circuitry. ... and got 84W for the Q9550 and 147.6W for the X4 965. Granted, like they said in the last sentence, this doesn't take VRM efficiency into account, and it might as well be that those on the AMD motherboard were woefully inefficient and the CPU itself uses plenty less watts than measured. Still, this is 75% extra, and the VRMs cannot be the main reason for it.

    They do similar measurements for graphics cards, too, because measuring total system power consumption from the wall can only get you so far.

    I'd personally be more inclined to trust the Ukrainians.

  • Re:FAIL (Score:4, Informative)

    by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @01:50PM (#29054999)
    Generally speaking, CMOS power consumption is the result of charging and discharging gate capacitors. The charge required to fully charge the gate grows with the voltage; charge times frequency is current. Voltage times current is power. So, as you raise the voltage, the current consumption grows linearly, and the power consumption quadratically, at a fixed frequency. Once you reach the frequency limit of the chip without raising the voltage, further frequency increases are normally proportional to voltage. In other words, once you have to start raising the voltage, power consumption tends to rise with the cube of frequency.
  • Re:Phenom II X4 965 (Score:3, Informative)

    by jdb2 ( 800046 ) * on Thursday August 13, 2009 @02:10PM (#29055255) Journal
    I've been a Linux user for several years and prior to that I was a Windows junkie. Back then, when I upgraded my hardware I never had to do a reinstall of the OS ( XP ) or applications. I don't know if that's what you intended but if not here's a tip :

    Say your system files/data are stored on a single hard drive, ( this also applies to the multiple hard drives ) then, before you do anything with regards to a hardware upgrade, such as changing the mainboard, go into the device manager and replace all your system specific devices with the generic Microsoft equivalents. Now, after you've built the new system install your system drive and you should be able to boot up in a generic VESA display mode in which you can allow Windows to autodetect the new hardware and/or in which you can manually install the new system specific drivers.

    Always worked for me.


  • Re:FAIL (Score:3, Informative)

    by warrior ( 15708 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @03:24PM (#29056187) Homepage
    For a while it will be proportional to (V^2)*f. However, transistor leakage is exponential with respect to Vds due to DIBL (drain-induced barrier lowering) and the resulting decrease in threshold voltage. Raising the voltage too much is a double-whammy WRT power consumption.
  • Re:FAIL (Score:3, Informative)

    by A Friendly Troll ( 1017492 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @03:49PM (#29056501)

    It doesn't take a lot of thinking to see that the Q9550 power draw is bunk. Their fully loaded system power for the machine was 208 Watts. Their Idle load was 120 Watts. Either the Q9550 processor supplies 4 extra Watts to the motherboard at idle or something fishy is going on there.

    Nothing fishy going on. Power supplies and VRMs on motherboard have efficiencies below 100%.

    If the PSU has 70% efficiency at 70W load, which isn't unheard of, it will draw 70/0.7 = 100W from the wall. If it has 80% efficiency at 180W load, it will draw 225W from the wall. The difference measured from the wall in the two scenarios is thus 225-100=125W, while the component load increased by 180-70=110W in this example, for a "mysterious" difference of 15W.

    Also, don't forget that you can never only stress the CPU; the motherboard takes its power, too. Higher temperature also increases power consumption.

    Nothing is linear.

    There's also something horribly wrong with the 147 Watt measurement for the AMD processor. That's 7 Watts over it's absolute maximum design rating which would put it over and above what the Motherboard manufacturer's are supposed to design for.

    Motherboard manufacturers *always* design for higher loads because of overclockers and future CPUs. It is also quite possible that other AMD motherboards have more efficient VRMs, so an X4 965 using 147W on that motherboard could use 120W on another.

    In short, X-Bit has power numbers that are well under the real Q9550 numbers and well over the real X4 965 numbers which would make them seem to be fairly untrustworthy in my opinion.

    Not at all. They are the only ones to have tested the true CPU power consumption - granted, before the VRMs kick in, as there's no other way of doing it. Other sites only measured total system consumption from the wall, which is far more inaccurate.

    Clearer now?

    Oh, I forgot to mention - Intel has a Q9550S, which is a 65W TDP version of the Q9550. Do you think it uses 30W less than the regular Q9550?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2009 @04:10PM (#29070269)

    Sorry, that is bullshit. Both Intel and AMD report the same number: maximum power dissipation, since TDP refers to the thermal design power which the cooling solution has to support. "Average" numbers would be useless, since the cooling solution would not be guaranteed to support the peak hotspots which happen even during normal operation.

    It would be helpful if some people actually knew what they were talking about...

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