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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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  • FAIL (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13, 2009 @10:54AM (#29052345)

    I'm running a Q9550 at 3.4 Ghz right now (with the ability to go much higher) and mine only uses 95 watts.

    AMD has a long ways to go to get back in the game. I can't imagine craptacular ideas like purchasing ATI are helping.

    • 219 dollars at newegg

      • And motherboard?

        At least before, motherboards for AMD CPUs were cheaper, often nullifying short-lived Intel's CPU price advantage.

        Though power consumption alone turns me off.

    • 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.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It has been fairly well proven that AMD is full of it in that regard. Just search and you will find lots of tests comparing the actual power usage and Intel always comes out on top.

        • by lalena ( 1221394 )
          In many of these tests, they measure the power used to perform a certain task. Even if the Intel consumes 10% more power, if it gets done 25% faster then it consumes less power overall.
      • Re:FAIL (Score:5, Interesting)

        by A Friendly Troll ( 1017492 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @12:01PM (#29053473)

        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.

        Sadly, that is incorrect. []

        While idle is comparable (Intel has a slight lead), full load most definitely isn't - 75% extra power consumption (which amounts to over 60W!) for the X4 965 over a Q9550 is far from "slightly more".

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by avandesande ( 143899 )

          It certainly appears that the Q9550 is in a sweet spot for low cost (including platform), power draw and performance.

          • by Moryath ( 553296 )

            Speccing systems over the years, I'm amazed that people don't go more in-depth.

            Every time I spec, I find that I can get an equivalently-performing AMD chip (plus motherboard and RAM and a nice, gigantic Zalman 9700-style heatsink) for ~$50 less than an equivalent Intel rig.

            The Intel rig uses a stock HSF (meaning higher running temps and more risk) and still tends to cost ~$40 more each for the motherboard and processor. I've tried to see what I could do to get it to equal out, but there just aren't Intel bo

        • Re:FAIL (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Nuno Sa ( 1095047 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @01:31PM (#29054725)

          Sadly, that is incorrect.


          "Interestingly enough, the systems based on Phenom II quad-cores (including the X4 965) draw quite a bit less power at idle than our Q9550-based test system."

          "That said, the X4 965-based system draws only 15W more than the Q9550-based one. The gap between the Q9550- and X4 965-based systems is thus smaller than the processors' TDP ratings alone suggest. [In full load]"

          "By virtue of its lower system power draw at idle and its ability to finish the rendering task sooner, the Phenom II X4 965 fares better than the Q9550 in our two most important measures of energy efficiency."

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Rudeboy777 ( 214749 )
          The difference is not quite so stark at Anandtech, I wonder what the difference is between their tests?

    • Re:FAIL (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mdm-adph ( 1030332 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @12:13PM (#29053605)

      You were running 95 watts at stock (2.83 GHz). You're way, way over that by now!

  • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @10:55AM (#29052369) Journal

    .. can now double as still for my homemade vodka

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @10:56AM (#29052383) Homepage
    read: if you didnt shit in a marble toilet this morning and start the day trying to figure out which of your sedans to drive to the office, you may find this chips introduction "problematic" from a pricing standpoint.
    • With $1000 enthusiast CPUs, the price isn't horrible by comparison.

      Still, you can get Intel CPUs that'll run at similar clock speeds for similar prices (except use more electricity), and right now, Intel has the performance/clock ratio advantage over AMD.

      So I wouldn't call it /expensive/ in the grand scheme of things, it's just not that impressive either.

      • by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <> on Thursday August 13, 2009 @12:16PM (#29053649) Homepage
        The thing is, it's the value proposition of AMD that's attractive... the motherboards are cheaper, and you can upgrade incrementally with them. You don't have to get a whole new system to upgrade. The AM3 chips fit into the AM2+ sockets, the AM3 chips are compatible with DDR2 RAM as well as DDR3...
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Tubal-Cain ( 1289912 )
          I could, but I can't justify it to myself. Replace a whole PC, and you can do something useful with the old one. Replace a part.... this RAM is still perfectly good, but I can't do anything with it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by MBGMorden ( 803437 )

            I see your point there, but, for me at least, I eventually run out of "useful" things to do with my old pcs a while back. Router and NAS are handled by dedicated devices (both are running embedded Linux though so I can technically SSH in and still play with em). I've got 3 desktops (Mac, Linux, Windows), a 4th desktop for playing with stuff (currently running Syallable, though will likely switch to Haiku if they get a better installer available), a Windows laptop, and a MythBuntu based HTPC.

            Honestly I jus

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MBGMorden ( 803437 )

      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 . . .

    • drive? myself? Oh it was supposed to be a +1 funny post. Sorry.

  • if it's a server class part, i think they'd do better emulating sun's T2 part. 8 multi-thread cores, a single FPU unit shared by all cores and some logic to improve encryption and networking. this with x86 support would give Xeon a run for it's money.

    now, as a desktop part, i think it's idiotic as hell. a low power chip with a decent software stack to offload certain proccessing tasks - like video and audio encoding - to the GPU (wich they also make) would do much better in terms of performance per watt.


  • This is midrange? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Byron II ( 671689 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:01AM (#29052471)
    How is a $245, quad-core chip considered mid-range?
    • Re:This is midrange? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SkankinMonkey ( 528381 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:06AM (#29052555)
      Have you seen Intel's pricing? Can't get a decent solution from them including a motherboard for under 500 whereas I just recently built a full Phenom II computer for about 400 (including hard drive). I'm not convinced that Intel is really interested in mid-ranged computing.
      • You suck at pricing up intel kit, you can get a Core2Quad Q9550 and mobo for about $300, or an i7 920 for $350.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          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:

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by anagama ( 611277 )
            I think he was including the motherboard in the price.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by PitaBred ( 632671 )
            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.
            • Yes, but if you're going for value for your buck, the Core2Quad Q9650 is as fast as this, uses that nice cheep DDR2 RAM, is cheeper than this AMD chip, and the mobos are nice and cheep too. So all together, AMD's looking pretty crappy atm.

          • Yes, and then you need to buy a $150 mobo, he did after all state he was looking for mobo *and* CPU.

        • Eh? I just paid CA$310 for an i7 920 and around the same for an LGA 1366 motherboard. I'd love to know what fly-by-night retailer you're getting stuff from...

                --- Mr. DOS

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jeff Carr ( 684298 )
        I just built a new computer for my parents with an Intel boxdg41ty, E6300, 4 gigs of Patriot DDR2, a 1 terabyte Seagate drive, and a Corsair 400 watt power supply for about 275 after rebates and shipping. It isn't a gaming machine, but it works beautifully for just about anything the average non gamer will throw at it.
    • Midrange for servers?

    • by Stenchwarrior ( 1335051 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:07AM (#29052577)

      Because it's between this []

      And this []

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kieran ( 20691 )

      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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Albanach ( 527650 )

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

        We've been waiting a decade for improvements in multi-threaded processing to take advantage of multiple cores.

        Are you suggesting programmers are going to make the dramatic developments in the next couple of years that they have been unable to in the last ten?

        Certainly I can see the number of cores increasing at the server end - it's straightforward enough to run one process per client. I'm unsure what's going to change o

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by k_187 ( 61692 )
          Honestly, I think its been a chicken and egg problem for a while. Nobody used multiple cores on the desktop because software didn't take advantage of it and the software didn't take advantage of it because nobody had multiple processors. Intel and AMD realized that if they wanted to keep on the MOAR POWAR treadmill, they were going to have to start packing more cores into the processors. There's no reason to think that programmers won't catch up eventually. We're already seeing stuff take advantage of d
        • by san ( 6716 )

          Multicore CPUs are more about what CPU designers can deliver than about what people can actually use.

          Because the limiting factors in single-cpu performance have been memory latency and instruction-level parallelism for the last half decade, there has been very little progress in single-core cpu performance over that period of time.

          Both these problems won't find a solution any time soon, so don't expect the cores of your 64-core CPU of 2015 to be much faster than the cores of today.

        • Are you suggesting programmers are going to make the dramatic developments in the next couple of years that they have been unable to in the last ten?

          Yes. Ten years ago SMP was not common. These days it is. Don't let complexity vs performance gain confuse your sense of direction. Without a doubt, there is an ever increasing push to take advantage of multiple cores, where it makes sense to do so. Already more and more games attempt to break audio, graphics, physics, loading/caching into multiple threads of ex

      • You can get an X4 955 for $200 on sale. It's a 3.2GHz/125W quad-core. Not too much wallet stretching, especially compared to this new one.
    • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:18AM (#29052761)
      Because it's between $100 and $500 which is probably the high end for most PC class processors. Intel has the Core2Duo at the low end, the Core2Quad and the low end Core i7 in the midrange and the faster Core i7 at the high end with a few enthusiast offering at the extremely high end (~$1000). That's basically been the market as long as I can remember which dates back to the early 90's.
    • $200-$400 seems to be Intels "mid range", so they are probably comparing it to that.

    • Because the high-end is the 8-core workstation sitting next to me at my desk.
  • I have my sights set on the intel Q6600 (2.6(?)ghz quad core2)... as soon as the price dips below $175. It's been the same price since Dec 2007, but it overclocks to 3.4ghz on the stock cooler and dissipates only 95w, meaning it plugs into pretty much any C2Duo motherboard. For now though, my 2.4ghz core 2 duo is fast/powerful enough to do anything, including run folding@home while running TF2 + 20 windows of firefox with 5-10 tabs each.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by iamhassi ( 659463 )
      I've had a Core 2 Duo E4300 running at 3.0 ghz for almost three years now and I haven't found a reason to upgrade. Friends with quad core report no increase in speed or performance, and the only thing that would encourage me to upgrade is a more smp friendly OS but the offerings from Microsoft (Vista and Windows 7) have been pretty poor lately.

      So are we done with the mhz battle? Is ~3ghz the breaking point? We've had Xeon 3.0GHz cpus for over 5 years now []. That's a long time to not see a jump in speed
      • by Reapman ( 740286 )

        Agreed.. I remember winning a 3.2 Extreme Edition CPU 4-5 years back or something like that. My 2 year old C2D I've been able to overclock to 3.2, but the Mhz battle is truely dead, at least for now.

        Not that it's a bad thing, CPU's are way more efficient and still faster then the CPU's 5 years ago, but it was fun watching the battle. AMD isn't much more then a whimper right now.

      • 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.

    • Sorry, that CPU will never decrease in price. It will be phased out while remaining at its current price. I recommend combing EBay and Craigslist for a used one if you are convinced this is what you want.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mdm-adph ( 1030332 )

      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.

  • by For a Free Internet ( 1594621 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:06AM (#29052559)

    AMD and Intel are just running on its fumes. Silicon (Si) is inherently limited by its inorganic composition which means it produces lots of heat especially when it is on the Web. All the smart engineers at the secret R&D labs are working on organic computing: solving the paradox of user interface versus wattage by harnessing the power of bacteria to create a new paradigm of information that is multi-dimensional. Instead of "processes" and "treads" and "HTML" we will have gases and sugars dancing to the rhythm of our wildest imaginations. And one more thing... you will not need your eyes any more since the two-dimensional "screen" and "paper" metaphor will be replaced by a revolutionary direct access to pure consciousness. Buy my book.

  • Anyone know when we should expect the first CPUs from either Intel or AMD that have more than 6 cores?

  • by millisa ( 151093 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:07AM (#29052579)

    When it comes down to processor comparisons, I see very little compelling about this new AMD proc. The i7 920 is going to outperform it at most things, uses less power and is only 35 bucks more. Eventually for those of us always-on users, even the 10 watt savings of the i7 is going to kill the slight price advantage.

    The only thing I see interesting here is the fact that you have more commodity boards to choose from, could do a slower upgrade (re-use your ddr2!) but this isn't any different than the currently line of quad proc amd chips, many of which can be had for cheaper and use less power.

    Come on, AMD, you can do better.

  • Finally, the BTX form factor will be reborn. So long have we been complacent with the temporary trend of cooler running chips there is finally the need for the BTX form factor to extend beyond the Dell desktop.

    • It'll be a true rebirth - Dell hasn't used BTX motherboards for quite some time now. I'm not holding my breath however.

  • by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:53AM (#29053357)
    • AMD Phenom II X4 965 - $249
    • Intel Core2 Quad Q9550 - $219
    • Intel Core i7 920 - $279

    Article shows that performance is roughly equivalent beween the Q9550 and Phenom 965, with the AMD part enjoying a slight advantage if you look at all the benchmarks together. This while costing $30 more and consuming more power.

    Would be interesting to see a comparison of the i7 920 with the Phenom. I'm guessing the 920 would outperform, which is what you'd expect since you're paying $30 more.

  • ...than I I paid for my i7 920, which is currently running at 3.5GHz without a hiccup.

    Now the *motherboard* was considerably spendier ;-)

  • I'm trying to pick components now for at least 3 new boxes, and here's my take: All the processors are bloody fucking fast. They're all way faster than what I need. What really matters to me are drivers for low-powered IGP chipsets.

    Intel X4500HD vs AMD/ATI G780. Who will get their damn xvmc drivers working first? That is all that matters, and yet it determines what motherboards I'll end up using, therefore CPUs too.

    It'll be a damn shame if I cheese out and go with Nvidia. If I have to buy from them jus

  • AMD vs Intel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sanosuke001 ( 640243 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @01:50PM (#29054983)
    I know I'll be called a fanboy or something but I've been building AMD/ATI systems for the last ten years based solely on the fact that it isn't Intel/nVidia. I'm not going to pay $1000 for the top-of-the-line Intel chip anyway and I'd rather see AMD in business than Intel be the only big player.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain