AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE review

Can AMD's ageing quad-core architecture survive against newer rivals?

TODO alt text

Our Verdict

A solid quad-core processor, but the end is nigh. AMD's newer six-core is better value.

Product features

  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)

View full specification


  • Good value compared to Intel's quads
  • C3 stepping has improved overclocking headroom


  • Intel has a big performance advantage in games
  • AMD's new six-core chip is only slightly pricier

It's about time AMD released a properly new processor architecture. Until that happens, it's stuck with execution cores that largely date back to 2003. With that in mind, can the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition really be a plausible performance processor?

AMD has certainly made life easier for its top quad-core chip by pricing it competitively. The Phenom II X4 965 BE is cheaper than Intel's entry level quads, the Core i5 750 and Core i5 760. However, at 3.4GHz the 965 is clocked much higher than the Intel opposition.

However, the 965's biggest challenge might just be the cheaper of AMD's new six-core processors. The Phenom II X6 1055T is yours for an extra £10 or so. That's awfully tempting. Of course, what the 1055T doesn't have is an unlocked CPU multiplier. That's an enthusiast-friendly feature that usually makes for easier and more effective overclocking and could tip the balance in favour of the quad-core 965.

Tech Specs

Product TypeProcessor
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Thermal Design Power125 W
Processor ManufacturerAMD
Product FamilyPhenom II X4
L3 Cache6 MB
Clock Speed3.40 GHz
Processor SocketSocket AM3 PGA-941
Brand NameAMD
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, ENERGY STAR
64-bit ProcessingYes
Thermal Specification62°C
L2 Cache2 MB
ManufacturerAdvanced Micro Devices, Inc
Product Model965
Product NamePhenom II X4 Quad-core 965 3.4GHz Processor
Product LinePhenom II X4
Input Voltage1.4 V DC
Manufacturer Part NumberHDZ965FBGMBOX
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

AMD Phenom II is for high definition entertainment, gaming, creativity, and beyond. With AMD Phenom II processors as the foundation, you'll enjoy a new level of responsiveness and visual intensity. AMD puts high definition computing within everyone's reach. AMD Phenom II processors have the power to do it all. Featuring next-generation Quad-core design, they crush even the most demanding tasks. So design it, render it, play it, create it, stream it, HD it. With AMD Phenom II processors, if you can imagine it, you can do it. AMD Phenom II processors were designed with energy efficiency in mind. Capitalizing on AMD's leadership in energy efficiency, they incorporate all of the latest technology that gives you performance when you need it and save power when you don't.

Packaged Quantity1
Process Technology45 nm
Package Contents
  • Phenom II X4 Quad-core 965 3.4GHz Processor
  • Installation Manual
  • Certificate of Authenticity
  • AMD Processor Case Sticker
  • Heatsink/fan with Thermal Interface
Limited Warranty3 Year