AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition review

Is there life in the old Phenom II X4 dog yet?

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Our Verdict

Mild makeover for AMD's long-serving quad-core CPU isn't enough to make it truly competitive.

Product features

  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)

View full specification


  • High clockspeed
  • Competitive multi-threading performance


  • Mediocre gaming grunt
  • Minimal overclocking headroom

By now, we were hoping to able to get our hands on AMD's new Bulldozer archtecture processors, but there's still no sign of them, so instead we back with the familiar Phenom II theme. Give it up for the new AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition.

Based on the 45nm Deneb core that's being doing duty in quad-core Phenom II chips for nearly two years, the AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition sports a heady stock clockspeed of 3.5GHz. Yup, that's precisely 100MHz or three per cent faster than the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition, previously the fastest X4 model.

This kind of incremental upgrade is symptomatic of an ageing processor architecture on it last legs. But while Bulldozer can't come soon enough, there's no reason why the 970 shouldn't be an attractive CPU. It all comes down to pricing and positioning. At £140, the 970 squares up directly against Intel's Core i5 760. Game on.

Tech Specs

Product TypeProcessor
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Thermal Design Power125 W
Processor ManufacturerAMD
Product FamilyPhenom II X4
L3 Cache6 MB
Clock Speed3.50 GHz
Brand NameAMD
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, ENERGY STAR
64-bit ProcessingYes
Thermal Specification62°C
L2 Cache1 MB
ManufacturerAdvanced Micro Devices, Inc
Product Model970
Product NamePhenom II X4 Quad-core 970 3.5GHz Black Edition Processor
Product LinePhenom II X4
Input Voltage1.4 V DC
Manufacturer Part NumberHDZ970FBGMBOX
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Unbeatable multi-core value with AMD Phenom II processors. They deliver The Ultimate Visual Experience™ for high definition entertainment, advanced multitasking performance, and power-saving innovations for smaller, cooler machines that are energy efficient.

Packaged Quantity1
Process Technology45 nm
Package Contents
  • Phenom II X4 Quad-core 970 3.5GHz Black Edition Processor
  • Installation Manual
  • Certificate of Authenticity
  • AMD Processor Case Sticker
  • Heatsink/fan with Thermal Interface