AMD Phenom II X4 965 Rev. C3: Taking Power Down a Notch
Overclocking and Conclusion
This particular chip was able to easily go 200 MHz faster overall than the previous X4 965 chip I tested. This is the first Phenom II that I have tested that is actually stable at 4 GHz with the current power, motherboard, and cooling setup that I use. 4 GHz at 1.425v is pretty impressive. I attempted 4.1 GHz at 1.45v, and it was not stable at that speed. Those with superior cooling solutions and the nerve to use 1.55 volts should be able to extract more speed out of these chips easily.
While I got some of the earlier Phenom II's to 4 GHz, they were not stable enough to even get a screenshot. The Rev. C3 chip I have runs perfectly fine at 4 GHz, and made it through all of my benchmarks.
The Rev. C3 chips are not the second coming, but they are allowing AMD to be more competitive with Intel from a manufacturing and thermals standpoint. The extra overclocking room should make this popular with enthusiasts, and the price that these chips are offered at will certainly appeal to many. Combining this chip with a sub $100 785G board (like the Asus M4A785TD-V EVO) and a HD 5750 or HD 5770 will make for a pretty hefty DX 11 gaming machine for not a whole lot of dough.
The Rev. C3 system in action. Now that winter is fast approaching here in Wyoming, I might have to open up the window and see how cold I can get the machine...
Taking the X4 965 down to 125 watts TDP is also a big win for AMD. A lot of major OEMs look down on CPUs that are above 125 watts for many desktop setups. Having to add a lot of cooling to a design to handle higher TDPs is a simple fact of life, but most manufacturers do not want to spend the time and money doing just that. While my real world tests did not show a huge decrease in actual “at the wall” power, it is enough to make manufacturers take a second look at AMD’s offerings. When the lower speed/lower power offerings start hitting, we hopefully will see more pickup on the Phenom II X3 and X4 scene.