AMD Phenom II X4 965BE Rev C3


It was in December 2008 that AMD recommenced their retailiation against Intel with their 45nm Phenom II X4 Quad Core line up of processors. With similar clock for clock performance to it’s Core 2 Quad competition as well as it’s higher frequencies at the same or lower price points, the processors have proven very successful indeed. This does of course also hold true for it’s Triple and Dual core variants that shortly followed. Over the course of the year, we also saw the incorporation of a DDR3 Memory Controller and clock speed increments across the entire Phenom II line, with the current flagship standing at a rather meaty 3.40GHz.
In the grand scheme of things, has AMD’s 45nm progress been that great over the last year? The brand’s aggressive pricing and ramping of clock speeds have helped maintain a level of competition for pretty much all but the enthusiast. Put it this way. This year we have seen three “flagship” Quad Core processors, clocked in at 3.00GHz, 3.20GHz and 3.40GHz of which all were of the Black Edition variant with upwards unlocked CPU multipliers. We’re also going to be honest by saying that over the course of the year, Overclocking Headroom has remained as good as stagnant and would hover anywhere between 3.60 to 3.80GHz for a 24/7 overclock that will run stability tests until the cows go home. This is pretty detrimental to AMD’s (albeit small proportion) of sales to enthusiasts and overclockers as many will surely flock to the new Intel Core i5 750 and an affordable motherboard as it’s yields have allowed for comparatively effortless overclocks towards and beyond the 4.00GHz mark. Despite the Phenom II’s higher tolerances towards high voltages, it always seems as though a brick wall is struck at which point you can expect a further 100-250MHz from playing with different CPU Multi + Base HTT Frequency combinations, HT Link Voltages and NB Voltages. Shamefully so, this always occurs below 4.00GHz.
All may not be lost however, as we are happy to present an updated revision of the Deneb Core, dubbed C3. A new revision of a processor regardless of it being an Intel or AMD is music to all enthusiasts ears as it implements small but crucial changes to the core and generally tend to benefit greatly from the lessons learnt from the previous generation in terms of yields. Most notable examples of this was the release of Intel’s Core 2 Quad Q6600 “G0” revision processor, which saw temperature drops and as much as 200-400MHz increased overclock yields. From the AMD camp, the last revision change was the “B3” 65nm Phenom X4 processors that removed a bug in the processor’s Table Look-Aside Buffer and other minor tweaks that made overclocks of 3.00GHz and over a lot more common.
So what does Revision C3 bring to the flagship AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition processor? First and foremost, the processor’s TDP has been lowered from 140W to a lower 125W envelope, most likely thanks to a lower operating Voltage. Minor adjustments have also been made to it’s internal memory controller and finally, a change has been made to improve clock speed transitions from low power C1E states. The easiest way to distinguish between the two processors is by it's product code.
All in all, the improvements should indicate a clear cut potential for an improvement in overclocking headroom.
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Most Recent Comments

15-11-2009, 11:35:55

Great stuff.

Thing interesting me is what market is open for these AMD cpus.

I feel they need to provide a 'need' to buy an AMD cpu. Existing AM2/3 owners will see them as attractive, but this market I think is both small and arguably only getting smaller.

If u have even an existing 775 setup, do u switch ? (similar argument to changing to anything - age of components maybe)

If ur older setup craps out, do u go AM2/3 or iX/775 ?

Without being an immediate 'got to get' I think it's too easy to overlook them. I can think of 100s of people who recognize these, and previous AMD models, are damn fine cpus - very respectable, and yet when the crunch comes they still won't go AMD<-Intel.

They need something. I've been a long advocate of them doing something special between their cpus and gpus. Something special that if u have 1 of the group, u can't experience, yet coupled together u get.... something.... They've got both techs in their labs for years now, it's about time they pushed something unique.Quote

15-11-2009, 11:53:35

It would be something to see some kind of "synergy" between their CPU's and GPU's though we'll see how something like that could be implemented beyond just hot air from the marketing department.

As it stands, AMD is playing the "bang per buck" game however this has diminished with the arrival of the Core i5 750. The 965BE and i5 750 exchange punches on the gaming front but it's all over when we start factoring in overclocking headroom.

While overclocking yields have improved (as shown) it still has nothing on the Core i5/i7 processors which (heatsink allowing) tends to have little trouble reaching 4.0GHz. AMD are also able to tout good results with their system platform as they already have a strong graphics card and right now, much of today's games seem to have enough GPU dependancy for the CPU to take a back seat (within reason of course).

This competitive bang per buck edge will diminish to some extent over the next year, although their Thuban 6 core CPU will help gain some more sales. Unfortunately for AMD, they will have to let Intel pound ahead in the upper high end until Bulldozer is alive and kicking.Quote

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