The Phenom II X4 965 in Closing
    The Phenom II X4 965 is a logical extension of AMD’s top of the line chips.  The extra 200 MHz does come at a price though.  While AMD may be having great success in yield and bins for this part, it does run hotter and pulls more power than the previous X4 955 chip.  The extra performance is not earth-shattering, but it is nice.

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Who would have thought that a AMD 785G based micro-ATX motherboard from MSI would support a 140 watt CPU.  Considering that this product was released before the X4 965, you would have thought that AMD and its partners were planning ahead for a new 140 watt processor.

    The area that I was most impressed with in regards to this chip is not actually in the chip itself.  The motherboard support for AM3 has really matured in terms of both products and performance.  A lot of BIOS tweaking has been done over the past few months, and seeing a good 2% to 5% increase in overall performance due to these tweaks gives AMD a bit more leverage when fighting against Intel’s quad core lineup.

    Sadly, the X4 965 does not encompass a new architecture from AMD, and it is not a divine example of GF’s 45 nm SOI process.  While improvements have been made at GF, especially in regards to yields and bins, users should not expect this new part to be cooler, more power efficient, yet still faster clocked.  Water has not turned into wine in Dresden, and Damon Muzny still can’t walk across water.

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Interesting, here is another 140 watt processor ready 785G motherboard.  I think we can see that AMD is really pushing the budget enthusiast with their motherboard partners, as the 785G with a SB710 southbridge will offer 95% of the features most gamers and performance enthusiasts require for their boards.  $99 for this particular board, $245 for the very top end AMD part, makes for a compelling combination.

    Still, we must hand it to the folks in Austin and Dresden, they continue to compete and they continue to offer faster products at competitive prices.  This in turn lowers the prices on slower parts, and the consumer gets a whole lot more performance for their buck.  Add into this the improved motherboard support and the price of DDR-3 (though spiking recently) getting closer to DDR-2 levels, and users get another good option for their hard earned dollars (or whatever currency fits their needs).

    The X4 965 will not blow anyone’s hair back, but it does add an interesting new wrinkle into the performance marketplace.

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