I’ve found myself in between two product launches. From AMD we have today’s announcement: the 3.4GHz Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition.

Priced at $245, the 965 is a mere clock speed bump, but an important one. It comes at the same price as this spring’s Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition; you get more performance at the same price.

Processor Clock Speed un-core Clock L2 Cache L3 Cache TDP Price
AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE 3.4GHz 2.0GHz 2MB 6MB 140W $245
AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE 3.2GHz 2.0GHz 2MB 6MB 125W $245
AMD Phenom II X4 945 3.0GHz 2.0GHz 2MB 6MB 125W $225
AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE 2.8GHz 2.0GHz 1.5MB 6MB 95W $145
AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE 3.1GHz 2.0GHz 1MB 6MB 80W $105

It is also the highest clocked processor AMD has ever shipped; K8 topped out at 3.2GHz and the original Phenom never went beyond 2.6GHz. We're also back up to a 140W TDP, something we haven't seen since the old Phenom 9950 went away.

With the 965 BE, AMD has simplified its product lineup. The 800 series Phenom II X4 is gone, as are the DDR2-only Phenom II X4 940 and 920. Most of the 700 series is also done with. Yields are clearly improving and much of the die harvesting is clearly no longer necessary. AMD ought to get rid of the Xn suffix and just use simple model numbers at this point. For more information on the Phenom II architecture, see our launch article.

The second product launch is rumored to happen next month. It’s the introduction of Intel’s Lynnfield processor. The affordable Nehalem, available in both Core i5 and Core i7 flavors, promises to start at just $199 with motherboards in the low $100s.

The Problem at 245
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  • FireSnake - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    You really need to grow up with this 140W and take a very close look at the power consumption table ;) Reply
  • JimmiG - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    It's not like the 140W TDP happened by accident or took AMD by surprise. 120 - 140W has been the target TDP for high-end CPUs for a long time. At this targeted TDP, AMD found a 3.4 GHz chip could be produced with decent yields. Some thought, research and design goes into the launch of a new CPU even if it's just a 200 MHz clockspeed bump.

    Don't worry, we'll not see a 160W or 180W CPU any time soon since 140W is a sensible target. Modern heatpipe coolers, mobos and PSUs have no trouble with them.

    If you think the difference between a 65W and a 140W CPU is too much, you must live in a very dark house or apartment since each light bulb consumes almost that entire difference.
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Friday, August 14, 2009 - link

    My lightbulbs consume between 12 and 20W of power each as I long since left behind inefficient incandescent bulbs. Reply
  • hyc - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    You guys are reading way too much into that 140W TDP spec. Look at the loaded power consumption results, the 965 is 223W vs 220W for the 955. So it's using a whopping 3W more than the 955, BFD.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    Some people seem to miss the T for Thermal in that figure indeed. Reply
  • hyc - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    Ah, so which part of the Laws of Thermodynamics did you skip in school?

    You can't emit more power out (thermal or otherwise) than you took in.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Saturday, August 15, 2009 - link

    Thats not the point, dummy, its the maximum heat disssipation and that people mistake it for the power it draws from the wall plug. Got it? Reply
  • Eeqmcsq - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    "The 800 series Phenom II X4 is gone, as are the DDR2-only Phenom II X4 940 and 920. Most of the 700 series is also done with."

    I can understand AMD ending the 800 series and the AM2+ only Phenom IIs. But is this statement saying that AMD won't upgrade their X3 720 to a faster triple core, despite better yields? Many people have said that the 720 is AMD's best bang-for-the-buck value. I'd think that AMD would update this segment also.
    Reply
  • Ryun - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    My guess is AMD is working on positioning their lineup to fight against Lynnfield in the lower end. The triple cores are awesome, no doubt but look at what we've got now:

    1.) Phenom II 945 with a TDP of 95W, Phenom II 720 with a TDP of 95W. I'm willing to bet that AMD is planning to move an AMD 925 down to around the same price as the 720. OEMs will love the lower heat requirements and the lowered price. These are going to combat probably against the Core i5's without hyperthreading and from what I've seen I'd wager they'd do pretty well.

    2.) Last I checked there were still plans to make triple and quad cores of the athlon ii design. These are gonna go in the low end to combat against clarkdale I'd suppose. OEMs selling PCs are probably wanna going to get rid of their stockpile of DDR2 memory somehow so I'd surmise these would sell very well also.

    All and all I'd wager that AMD will do fine until Bulldozer releases as long as they a) Make sure they market these processors well to OEMs b) really ramp up their mobile lineup in the coming months

    Look at the 4800 series success afterall. Most people just don't care about the highend and if AMD can have competitive prices they should do well.
    Reply
  • Nalyk - Thursday, August 13, 2009 - link

    Is this just a straight clock bump on AMD's part from the 955 due to improved manufacturing? And if so why would consumers shell out another $50 if the head room is already there on the 955 I figure half the reason people buy the Black Editions is so they can play with the multiplier. Am I wrong?
    I suppose I can understand their need for cash, but I personally feel it difficult to justify shelling out another $50 for 200Mhz especially if the head room is there already on the same chip. Or by releasing this chip are they implying that there's even more head room on this 965?
    Reply

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