If you haven't heard, AMD released a new flagship CPU today: the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition. It's a fast chip, more than competitive with Intel's Core 2 Quad Q9550 and Q9650; and generally faster than both. It's also an easy overclock. I hit 3.8GHz on mine without giving it any additional voltage and with a bit of work Gary broke 4GHz.

There is a hint of nervousness in the air though. Due out very soon are Intel's Lynnfield processors. With prices starting at $199 and motherboards priced in the low $100s, they should prove to be more competitive than the aging Core 2 Quad line. In anticipation of Intel's Lynnfield release AMD told us the following in advantage of today's announcement:

"We will be introducing 965 at a suggested retail price of $245(US), holding the line our flagship’s official price while offering more performance. However, there will be some exciting bundle deals on or shortly after August 13th. The main bundle you’ll see is AMD’s Phenom II X4 965 combined with a range of motherboards to choose from where the bundle is discounted ~$40 or more (depending on the motherboard chosen). "

AMD partnered with five North American vendors for these bundles, but only two of them currently stock the Phenom II X4 965 BE. Granted it's the first day of the launch and these things can take a little while to filter into everyone's inventory. Below is a quick listing of the available bundles for the Phenom II X4 965 BE:

Vendor CPU Price Motherboard Motherboard Price Combo Price Combo Savings
Newegg $249.00 ASUS M4A79T Deluxe (790FX) $188.99 $412.99 $25
Newegg $249.00 Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H (785G) $79.99 $308.99 $20
Newegg $249.00 MSI 790GX-G65 (790GX) $124.99 $353.99 $20
ZipZoomFly No Listings
TigerDirect $259.99 Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H (785G) $79.99 $319.99 $19.99
NCIX No Listings
MWAVE No Listings

 

Newegg offered the most bundles out of any of the surveyed vendors. Instead of publishing all of them I picked a high end bundle (with a high end motherboard) as well as the cheapest bundle possible. Generally it looks like you can save $20 - $25 on one of these Phenom II X4 965 bundles. That's shy of the "~$40 or more" AMD suggested we'd see; perhaps bigger discounts will come later?

Today, the cheapest you can get into a 965 with a new board is just under $310, while a higher end board will set you back a bit over $400. There's a slight issue with the Gigabyte 785G in that it's not technically on AMD's recommended motherboard list for the 965 BE. I also included an MSI 790GX board, but it too is not technically on AMD's recommended motherboard list. I suspect that it's just a matter of validation but it's worth pointing out regardless.

I also looked at what was available if you wanted to buy a Core i7 920 instead. Again I picked the cheapest motherboard Newegg offered, the MSI X58M, as well as a higher end option (ASUS P6T).

CPU CPU Price Motherboard Motherboard Price Combo Price
Core i7 920 $279.99 ASUS P6T $249.99 $504.98
Core i7 920 $279.99 MSI X58M $169.99 $449.98

 

There's simply no way the i7 920 can compete with the cheapest Phenom II X4 965 BE configuration, but if you are fine with a Micro-ATX motherboard then the cheapest i7 920 setup is $37 away from the more expensive 965 BE combo from Newegg. You actually don't give up the ability to do multi-GPU with the X58M (it supports both CF and SLI), it even has six DIMM slots and software SATA RAID support. However, unless you had to buy today, I wouldn't worry too much about trying to build a cheap 920. It won't be long before P55 and Lynnfield are upon us, and then we'll have a real race.

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  • - Friday, August 14, 2009 - link

    It's no doubt Intel spared no expense to claim the top gun prize over AMD with the hyper-i7's; but at what hyper-expense? In this economic environment Intel has got to be taking a beating with these expensive hyper-i7's, and in no way can they lower the price without an earnings beating. netbooks, low end comp's are further clipping at their margins. The game plan now , if they hope to show positive earnings, is to (do as they promised Microsoft) upgrade corporate comp's with their chips and Microsoft 7. Hence the i5's (I hear no hyper),a strip down affortable version of the i7's chocked full-o-features (WHAT no hyper?), reasonably priced for this ecconomic environment, I believe that's why the hush hush.
    I might add that this is all speculation on my part, but it's logical.
    asH
    Reply
  • ravaneli - Monday, August 17, 2009 - link

    Buddy, you need a reality check. GO check the earning of the 2 companies. Intel is beating forecasts and making fat profits, in the billions actually, at the same time AMD is bleeding cash like crasy (by the billions as well). I7s sells great as it is also, and I don't see how that is going to change any time soon, and the only competition it will get will be released from Intel, and it will be appropriately priced.

    If you want to worry about someones margins - worry about AMD, because a few more quarters in the red and they will go belly up, and then you and I will pay double for Intel. Those chips AMD is designing were never designed to be sold so cheap, but due to their inferior performance they have no choice.
    Reply
  • - Monday, August 17, 2009 - link

    http://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:INTC&fs...">http://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:INTC&fs...

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=INTC">http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=INTC
    Reply
  • ravaneli - Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - link

    I see good to big in all quarters other the last, when the Europeans fined them 1.2 bln. Deduct that from expenses and u end up with a profit there too.

    Now lets see AMD's net income for the last few quarter from the same source. Hmmm. Red Red Red. It's a small company, how much longer do u think they can stay on red?

    Do u really think that of the two companies Intel is the one in financial trouble? Amd is forced to sell their products with a significantly lower out-the-door price so they compensate for performance difference. Do u think they have the technology to produce them cheaper?
    Reply
  • - Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - link

    No dude quarterly earnings not financial problems.

    Intel is 50X the market cap of AMD and should never encounter any problems relative to AMD; but they do. Intel owns the CISC world, vendors bow down and kiss Intel's ring hand, they are the kings; but yet this little nothing of a company AMD is always in the conversation, as well as thought of as Intel's competition. Intel's CPU's use SSE4.1, AMD's dont, Intel has major software vendor support & optimization with SSE4.1, AMD does'nt (which should account for good part of these benchmark #'s, and probably why AMD has to market their CPU's towards multimedia and games. Yeah AMD has/are developing plugins for major programs like Photoshop to compensate for the extentions not included, as a stop gap measure.

    below is the reordered benchmark test, in order of i7 965 vs Phenom BE-highest to lowest percentage.
    The first column= benchmark test( Excel), l=low (low score is best),965vs920= percentage i7 965 over i7 920, i7 965=test score, 920=test score, 965vsPhn=% 965 vs Phn in test, 920vsPhn= %920 vs Pn, Pn= Phenom test score.
    example:
    first line- Excel= the benchmark test, .17=the test percentage of 965 vs 920, 12.7= i7 965 test score, 15.3= 920 test score, .466=i7 965 is 46.6% over Phenom's test result, .357= 920 is 35.7% over Phen test result, 32.8 = Phenom benchmark test score

    Farcry (28%) and CS3 (28%) are optomized for SSE4.1
    anyone know if Excel is optomized for Intel CPUs? Windows 7 is. How bout these other programs above 20%, are they optimized too, DivX6.8.5 ? howbout WinRAR?. Lets see that's Hyperthreading, 'perhaps' vendor optomized programs, and Turboboost .They covered all their bases to insure a healthy AMD (desktop)beat down. Intel cant lose.. or can they?

    oh, and as for the 1.2 b, it wasnt enough if you ask me and it belongs as a line item.
    6000 layoffs 4 plant closings , all hail the king

    bench....hi/lo..965vs920...965.....920....965vsPhn%..920vsPn Phn
    Excel l 0.170 12.7 15.3 0.466 0.357 23.8
    x264HD h 0.155 31.6 26.7 0.358 0.240 20.3
    POV-Ray h 0.160 4202 3528 0.356 0.233 2706
    3dsmax 9 h 0.131 17.6 15.3 0.324 0.222 11.9
    Blender l 0.125 47.8 54.6 0.312 0.214 69.5
    Soren5 l 0.121 94.3 107.3 0.299 0.203 134.6
    Sony l 0.151 168.2 198 0.293 0.168 238
    CS3 l 0.138 15 17.4 0.289 0.175 21.1
    Far Cry h 0.077 73.7 68 0.281 0.221 53
    WinRAR l 0.074 77.9 84.1 0.263 0.204 105.7
    CineMT h 0.138 18810 16211 0.255 0.136 14012
    DataRec l 0.016 24.8 25.2 0.244 0.232 32.8
    DivX685 l 0.178 32.3 39.3 0.240 0.075 42.5
    SysPro h 0.081 234 215 0.175 0.102 193
    Sys3D h 0.105 239 214 0.155 0.056 202
    E Learn h 0.096 208 188 0.144 0.053 178
    WinMedi l 0.172 24 29 0.143 -0.036 28
    Sys 2007 h 0.101 238 214 0.139 0.042 205
    CineB ST h 0.141 4475 3846 0.119 -0.025 3941
    x264HD h 0.128 85.8 74.8 0.094 -0.039 77.7
    SysVid h 0.126 277 242 0.076 -0.058 256
    Crysis h 86.8 81.7 0.062 0.004 81.4
    LeftDead h 0.061 127.5 119.7 0.011 -0.053 126.1
    Fallout h 0.034 87 84 -0.008 -0.044 87.7
    Reply
  • - Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - link

    lost formatting-reformat to columns and rows in Excel.

    copy paste into Excel ->data->text to columns->delimited->space->finish

    may have to adjust 5 rows
    Reply
  • - Sunday, August 16, 2009 - link

    i5's, no hyperthreading , and half the cache- someone's getting ripped off, even for that price.
    Model
    Cores/ Threads Clock (GHz) Turbo-boost Cache (MB) QPI (GT/s)
    Socket (LGA) Price ($) Price (£)
    Core i7-975 4/8 3.33 Yes 8 6.4 1366 970 591
    Core i7-960 4/8 3.20 Yes 8 4.8 1366 545 332
    Core i7-950 4/8 3.06 Yes 8 4.8 1366 545 332
    Core i7-920 4/8 2.66 Yes 8 4.8 1366 275 168
    Core i7-870 4/8 2.93 Yes 8 TBD 1156 545 332
    Core i7-860 4/8 2.80 Yes 8 TBD 1156 275 168
    Core i5-750 4/4 2.66 Yes 4 TBD 1156 192 117
    Core i5-670* 2/4 3.46 Yes 4 n/a 1156 275 168
    Core i5-661 2/4 3.33 Yes 4 n/a 1156 192 117
    Core i5-660* 2/4 3.33 Yes 4 n/a 1156 192 117
    Core i5-650* 2/4 3.20 Yes 4 n/a 1156 172 105
    Core i3-540 2/4 3.06 No 4 n/a 1156 139 85
    Core i3-530 2/4 2.93 No 4 n/a 1156 119 73


    Reply
  • - Friday, August 14, 2009 - link

    It's no doubt Intel spared no expense to claim the top gun prize over AMD with the hyper-i7's; but at what hyper-expense? In this economic environment Intel has got to be taking a beating with these expensive hyper-i7's, and in no way can they lower the price without an earnings beating. netbooks, low end comp's are further clipping at their margins. The game plan now , if they hope to show positive earnings, is to (do as they promised Microsoft) upgrade corporate comp's with their chips and Microsoft 7. Hence the i5's (I hear no hyper),a strip down affortable version of the i7's chocked full-o-features (WHAT no hyper?), reasonably priced for this ecconomic environment, I believe that's why the hush hush.
    I might add that this is all speculation on my part, but it's logical.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, August 15, 2009 - link

    Of course, if we put things in perspective, i7 should be less expensive to manufacture than Phenom II - or at least the same price.

    Personally, I'm doing find with my Core 2 Quad systems from a couple years back. I have no real need to upgrade, and there doesn't appear to be much on the horizon to force my hand. Sure, 3D rendering and video encoding can benefit, but I don't do that stuff all that often.
    Reply
  • grimpr - Friday, August 14, 2009 - link

    Anand's reviews are very well written and clearly undestandable to the millions of non native english speakers that read this site, i believe that he certainly has a positive bias towards Intel and he shows this through clever use of words and phrases in his writings and by being "polite" to AMD teaching the "wrongs","donts" and showcasing the"faults", by doing this he transpires the mind of the average reader of whos is the real boss and thats Intel.

    Understandable, since Intel owns the Gaming/Enthusiast/Overclocking segment since some time and this site entertains this crowd.

    Anand, why dont you try "teaching" in your own special subtle way, Intels faults and mistakes, like the buggy firmwares in SSD's, the ICH9R problems, the immense CPU rootkit and many many others that go silently unnoticed by the non geek crowd, instead of constantly "teaching" AMD its faults?
    Reply

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