AMD released the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition, this new quad-core chip is clocked at 3.4GHz and the company claims overclockers will love it due to massive overclocking headroom. This is AMD's flagship processor, yet it's launched at a price of only $245, once again illustrating how far AMD is running behind the performance offered by Intel's latest chips.
Lets take a look at a couple of reviews to see how the Phenom II X4 965 BE performs, first up is the one from AnandTech. They conclude the chip is a good performer, but that a price cut to $199 would be necessary to make it really competitive against Intel's upcoming Lynnfield processors.
Without a doubt the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition is faster than anything you can get that fits into an LGA-775 socket at a remotely similar price point. AMD has done its duty well there, the 965 is clearly a better option than the Q9550 or Q9650 for that matter.
As a gaming CPU, it's actually competitive with the i7s. If you exclude the FarCry 2 results, which I hardly believe are representative of most games, the Phenom II X4 965 is easily just as good of a gaming CPU as an i7 in today's titles. Now once you start throwing in background tasks and look at future titles being more threaded then the picture becomes a little more muddy.
The Tech Report stresses that this new chip is just a minor speed grade bump, and recommends waiting to see how Intel's Lynnfield measures up before buying a new computer system:
Thanks to a combination of 45-nm process technology, guile, and giant, inflatable gorillas, AMD has managed to grant the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition a reasonably attractive value proposition, as well. I'm not sure I could bring myself to buy anything right now, with Intel's Lynnfield poking up over the horizon. But this new CPU at least gives AMD every bit of hope of remaining competitive it can squeeze out of its current technology portfolio. We'll soon find out whether that's enough.
PC Perspective also points out that this chip doesn't deliver earth-shattering extra performance, but concludes that the Phenom II X4 965 BE is a competitive product.
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).