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There were no surprises with the Phenom II X4 965 as it's identical to the 955 we tested months ago. The extra 200MHz were good for a small performance bump, widening the gap between AMD's flagship CPU and a comparatively priced Core 2 Quad processor.
The Phenom II X4 965 is also multiplier unlocked, which should make overclocking painfully easy to the average user. AMD claims they are seeing better overclocking results with the Phenom II X4 965 compared to the 955 on average. In the little time we had to devote to overclocking testing we reached a solid 3.90GHz overclock which is better than the initial clock speed we got from the 955 (3.70GHz) before resorting to more radical settings and settling for 3.85GHz.
Most importantly, the Phenom II X4 965 remains a value proposition launching at $245, which looks extremely good against the $320 you have to pay for a slower Core 2 Quad Q9650 or the $220 a Q9550 will cost you.
That said, the Core 2 Quads selling at those prices are a thing of the past and AMD is aware of that. The Core i7 platform has become more affordable over the past few months with the Core i7 920 dangerously approaching the fastest of the Phenoms at $280. Then in a few short weeks we'll see the launch of the Intel Core i5 along a newer platform that should drop the overall ownership cost by a whole notch compared to the current i7 CPUs.
Depending on how Intel positions their new processors, we expect AMD to adjust pricing accordingly. The Phenom II X4 965 is a great performer and it should remain a competitive processor in the value segment, it's just a matter of seeing how the Core i5 stacks up both in performance and price when time comes.