The Extreme Edition Gets A Speed Bump

Like its predecessor, the Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 965 with Hyper-Threading technology boasts 1066 FSB, 4 MB total L2 cache configured as 2 x 2MB per core, Intel Virtualization Technology, Execute Disable Bit, and Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology. The Extreme Edition platform provides the horsepower and new capabilities that allow PC enthusiasts the flexibility to address the robust content creation and multitasking expectations of the high-end desktop market segment. Below is a chart comparing the latest Extreme Edition processor to the previous two flagship processors that it has replaced.

The Intel 965 Processor 

According to the above chart the only difference is the clock speed, but Intel has changed more than just the final frequency on the Extreme Edition.

Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 965

The Intel 965 Processor

The 965 comes clocked at 3.73GHz (14.0 x 267MHz) with a 1066MHz front side bus. If this clock frequency rings a bell it should as it is the same core speed as Intel's fastest single core Extreme Edition processor, the Prescott-based chip Intel 3.73GHz EE that was launched in Feburary 2005. There are two separate 'Cedar Mill' cores on the same package that make up the Presler core.  Many call the Presler the first true dual-core Intel processor. 

If you are thinking of getting one of these processors Intel recommends using the Delta EPS12V 600W ? DPS-600MB M power supply or equivalent with a 2x4 (instead of a 2x2) 12V2 connector to provide headroom and allow for more current and power to be delivered to the processor.  The processor Vcc, Icc, and power specifications provided with the Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 955 still apply to the new Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 965.  Now that we know what the Intel 965 is all about let's take a look at the new stepping.

The New Stepping

When we first booted up our Intel Pentium 965 Extreme Edition Processor we noticed that nothing was able to correctly identify the processor.  CPU-Z version 1.32.1 and Windows XP Professional registered the processor as a 6GHz piece of silicion. While we wish this was true we know it is not.

Intel Processor Identification Utility 2.6

CPU-Z did correctly display the core speed of the process as 3733.5MHz with the multiplier set at x14 and the front side bus (FSB) running at 266.7MHz for a final frequency of 1066MHz. The cache shows 2048KB per core, for a grand total of 4MB of cache on the processor.

CPU-Z 1.32.1 Screenshot

We fired up the most recent version of Intel's Processor Identification Utility (build date 2/10/2006) and it too did not register the processor correctly calling it a "Future Intel Processor".  Everything seemed to register as we saw in CPU-Z so hopefully the information is correct.  With that we see that Intel has a new CPU stepping on their Extreme Edition Processor family. If you look back to our article on the Intel Pentium Processor 955 you will see that that processor was built using CPU stepping 2. The new stepping introduces Enhanced Halt State (C1E) to the Intel 965 processors, which helps reduce the power consumption. According to Intel all of the 955 processors now being made are also on the same stepping.

Temperatures

When we got the Intel 965 processor Intel informed us that the Vcc, Icc, and power specifications provided with the Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 955 still apply to the new Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 965. With no major difference thermal differences we were shocked when we found a new heatsink. Below are four of the most common heat sinks that we have used over the years from Intel. The newest is on the left and the oldest is on the right.

The Different Intel Pentium D Heatsinks

Just by looking at the blades one can tell they aren't the same heatsink. The one that came with the Intel 965 (the one on the left) doesn't match the one that came with our Intel 955 sample (the second one from the left). Let's take a look and see how the new heatsink and stepping do on our test system.

Intel 965 Idle Temperatures

With the room set at a constant 70F we found that our processor was able to idle at 39C with the reference heatsink and thermal pad!  If you look back to our original 955 article we were getting 51C at a lower clock frequency. With the Enhanced Halt State (C1E) technology added to the Intel 965 processors and new heatsink design we found the temperatures of the Intel 965 to be within reason for the first time in years. Running several applications at once we saw the processor hit 56C under load, but even that is not bad. Since we were running tests on the Intel Bad Axe reference board we could get some temperature utilities to run, but using the utilities available we see an improvement in idle and load temperatures. In terms of power conspution we were seeing 139-140W at idle and 200-205W when running SuperPi, Sisoft Sandra, and Sciencemark benchmarks at the same time.

Test System:

Testing Procedure:

All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows XP Professional build 2600 with Service Pack 2 and DirectX 9.0c. All benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. All of the modules were run in dual channel mode! The memory on the Intel test platform was run at 667MHz DDR2 for all the processors with 3-3-3 timings.  The memory on the AMD motheboard was run at 400MHz DDR1 with 2-3-2-6 timings. 

Here is the AMD Test platform:

AMD Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

AMD Athlon 64 FX-60

Motherboard

ASUS AN832-SLI Deluexe

Video Card

BFG Tech 7800GTX

Hard Drive

Western Digital 250MB

Cooling

Corsair COOL

Power Supply

OCZ 600W Powerstream

Operating System

Windows XP Professional

Here is the Intel Test Platform:

Intel Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

Intel Pentium 965

Motherboard

Intel D975XBX

Video Card

BFG Tech 7800GTX

Hard Drive

Western Digital 250MB

Cooling

Corsair COOL

Power Supply

OCZ 600W Powerstream

Operating System

Windows XP Professional

Let's move on and take a look at the testing!

Futumark: 3dMark05

Futuremark; 3DMark 2005 v1.2.0:

3DMark05 is best suited for the latest generation of DirectX 9.0 graphics cards. It is the first benchmark to require a DirectX9.0 compliant hardware with support for Pixel Shaders 2.0 or higher! By combining high quality 3D tests, CPU tests, feature tests, image quality tools, and much more, 3DMark05 is a premium benchmark for evaluating the latest generation of gaming hardware.

Intel 965 3dMark05 CPU Test Results

Moving over to 3DMark 05 version 1.2.0 we can see how dual core performs in a lightly threaded application. Here we see the Intel Pentium 965 Processor Extreme Edition take the lead for Intel, but it wasn't enough to catch the AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ or the brand new AMD Athlon 64 X2 FX-60 processors.   The overall score showed the single cored 4800+ in a dead heat with the dual core FX-60.

Intel 965 3dMark05 CPU Test One Results

Looking at CPU Test #1 we can see that the AMD 4800+ with it's higher frequency (2.8GHz) single core beats our the dual core FX-60 by just 0.1 frames per second.  The Intel Pentium 955/965 Extreme Edition has a good lead over the other Intel EE's and the 3.8GHz Intel Pentium 4 670, but still half a fps behind the AMD processors.

Intel 965 3dMark05 CPU Test Two Results

Taking a quick look at the CPU Test details from the 3DMark05 test runs it can be seen that the Intel 965 and AMD FX-60 processors are close with only a 0.1 Frame Per Second (FPS) difference between the two in CPU test #2. 

Sandra 2005 SR3

Sisoft; Sandra 2005 SR3:

SiSoftware, founded in 1995, is one of the leading providers of computer analysis, diagnostic and benchmarking software. The flagship product, known as "SANDRA", was launched in 1997 and has become one of the most widely used products in its field. SANDRA is used by almost 400 world-wide IT publications, magazines, review sites to analyse the performance of today?s computers.

Multi-Core Support: As well as SMP (multi-processor) and SMT (multi-threading/Hyper-Threading) support we have added multi-core support for future AMD and Intel CPUs. The benchmarks have been optimised to schedule the optimum number of threads on the optimum (virtual) CPU on both multi-core and Hyper-Threaded computers.

Sandra Multi-Media Results

Taking a look at the CPU multi-media benchmark results we see that the Intel 955/965 and Intel 840 processors take the lead on this one.  The AMD FX-60 is not too far behind though.

Sandara Memory Bandwidth

In terms of memory bandwidth the Intel processors love the 1066MHz FSB and the Intel 955/965 and Intel 3.73 are nearly identical because of the same bus speed.  Both of the Intel processors rated at 3.73GHz scored the same on the memory bandwidth testing.  This means our test bench is producing solid numbers and was shocking when we made the graph!

WorldBench 5

PC World; WorldBench 5.0

WorldBench 5 runs on PCs using the Home, Professional, Media Center, and Tablet PC versions of Windows XP. Fifteen applications (counting the components of Office XP), make up the WorldBench 5 suite.

PC World World Bench 5 Results

Despite being composed of mainly single threaded tests, WorldBench 5 shows the Athlon 64 FX-60 out in the lead with a massive score of 134! Let's take a closer look at the individual tests.

ACD Systems; ACDSee PowerPack 5.0:

PC World World Bench 5 Results

Discreet 3ds Max 5.1 (DirectX):

PC World World Bench 5 Results

Discreet 3ds Max 5.1 (OpenGL):

PC World World Bench 5 Results

Adobe Photoshop 7:

PC World World Bench 5 Results

WorldBench 5 Continued

Adobe; Premiere 6.5:

World Bench 6 AMD FX-60 Results

Firefox; Mozilla 1.4:

World Bench 6 AMD FX-60 Results

MusicMatch Jukebox 7.1:

World Bench 6 AMD FX-60 Results

Nero Express 6:

World Bench 6 AMD FX-60 Results

Multitasking; Mozilla and Windows Media Encoder:

World Bench 6 AMD FX-60 Results

In the multitasking benchmark we have Mozilla and Windows Media Encoder operating at the same time and the difference on the singel-core 3800+/3500+ to the dual core processors is night and day. While the Intel Pentium 955 Extreme Edition Processor beat out all the Intel procesors it came in nearly 200 seconds slower than the fastest AMD processor.

WorldBench 5 Continued Again

Microsoft Office XP with SP-2

World Bench 6 AMD FX-60 Results

Roxio VideoWave Movie Creator 1.5

World Bench 6 AMD FX-60 Results

Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 9.0

World Bench 6 AMD FX-60 Results

WinZip Computing WinZip 8.1

WinZip Computing WinZip 8.1

It is safe to say that after running three runs of World Bench 5 on each processor (yes, this means this section took a week to run) it is safe to say that the AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 processor was the fastest processor in each of the Fifteen applications tested

CineBench 2003

MAXON; CINEBENCH 2003:

CINEBENCH 2003 is the free benchmarking tool for Windows and Mac OS based on the powerful 3D software CINEMA 4D R8. The tool is set to deliver accurate benchmarks by testing not only a computer's raw processing speed but also all other areas that affect system performance such as OpenGL, multithreading, multiprocessors and Intel's new HT Technology. Again, higher Frames/Second and lower rendering time in seconds equal better performance.

Intel 965 Extreme Edition Cinebench Rendering Results

In Cinebench 2003 we see that the old Intel Pentium 4 670 processor actually having the best time thanks to the 3.8GHz frequency and it's single-core.  On the flip side the 2.6GHz AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 beat out the other processors by a good margin.

Intel 965 Extreme Edition Cinebench Rendering Results

When we enabled multi-cpu rendering the results were exactly what we expected.  The three flagship dual-core processors from AMD and Intel took off in this benchmark.  Intel made a strong attempt to take the lead, but the FX-60 came in .3 seconds in front. The AMD Athlon 64 3500+ is a single-core processor and could not run the multi-CPU benchmark.

Super Pi Mod

Super PI Mod v1.4:

Super PI is a program a lot of enthusiasts use to benchmark overall system performance, as the program is capable of calculating pi up to 33.55 million digits on a timer. Many overclockers and enthusiasts are in a battle to get the lowest 1M Super Pi time possible.

AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 SuperPi

Many enthusiasts love looking at Super Pi scores to the one million place, so we thought we would include some numbers for you.  Once again the Intel Pentium 4 670 processor takes the win for Intel with it's higher 3.8GHz clock.  On the AMD side we found the 2.6GHz FX-60 took the win not only for the AMD processors, but also all of Intel's that we tested.

AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 SuperPi

Moving up to four million places we find the results to be nearly identical, which is to be expected.

Quake 4/DOOM 3 Game Testing

ID Software; Quake 4 v1.0.5 Beta

id Software?s QUAKE 4, developed by Raven Software, takes players into an epic invasion on a barbaric alien planet in one of the most anticipated first person shooters for 2005.

Image Description

Here we see the AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 and the 4800+ take the lead, but the Intel 965 is not that far behind. It is good to see the performance improvement for Intel as they have been needing to catch up to AMD for a number of years.

ID Software; DOOM 3

Image Description

In DOOOM 3 we see results that are similar to Quake 4.

Overclocking

To start things off I left everything alone and overclocking the processor by doing nothing, but increasing the front side bus (FSB) via the 0-30% overclock feature that is found in the Intel D975XBX motherboard BIOS settings.  After start at 5% I was able to go all the way to 15% before the system became unstable.  Using the stock heat sink, no extra voltage, and changing just one setting in the BIOS I was able to run the Intel 965 processor at 4,368MHz.  The FSB easily went from 266MHz all the way up to 312MHz with no extra voltage to the MCH, FSB, or processor. Knowing the processor had more in it we raised the voltages and was able to run the system at:

Default Voltages and a 20% overclock on the Intel 955

With an increase in the processor multiplier and some small voltage increases on the processor and MCH we could easily hit a stable 4,800MHz on our processor. For the second time in a row we see a solid 1GHz overclock out on an Intel Extreme Edition processor.  These processors really love a little extra voltage and in return they will easily overclock to 4.5GHz+ with no fuss at all.  The enthusiast and/or dedicated gamer will find that the  Intel 955 and 965 processors are a joy to work with and are some of the most overclocking friendly processors on the market today.

Final Thoughts

The Intel Pentium XE

Final Thoughts

The Intel Pentium Processor 965 Extreme Edition is a new stepping with a nice 266MHz speed bump for the flagship Intel processor. The new stepping introduces Enhanced Halt State (C1E) to the Intel 965 processors, which helps reduce the power consumption. According to Intel all of the 955 processors now being made are also on the same stepping.  This means that the Intel 955 and 965 processors only differ by the multiplier that they are set to run at from the factory. 

In terms of pricing the Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 955 can now be found for $1061 at major online retailers and the Intel 965 was no place to be found. We tried shopping.com, froogle, monarchPC, NCIX, Newegg, and Zipzoomfly only to find that no one had these processors in stock. It's been nearly two weeks since Intel launched the 965, so where are they?

The Intel Pentium Processor 965 was a joy to work with.  For those who can afford one we highly suggest picking one up as every enthusiast has to see what these are all about.  With the 955 moving over to the new stepping there really is no difference between the 955 and the 965 processor.  Both are based off the same core and eventually the same stepping once the old 955 processors move off the shelves. Since most of the buyers of the Extreme Edition series are overclockers we'd suggest going with the cheaper of the two.  Our Intel 955 overclocked to 4.76GHz, while the Intle 965 made it to 4.80GHz. Is it worth the extra money for a 965 when the overclocking results are so close to the same?  That is a call our readers have to make, but to us the answer is clear. With these processors overclocking so well I wouldn't be suprised if Intel released the Intel 975 clocked at 4GHz.  Intel once said they would hit 4GHz in 04, but it looks like 2006 is going to be the that they can do it and hit good yields.

In closing we can't forget about the upcoming Conroe core that Intel will be launching later in the year.  Intel showed off Conroe at the Spring 2006 IDF and it is indeed a great looking processor.  While some will suggest waiting for it why not enjoy the best of both worlds?  Many of the Intel 975X chipset motherboards have been labeled "Conroe Ready", meaning you will not have to replace the board when these next processors come out.  If you can enjoy running one of these processors for a number of months before picking up next best thing then do it.  Just remember that no matter when you buy computer hardware the next thing is getting ready to come out.  If you wait for the next best thing to come out then you'll be waiting forever.  AMD and Intel both have great roadmaps full of processors that we will drool over for years to come.

The Legit Bottom Line

The Intel Pentium Processor 965 Extreme Edition overclocks like a bat out of hell and is the ultimate processor for any Intel fan.