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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Phenom II X4 965 Core i5-650 3.2GHz
Cyberpunk 2077 46% 103%
Hitman 3 97% 174%
Resident Evil 8 62% 126%
Assassins Creed: Valhalla 97% 174%
FIFA 21 37% 90%
Grand Theft Auto VI 140% 234%
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War 42% 97%
Genshin Impact 11% 54%
Far Cry 6 131% 221%
The Medium 151% 249%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the AMD Phenom II X4 965 is massively better than the Intel Core i5-650 3.2GHz when it comes to running the latest games. This also means it will be less likely to bottleneck more powerful GPUs, allowing them to achieve more of their gaming performance potential.

The Core i5-650 3.2GHz was released less than a year after the Phenom II X4, and so they are likely to have similar levels of support, and similarly optimized performance when running the latest games.

The Phenom II X4 has 2 more cores than the Core i5-650 3.2GHz. With 4 cores, the Phenom II X4 is much less likely to struggle with the latest games, or bottleneck high-end graphics cards when running them.

Both the AMD Phenom II X4 965 and the Intel Core i5-650 3.2GHz have the same number of threads. The Phenom II X4 has one thread per physical core, whereas the Core i5-650 3.2GHz uses hyperthreading and has 2 logical threads per physical core.

Multiple threads are useful for improving the performance of multi-threaded applications. Additional cores and their accompanying thread will always be beneficial for multi-threaded applications. Hyperthreading will be beneficial for applications optimized for it, but it may slow others down. For games, the number of threads is largely irrelevant, as long as you have at least 2 cores (preferably 4), and hyperthreading can sometimes even hit performance.

More important for gaming than the number of cores and threads is the clock rate. Problematically, unless the two CPUs are from the same family, this can only serve as a general guide and nothing like an exact comparison, because the clock cycles per instruction (CPI) will vary so much.

The Phenom II X4 and Core i5-650 3.2GHz are not from the same family of CPUs, so their clock speeds are by no means directly comparable. Bear in mind, then, that while the Phenom II X4 has a 0.2 GHz faster frequency, this is not always an indicator that it will be superior in performance, despite frequency being crucial when trying to avoid GPU bottlenecking. As such, we need to look elsewhere for more reliable comparisons.

Aside from the clock rate, the next-most important CPU features for PC game performance are L2 and L3 cache size. Faster than RAM, the more cache available, the more data that can be stored for lightning-fast retrieval. L1 Cache is not usually an issue anymore for gaming, with most high-end CPUs eking out about the same L1 performance, and L2 is more important than L3 - but L3 is still important if you want to reach the highest levels of performance. Bear in mind that although it is better to have a larger cache, the larger it is, the higher the latency, so a balance has to be struck.

The Phenom II X4 has a 1536 KB bigger L2 cache than the Core i5-650 3.2GHz, which means that it, at worst, wins out in this area, and at best, will provide superior gaming performance and will work much better with high-end graphics cards.

The maximum Thermal Design Power is the power in Watts that the CPU will consume in the worst case scenario. The lithography is the semiconductor manufacturing technology being used to create the CPU - the smaller this is, the more transistors that can be fit into the CPU, and the closer the connections. For both the lithography and the TDP, it is the lower the better, because a lower number means a lower amount of power is necessary to run the CPU, and consequently a lower amount of heat is produced.

The Core i5-650 3.2GHz has a 52 Watt lower Maximum TDP than the Phenom II X4, and was created with a 13 nm smaller manufacturing technology. What this means is the Core i5-650 3.2GHz will consume significantly less power and consequently produce less heat, enabling more prolonged computational tasks with fewer adverse effects. This will lower your yearly electricity bill significantly, as well as prevent you from having to invest in extra cooling mechanisms (unless you overclock).

The Core i5-650 3.2GHz has an on-board GPU, which means that it will be capable of running basic graphics applications (i.e., games) without the need for a dedicated graphics card. The Phenom II X4, however, does not, and you will probably have to look for a dedicated card if you wish to use it at all.

For in-depth GPU comparisons with the HD i5 650, click on the following GPU overview comparison icon (visible throughout Game-Debate), and choose a GPU from the list to compare against:

On-board GPUs tend to be fairly awful in comparison to dedicated cards from the likes of AMD or Nvidia, but as they are built into the CPU, they also tend to be cheaper and require far less power to run (this makes them a good choice for laptops). We would recommend a dedicated card for running the latest games, but integrated GPUs are improving all the time and casual gamers may find less recent games perform perfectly acceptably.

CPU Core Details

CPU CodenameDenebClarkdale
MoBo SocketSocket AM3LGA 1156/Socket H
Notebook CPUnono
Release Date04 Nov 200907 Jan 2010
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores4vs2
CPU Threads4vs4
Clock Speed3.4 GHzvs3.2 GHz
Turbo Frequency-vs3.46 GHz
Max TDP125 Wvs73 W
Lithography45 nmvs32 nm
Bit Width64 Bitvs64 Bit
Max Temperature62°Cvs73°C
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size512 KBvs128 KB
L2 Cache Size2048 KBvs512 KB
L3 Cache Size6 MBvs4 MB
Max Memory Size-vs16 GB
Memory Channels-vs2
ECC Memory Supportnovsno
Comparison

CPU Graphics

GraphicsHD i5 650
Base GPU Frequency-vs733 MHz
Max GPU Frequency-vs-
DirectX-vs10
Displays Supported-vs-
Comparison

CPU Package and Version Specifications

Package Size-vs-
Revision-vs-
PCIe Revision-vs-
PCIe Configurations-vs-

Gaming Performance Value

The Elder Scrolls Vvs
Crysisvs
Battlefield 3vs
Need For Speed: Most Wanted 2vs
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2vs
Performance Value

CPU Mini Review

Mini ReviewPhenom II X4 965 is a performance processor based on the 45nm, K10 architecture.

It offers 4 Physical Cores (4 Logical), clocked at 3.4GHz and 6MB of L3 Cache.
Among its many features, Virtualization is activated and the clock multiplier is unlocked, meaning it can be overclocked easily.

The processor DOES NOT integrate any graphics. and has a rated board TDP of 125W.

It is a powerful processor whose performance is good. It's thus capable of running most applications smoothly without any problem.
Core i5-650 3.2GHz is a performance CPU based on the 45nm, Nehalem architecture.

It offers 2 Physical Cores (4 Logical), initially clocked at 3.2GHz, which may go up to 3.46GHz and 4MB of L3 Cache.
Among its many features, Hyper-Threading, Turbo Boost and Virtualization are activated.

The processor integrates very weak Graphics called Intel i5 650, with XX Execution Units, clocked at 733MHz which share the L2 Cache and system RAM with the processor.
Both the processor and integrated graphics have a rated board TDP of 73W.

It offers average performance. This means it will become a bottleneck in some demanding applications.