CellShock PC2-6400 (DDR2-800) 2GB Kit Page: 1
Introduction

Here at Overclock3D we often get asked to take a look at products from new and upcoming manufacturers who are desperate to get their name out into the open. The normal candidates include cooling applications, cases and power supplies. So when we was approached by a relatively unheard of company called CellShock and asked to review one of their DDR2 kits, I literally jumped at the chance. I have to be honest at this point and say that the CellShock name wasn't new to me prior to this review, but for those of us who haven't been acquainted with this company in the past, here is a snippet of information from their website:

Since 1979 MSC Vertriebs GmbH has made a name for itself as one of the leading high-tech distributors of electronic components in Europe.

Producing user memories in all variations and specifications for industry has always been one of MSC's core competencies. And now, with the new CellShock series, we are applying the knowledge gained to DRAM memory systems for PC fans. We use special techniques for chip selection and printed circuit boards with enhanced layouts including exhaustive quality testing. We also have contracts with a variety of reputable manufacturers of memory chips and electronic components that enable us to access a wide assortment of applications for optimizing our products.

With well established names like OCZ, Crucial, Kingston, Corsair and Muskin already providing some of the fastest DDR2 kits available, it's hard to believe that any new company would even consider trying to break into this already fiercely competitive market. However, CellShock have their sights firmly set on a specific type of end-user...the overclocker:

...the test programs we use were developed by overclockers for overclockers. We give that extra performance and compatibility - not because of some advertising slogans, but because we have a genuine passion for high-end PC components. We want to make a believer out of our customers not only with our products, but also fast service and expert technical support.

More information about the company and their products can be found here.


Specifications

Also found on the CellShock site is information on their manufacturing process, and more interestingly, the specs of the DDR2-800 kit we are going to be looking at today.

We select our memory chips according to our own internally developed techniques to allow later specification and assignment. We build 8-layer boards for DDR2 modules (6-layer boards for DDR1) according to our own enhanced layout. They are equipped with the galvanic hard-gold contacts that are used in industry. Our printed circuit boards are checked for impedance making reflections or interference in signals virtually impossible. Our modules are also equipped with heat-dissipating heat spreaders available in 2 variations depending upon model specifications.

CellShock DDR2-800 Specs CellShock DDR2-800 IC's

• Speed: DDR2 800 (PC6400)
• Timings: 4-4-4-12
• VDimm: 2,1V - 2,2V
• Chip: Micron D9GMH 64Mx8
• PCB: 8-layer, 240pin
• Guarantee: 5 years

The CellShock DDR2-800 modules are based on an 8-layer PCB for maximum stability and make use of the highly regarded D9GMH IC's manufactured by Micron. Each kit is provided with a 5 year guarantee, which is a bit strange as most kits from other manufacturers come with a lifetime warranty. However, saying this I certainly don't think I've ever kept a memory kit for anything longer than a couple of years with the way technology changes, so this shouldn't pose much of an issue for the majority of enthusiasts.

With timings of 4-4-4-12 and VDimm warranted up to 2.2v, there is certainly room for overclocking, however let's take a closer look at the modules first over the next page.

CellShock PC2-6400 (DDR2-800) 2GB Kit Page: 2
Packaging

The CellShock kit comes in a typical clear plastic blister type packet, but with a few minor differences. The memory modules actually sit at a ~30° angle giving them a showcase appearance that stands out from the flat packets that many other manufacturers use.

CellShock DDR2-800 Packaging CellShock DDR2-800 Manual

CellShock have sealed the packet on all corners by melting circular holes into the plastic. This works extremely well and actually forced me to rip the packet apart in order to get it open. Once inside the only thing included with the modules was a 2 page manual that gives basic instructions on how to install the memory on your motherboard.


Appearance

The design of the CellShock modules is simple yet very classy with a black annodised aluminium heatspreader embossed with the silver CellShock logo. The heatspreaders are of extremely high quality and feel very heavy compared to the standard wafer thin aluminium spreaders that most other manufacturers use. Four allen head screws hold the heatspreaders in place - giving this kit possibly best built quality of any kit I've tested so far.

CellShock DDR2-800 2GB Front CellShock DDR2-800 2GB Back

CellShock DDR2-800 2GB Crossed CellShock DDR2-800 2GB Heatspreader

Even more impressive than the high quality heatspreaders is the fact that CellShock have opted to use thermal paste on the memory IC's. This offers much better heat transfer properties than the thermal pads used by almost all other manufacturers and credit has to be given to CellShock for going the extra mile.

My only minor gripe with the appearance of this kit has to be the use of green PCB's. In my opinion they would look a whole lot better if combined with a black PCB, but I suppose it won't really show once the modules are installed on a motherboard.


CellShock PC2-6400 (DDR2-800) 2GB Kit Page: 3
Test Setup

Processor: Intel Core2Duo E6700 "Conroe"
Motherboard: Asus Commando P965 (unmodded)
Graphics Card: BFG 8800GTS Overclocked (550mhz / 1600mhz)
Hard Disks: 2x Hitachi Deskstar 80gb SATA-II 8mb Cache (RAID0)
Power Supply: Enermax Infiniti 720w
Operating System: Windows XP x64



Settings

As with all DDR2 reviews on Overclock3D the CellShock modules were subjected to a series of benchmark tests under several different configurations. The configurations used tested the memory's ability to run at high frequencies, tight timings and also ensured that that it could run with 100% stability at stock settings.


Stock - DDR2-800 (400mhz) / 2.1v / 4-4-4-12

CPUZ CPUZ

With a stock voltage of 2.1v and latencies at 4-4-4-12 the CellShock modules actually have the tightest stock latencies of any kit we've tested here at OC3D so far. For this reason I was slightly worried that I might run into stability issues. However, I'm pleased to say that the modules were 100% stable at this setting, passing a 32m SuperPI run and several hours of ORTHOS stress testing. With this in mind, I set out to find how much further the latencies could be tightened....


Low Latency - DDR2-800 (400mhz) / 2.2v / 3-3-4-10

CPUZ CPUZ

By increasing the voltage to the maximum warranted 2.2v I was able to lower the CellShock modules down to a hugely impressive 3-3-4-10 latency setting. Going lower than this did still allow me to boot into Windows, but failed half way through a SuperPI run. I'm pretty sure that increasing the voltage a notch or two would have seen even better results.


High Frequency - DDR2-1192 (596mhz) / 2.2v / 5-5-5-15

CPUZ CPUZ

With the memory still set to 2.2v I loosened the timings to 5-5-5-15 and set about trying to find the maximum frequency that the CellShock DDR2-800 kit was capable of. After a little tweaking and several stability tests, the modules fell only a few MHZ of DDR2-1200 - A 50% overclock!! Simply amazing for a kit rated at DDR2-800. Yet again, I'm sure that with a little extra voltage (2.3-2.35v) these modules would have been capable of much more.


CellShock PC2-6400 (DDR2-800) 2GB Kit Page: 4
Test Results

3DMark053DMark06

3DMark is a popular synthetic gaming benchmark used by many gamers and overclockers to gauge the performance of their PC's. All 3DMark runs were performed 3 times with averages being calculated from each of the results.

3DMark05 3DMark06


FEAR

F.E.A.R. is a game based on the Lithtech Jupiter EX engine. It has volumetric lighting, soft shadows, parallax mapping and particle effects.Included in the game is a benchmark facility that taxes the entire PC system. This benchmark was run 3 times to ensure uniformity of results.

FEAR


Quake4

Quake 4 is a game built on the Doom 3 engine. Benchmarking was performed using Quake4Bench and a custom timedemo recording along with 4xAA, 8xAF settings at a resolution of 1204x768.

Quake4


Sandra

Sisoft Sandra is a synthetic benchmark utility capable of reporting and benchmarking a wide range of system components. For the CellShock memory we run both the Memory Bandwidth and Memory Latency benchmarks 3 times to ensure accuracy of results.

Sandra Sandra


Everest

Everest is in many ways similar to Sisoft Sandra. Focusing mainly on Software and Hardware information reporting, Everest also comes with a benchmark utility suitable for testing the read, write and latency performance of the memory subsystem.

Everest Everest


CellShock PC2-6400 (DDR2-800) 2GB Kit Page: 5
Conclusion

Without doubt the CellShock DDR2-800 2GB kit is by far the most overclockable kit I've tested to date. Managing a pretty amazing ~50% overclock (196mhz) - taking the modules almost to DDR2-1200 status, I'm very confident that they would have easily been capable of a lot more with voltage upped to 2.3v.

Not only do they perform amazingly well, but they also look great too. Using high-quality aluminium heatsinks along with thermal paste (not pads) to cool the memory IC's, it's clear to see that CellShock have been listening to enthusiasts and have designed their modules with the overclocker in mind.

The Cellshock DDR2-800 kit does cost a little bit more than your average PC2-6400 kit on the market, but not to the point where it becomes uncompetitive. Available from SpecialTech for around £144.00, there are definitely cheaper kits about - But none that I've seen capable of hitting anywhere near DDR2-1200 or with the build quality found on these amazing modules.

SpecialTech


Pro's
• Great, uncomplicated looks.
• High quality heatspreaders.
• Thermal paste (not pads) used to transfer heat to heatspreaders.
• Capable of low latencies (3-3-4-10).
• HUGE ~50% overclock from DDR2-800 to DDR2-1192
• Competitive price for such a well built, overclockable kit!

Con's
• None (unless you are planning on using them past their 5yr warranty).


Best In Class Award


Thanks to Specialtech and CellShock for making this review possible. Discuss this review in our forums.