Cellshock PC3-14400 (DDR3-1800) 2GB DDR3 Kit Page: 1
Introduction & Specifications
 
Back in May 2007 we got our very first taste of Cellshock in the form of their PC2-6400 DDR2 kit. With its high quality heatspreaders and huge overclocking potential, the modules were awarded our extremely rare "Best in Class" award and walked away with an outstanding 10/9/10 score! This certainly wasn't a "one-off" either, with Cellshock nabbing yet another Overclock3D award (this time "Editors Choice") just three months later, for their extremely sexy PC2-9200 kit.
 
Since then, Cellshock had had their sights firmly set on making waves in the DDR3 market and today we've been given the opportunity to review their latest PC3-14400 kit. However, before we get down to the nitty gritty of the review, let's get ourselves reacquainted with Cellshock the company:
 
About Us
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 optimising our products.

This calls for major product performance quality because 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.

Nothing has realy changed since we last visited Cellshock with it's DDR2 based kits. They are still the same overclocker orientated company that they were 6 months back, and judging by the modesty of their about us page and understated looks of their website, they haven't let the success of their previous modules go to their heads.
 
So now we've got the formalities out of the way, it's time to check out the specifications of the kit we're going to be putting through its paces today:
 
Specifications
Capacity : 2GB-Kit (2x 1GB)
Configuration: 128Mx64
DRAM : Micron
Device Config : 128Mx8
PCB : 240pin
Module Info : unbuff. non-ECC, DDR3 DIMM
Speed : PC14400
CAS Latency: 8-7-6-21
VDIMM: 1,7 - 1,9V
Warranty: 5years
 
Cellshock PC3-14400 DDR3 Specs Cellshock PC3-14400 DDR3 Specs
 
The first thing that stands out in the specs of the modules is their rather "uneven" timings. While most kits we've tested recently go for something quite linear like 8-8-8-24 or 7-7-7-20, the Cellshock kit comes with stock timings of 8-7-6-21. This certainly isn't a bad thing as it shows that Cellshock have spent a lot of time tweaking the modules for optimal performance.
 
Another point of interest is the extremely low stock voltage. If the Cellshock kit does indeed manage to run at DDR3-1800 with 8-7-6-21 timings on only 1.7v, it will be be an ideal candidate for lower-end motherboards that have limited (or no) vdimm control options.


Cellshock PC3-14400 (DDR3-1800) 2GB DDR3 Kit Page: 2
Packaging
 
In keeping with the PC2-9200 modules we reviewed a short while ago, the PC3-14400 kit is packaged inside a black cardboard box with a window. This is a welcome change to the boring and over-used plastic blister pack packaging used on almost all other memory and certainly adds a level of 'class' to the modules.
 
Cellshock PC3-14400 Packaging Cellshock PC3-14400 Packaging Back
 
Cellshock PC3-14400 Specs Cellshock PC3-14400 Contents
 
Very little information is provided on the front of the box, with only a specifications sticker located at the bottom right giving potential buyers an idea of what they are looking at. Around the back of the box is some further info, but once again it only covers the very basics such as the origins of the modules and guarantee provided.
 
Each of the DIMM's are individually seated inside a plastic case that has been moulded to the exact contours of the modules. This offers premium protection against courier inflicted damage and shows CellShock's dedication to ensuring that the modules reach you in tip-top condition. Also included in the pack is a Cellshock manual and case badge.
 
 
Appearance
 
Despite producing some rather sexy red heatpreaders on one of their previous DDR2 kits, Cellshock have reverted to the  simple yet very classy black anodised aluminium heatspreaders for their DDR3 range. The heatspreaders are of extremely high quality and feel very heavy compared to the standard wafer thin aluminium spreaders that most other manufacturers use.
 
Cellshock PC3-14400 Modules Front Cellshock PC3-14400 Modules Back
 
Cellshock PC3-14400 Modules Hex Screws Cellshock PC3-14400 Modules Crossed
 
The front of the modules feature an embossed Cellshock logo along with two rows of silver stripes. It's a shame that Cellshock didn't go with a custom black PCB for their DDR3 kits as this would have certainly completed their sexy appearance.
 
Cellshock PC3-14400 Modules Top Cellshock PC3-14400 Heatspreaders
 
Cellshock PC3-14400 Heatspreaders Cellshock PC3-14400 IC's
 
Cellshock have once again gone the extra mile by using thermal paste between the heatspreaders and memory IC's.  This offers much better heat transfer properties than the thermal pads and made it extremely easy for us to confirm that the PC3-14400 kit uses Micron's highly overclockable D9GTR chips.


Cellshock PC3-14400 (DDR3-1800) 2GB DDR3 Kit Page: 3
Test Setup
 
To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configuration used in this review can be seen below:
 
 
Cellshock PC3-14400 2GB @
DDR3-1800 / 8-7-6-21 / 1.7v
Patriot  PC3-15000 2GB @
DDR3-1800 / 8-7-6-21 / 1.9v *
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Quad Q6600 "G0" 2.4GHz 2x4MB
MotherboardAsus P5K3 Premium (Additional NB Cooling to reach high FSB)
Graphics Card  Sapphire Ultimate X1950 Pro 256mb PCI-E
Hard Disk Hitachi Deskstar 80GB 7K80 SATA2 7200RPM 8mb
CPU Cooling Stock Intel Aluminium Cooler
Operating System Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate (Latest Updates)
Graphics Drivers ATI Catalyst 7.4.44981
Motherboard Drivers Intel INF 8.300.1013
* The stock speed and timings of the Patriot kit has been adjusted to evenly match the Cellshock kit.
 
To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities will each be run a total of 5 times, with the sigle highest and lowest result being discarded and an average calculated from the remaining 3 results.

Synthetic Memory Subsystem
• Sisoft Sandra XII 2008c
• Lavalys Everest 4.0

File Compression & Encoding
• 7-Zip File Compression
• River Past ViMark

3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• Cinebench 10
• 3DMark05
• 3DMark06

3D Games
• Quake 4
• Unreal Tournament 3
• F.E.A.R
 
 
Settings & Overclocking
 
As with all memory reviews on Overclock3D the Cellshock DDR3 kit was subjected to a series of benchmark tests under several different configurations. The configurations used tested the memory's ability to run at high frequencies with stock timings, high frequencies with relaxed timings and also ensured that that the modules could run with 100% stability at their advertised speed, latency and voltage settings.
 
Stock Frequency & Timings
DDR3-1800 / 8-7-6-21 / 1.7v
CPU-Z - Stock CPU-Z _ Stock
 
Not only did the Cellshock PC3-14400 kit manage to run straight out of the box at its stock settings of DDR3-1800 / 8-7-6-21 without any additional tweaking, but amazingly it only required 1.7v. This is significantly less voltage than most other DDR3 kits we've tested recently, and will hopefully give the modules some extra headroom during overclocking.
 
 
Highest Frequency @ Stock Timings
DDR3-1922 / 8-7-6-21 / 1.8v
CPU-Z - Stock Timings CPU-Z - Stock Timings
 
With the timings still set to their stock values, the maximum overclock obtainable on the kit was 961mhz (DDR3-1922). Interestingly the Cellshock kit did not respond to additional voltage as we'd anticipated, and the maximum voltage that we could use on the kit before experiencing stability issues was 1.8v.
 
 
Highest Frequency @ Relaxed Timings
DDR3-1964 / 8-8-8-25 / 1.8v
CPU-Z - Relaxed Timings CPU-Z - Relaxed Timings
 
Relaxing the timings down to 8-8-8-25 saw the Cellshock kit hit a maximum speed of 982mhz (DDR3-1964). These results rank the Cellshock kit in the top two DDR3 kits we've tested on Overclock3D so far, and once again come within a whisker of DDR3-2000.
 
It is worth mentioning that obtaining this impressive overclock required the use of active cooling on the motherboards Northbridge chipset. Without this, the stock cooling on the P5K3 motherboard would have probably melted!


Cellshock PC3-14400 (DDR3-1800) 2GB DDR3 Kit Page: 4
Sisoft Sandra

Sisoft Sandra is a synthetic benchmark utility capable of reporting and benchmarking a wide range of system components. As the focus of this review is around the performance of the Memory subsystem (rather than overall system performance), only the Memory Bandwidth and Memory Latency benchmarks are utilised.
 
 Sisoft Sandra Memory Bandwidth
 
Sisoft Memory Bandwidth
 
Sisoft Memory Latency
 
 
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 Memory Read
 
Everest Memory Write
 
Everest Memory Latency


Cellshock PC3-14400 (DDR3-1800) 2GB DDR3 Kit Page: 5
ViMark

ViMark is the latest addition to the OC3D testing process and a relatively new benchmarking application in general. Designed to take the inaccuracies and guesswork out of measuring the time taken to encode video files, ViMark produces easily comparable and consistent results for encoding Windows Media, Quicktime, AVI and Gif files.
 
ViMark - Windows Media
 
ViMark - Apple Quicktime
 
ViMark - AVI
 
ViMark - GIF
 
 
7-Zip

7-Zip is an open source winzip-style file compression utility that has the ability to compress and decompress many file formats including it's own .7z compression scheme. 7-Zip also comes complete with its own benchmarking utility for gauging the compression and decompression speed of the system that it is installed on.
 
7-Zip Compression
 
7-Zip Decompression


Cellshock PC3-14400 (DDR3-1800) 2GB DDR3 Kit Page: 6
CineBench
 
Cinebench 10 is a benchmarking tool based on the powerful 3D software Cinema 4D. Consequently, the results of tests conducted using Cinebench carry significant weight when analysing a computer’s performance in everyday use.
 
Cinebench Rendering
 
Cinebench Rendering
 
Cinebench OpenGL
 
 
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 using the default configurations and with AA / AF disabled.
 
3DMark05
 
3DMark06


Cellshock PC3-14400 (DDR3-1800) 2GB DDR3 Kit Page: 7
Quake4
 
Quake 4 is a game built on the Doom 3 engine. Benchmarking was performed using Quake4Bench and a custom timedemo recording along with 0xAA, 0xAF settings at a resolution of 1024x768.
 
Quake4
 
 
F.E.A.R
 
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.
 
F.E.A.R
 
 
UT3
 
Unreal Tournament 3 is the highly anticipated game from Epic Games and Midway. The game uses the latest Unreal engine which combines fast gameplay along with high quality textures and lighting effects. All benchmarks were performed  using UTbench (Bots/DM-BioHazard).
 
Unreal Tournament 3


Cellshock PC3-14400 (DDR3-1800) 2GB DDR3 Kit Page: 8
Conclusion
 
Cellshock have never failed to impress us yet and their latest PC3-14400 DDR3 kit is certainly no different. Managing to hit eyebrow-raising speeds of DDR3-1964 on slightly relaxed timing of 8-8-8-25 with only 1.8v, and run out-of-the box at stock settings with only 1.7v (and no additional tweaking), the Cellshock kit is among the best that we've tested so far.
 
The build quality of the modules is also exceptional, with the same high quality heatspreaders and thermal paste seen on their earlier DDR2 kits making a reappearance. It would have been nice to see Cellshock mark the release of their DDR3 kits with a different heatspreader colour (like the red PC2-9200 kit), but that's just me being overly picky.
 
As we've come to expect from Cellshock, the pricing of the modules is also very competitive, with the PC3-14400 kit being available from our friends over at Aqua-PC's for around £260.
 
Aqua-Pc's Recommended Retailer
 
 
The Good
• Managed DDR3-1922 on stock timings and DDR3-1964 on slightly relaxed 8-8-8-25 timings.
• Worked perfectly out of the box with only 1.7v
• Cheaper than a lot of DDR3-1800+ kits on the market.
• High quality heatspreaders.
• Thermal paste used between memory and heatspreaders for maximum transfer of heat.
 
The Mediocre
• Didn't like voltages higher than 1.8-1.85v
• Benchmark results just a tad lower than the Patriot kit used for comparison.
 
The Bad
• Absolutely nothing!
 
 
Overclock3D Editors Choice Award
 
Thanks to Cellshock for providing the kit for review. Discuss this review in our forums.