Today, the tech market is becoming highly saturated with space-saving, pre-engineered gaming computers and among the many we've tested, few offer unacceptable noise levels, dull proprietary software, or heat issues. This means that consumers are generally not taking big risks when deciding to purchase a pre-built system. However, it also puts manufacturers in a tough situation when it comes to differentiating their builds from the rest.
Corsair, however, has always distinguished itself from the competition with its One machine through its sheer build quality. It's hard to come by a machine so compact and as well-designed as this iconic computer, and apparently, the design and cooling solution of the One has been a source of inspiration for Microsoft's upcoming Xbox Series X.
The Corsair One has been on the market for years at this point, but new versions of the build have been released and we've tried one of them out.
The overall design of the Corsair One is as classic as ever and has become relatively iconic within the walls of the industry. It's not difficult to see why either because even though RGB lighting adorns the front of the chassis, the design is relatively understated, making the computer blend in and look natural in both an office environment as well as in the home of a gaming enthusiast. Apart from looking nice, the chassis is made up of two-millimetre thick grass-beaded aluminium, making the build feel incredibly sturdy.
Corsair has also added more ports on the front of the computer, which leaves the new variant with two USB-A 3.1 ports, a headphone jack and HDMI for VR access on the front, adding functionality since the size of the build means that it makes more sense to keep it on the desk rather than underneath it.
The machine we got to try out housed an i9-9900K, an RTX 2080ti, 32GB DDR4 RAM and a dual hard drive consisting of one 960GB M.2 SSD and a 2TB HDD. That's pretty much all one can ask for if one's looking for an A-grade product. This leaves us with one question, however. How does Corsair keep the One cool enough for its components?
Corsair has expanded the perforation on the sides of the chassis, allowing for more cold air to circulate through the two radiators. Each has a distinct cooling zone, one of which provides 340 watts of cooling to the graphics card and the other of which provides approximately 170 watts of cooling to the CPU. Hot air is then pushed up by the central 140-millimetre fan at the top.
Not only that, but Corsair has also managed to clean up the internal design of the build, so whereas the earlier models housed stretched radiator pipes and cables for various components across the motherboard and graphics card, these have now been plugged into the sides of the chassis which improves the airflow.
The result is simply phenomenal. The latest i160, which is the model we have tried out, performs somewhat similarly to the archived test results for the graphics card in a test bench we use. For example, in 3DMark's TimeSpy and Fire Strike, the numbers were almost identical, which states that even though the Corsair One is small, the cooling is still so optimal that the numbers remain unaffected by the 2080ti inside. Not even the notoriously hot i9-9900K manages to cause issues, and even though we saw 4.7Ghz boost results in the Port Royale test, it never managed to crawl above 77 degrees.
Apart from that, the build sat at about 23dB, and while it doesn't really fit Corsair's promise of a 'quiet-as-a-whisper' system, it's still one of the quietest compact machines we've ever tested. The cooling solution is really impressive. However, it also brings the price up significantly. The top-tier variant costs $3,499.99, which can be downgraded to an i7-9700K, landing it at $2,899.99. Still not cheap.
What we can say, however, is that the benchmarking results, solid look, build quality and temperature levels combine to make the new Corsair One a wonderful machine. Sure, not everyone will want to spend the pretty penny required to take the machine home, but for those who do, the One will bring a stellar experience.
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