Cor­sair One Elite desk­top

£2,799 | $2,999 www.cor­sair.com Stun­ning, small and near-silent, the Cor­sair One Elite is a su­perb sys­tem

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The Cor­sair One Elite is a stun­ning PC. It’s not only one of the small­est desk­top sys­tems on the mar­ket, it’s also one of the most pow­er­ful as well.

This ver­sion of the Cor­sair One re­tains the ex­cel­lent ex­te­rior de­sign that was in­tro­duced last year, but the in­ter­nals have been given a huge boost. Cor­sair reck­ons they’re per­fect for work and play, and you’re about to find out whether this tiny tower can cope with a se­ri­ous up­grade.

Price and avail­abil­ity

The One Elite on test is the beefi­est and most ex­pen­sive that Cor­sair sells, with an In­tel Cof­fee Lake Core i7 pro­ces­sor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graph­ics and 32GB of RAM for £2,799 ($2,999).

That spec­i­fi­ca­tion is only re­ally needed by cre­atives, so the Cor­sair One Pro Plus is also avail­able. It has the same pro­ces­sor and GPU, but halves the RAM for £2,549 ($2,799).

De­sign

The Cor­sair One Elite is stun­ning. It’s made from air­craft-grade alu­minium that looks smart, with thin bands of light snaking down the rig on ei­ther side of sub­tle lo­gos and the power but­ton.

It looks fan­tas­tic, and the di­men­sions are dis­arm­ing. It’s just 380mm tall and 176mm wide, and weighs 7.4kg. That’s com­pa­ra­ble with the Asus ROG G20CI and MSI Tri­dent 3, which are other re­cent high-end desk­tops that used smaller en­clo­sures.

The great de­sign is paired with rock-solid build qual­ity. The pan­els are sturdy, and the in­te­rior is built around a strong metal skele­ton. It’s per­fect for car­ry­ing to and from LAN par­ties or eS­ports events.

The front of the Cor­sair One Elite has a USB port and an HDMI socket, for VR head­sets, and at the rear you get more dis­play out­puts along­side a USB 3.1 Type-C con­nec­tor and a PS/2 port. Some of the con­nec­tions are il­lu­mi­nated for late-night gam­ing. Wire­less is also in­cluded.

The top is built with thick metal slats that sit above a 140mm fan that’s vir­tu­ally fric­tion­less. This is the Cor­sair’s key heat-re­moval mech­a­nism, and lift­ing the slats free give ac­cess to the in­ter­nals.

The top of the ma­chine serves up the PSU and graph­ics out­puts, which are routed to more con­ve­nient spots us­ing ex­ten­sion ca­bles. The two larger side pan­els can be re­moved, and both are filled with slim, wa­ter-cool­ing ra­di­a­tors.

On one side of the Cor­sair One Elite, a ra­di­a­tor con­nects to the pro­ces­sor us­ing a con­ven­tional mount­ing sys­tem. Be­neath that is a mini-ITX moth­er­board that’s based on the MSI Gam­ing Pro Car­bon AC, which has wire­less and beefed-up net­work­ing cir­cuits. The ra­di­a­tor on the other side con­nects to the full-size graph­ics card.

The graph­ics card con­nects to the moth­er­board us­ing a neat

ex­ten­sion ca­ble, and the M.2 SSD sits be­neath a heatsink on the moth­er­board. The hard drive sits in a small caddy be­tween other com­po­nents. The in­te­rior is filled with snaking ca­bles and chunks of metal, which is nec­es­sary when so much power is in­stalled into such a tiny space – it’s im­pres­sive en­gi­neer­ing, but it doesn’t make ac­cess easy. The ma­jor com­po­nents are just about ac­ces­si­ble, but there’s no up­grade room.

The only other is­sue is the light­ing. It looks great at de­fault, but the lights aren’t RGB, so in soft­ware you can only al­ter the bright­ness, turn the lights off or opt for a ba­sic ‘breath­ing’ ef­fect.

Per­for­mance

The Cor­sair One Elite de­liv­ers gam­ing pace aplenty thanks to that GeForce GTX 1080 Ti card, one of Nvidia’s most pow­er­ful con­sumer chips with a mighty 11GB of GDDR5X mem­ory, 3,584 stream pro­ces­sors and a stock speed of 1,480MHz that soars to 1,645MHz and be­yond with GPU Boost.

The Cor­sair One Elite will run any cur­rent game at 1080p be­yond 100fps, and its bench­mark scores out­strip both its ri­vals; its 3D Mark Time Spy score of 9,272 is thou­sands of points ahead of both MSI and Asus’ ma­chines – an ad­van­tage that trans­lates to gam­ing per­for­mance. In the Deus Ex Ul­tra bench­mark the Cor­sair One Elite ran at 98fps – the other two ma­chines couldn’t even man­age a playable frame-rate.

The Cor­sair One Elite will han­dle gam­ing at 4K, too. At 3,840x2,160 it av­er­aged 44fps, and steamed be­yond 60fps in Bat­tle­field 1 and Witcher 3. That bodes well for 4K screens, VR head­sets and in­tense graph­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tions.

Pro­cess­ing power has taken a mas­sive leap. Last year’s quad-core

“The Cof­fee Lake sil­i­con romped through the Geekbench sin­gle- and multi-core tests”

chip has been re­placed with a six-core In­tel i7-8700K Cof­fee Lake CPU, which can han­dle 12 con­cur­rent threads. The two ex­tra cores mean the Cor­sair One Elite will be an even bet­ter per­former in com­plex pro­duc­tiv­ity ap­pli­ca­tions and when multi-task­ing. And, de­spite the ex­tra cores, clock speeds haven’t suf­fered: the i7-8700K’s base speed of 3.7GHz is a lit­tle be­low last year’s chips, but the new part has sin­gle- and multi-core Turbo speeds of 4.7GHz and 4.3GHz – bet­ter than the older parts.

The Cor­sair One Elite also has a Sam­sung PM961 SSD that uses NVMe for ex­tra pace, and a 2TB hard disk drive.

The Cof­fee Lake sil­i­con romped through the Geekbench sin­gle- and multi-core tests with re­sults of 5,365 and 23,290. The for­mer score is a lit­tle bet­ter than the older Core i7 chips in the MSI and Asus ma­chines. How­ever, the Cor­sair’s multi-threaded re­sult is al­most 7,000 points bet­ter than the MSI.

That’s a huge gap, and proves that the Cor­sair will be far more adept with com­plex multi-task­ing and the apps that creative and high-end pro­duc­tiv­ity jobs re­quire. For more ev­i­dence, just look at Cinebench: the two ri­val rigs scored around 850cb – but the Cor­sair’s six-core CPU scored 1,392cb.

The Cor­sair One Elite is a stonk­ing bit of kit and re­mained near-silent in ev­ery sce­nario. The sys­tem can barely be heard when idling, and dur­ing a gam­ing test the fan speed only rose a lit­tle. If you have speak­ers or a head­set, you won’t know that the Cor­sair’s there.

The noise level barely al­tered dur­ing our sys­tem stress test. The graph­ics card ran at nearly 1,900MHz in ev­ery sce­nario, and the CPU ran at 4.5GHz in a gam­ing test and 4.3GHz in the sys­tem-wide test.

Sum­mary

If you do want a premium qual­ity prod­uct that ticks mul­ti­ple boxes, then few PCs are bet­ter than the Cor­sair One Elite. The Cof­fee Lake pro­ces­sor and Nvidia graph­ics de­liver gen­uine, top-tier power, and the su­perb de­sign en­sures that this desk­top PC stays cool and quiet de­spite its tiny size. The new Cor­sair One Elite per­forms bet­ter than ever. It’s ex­pen­sive, yes, but ex­cel­lent too.

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