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