Cor­sair One Elite


SUP­PLIER www.cor­ W

e’ve seen pow­er­ful PCs, small form fac­tor rigs and quiet sys­tems, but you rarely see a rig that’s ef­fec­tively all three. That’s the Cor­sair One (see Is­sue 167, p62), though, and this stun­ning PC has now been up­dated with new com­po­nents. The ex­ter­nal de­sign hasn’t changed, but it didn’t need chang­ing any­way. It’s still made from matt, air­craft-grade alu­minium. Sub­tle lo­gos sit be­tween an­gu­lar bands of ice­blue light, and the smart power but­ton sits above front-mounted USB and HDMI ports.

The top has thick metal slats that dis­si­pate heat, and the sys­tem mea­sures just 380mm tall and 176mm wide – much smaller than nor­mal tow­ers, and more com­pact than most mini-ITX cases. Those slats form a cru­cial part of the cool­ing sys­tem. They sit above a Cor­sair ML-series ex­haust fan that works in tan­dem with a pair of slim, cus­tom-de­signed liq­uid-cool­ing units at­tached to the case’s two larger side pan­els. The first unit con­nects to the pro­ces­sor, while the sec­ond snakes to the full-sized graph­ics card. Nei­ther 120mm unit has its own fans, but the GPU has a sec­ondary spin­ner. Those side pan­els can be re­moved by pulling the slat­ted sec­tion free and re­mov­ing four screws.

Mean­while, the moth­er­board is based on the MSI’s Gam­ing Pro Car­bon AC, and the GPU sits be­hind the board and con­nects to the sin­gle PCI-E slot us­ing a neat riser. More ex­ten­sion ca­bles make the GPU’s out­puts and the main power socket ac­ces­si­ble. The en­tire rig is built around a rock-solid metal skele­ton, and build qual­ity is be­yond re­proach. The PSU is bet­ter than last year’s model too – it’s still a Cor­sair SF model with an 80 Plus Gold rat­ing, but its 500W rat­ing is 100W higher than that of the older ma­chine.

We’re pleased that Cor­sair has also used some con­ven­tional com­po­nents, which makes re­place­ments eas­ier if any­thing goes wrong, but the One’s tiny de­sign means ev­ery part is dif­fi­cult to reach. There are ca­bles ev­ery­where, the hard disk is in a tiny caddy, and the mem­ory is hid­den be­neath a bunch of wires. We’re also still wait­ing for


dust fil­ters on the vented side pan­els. Those are our only is­sues with the build, though, and they’re mi­nor quib­bles – if you’re re­ally fussed about tin­ker­ing, a more con­ven­tional mini-ITX ma­chine or larger tower will suit you bet­ter.

The big­gest change over the first One is the pro­ces­sor. Older mod­els had a quad-core Core i7-7700K, but a Cof­fee Lake i7-8700K now takes cen­tre stage. The 6-core chip delivers more grunt for heav­ily multi-threaded ap­pli­ca­tions, so it’s no sur­prise that Cor­sair mar­kets this ma­chine at cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als as well as gamers. There’s no over­clock­ing, but the 3.7GHz 6-core chip has solid multi- and sin­gle-core Turbo speeds of 4.3GHz and 4.7GHz re­spec­tively.

The pro­ces­sor is paired with 32GB of mem­ory, a 512GB Sam­sung PM961 SSD and a 2TB hard disk. The mem­ory has been given a speed boost to 2666MHz in this year’s re­vi­sion, and that M.2 NVMe SSD is faster than last year’s SATA drive too. How­ever, a high-end PC should have at least 3000MHz DDR4 mem­ory re­ally, and Sam­sung’s newer 960 Evo SSDs are also a lit­tle quicker.

There’s no over­clock­ing in the graph­ics de­part­ment ei­ther, but there’s still plenty of power on of­fer, with the One now sport­ing a top-end Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti card.

On the down­side, this model’s £2,799 inc VAT price tag isn’t cheap, but thank­fully, Cor­sair also sells cheaper ver­sions of this ma­chine. The One Pro Plus halves the mem­ory to drop the price to £2,549, and last year’s mod­els are still avail­able for a lit­tle more than £2,000. The Cor­sair is no slouch, al­though over­clocked ma­chines nat­u­rally of­fer more speed. Its re­sult of 56,326 in our im­age edit­ing test is good, but the PC Spe­cial­ist Ve­loc­ity X 01 scored 67,487 by run­ning the same chip at 4.8GHz. The Cor­sair’s Hand­brake score of 428,219 oc­cu­pies a sim­i­lar po­si­tion. It’s a great re­sult, thanks to the CPU’s six cores, but larger PCs with over­clocked CPUs (as well as Ryzen 7 ma­chines) are a lit­tle quicker. That’s a small price to pay for the priv­i­lege of own­ing such a com­pact ma­chine, though, and the One Elite’s per­for­mance is still plenty quick enough for high-end gam­ing and many tough pro­duc­tiv­ity tasks.

The graph­ics card is quick too. Its min­i­mums ranged from 36fps to 59fps at 4K, which is great for such a small PC, and it never dropped below 95fps in The Witcher 3 at 2,560 x

The GPU con­nects to the PCI-E slot us­ing a neat riser

1,440. This PC will eas­ily han­dle high-res­o­lu­tion games, as well as the de­mands of VR head­sets.

The Cor­sair ran ev­ery test with im­pres­sive ther­mal per­for­mance too. It’s prac­ti­cally in­audi­ble when run­ning stan­dard ap­pli­ca­tions – if it’s un­der a desk, or even be­hind a mon­i­tor, you just won’t hear this PC. Its noise level in­creased slightly dur­ing gam­ing, but it’s qui­eter than al­most ev­ery gam­ing PC we’ve tested re­cently here. We only heard the fans with an ear against the case. It didn’t even make a racket dur­ing our full-sys­tem stress test, mak­ing the One Elite one of the qui­etest PCs we’ve ever used.

The CPU ran at around 4.3GHz in that last test, and the GPU re­mained at 1900MHz through­out, so there are no throt­tling is­sues ei­ther. Tem­per­a­tures are fine, too, with solid CPU and GPU delta Ts of 64°C and 36°C.


Cor­sair has taken this al­ready stel­lar sys­tem and made it bet­ter. Cof­fee Lake delivers a solid boost to work ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and the GTX 1080 Ti delivers 4K and VR gam­ing abil­i­ties. The mem­ory and stor­age are a lit­tle bet­ter, and the Cor­sair is con­sis­tently and bril­liantly quiet.

There’s no change to the phys­i­cal de­sign, but this ma­chine didn’t need it. It re­mains qui­eter, smaller and stur­dier than any other com­peti­tor we’ve tested, mak­ing it ideal for LAN events, liv­ing rooms and of­fices in equal mea­sure. It also re­mains ex­pen­sive and tricky to ac­cess, though, with more power and ac­ces­si­bil­ity avail­able in cheaper ma­chines. If you need a PC that of­fers huge power with­out mak­ing a fuss, though, then those is­sues won’t be a con­cern. The Cor­sair One is now even bet­ter, and eas­ily earns its Elite moniker.

/ SPEC­I­FI­CA­TIONS CPU 3.7GHz In­tel Core i7-8700K Moth­er­board MSI Gam­ing Pro Car­bon AC Mem­ory 32GB Cor­sair Vengeance LPX 2666MHz DDR4 Graph­ics Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Stor­age 512GB Sam­sung PM961 M.2 SSD, 2TB Sea­gate Bar­racuda hard drive Case...

1 2 3 The 500W SFX PSU even sports an 80 Plus Gold ef­fi­ciency rat­ing The lat­est model fea­tures a Core i7-8700K, though it isn’t over­clocked Two slim, cus­tom liq­uid-cool­ing units are at­tached to the larger side pan­els 2 3 1

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