A true pre-built system designed for gamers by gamers.
Since I was a young kid, I’ve always enjoyed the world of video games. Our family had one of the PC systems that connected to the television that we all enjoyed and we slowly evolved to the world of console gaming. My brother has a background in information technology maintenance and he’s always liked to build things. So, it’s no surprise that he joined the PC gaming world and worked to build his own custom systems. As for me, I’ve always stuck to the console games, but can’t deny that I’ve felt like I was missing out when groups of friends would get together for LAN parties and all I had was my basic Dell PC tower or my Apple laptops that, at the time, were not suitable for desktop gaming. Fortunately, times have changed and some companies are designing standalone PCs for the purpose of gaming. One such machine is the Corsair One a100 Compact Gaming PC.
The Corsair One a100 is designed to bring console-like gaming to the PC world. The PC is powered by an AMD Ryzen 3000 series CPU, NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics, and other award-winning components by Corsair. The computer is encased inside a small form factor that is quiet and takes up far less desktop space than standard PCs. When you consider the PC’s size, it’s right in between a console (6 liters) and a Tower PC (35+ liters). The Corsair One is only about 12 liters in size by volume.
When you take a look at the processing power inside, you will find:
- Up to 16 cores of processing power with the AMD Zen 2 architecture. This offers single-threaded and multi-threaded performance.
- Full-sized desktop GPU with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX. With this GPU, users will experience lifelike graphics and smooth frame rates that are powered by CUDA and real-time ray tracing technology.
- Support for up to 32GB of memory. The system is loaded with Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 RAM.
- Up to 2TB of SSD storage with lightning-fast M.2 NVMe SSD.
- Powered by 600 watts 80 PLUS Gold certified power supply.
- Featured convection cooled system that is a proprietary closed-loop CPU/GPU liquid cooling system, supported by a virtually frictionless magnetic levitation ML SERIES fan.
- Front and read I/O panels provide a total of 16 connectors.
- Support for up to four (4) 4K HDR displays.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 3950X|
|GPU||NVIDA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti|
|DRAM||2 x 16GB DDR4-3200|
|System Type||64-bit operating system, x64-based processor|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home (version 1909, OS build 18363.1139)|
|Front I/O Panel||1 x 3.5mm audio jack2 x USB 3.0 ports1 x VR-ready HDMI port|
|Rear I/O Panel||8 x USB ports (1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2, Type-C)Wi-Fi 6Gigabit EthernetAudio connectors3 x DisplayPort connectors|
|Dimensions||200mm x 172.5mm x 380mm|
|Liquid Cooling||Liquid CPU/GPU|
|Storage||1TB Force MP600 M.2 NVMe SSD2TB 5400RPM 2.5” HDD|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Networking||Gigabit EthernetWi-Fi 6Bluetooth 5.0|
|Power Supply||CORSAIR SF600, 80 Plus Gold|
The Corsair One comes in a black reinforced retail box that mimics the shape of the unit. One of the first things I noticed when taking it out of the box was its weight. The case is metal and because it’s a compact pre-built system, there are a lot of elements packed into the computer’s form. According to its specs, the unit weighs a little over 16 pounds. One of the reasons this sticks out to me is because you really have to be cautious about where you install it. It’s a hard case with a lot of weight behind it. It could easily scratch up a desktop if said desktop is made with a softer material. The look of the machine is very modern. Its sleek black case is accented by RGB running lights on the front and the line in/out and microphone ports on the back are lined with RGB LEDs, too.
There are many, many ports that are available on the unit. For convenience-sake, an HDMI port, 2 USB ports, and a headphone jack are located on the front of the unit. The back includes a USB-C port, 7 USB ports, 1 Ethernet port, 3 DisplayPorts, 1 line in, 1 line out, and 1 microphone input port. There are also two antennae attachments with the label “Wi-Fi 6” printed below it. The power cable plugs directly into the computer (no brick included – just the cord) and a power switch is located next to it. That power switch must be turned on in order to power the unit on from the power button on the front. For testing purposes, I plugged an HDMI cable into the front port to connect to my monitor and then a USB mechanical gaming keyboard into the front port as well.
BASIC COMPUTING TASKS
Even though this computer is designed to have more power specifically for gaming purposes, I did test it out with some basic computing tasks. It seems to blow away basic tasks like web browsing, email composing and reading, and typing. To monitor the CPU’s performance, I pinned the performance tab of the game XBOX Game Bar onto the desktop. This allows me to monitor the CPU, GPU, VRAM, RAM, and FPS readings while I completed various tasks. While I was watching 4K streaming video on YouTube, the average rating was between 2-3% with occasional bounces into the 6% range. I completed an online typing test and found that the connection between the keyboard and PC was solid. The site I used is somewhat resource intensive because of its embedded ads. So, when I first visited the site, the performance meter bounced to 17%, but after that it settled in around 4%. Even when sites or tasks would seem to register a higher performance rating than the baseline 2%, the computer never seemed to slow down.
While testing the Corsair One, I obviously played a few games. I chose to play through a few levels of City Island 5 – a sim-style game (rated E), Overkill 3 – a basic shooter game (rated T), and Gears of War 4 – an advanced shooter-style game (rated M). Each game played smoothly and I didn’t experience any lag. The two more basic gaming experiences – City Island 5 and Overkill 3 – weren’t as resource intensive as Gear of War 4. Overkill 3 only used 7% CPU/20% GPU processing power at its peak. City Island 5 was a little graphic-heavy so it was almost constantly using around 30% GPU power, but only around 4-5% CPU power. Gears of War registered 50% GPU when it was simply resting on the start screen. The CPU rating rose up to 10% when the game actually started. The video interstitials were what ended up taking up the most computing power, but even those didn’t seem to fully test the Corsair One’s power to its fullest.
CPU/GPU & OVERALL PERFORMANCE
To test the overall performance of the PC, I completed some additional benchmark tests including Geekbench, Novabench, and CrystalDiskMark.
Geekbench is a cross-platform benchmark tool that measures a system’s performance against workloads that simulate real-world experiences. The results are divided into a single-core and multi-core performance experience. Systems are given a score based on how well they performed during the Geekbench tests.The Corsair One received a score of 1271 (single-core)/11945 (multi-core). The AMD Ryzen 9 3950X processor has an average benchmark score of 1293/14105. The Corsair’s score was just about in-line with the single-core score, but was a way off from the multi-core score.
The next benchmarking test I did was using Novabench. The program is similar to Geekbench in that it tests the performance of the computer components and assigns scores based on the results of the tests. According to Novabench, the Corsair One had an overall score of 5336. One of the interesting features of Novabench is the fact that you can compare your results to different levels of systems. The table below shows how the Corsair One compares to other systems based on Novabench’s test results.
|Corsair One’s Score in Comparison to Baseline System|
|Mid-level Gaming PC||CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X or Intel Core i5-9600KGPU: Radeon RX Vega or NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070||Overall Score: 137% higherCPU Score: 208% higherGPU Score: 27% higher|
|High-end Gaming PC||CPU: AMD Ryzen7 2700X or Intel Core i7-9700KGPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080||Overall Score: 75% higherCPU Score: 112% higherGPU Score: 6% higher|
|High-end iMac||CPU: Intel Core i9-9900KGPU: AMD Radeon Pro 580||Overall Score: 94% higherCPU Score: 99% higherGPU Score: 82% higher|
HARD DRIVE SPEED
Finally, I ran CrystalDiskMark to test the performance of the SSD inside the Corsair One. The program works by reading and writing through the filesystem in a volume-dependant way. The results of the CrystalDiskMark test are shown in the image below. M.2 NVMe SSDs can reach speeds up to 32Gbps.
The Corsair One is a beast of a compact gaming PC. The only real issue with this machine is its price. The system that I have been testing – as specked above – retails for $3,999.99 (currently on sale for $3,699.99) at the time this review is being written. From what I can tell, it’s worth it based on the power it has demonstrated with the tasks I have thrown at it. It’s a very unique system that works very well.