|Specifications at a glance: Corsair One|
|lowest||middle||Best (as rated)|
|OS||Windows 10 Home 64-bit|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-7700 (liquid cooled)||Intel Core i7-7700K (liquid cooled)||Intel Core i7-7700K (liquid cooled)|
|RAM||16GB DDR4 2.400MHz (8GBx2)||16GB DDR4 2.400MHz (8GBx2)||16GB DDR4 2.400MHz (8GBx2)|
|GPU||Nvidia GTX 1070 (air cooled)||Nvidia GTX 1080 8GB (liquid cooled)||Nvidia GTX 1080 8GB (liquid cooled)|
|HDD||240GB SATA SSD, 1TB HDD||480GB SATA SSD, 2TB HDD||960GB SATA SSD|
|PSU||400W SFX||400W SFX||400W SFX|
|NETWORKS||Gigabit Ethernet, AC Wi-Fi|
|PORTS||3 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB-3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 2.0, 2 x DisplayPort, 2x HDMI, headphone jack, microphone jack|
|MATE||Height: 380 mm (14.9 in), Depth: 200 mm (7.9 in), Width: 176 mm (6.9 in)|
|GUARANTEE||Two years with 24/7 support and five days repair time|
|PRICE||£1800 / $1800||£2200/$2200||£2270/$2300|
|Comments:||There’s also a fourth model, which Corsair didn’t tell us about beforehand, with a GTX 1080 Ti. It’s an online exclusive price of £2600 / $2700. But still no M.2 SSD…|
It’s hard to believe that the Corsair One comes from the same company that designed the Bulldog, a small form factor PC so monstrously ugly that the mere thought of placing it in a living room was enough to trigger a gag reflex. to cause. Where the Bulldog was a confused hodgepodge of merry, lesser gamers, the One is sleek, sophisticated and – dare I say it – even a little mature.
That Corsair continues to sell a slightly updated version of the Bulldog is something of a mystery given how good the Corsair One is. Of all the SFF (small form factor) PCs I’ve tried – and there have been quite a few in the past year – this is by far the best. I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the best pre-built PCs you can buy, period.
At £2,300 for a fully loaded version, the Corsair One isn’t cheap by any means – and as always, going the do-it-yourself route can lead to significant savings – but few homebrew PCs have such a small footprint. Fewer still do that while fully liquid cooled, with graphics card and all. It is a combination that results in a PC that fits not only aesthetically, but also acoustically in the living room.
And, unlike the Zotac EN1080’s fully custom hardware, you can even upgrade it.
Double radiators FTW
Yeah, sort of. The Corsair One does indeed have standard hardware. Inside is a mini-ITX motherboard from MSI. There’s one of Corsair’s 400W, 80 Plus Gold-rated modular SFX power supplies, two sticks of Corsair Vengeance 2400MHz DDR4 RAM, and an Intel Kaby Lake 7700K processor with sockets. An expansion cable runs from the single PCIe slot to the back of the motherboard, which can accommodate a three-slot graphics card. Extension cables then carry HDMI (1x) and DisplayPort (2x) to the rear of the case.
But in the fully loaded version of the One, both the GTX 1080 graphics and CPU are liquid-cooled by two separate all-in-one 240mm radiators, flanking each side of the One’s case behind ventilated aluminum panels. Corsair doesn’t plan on making the One user serviceable – although getting in is just a push of a button and the loosening of four screws – but replacing the CPU is an easy enough task, as is upgrading. of the 2.5-inch SATA SSD, which is housed in a simple plastic slot.
It’s unlikely, especially if the notorious roadmaps for Intel’s Coffee Lake architecture are correct – that anyone would want to upgrade the CPU in the near future, but the graphics card is another story. You can already buy a GTX 1080 Ti and in a year, both Nvidia and AMD will have all-new architectures on the market. The MSI-made graphics card is cooled in the same way as the CPU, with a 240mm radiator. But as anyone who’s tried putting a liquid cooler on a graphics card can attest, it’s a much more complicated affair than replacing a CPU, especially since the VRMs and memory modules still need to be air-cooled.
If you’re skilled enough, it might just be possible to swap the GTX 1080 for another Nvidia card with a similar board layout and keep the same cooler. Or you can just ditch the liquid cooling altogether — or opt for the cheaper air-cooled version of the Corsair One — and install a blower-style card. But this ruins one of the best things about this PC: this is by far the quietest SFF system I’ve ever used.
You may have noticed that no fans were mentioned, and that’s because the Corsair One only has one. At the very top of the case is a single 140mm fan – one of Corsair’s fancy magnetic levitation fans that promises quieter operation – which relies on assisted convection to pull air through the side panels, over the radiators and out the top of the case. It’s similar to how Apple keeps the Mac Pro cool, but by using radiators and fluid instead of a central heat sink.
It works extremely well.
I have no way of testing noise levels here in the office (think of it as something we’d like to add to our testing), but Corsair claims it recorded an idle noise level of 20 dBA in an anechoic chamber, or about as loud as a whisper. from a meter away. The system is certainly more audible during gaming if you’re sitting next to it, but over a greater distance (such as in the living room), or perhaps in a closed cabinet, you hardly notice it.
In either case, the fan noise is soft and muffled and very different from the high-pitched whine of a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.