Corsair One Elite review

Stunning, small and near-silent, the Corsair One Elite is a superb system

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Here’s how the Corsair One Elite performed in our suite of benchmark tests

3DMark: Sky Diver: 49,733; Fire Strike: 22,596; Time Spy: 9,272
Cinebench CPU: 1,392; Graphics: 143.29fps
GeekBench: 5,365 (single-core); 23,290 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 5,524
Total War: Warhammer: 315.3fps; (1080p, Low); 134.3fps (1080p, Ultra)
Middle Earth: Shadow of War:
96/183fps; (1080p, Low): 23/120fps (1080p, Ultra)

The Corsair One Elite delivers gaming pace with a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti card. It’s 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 improves 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 outstripped both rivals. Its 3D Mark Time Spy result of 9,272 is thousands of points ahead of both MSI and Asus’ machines.

That advantage 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 framerate.

The Corsair One Elite will handle gaming at 4K, too. At 3,840 x 2,160 it averaged 44fps, and steamed beyond 60fps in Battlefield 1 and Witcher 3. That bodes well for 4K screens, of course, but it also means that the Corsair will run VR headsets and intensive graphical applications.

Processing power has taken a massive leap in this generation of Corsair desktop. Last year’s quad-core chip has been replaced with a six-core i7-8700K, which can handle twelve concurrent threads and arrives with the architectural improvements of Intel Coffee Lake.

The two extra cores mean that the Corsair One Elite will be an even better performer in complex productivity applications and when multi-tasking, which is why the One is marketed at creatives as well as gamers. 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.

Elsewhere, the Corsair One Elite has 32GB of memory – overkill for everyone except for those running high-end productivity tools. There’s a Samsung PM961 SSD that uses NVMe for extra pace, and a 2TB hard disk.

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 – no surprise when clock speeds have remained static. However, the Corsair’s multi-threaded result is almost 7,000 points better than the MSI.

That’s a huge gap, and it proves that the Corsair will be far more adept with complex multi-tasking and tough apps that creative and high-end productivity jobs require. If you need 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, impressively, it remained near-silent in every scenario. The system can barely be heard when it’s idling, and during a gaming test the fan speed only rose a little – we had to put our ears to the case to hear it at all. If you’ve got speakers or a headset, you won’t know that the Corsair’s there.

The noise level barely altered during a full-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.

During our most demanding benchmarks the CPU peaked at a reasonable 87° C and the GPU topped out at 59°C – both fine figures.

We liked

We’ve never seen a system that offers this much power inside a chassis that’s so small and quiet.

The updated Coffee Lake processor delivers a huge boost to multi-tasking, and the GTX 1080 Ti will handle any gaming task. It makes the Corsair an all-rounder that can handle 4K and VR gaming alongside almost all creative and productivity applications.

The stellar design means that the Corsair is quieter than almost every rival in every situation – so whether you’re working or playing, you won’t notice its presence. It looks the part, too, and has a good selection of ports alongside loads of memory and storage space.

We disliked

The downside of the Corsair’s design is an extreme lack of space. There’s no upgrade room, and all of the main components are difficult to reach.

That won’t bother most people, but it’s worth looking elsewhere if you like to tinker. Conventional mini-ITX rigs and larger tower machines will offer more internal versatility.

The price, too, won’t be for everyone. The Corsair is quiet and powerful, but it’s also hundreds of pounds or dollars more than more conventional systems that have similar components. If budget is a concern, the Corsair One Elite is not for you.

Final verdict

If you do want a premium product that ticks multiple boxes, though, then few PCs are better than the Corsair One Elite. 

The Coffee Lake processor and Nvidia graphics deliver genuine, top-tier power that’ll handle almost any task, and the superb design ensures that this rig stays cool and quiet despite its tiny size. 

The Corsair One Elite is pricier than most rivals, but it easily earns its Elite label.

Mike has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade and has written for most of the UK’s big technology titles alongside numerous global outlets. He loves PCs, laptops and any new hardware, and covers everything from the latest business trends to high-end gaming gear.