Corsair One i160 review

Corsair One i160 review

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

Gaming PCs such as the Corsair One i160 are hard to find. In spite of this being the third iteration of the component maker’s miniature gaming desktop, no other company has been able to create something as small, fully liquid-cooled, or silent.

It comes equipped with the latest Intel Core i9-9900K processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics, and, of course, RGB lighting.

This gaming PC may cost a kingly amount, but we think it’s worth the money – just be aware that processor performance will suffer in such a small enclosure.

SPEC SHEET

Here is the Corsair One i160 configuration sent to us for review:

CPU: 3.6GHz Intel Core i9-9900K (octa-core, 16MB cache, up to 5.0GHz)

Graphics: MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (11GB GDDR6 VRAM);  Intel UHD Graphics 630

RAM: 32GB (2 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666

Motherboard: Intel Z370

Power Supply: Corsair SF600

Storage: 480GB M.2 NVMe SSD, 2TB HDD (7,200 rpm)

Ports (front): 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1, HDMI 2.0, Combination Mic/Headphone Jack

Ports (rear): Rear: PS/2, 2x USB 2.0, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 7.1 Surround Audio, 3x DisplayPort

Connectivity: 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Operating system: Windows 10

Weight: 16.3 pounds (7.38kg)

Size: 7.9 x 7 x 15 inches (20 x 17.6 x 38cm; W x D x H)

Corsair One i160 review: Design

Corsair one [c

A stunning gaming machine, the Corsair One i160. An angular shape is created by two millimeter-thin metal plates, and the top of the unit is topped with tall diagonal fins. This unit’s chassis looks beyond modern, and its thin lighting lanes only add to this aesthetic with a nod to Tron.

Among its aluminum exterior and steel internal frame, as well as its densely packed components, the Corsair One i160 seems to have a density of dark matter. We could have mistaken it for a photon torpedo if it weren’t for the obvious PC connections.

Despite looking exactly like the Corsair One Elite that came before, the Corsair One i160 has some new bells and whistles. Unlike its predecessors, this miniature rig has RGB lighting on its front façade, whereas previous models only had blue lights that could only be programmed to follow patterns.

Also, you’ll notice that the lattice of ventilation holes along the sides now spans across the entire surface of the desktop. As you probably already know, this is so that the PC’s liquid-cooled radiators can have more airflow.

Corsair One i160 review: Upgradability

crosair one pc

In fact, this refresh has seen much more internal reorganization in the Corsair One i160. Previously the power supply sat on top of the graphics card in the top-right corner of the case. It has now been moved to the bottom-left of the case. Thus, the PSU is better isolated from the two most heat-generating components.

Due to this redesign, the power extension cable is eliminated, while the video connection cable is shortened. This results in a Corsair One i160 with better airflow due to its streamlined interior.

The upgrade process has also been simplified a bit this time around. A new tray has been added between the Corsair One i160’s motherboard and power supply to house the hard drive, which was previously located on the side of the computer. Additionally, the CPU can be accessed after removing the liquid-cooling pump. In most cases, the system memory can simply be removed and replaced by opening the left side of the case and wriggling the RAM sticks out of the DIMM slots.

Upgrades are limited to the graphics card and the solid-state drive hidden behind it. The GPU is cooled by a hybrid liquid/air cooler with the pump mounted on the GPU die while a separate fan and heat sink array sits on top of the video memory.

Even so, Corsair claims users will be able to replace this part of their PC with a full-sized card that uses up to 300W of power.

Performance

crosiar one pc

What a difference a generation of silicon can make. Corsair One i160 completely outperforms the last generation Corsair One Elite – and, considering how much more it costs, it had better.

Two additional cores in the Intel Core i9-9900K processor boost processing power. Meanwhile, Nvidia’s new all-new Turing architecture increased frequency, and faster GDDR6 memory has improved graphics power.

When compared to more contemporary gaming desktops, the Corsair One i160 also beats out the MSI Trident X, which scored 24,522 Geekbench points and 10,021 TimeSpy points. MSI’s mini desktop features a lower power Intel Core i7-9700K processor and a Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics card.

The Corsair One i160’s winning streak is broken by the more comparable Asus ROG Strix GL12CX, which scores the same Intel Core i9-9900K CPU but 34,444 GeekBench points and 2,027 Cinebench points.

We can tell from what we see that the Corsair One i160 cannot push its processor as hard as a traditional-sized gaming desktop. We measured CPU temperatures inside the miniature PC to be as high as 86C during our testing. Due to a larger radiator and a separate fan and heatsink attached to the card, the Corsair One i160 runs cooler at 60C.

Corsair’s iCUE software lets you tweak your system fan curves, but you can’t tell the liquid cooler to pump harder. The Corsair One i160’s fans spin up to a maximum of 1,467rpm when set to ‘Extreme’ performance mode. We saw only a slight increase in performance in this mode, but even with this feature, the CPU stays 20 degrees Celsius cooler.

Despite the limitations the Corsair One i160 places on the processor, our gaming experiences didn’t really suffer. Even with HDR on, Ultra quality settings, and Ultra RTX rendering, the system still managed to run Battlefield V at a playable 50 – 79 frames per second.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Corsair One i160 remains quiet even when it’s 140mm fan is spinning full tilt; of course, this desktop has only one 140mm fan and a few other moving parts. Despite that, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Corsair to add a second bottom-mounted intake fan for this system to help alleviate its cooling issues.

Pros Cons
No gaming desktop is this small Replacing the main SSD is still a pain
Improved upgradability and airflow CPU gets very hot
Incredible gaming performance

Verdict

The Corsair One i160 is one of the most impressive gaming desktops we’ve ever reviewed, not only due to its compact size but also due to the unrelenting performance it delivers. Although the CPU gets awfully hot, a PC this small can’t really ask for much more cooling. Additionally, we imagine users will simply be looking for a gaming system, and it handles all games with aplomb.

It might be expensive to put together a liquid-cooled system with as many components, but you wouldn’t be able to build a gaming PC this small on your own. If you’re searching for the smallest, most powerful gaming desktop money can buy, we recommend the Corsair One i160.