I'm not one for naming inanimate objects, but from the moment I booted this little monster up, the Corsair One Pro has been my Mooncake: an utterly adorable, fire-breathing little planet killer of a desktop PC. It's not the fastest PC I've tested, but you can also fit about five Ones into the Origin PC Genesis case system I've got on deck. Compared to more bulked-up systems, it performs pretty competitively on the jobs it's intended for, namely photo and video editing. For its winning combination of power, size and features, the Corsair One Pro has earned our Editors' Choice.
Of course, a lot of problems can be solved by throwing money at them. This solution will run you $4,500 (though it's less expensive than a similar configuration for Falcon Northwest's Tiki). So excuse me while I shove Mooncake into a backpack and sneak out with him.
Work or play
Corsair has crammed a 14-core Core i9, 64GB RAM, GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and 2TB SSD into a very well-designed case, just a little larger than a trash can Mac Pro. Thanks to a liquid cooling system, plus a fan pulling air out the top, it remains almost silent and the vented air never feels too hot.
The Corsair One Pro i200 has a lesser $4,200 sibling, the i182. For the $300 price cut, you get a last-generation Intel Core i9-9920X CPU, 960GB SSD supplemented with a 2TB hard disk and, because of the last-gen chipset, it has Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) instead of Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), and Bluetooth 4.2 instead of 5.0. The Wi-Fi 6 and bigger SSD seem worth the extra money and if you're already above $4,000, you might as well go for it.
Corsair One Pro i200
|Price as reviewed||$4,499, £4,299|
|Size||12-liter mini ITX (7.9 x 6.9 x 15.0 in/200 x 176 x 380 mm)|
|Motherboard||ASRock X299E Corsair One|
|CPU||3.3GHz Intel Core i9-10980X|
|Memory||64GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,667MHz|
|Graphics||11GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti|
|Ports||7x USB-A, 2x USB-C, 3x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0a|
|Networking||2x gigabit Ethernet, Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200, Bluetooth 5|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Pro (1909)|
Its gaming analog, the Corsair One, comes with a different CPU, motherboard and chipset (Z370). The two series differ primarily by processor class: gaming gets unlocked K-series Core i7 or i9 processors, while the Pro comes with X-series Core i9 CPUs. Because of the chipset and motherboard differences, the two also have slightly different port configurations -- notably, gaming only has a single Ethernet port and swaps a pair of USB-A 2.0 connections for the USB-A 3.1 of the pro model -- as well as maximum memory limits of 32GB versus 64GB. They also have just the 960GB SSD plus 2TB HDD storage setup.
The gaming system's big advantage is price: It starts at $2,900 for the i145, equipped with a Core i7-9700K, 32GB RAM, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 (not the newer Super). If you are looking for a system primarily for 1440p gaming, that's a fine configuration -- you don't need more than the eight-core CPU or 32GB RAM and the extra $600 to bump to the RTX 2080 Ti probably won't be worth it for you.
I am bummed that the gaming system comes in black but the Pro only comes in a not-unattractive brownish gray. On the other hand, it also has game-system illumination, something many nongaming systems don't have. You control the lighting through Corsair's iCue software, which also offers some basic performance control -- auto or extreme for the fan -- and a nice temperature and utilization monitoring dashboard.
Despite its small size, the Corsair One Pro manages to supply as many connections as most full-size desktop systems. It has three DisplayPort 1.4 connections from the graphics card and they've been driving two 4K and one QHD monitors without issue for a while. The HDMI 2.0 port is at the bottom front along with two USB-A for easier VR access. However, if you want to connect a monitor via HDMI instead, it may be a little awkward.
As I complain about with every Windows desktop, there are no Thunderbolt 3 connections, just a pair of 10Gbps USB-Cs. It's potentially more of a drawback for the One because you can't add a Thunderbolt card, nor can you replace the graphics card down the road, just the storage and memory. Plus, if you're looking for a livestreaming system, keep in mind this is one of the few Corsairs that doesn't ship with an Elgato card. Those are the tradeoffs you make for its compactness.
Very stable, genius
As is typical for this class of system, editing 4K video goes pretty smoothly, but it starts to struggle with 6K and higher. Lightroom imports -- and most importantly, thumbnail renders -- felt somewhat sluggish compared with the last system I tested, a Falcon Northwest with a Ryzen 9 3900X. Thanks to the 2080 Ti, it serves up 4K gaming quite well, too.
The Corsair One Pro doesn't seem to max out the potential 4.6GHz speed of the 14-core i9-10940X processor, even on a single core, which is disappointing when it bottlenecks during video editing and Lightroom imports. But it's also the first of this CPU I've had a chance to test, so it's not clear if it's the CPU or if Corsair intentionally throttles back to prevent overheating (which is admittedly more important in a workstation-class system than hitting the 4.6GHz boost clock).
The most important takeaway, especially if you're considering this for professional work, is that despite having so much high-end hardware packed into a tiny chassis, it's delightfully stable.
|Corsair One Pro||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (1909); 3.3GHz Intel Core i9-10940X; 64GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,667MHz; 11GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti; 2TB SSD|
|Falcon Northwest Talon 20th Anniversary Edition||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (1909); 3.8GHz AMD Ryzen 9 3900X; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super; 2TB SSD RAID 0|
|HP Envy 32 All-in-One||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); 3.0GHz Intel Core i7-9700; 32GB 2,667MHz DDR4 SDRAM; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q; 1TB SSD+32GB Intel Optane|
|Origin PC Big O (PS4 Edition)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); 3.8GHz AMD Ryzen 9 3900X; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM tk; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super; 1.5TB SSD (2TB SSD for console)|
|Origin PC Millenium (2019)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); (oc) 3.2GHz Intel Core i9-9900K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 2 x 11GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti; 512GB SSD + 2TB HDD 7,200 RPM|