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Corsair One i160 Review

Corsair One i160 Review

IMG_0475The Corsair One first arrived in 2017 and proved to be a stunning addition to the PC market. This machine is small, stylish and enormously powerful, and it handles every high-end gaming and work task without making any real noise. It’s 2019 now, though, and the Corsair’s internals need an update – and that means a whole new batch of thermal pressures. Can this new machine cope with updated hardware, and is it worth its US price of $3,600 and its UK price of £3,399? Find out in our Corsair One i160 review.


At first glance, the Corsair One i160 hasn’t changed much from the older versions of this machine – at least on the outside.

The Corsair’s exterior is still made from thick, solid aluminium, and the Corsair One is still incredibly small.

Despite the huge amount of power available inside this machine, this system is 380mm tall and 193mm deep. It only weighs 7.38kg. It’s certainly far easier to take this machine to LAN parties than a full-size desktop. The size and dimensions also mean that it’s incredibly easy to position this machine beside a TV, or in an office or bedroom where there’s not much space.

The exterior design changes are only obvious once you take a closer look. The air vents on the machine’s side panels are a little more numerous in this year’s redesign. The aluminium slats at the bottom of the machine are a little more visible in this revised Corsair.

The front IO has been moved from the top of the machine to the bottom. You now get HDMI and audio ports alongside two USB 3.1 connectors. That’s handier for VR headsets. The lighting has changed, too. Older machines had strips of blue LEDs down the front, but this new machine has RGB LED lighting.

The Corsair One i160 still looks broadly the same on the outside, then. It’s still rock-solid and incredibly good-looking, and it’s still very easy to take this machine around or out of the house.

Corsair One i160 09 Corsair One i160 ReviewThe big changes happen on the inside. Corsair has redesigned almost every aspect of this machine’s internals in order to improve cooling when faced with more powerful components.

In the older Corsair One, the motherboard and graphics card were installed at the bottom of the machine. The PSU was also crammed into this part of the machine. That led to a cramped interior, with components that were difficult to reach and poorer cooling.

This time around, the graphics card and power supply remain at the bottom of the machine. However, the motherboard has been moved to the top.

The change works very well. The motherboard’s loftier position means that the board isn’t obscured by power cables, so components are easier to access. And the extra space in the bottom of the machine means power cables can be hidden away. That makes the entire system neater and easier to navigate.

The components being moved is the biggest internal change, but it’s not the only alteration. The CPU cooler is actually smaller in this year’s machine. Corsair says that the cooling ability of the hardware isn’t affected by the reduction in radiator size. That’s important – because the main body of the Corsair is only chilled by a single 140mm fan in the roof of the rig.

The smaller CPU cooler also allows air to flow directly to the power supply, so the box doesn’t have to rely on warm air from the other components. That’s another improvement.

Corsair One i160 11 Corsair One i160 ReviewThe GPU cooler, on the other side of the machine, is the same size as it was in the older model. In this year’s Corsair One, though, the heatpipes are shorter. That means they’re less likely to get kinked and disrupt the flow of coolant.

It’s easy enough to get inside the Corsair. Pressing a button on the back of the machine releases the 140mm fan. Removing four screws at the top allows the side panels to lift up and away. You’ll have to take the water-cooling hardware out to remove those side panels entirely, though, and that’s a trickier job.

There’s certainly a lot to like about the Corsair. Its revised design makes significant improvements over last year’s model, and the Corsair One continues to be a fantastic feat of engineering.

It does have downsides, though, when compared to more conventional rivals. There’s virtually no upgrade room in this machine for storage or extra components, which is entirely normal for a mini-ITX rig. And, while the Corsair looks monolithic and subtle, it’s arguably not as visually arresting as full-size rivals with more RGB LEDs and extensive water-cooling loops.

Click here for all of our in-depth graphics card reviews – including the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080!

Corsair One i160 Review – Components

Corsair has done so much work on the internal design because the One i160 has upgraded major components that require more adept cooling.

Corsair One i160 05 Corsair One i160 ReviewThis year’s Corsair has an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, for instance – one of the beefiest consumer graphics cards available right now.

The model included in this machine is made by MSI, and it’s a Ventus OC card. That means you get a solid overclock: the original boost pace of 1,545MHZ now runs at 1,635MHz. Elsewhere, the card has all the trappings of the RTX 2080 Ti: 4,352 stream processors and a mighty 11GB of GDDR6 memory.

The overclocked RTX 2080 Ti compares well to rivals from all across the spectrum. The CyberPower Hyper Liquid RTX has an overclocked RTX 2080 Ti that only offers an extra 15MHz of speed, so there’s no real difference there. The MSI Trident X made do with a slower RTX 2080, and last year’s Corsair had the older GTX 1080 Ti GPU.

The upgraded GPU is joined by a beefed-up processor. The Core i9-9900K uses the latest Coffee Lake-S architecture, which means better base and boost clock speeds. It has eight cores with Hyper-Threading, so there’s loads of ability here for multi-tasking and for running tough productivity and content creation tools.

It has a base speed of 3.6GHz and a Boost peak of 5GHz. The same chip was included in the CyberPower, and that part also ran at its stock speeds – and many other full-size desktops include this sort of hardware, not just the CyberPower that we’ve referred to in this Corsair review. The smaller MSI machine, meanwhile, included the Core i7-9700K – which has eight cores, but no Hyper-Threading.

The Core i9-9900K is extremely versatile. It can handle any game and any creative application, from video and photo editing to streaming and CAD design. It’ll easily swat aside multi-tasking, too.

Corsair One i160 06 Corsair One i160 ReviewThe rest of the specification is solid. There’s a mighty 32GB of DDR4 memory, which is ample for gaming and for complex productivity tasks. Its speed of 2,666MHz is more middling, but that won’t be hugely detrimental to performance.

The 512GB Samsung PM961 SSD has plenty of space, but it won’t offer the same speed as Samsung’s newer drives. You get a 2TB hard disk that only runs at a middling 5,400rpm. Power comes from an excellent Corsair SF600, which is a modular small form-factor unit with an 80 Plus Gold efficiency rating.

The CyberPower desktop, which is a little cheaper than the Corsair, had better storage but only 16GB of memory – still plenty for most tasks. MSI’s machine was more similar, with 32GB of DDR4 and a Samsung SSD from the same era as the Corsair’s drive.

Corsair uses a modified version of the MSI Z370I Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard in this machine. It uses last year’s chipset, but the mini-ITX form factor means that the absence of Z390 doesn’t really matter.

You don’t get any real upgrade room on this board, either, but that’s fine too – and no surprise for a mini-ITX product. More importantly, you get dual-band 802.11ac wireless, good audio, game-friendly Gigabit Ethernet and plenty of USB 3.1 ports at the back alongside a Type-C connector.

Of course, you will get more features Corsair One i160 02 Corsair One i160 Reviewif you opt for a full-size machine like the CyberPower. You get more storage options, extra PCI slots, more RGB LEDs and extra USB ports. You can also add more memory easily.

There’s no doubt that the Corsair One i160 crams a lot into its superb case, but there’s also no denying that this machine is expensive.

If the Core i9-9900K or the RTX 2080 Ti are overkill for your needs but you still want Corsair’s design, there is a cheaper option available. The Corsair One i140 costs £2,849 in the UK and $3,000 in the US, and it includes the Core i7-9700K CPU and an RTX 2080 graphics core.

If you want more power, though, you can pay £4,750 or $5,000 for the Corsair One Pro i180. That rig has a 12-core i9-9920X that offers more ability for creative work, and it also has a larger SSD.

While it’s good that you get options when it comes to the Corsair, it’s also worth remembering that all of these builds are expensive. The CyberPower Hyper Liquid RTX is a large, brash full-size gaming PC, but it offers a similar specification to the Corsair One i160 – and with more upgrade room – for £3,199 in the UK and $3,524 in the US.

The MSI Trident is still a small machine that’ll handle virtually any gaming task, and you can save money thanks to its price of £2,900 or $3,500.

If you’re willing to forego the Corsair’s small size or impeccable design, it’s certainly easier to find this level of power elsewhere – and for a lesser price.

Need more news on the latest kit? Click here to check out the latest headlines.

Corsair One i160 Review – Gaming Performance

4K gamingThe Corsair One i160 will cope with any game at 1080p or 1440p, and it will play almost everything at 4K too.

It sauntered through all of our test games at 1080p with minimums of 120fps or better, which is tremendous. That doesn’t just mean playable framerates. It also means that you’ll be able to run games smoothly on high refresh-rate screens at 144Hz or beyond.

Corsair’s machine handled games at 1440p with minimums of 87fps or better, too. That also bodes well for performance on 1440p screens with high refresh-rates. You’ll only have to adjust minor graphics settings to achieve triple-figure framerates. It’s the sort of power that’ll allow games to run smoothly on VR headsets and widescreen panels.

The Corsair’s 1080p and 1440p results were a handful of frames behind the CyberPower Hyper Liquid RTX, which was a full-size machine with a slightly better graphics overclock.

At this level, the difference in framerates between these two machines won’t make a difference to gameplay. However, the CyberPower machine is certainly a little faster during games.

Nevertheless, the Corsair One i60 returned excellent results in 4K games. Its weakest minimum framerate in our standard tests was a result of 42fps in Fallout 4 – and that game returned an average of 55fps. The Corsair will clearly handle anything at 3,840 x 2,160.

Corsair’s machine coped with plenty of more demanding titles at 4K, too. It played Shadow of the Tomb Raider with a minimum of 53fps. The Corsair was only six frames slower in Total War: Warhammer II. It ran Battlefield V at 71fps at 4K, and at 53fps with Nvidia’s ray-tracing activated. Games that support this feature will clearly run well.

As before, the Corsair’s scores were often a little behind the Cyberpower. It’s not a ruinous amount, but the CyberPower does retain its lead. The MSI with its RTX 2080 was consistently around fifteen frames behind the Corsair at 4K, and not all games are playable using that rig.

The CyberPower’s slight advantage was highlighted by theoretical tests. In the 3D Mark Fire Strike benchmark, the Corsair scored 27,381 points – an excellent score. However, the CyberPower was around 600 points faster.

There’s no competition between the Corsair and the MSI. In the 3D Mark Fire Strike Extreme test the Corsair scored 15,564, while the MSI was more than 3,000 points slower.

Want to know more about AMD Ryzen processors? Check out our in-depth guide right here.

Corsair One i160 Review – Application & Thermal Performance

applicationsThe eight-core i9-9900K featured in our Corsair One i160 review is a hugely powerful CPU, even at its stock speeds. Its Cinebench score of 1,854cb is excellent – around 400 points better than the MSI and its Core i7-9700K, and a similar distance ahead of the popular Core i7-8700K.

The Corsair returned scores of 5,818 and 30,647 in the Geekbench single- and multi-core benchmarks. The single-core result is excellent, albeit on par with the pace offered by Core i7 chips. That’s because all of these CPUs all have similar single-threaded abilities. The Corsair’s multi-score result is more than 3,000 points beyond Core i7 hardware.

There’s enough power here to handle any game and any creative task. Whether you’re editing photos, creating 4K video or streaming games, the Core i9-9900K will handle it without a fuss.

However, the CyberPower Hyper Liquid RTX – with its full-size motherboard, faster memory and slightly better GPU overclock – was consistently a little faster in application benchmarks.

As with games, it’s not enough to cause a drastic difference in performance. But, as with those gaming tests, the CyberPower is clearly a little faster than the Corsair.

The Corsair delivers consistently fantastic performance. Arguably its thermal performance is even more impressive. The CPU’s peak temperature of 72°C is absolutely fine, and is slightly lower than the older Corsair One – and miles better than the 91°C CPU temperature we recorded in the CyberPower. The GPU temperature peaked at a solid 64°C.

The CPU ran at 4.7GHz during games and at 4.2GHz with all cores stressed, so throttling isn’t an issue. The GPU ran at around 1,870MHz when gaming, so there are no problems there either.

And, happily, the Corsair was very quiet. It’s near-silent when handling less-demanding tasks. During high-end games and applications, the Corsair produces an extremely low, quiet rumble. You’ll barely notice it in an office or a living room, and it’s easily masked with speakers or a headset.

The CyberPower was similarly quiet during all of our tests. However, it’s more impressive when these thermal performance levels are being produced by a machine that’s as small as the Corsair.

Need a new PC after reading this Corsair One i160 review? Here’s our ultimate guide to the best desktops for every price and scenario.


Corsair One i160 04 Corsair One i160 ReviewThe system in our original Corsair One review was fantastic, and our Corsair One i160 review shows that this revision makes it even better.

The changes to component positions and cooling hardware enable this new Corsair to serve up a huge performance boost with no extra heat or noise. The design delivers more front-mounted ports and RGB LEDs, too. It also maintains the stylish aesthetic and impressive dimensions of the original.

The Corsair One i160 will handle any gaming task right up to 4K and VR, and it’ll scythe through all sorts of creative and productivity applications too. And it does all of this while staying cool and near-silent.

There are caveats, though. Full-size machines like the CyberPower are a little faster, a tad cheaper and do offer more upgrade room. The Corsair’s components will be overkill for many users. And the price remains high at $3,600 in the USA and £3,399 in the UK. That’s because you’re clearly paying for such superb design.

If you do want the best design around and don’t mind paying for it, we’d recommend the Corsair One i160 without hesitation. It’s fast, quiet, and features fantastic design on the inside and out. But just remember that you could get more performance and versatility with a more traditional system.

The Corsair One i160 costs $3,600 in the USA and £3,399 in the UKDiscuss our Corsair One i160 review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration after reading our Corsair One i160 review, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or go deep with our ultimate guide to 4K monitors – covering the technology, the terms and our top recommendations!

The Good

  • Enough GPU grunt for 4K, RTX and VR gaming
  • Eight-core CPU for creative applications
  • Cool, quiet operation throughout
  • Improved design inside and out

The Bad

  • No real upgrade paths
  • Pricier than equivalent specifications
  • More performance available elsewhere

The Specs

CPU: 3.6GHz Intel Core i9-9900K
Memory: 32GB Corsair Vengeance 2,666MHz DDR4
Graphics: MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
Motherboard: MSI Z370I Gaming Pro Carbon AC
Storage: 512GB Samsung PM961 M.2 SSD, 2TB Seagate Barracuda hard disk
Ports: Front: 2 x USB 3.1, 1 x audio, 1 x HDMI; rear: 3 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 2, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x PS/2, 1 x optical S/PDIF, 5 x audio
Warranty: 2yr RTB



Review Date
Reviewed Item
Corsair One i160

About Author

Mike Jennings

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