Corsair One i300 review – a unique but expensive gaming PC
The Corsair One i300 marks the first time that Intel’s best gaming processor from its Alder Lake line finds its way into the line of prebuilt compact gaming PCs, along with DDR5 gaming RAM. It’s arguably one of the most powerful, sleek, and quietest systems you can buy today, but does that justify its exorbitant price tag?
Besides offering the latest cutting-edge specs, what makes the Corsair One i300 so appealing and unique is its form factor. Its sleek black brushed metal exterior is just 7.9 inches deep, which, combined with its 15-inch height and 6.8-inch width, gives it an impressive monolithic appearance. Watching it in person, I can’t help but think it’s absolutely brilliant that Corsair is able to pack this level of hardware into such a small space. Its size also gives the system the advantage of being able to fit just about anywhere you’d like to put it.
It’s not lacking in personality either, with two RGB light pipes built into the edges of its front panel that you can customize with iCue software. Best of all, the i300 can sync with any other compatible peripherals you have to create a clean, uniform aesthetic and help enhance the feel of any iCue compatible game. The small triangular cutouts along the sides of the chassis that form into the intake vents are also a nice touch.
Corsair hasn’t skimped on connectivity in its design of the Corsair i300 either, with a 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo input, one 10Gbps USB-C port, and two 5Gbps USB-A ports located on the front of the case. Looking at the back, you’ll see six more USB-A ports, with four 5Gbps inputs and two with double the power. As this is an Intel system, there are also two Thunderbolt 4 ports alongside your usual HD audio inputs, a 2.5G Ethernet port, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.12.
You can opt for an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 or its Ti variant. Both come with an HDMI 2.1 output and three DisplayPort 1.4a outputs, but there’s strangely no way to connect to the processor’s integrated graphics. While you probably wouldn’t want to use the Intel UHD Graphics 770 for gaming when you have Nvidia’s best graphics card in your rig, having extra ports can be helpful when troubleshooting, and that omission is confusing. However, this is a small flaw on an otherwise robust IO.
Although the exterior of each Corsair One i300 is the same, the only differences between the cheapest $3,999 versions and the most expensive $4,999 versions are the amount of gaming RAM and the graphics card model. inside. Across all the different configurations, you’ll find a Z690 Mini ITX motherboard with an Intel Core i9-12900K processor at the system’s core, along with 2TB of PCIe Gen 4 NVMe storage, all powered by a Corsair 750W 80 Plus Platinum PSU.
Base specs include 32GB of dual-channel Corsair DDR5 4800MHz memory and a liquid-cooled GeForce RTX 3080 10GB graphics card. Spending an extra $700 will net you the 12GB RTX 3080 Ti, and another $300 on top will push the RAM capacity up to 64GB, albeit at a slightly slower 4400MHz clock speed.
Corsair loaned out its high-end specs for testing, but I can say with confidence that most people should opt for the base model. Other than the fact that you could upgrade your RAM later if you needed more than 32GB, the potential performance gains offered by the RTX 3080 Ti over its cheaper sibling in no way justifies its extra cost. Plus, saving some cash on your new gaming PC potentially frees up your budget to splash out on one of the best gaming monitors to pair it with and make your setup even more premium.
You should note, however, that you’re essentially locking yourself into whatever configuration you choose, as the i300 wouldn’t be easy to upgrade for even the most experienced builders. The most you can reasonably do is swap out the RAM, SSD, and fan that together maintain the system’s patented convection-assisted cooling. While you can install a new Raptor Lake CPU in a snap, the GPU water cooling solution will likely prove too daunting for most people. Luckily, Corsair offers a two-year warranty with all purchases of its One PCs, so you’ll be covered if you need help with your components.
I would like to take a moment to encourage Corsair to offer a wider variety of components in the future. Granted, this may already be happening, as older Corsair One PCs are available with Core i7 processors, but any way to make this pre-built PC more accessible by offering cheaper hardware would be worth it.
Here is an overview of the specifications of our Corsair One i300:
|Corsair One i300|
|SE||Windows 11 Professional 64 bit|
|CPU||Intel Core i9-12900K, liquid cooled|
|Motherboard||MSI MEG Z690 Unifier|
|RAM||64GB Corsair DDR5 4400MHz|
|GPUs||Palit Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, water cooled|
|VRAM||12 GB of GDDR6X memory|
|Storage room||Samsung PM9A1 PCIe Gen4 NVMe 2TB Solid State Drive|
|power supply||Corsair SF750 750W 80 Plus Platinum|
Considering the hardware inside the Corsair One i300, I ran our benchmark suite at 4K using the highest presets for each game, including all additional ray tracing options. I’ve also included synthetic workloads which should give some indication of how it will handle creative workloads such as 3D modeling or video editing.
The i300 is undoubtedly an extremely capable 4K gaming PC with abundant power that can also be used to play games at extremely high refresh rates at lower resolutions. However, this level of hardware and somewhat misses the point of what makes this pre-build so appealing.
Throughout all of my testing, the system was barely audible with the fan curve preset set to “Default” with no signs of thermal throttling. I was very impressed with this, and it really shows how much thought Corsair has put into the design of this small but mighty PC.
You can expect to increase the fps even more in some video games when using Nvidia DLSS. Cyberpunk 2077, for example, defaults to the feature when you set the graphics preset to “Ray Tracing: Ultra” and with good reason. Frame rates average 50fps when scaling is enabled, which is definitely better than 12fps after scaling is disabled. ladder.
Unfortunately, it’s not entirely faultless, as the synthetic benchmarks I ran highlighted a potential bottleneck. Things started off positively, with Blender 3.1.0 averaging 5,341 and putting us in the top 7% of results. Moving on to Cinebench R23, the Core i9-12900K scored 1,909 in the software’s single-core test, but it was during the multi-core benchmark that I noticed things were starting to heat up.
Shortly after testing began, the CPU quickly reached 100°C, causing it to drop from its 5.2 GHz boost clock to a more consistent 4.5 GHz. The Corsair One i300’s fan rightly revved up to solve this problem, getting quite noisy when it reached its maximum speed in order to cool down. Despite all that, the PC still managed to pull off an impressive multi-core score of 24,924 after ten minutes of continuous passing.
This makes me wonder what kind of temperatures I would see from the i300 if it was running an AMD Ryzen processor (which can be found in the Corsair One a200 series), or a less power-hungry 12th Gen Intel Core chip. The Core i9-12900K’s 241W MTP makes cooling difficult even in the most rugged systems, which makes pairing it with Corsair’s thin and small fanless radiator all the more questionable. Here’s hoping a Core i7-12700K model appears in the near future.
I should also mention that I wish iCue had been a bit more descriptive in its temperature monitoring, ditching the generic and confusing “GPU #X” labels for more specific titles such as “Memory” and “Hot Spot” found in tools like HWMonitor. That gripe aside, however, iCue provided accurate readings and was a breeze to use and navigate.
So should you buy the Corsair One i300? It is truly wonderfully designed and of unquestionably high quality in terms of the hardware it has and the materials used in the construction of its case. However, it’s hard to ignore the fact that by purchasing it, you give up the ability to easily upgrade your PC in the future, making the system’s ultra-premium $3,999 starting price all the more spicy. For context, you can get the exact same specs in the Corsair Vengeance i7300 Gaming PC for $700 less, albeit in a larger case and without a water-cooled GPU, but you do regain the ability to easily swap components.
That said, if your priorities lean more towards form than function, this could be just what you’re looking for. There really is nothing else quite like the i300 on the market, and it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to replicate its undeniably cool design with off-the-shelf parts. With all of that in mind, the Corsair One i300 is recommended, but it’s important to understand exactly what you’re paying for and the trade-offs that come with buying it versus a more standard pre-build.