Corsair One a100, review: power without measure

Small has a unique charm, as the Archpriest of Hita said in the Book of Good Love, and the Corsair One a100 is a clear example of this. It is possible to be great while being small, and you can also shine with your own light through sobriety, elegance and discretion.

The Corsair One a100 presents itself as one of the most powerful computers in its class, and it is also one of the most compact. This equipment uses a chassis specifically designed by Corsair with a format of hardly twelve liters. To get an idea of ​​what this means, just look at the comparative image that we attach just below these lines, a console uses a six-liter format, and a traditional tower-type PC reaches the 35 liters.

Despite its small size, Corsair has been able to integrate within the One a100 the most powerful components that exist in the general consumer market, and it has shaped a dream team that is able to face any challenge without problems. Do you need to work? No problem, the Corsair One a100 has a Ryzen 9 3950X that has 16 cores and 32 threads. Do you want to play? Well, go ahead, its RTX 2080 Ti will allow you to enjoy excellent performance even in 4K, and you will be able to access state-of-the-art technologies, such as ray tracing, DLSS 2.0 smart rescaling and all the features of DirectX 12 Ultimate.

Corsair One a100

So that the cooling is not a problem Corsair has repeated the approach that we saw in the Corsair One i160, a team that we had the opportunity to analyze at the time, and that surprised us with its excellent performance and small size. The Corsair One a100 is one step above that, as its hardware configuration is clearly superior, although in terms of design and build quality they play in the same league.

Thanks to Corsair Spain I have had the opportunity to test the Corsair One a100 for more than a week, and I must say that the experience has been a real luxury, although I don’t want to tell you anything, everything in due course. That said, I invite you to get comfortable, there is much to read. Are you ready? Well here we go!

Corsair One a100: first look

Corsair One a100

The Corsair One a100 attracts a lot of attention for its design and its small size. It is very small and compact, and also weighs very little compared to a classic tower PC. For this reason, it is incredible to think that Corsair has been able to mount, in such a small space, a configuration typical of a top-of-the-range PC, and without causing temperature problems.

The construction quality it presents is very good, thanks to the combination of aluminum and steel on the chassis, while the black finish adds a stylish touch and enhances the two fully customizable RGB LED lighting strips through iCUE, Corsair’s well-known free tool.

There is no doubt that the Corsair One a100 is, on its own merits, a demonstration of mastery by Corsair. The chassis itself plays a key role in the cooling system, and the distribution of components has been taken care of to the millimeter so that each one occupies a specific and perfectly defined space. It is no coincidence that the CPU and the GPU are on opposite sides, they are the two components that generate the most heat, and for this reason they have been positioned as far as possible.

In this sense, there is also another thing that we must bear in mind, and that is that the placement of the processor and the graphics card on the sides it allows them to be the first components to receive the “impact” of fresh air entering from outside. As we can see in the attached image, air enters through the holes that the Corsair One a100 chassis has on the sides, and at the top is a 140 mm Corsair ML (magnetic levitation) fan that is responsible for extracting hot air.

Both the CPU and the GPU are supported by two systems of Corsair type AIO liquid cooling, with a 120 x 170 mm radiator in the first and a 120 x 240 mm radiator in the second. In the attached image we can see, in detail, the list of components that make up the Corsair One a100 and its exact position. This configuration is completed with a radiator and fan installed on the graphics card, essential to control the heat generated by the VRM and the GDDR6 memory.

Corsair One a100

The RAM memory and SSD drive use passive cooling They do their job perfectly, while the power supply comes with an integrated fan that acts according to the load that component must face, which helps reduce system noise. It also has Zero RPM technology, which means that the fan does not activate until the equipment requires considerable power.

The result is, as we will see later, really good. The Corsair One a100 offers excellent performance and runs smoothly even under extreme workloads. This is very important, as it means, in short, that the cooling system Corsair has used is capable of maintaining the stability of the equipment even after several hours of use with a workload capable of pushing the equipment to the limit.

I do not want to end without making a spatial mention of the way in which we can access the interior of the team. Despite its small size, the Corsair One a100 allows us to remove the top fan and open two access doors, one on each side. This greatly facilitates the performance of maintenance as basic as cleaning and changing the thermal paste. The idea is the same as we saw in the Corsair One i160, and frankly it seems like a success.

Corsair One a100

Before going to tell you about our experience and see the performance that the Corsair One a100 can offer, let’s review its full specifications, since they will give us a more complete vision of everything it offers.

  • AMD Ryzen 9 3950X processor with 16 cores and 32 threads at 3.5 GHz-4.7 GHz, normal mode and turbo.
  • 32 GB of Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3,200 MHz RAM (4 x 8 GB).
  • Primary Storage: 1TB NVME PCIE Gen4 Corsair MP600 SSD.
  • Secondary Storage: 2.5 ″ HDD with 2 TB capacity at 5,400 RPM.
  • ASUS ROG Strix X570-I Gaming motherboard (mini ITX).
  • Corsair SF600 600 Watt 80 Plus Gold certified power supply.
  • GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card with 11 GB of GDDR6.
  • Liquid cooling in CPU and GPU.
  • ASUS SupremeFX S1220A integrated sound.
  • WiFi 6 AX 200 and Bluetooth 5.0.
  • ICUE compatible RGB LED lighting.
  • Rear connections: four USB Type A 3.2 Gen1 connectors, three USB 3.2 Type A Gen2 connectors, one USB 3.2 Type-C Gen2 connector, one Ethernet port, three 3.5mm jack connectors, two 2T2R antenna connectors (extenders included) , a DisplayPort 1.4 connector and an HDMI 2.0.
  • Front connections: HDMI 2.0 connector, 3.5mm headphone and microphone jack and two USB Type-A 3.1 ports.
  • Windows 10 as operating system.

Corsair One a100: our experience

Corsair One a100

The specifications of the Corsair One a100 are impressive, of that there is no doubt. We are facing a top-of-the-range team that integrates the most powerful general consumer processor that exists, the Ryzen 9 3950X. This is accompanied by the most powerful NVIDIA graphics card, the RTX 2080 Ti, and is supported by 32 GB of DDR4 memory and a latest generation PCIE NVME SSD capable of offering enormous performance, as we will see later.

However, the most impressive thing about the Corsair One a100 is not its specifications, it is the fact that Corsair has been able to integrate them into a 12-liter chassis. This makes it a device that is a little larger than a conventional console, and that fits easily into almost any corner, no matter how small the space we have. Its design and quality of finishes also add a touch of class to our desk.

The installation and configuration of the Corsair One a100 is very simple. As we have said, the fact that it is so small plays a very positive role. In the attached images you can see the size of the Corsair One a100 compared to my current PC, which is mounted on a Corsair iCUE 465X RGB chassis. There is a huge difference, right? Well my team is less powerful, since it mounts a Ryzen 7 1800X processor and an RTX 2080 Super.

Once we connect all the cables we are ready to start the Corsair One a100. As soon as we do it, we start the Windows 10 setup process and voila, we are ready to start enjoying it. We have the Corsair diagnostic tool, very useful to check the status of the system, and we also have the iCUE software, which will allow us to control the lighting of the Corsair One a100 and all the peripherals we use.

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In addition to configuring the lighting we can also display temperatures and fan operating mode. Another interesting option that iCUE software offers us is the creation of warnings in case the working temperatures reach very high levels. The iCUE interface is very intuitive and very easy to use. The integration of all the elements in iCUE is simply perfect, and the impact of this tool on the team’s performance is minimal (between 1% and 3%).

Making a basic use of the Corsair One a100, web browsing, multimedia and office automation, we see that the team flies, thanks to its excellent configuration at the hardware level and the SSD, but it is also too quiet. This has an explanation, and that is that by subjecting the components to a reduced workload the noise of the fans is almost zero. The working temperatures in that scenario are also very good, in fact the Ryzen 5 3950X was kept between 50 and 60 degrees.

Our first impression was very good, but we are not going to use a top-of-the-range PC like the Corsair One a100 just to surf the Internet and watch series on Netflix. To buy the performance that it is capable of offering, we have used different tests that stress its three main components: processor, SSD, and graphics card, and as you will see below the results have been excellent.

CPU-Z performance

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We have a fantastic result. As we can see the Ryzen 9 3950X offers outstanding performance in multithreading and lagging just a little behind in single-threading, because it operates at slightly lower operating frequencies compared to the Core i9 9900KF. There’s no question AMD has caught up to Intel in terms of IPC.

CPU performance: Cinebench R20

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This test confirms the good results we saw on CPU-Z, the Ryzen 9 3950X is a real beast. Thanks to its 16 cores and 32 threads, and its high IPC, it will allow us to play and work even with applications that require a high degree of parallelization.

Graphics card: RTX 2080 Ti

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In the screenshot we can see the complete specifications of the RTX 2080 Ti that the Corsair One a100 mounts. Its resting temperature is really good, since stays below 40 degreesAnd when we subject it to an intensive and sustained workload, the values ​​do not shoot up.

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Working at full load in a sustained way for 30 minutes with FurMark the temperature of the GPU stabilizes at 65 degrees, an excellent result that confirms the good work that Corsair has done with the cooling system that mounts the RTX 2080 Ti installed in the Corsair One a100.

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Performance in 3DMark Time Spy

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The Corsair One a100 passes this test without problems and achieves a result that a priori seems very high, but what do those 13,781 points mean? Well, very simple, look at the image below, the Corsair One a100 yields more than 96% of all the equipment present in the 3DMark database, far outperforms a high-end PC for gaming in 2020 and only loses to a system configured with two RTX 2080 Ti, almost nothing for a little 12-liter, right?

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SSD performance

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The SSD that the Corsair One a100 mounts is a high performance Corsair MP600 based on the PCIE Gen4 standard. As we can see skims 5,000 MB / s in sequential read speed and 4,300 MB / s in sequential writing, figures that long exceed the values ​​of 3,500 MB / s and 3,000 MB / s that high-end PCIE Gen3 SSDs achieve.

Regarding the working temperatures we see that the passive heatsink The ASUS ROG Strix X570-I Gaming motherboard does its job perfectly, keeping the SSD at fairly reasonable levels.

HDD performance

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We now jump to see the performance of the secondary storage unit, a Seagate 2TB HDD with a speed of 5,400 RPM. The results are within what could be expected, and confirm that this unit is designed to store photos, multimedia content and other items that we may need occasionally.

Gaming performance

The synthetic tests we’ve seen so far leave us with a very clear conclusion, the Corsair One a100 offers excellent performance on all fronts. The HDD seems to be a little out of place, but we must bear in mind that plays a minor role and which aims to support the SSD, which will be the main unit in which we must install demanding games and programs.

We now turn to see the performance that the Corsair One a100 is capable of offering in next-generation games. Since the RTX 2080 Ti is a top of the range graphics card, and is intended for fluently move games in 4K and maximum qualityWe have used this resolution in a selection with some of the best games we can find today.

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The results speak for themselves, even with maximum qualities we will enjoy total fluidity playing in 4K with the Corsair One a100.

Temperatures

We close our round of testing by reviewing the working temperatures reached by both the processor and the graphics card. It is important to note that when we refer to the processor, we must differentiate two values, the average temperature with games and the maximum temperature at full load.

The first represents the temperature at which the Ryzen 9 3950X present in the Corsair One a100 will work, since no current game is capable of using its 16 cores and 32 threads. However, I wanted to share with you both values ​​so that you have a real vision of the “worst possible scenario.”

We have 74 degree averages when the CPU works with games, that is to say, with an intensive load but not maximum. When we stress the CPU (100% use) for 45 minutes the temperatures they reach 92 degrees, and they are totally stabilized in that strip. As the temperature rises, the working frequencies of the turbo mode are slightly reduced. As we see in the image, when overcoming the 90 degree barrier we have a value of 3,927 MHz.

The GPU, on the other hand, registers average values ​​of 65 degrees working at full load, a very good result, as we have previously said.

Endnotes: greatness has nothing to do with size

And the Corsair One a100 is an example of this. Despite its small size, we are facing a team that assembles the most powerful configuration, at the CPU, GPU and SSD level, that we can currently find in the general consumer market, and this has been seamlessly integrated by Corsair experts to work without any problems.

Not even after intensive and continued use have I noticed the slightest indication of stability problems, and the noise generated by the equipment working at full load is more than acceptable. It is true that the temperatures that the Ryzen 9 3950X reaches when it is taken to the extreme are high, but they always remain below the 95 degrees that AMD sets as a limit, and in real environments, where the workload is much less intensive, it has never exceeded 78 degrees.

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In terms of performance the Corsair One a100 has more than met my expectations. Able to move any current game in 4K without messing up, and it has so much potential that it can even work with very demanding professional applications. This gives it great value, as it is a perfect equipment for unify work and leisure.

If we talk about the price-performance value, my conclusion is also good. It is true that the Corsair One a100 has a high price, 4,619.90 euros, but in return it offers fantastic performance in any situation, and has a unique design and format. In case anyone has doubts about this topic, I invite you to think, for a moment, how much would it cost to mount a PC like the Corsair One a100. The processor, graphics card, RAM and SSD alone would add up to almost 2,800 euros. Now add the cost of the rest of the components, the custom elements, the design, the engineering, the tests …

There is no doubt, the Corsair One a100 has a high price, and yes, I think it could have been adjusted a little more, but still I am clear that it is justified by the cost of its components, by its high performance, its build quality. and its design. If you want to get the most powerful on the market and you are looking for a format and a unique design, do not hesitate, the Corsair One a100 is an excellent choice.

Final assessment

SUMMARY

The Corsair One a100 has all the power of a top-of-the-range PC in a chassis of just 12 liters. Powerful, with first-class build quality, an attractive design and a set of features so good that with it we can easily face any challenge. It has a high price, but it is worth what it costs.

Expansion possibilities8.5

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