The Corsair One i300 marks the first time Intel’s best gaming CPU from its Alder Lake lineup finds its way into the line of prebuilt compact gaming PCs, as well as DDR5 gaming RAM. It’s without question one of the most powerful, stylish, and silent systems you can buy out-of-the-box today, but does that justify its eye-watering price tag?
Aside from packing the latest cutting-edge specs, the thing that makes the Corsair One i300 so attractive and unique is its form factor. Its sleek black brushed metal exterior is only 7.9-inches deep, which combined with its 15-inch height and 6.8-inch width gives it an awesome monolithic appearance. Looking at it in-person, I can’t help but think it’s absolutely bananas that Corsair is able to pack this level of hardware into such a small space. Its size also gives the system the ability to fit in just about anywhere you’d want to put it.
It isn’t lacking in personality either, with two built-in RGB light pipes running down the edges of its front panel that you can customise with iCue software. Better yet, the One i300 can sync up with any other compatible peripherals you have to create a clean, uniform aesthetic, and contribute to enhancing the atmosphere of any iCue-compatible games. The small triangular cut-outs along the sides of the chassis that form in the intake vents are a nice touch too.
Corsair hasn’t skimped on connectivity in its design of the One i300 either, with a 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo input, one 10Gbps USB-C, and two 5Gbps USB-A ports located on the front of the case. Looking at the back, you’ll see another six USB-A ports, with four 5Gbps inputs and two with double the horsepower. Since this is an Intel system, there are also two Thunderbolt 4 ports too, alongside your usual HD audio inputs, a 2.5Gb Ethernet port, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.12 support.
You can opt for either an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 or its Ti variant. Both come with one HDMI 2.1 and three DisplayPort 1.4a outputs, but there’s strangely no way to connect to the CPU’s on-board graphics. Even though you likely wouldn’t want to use the Intel UHD Graphics 770 for gaming when you have Nvidia’s best graphics card in your rig, having the additional ports can be helpful when troubleshooting, and this omission is puzzling. However, this is a small blemish on an otherwise robust I/O.
While the outside of every Corsair One i300 will be the same, the only differences between the cheapest $3,999 USD and most expensive $4,999 USD versions are the amount of gaming RAM and model of graphics card inside them. Across all the different configurations, you’ll find a Z690 Mini ITX motherboard with an Intel Core i9-12900K at the heart of the system, as well as 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 memory clocked at 4,800MHz and a liquid-cooled GeForce RTX 3080 10GB graphics card. Spending another $700 will net you the RTX 3080 Ti 12GB, and an additional $300 on top of that will push RAM capacity up to 64GB albeit at a slightly slower 4,400MHz clock speed.
Corsair lent its top-of-line spec for testing, but I can confidently say that most people should opt for the base model. Aside from that fact that you could upgrade your RAM later down the line if you needed more than 32GB, the potential performance gains offered by the RTX 3080 Ti versus its cheaper sibling in no way justify its additional cost. Plus, saving some money on your new gaming PC potentially frees up your budget to splash on one of the best gaming monitors to pair it with and make your setup that much more high-end.
You should note, however, that you’re essentially locking yourself into whatever configuration you opt for, as the One i300 would not be easy to upgrade, even for the most experienced builders. The most you’ll be able to reasonably do is swap out the RAM, SSD, and fan that holds together the system’s patented convection-assisted cooling. While you could put in a new Raptor Lake CPU at a push, the GPU’s water cooling solution will likely prove too intimidating for most folks to tinker with. Thankfully, Corsair offers a two-year warranty with all purchases of its compact PC, so you’ll be covered should you require any assistance with your components.
I’d like to take a moment to encourage Corsair to offer a wider variety of components in future. Admittedly, this may be already in the works as older Corsair One systems are available with Core i7 CPUs, but any way to make this prebuilt PC more accessible by offering less expensive hardware would be worthwhile.
Here’s a rundown of our Corsair One i300’s specs:
|Corsair One i300|
|OS||Windows 11 Pro 64-bit|
|CPU||Intel Core i9-12900K, liquid-cooled|
|Motherboard||MSI MEG Z690 Unify|
|RAM||64GB Corsair DDR5 4,400MHz|
|GPU||Palit Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, water-cooled|
|Storage||2TB Samsung PM9A1 PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD|
|PSU||Corsair SF750 750W 80 Plus Platinum|
Given the hardware inside the Corsair One i300, I ran our suite of benchmarks at 4K using the highest presets in each game, including any additional ray tracing options. I’ve also included some synthetic workloads that should give some indication as to how it’ll perform handling creative workloads such as 3D modelling or video editing.
The One i300 is undoubtedly an extremely capable 4K gaming PC with horsepower aplenty that can also be used to play games at sky-high refresh rates at lower resolutions. However, this level of hardware and somewhat misses the point of what makes this prebuild so appealing.
Throughout all my tests, the system was barely audible with the fan curve preset set to ‘Default’ with no signs of thermal throttling. I was thoroughly impressed by this, and it really showcases how much thought Corsair has put into designing this small but mighty PC.
You can expect to boost fps even higher in some videogames when using Nvidia DLSS. Cyberpunk 2077, for instance, defaults to using the feature when you set the graphics preset to ‘Ray Tracing: Ultra’ and with good reason. Frame rates average at 50fps when turning on the upscaling feature, which is unquestionably preferable to the 12fps after turning the upscaling technology off.
Unfortunately, it’s not entirely faultless, as the synthetic benchmarks I conducted highlighted a potential bottleneck. Things started positive, with Blender 3.1.0 averaging out at 5,341 and placing us within 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 starting to heat up.
Shortly after testing began, the CPU quickly reached 100°C which resulted in it clocking down from its 5.2GHz boost clock to a more consistent 4.5GHz. The Corsair One i300’s fan quite rightly sped up to address this, getting quite loud as it reached its maximum speed in order to cool itself down. Despite all this, the PC was still able to turn out an impressive multi-core score of 24,924 after ten-minutes of continuous passes.
This makes me wonder what kind of temperatures I’d see from the One i300 were it 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 it troublesome to cool even in the most robust of systems, which makes its pairing with Corsair’s fanless thin and small radiator all the more questionable. Here’s hoping that a Core i7-12700K model pops up in the near-future.
I should also mention that I wish iCue was a touch 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. Aside from this gripe, though, iCue provided accurate readings and was a breeze to use and navigate.
So, should you buy the Corsair One i300? It truly is marvellously designed and is of an unquestionably high quality in terms of the hardware it boasts and materials used in its case’s construction. However, it’s hard to ignore the fact that by buying it you’re forgoing the ability to easily upgrade your PC in the future, which makes the system’s ultra-premium $3,999 USD starting price sting all the more. For context, you can get the exact same specifications in the Corsair Vengeance i7300 Gaming PC for $700 less, albeit in a larger case and without a water-cooled GPU, but you regain the capability to swap out components with ease.
That said, if your priorities lean more towards form rather than function, then it could be just what you’re looking for. There really is nothing else like the One i300 on the market, and it’d be extremely difficult if not impossible to replicate it’s undeniably cool design with off the shelf parts. With all this in mind, the Corsair One i300 comes recommended, but it’s important to understand what exactly you’re paying for and the trade-offs that come with buying it versus a more standard prebuild.