We've said it before and we'll say it again: if you're looking for a powerful PC for design work then your best bet is often to take a look at gaming PCs. They're built to satisfy the needs of gamers, one of the most demanding and uncompromising audiences in the tech market, and so one thing you can count on with a gaming PC is rock-solid performance. If it can run Apex Legends in 4K at 60fps, it'll cope with just about any design task you can throw at it.
CPU: Intel Core i9-9920X
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
DRAM: 4x8GB DDR4-2666
Storage: 960GB M.2 NVMe SSD, 2TB 5400RPM 2.5"HDD
Motherboard: X299E Mini-ITX
Operating system: Windows 10 Pro
Networking: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2
Power supply: Corsair SF750, 80 Plus Platinum
Form factor: Mini-ITX
Dimensions: 200mm x 172.5mm x 380mm
External Connections: FRONT: 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1, Combo Headphone/Mic, HDMI 2.0a ; REAR: 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type-A and Type-C), 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 2x USB 2.0, 7.1 Audio, Ethernet, PS/2, 3x DisplayPort
The only downside with gaming PCs is that they're often built to look good to gamers, with way too much LED lighting going on. They might suit a teenager's bedroom perfectly, but they're not always the sort of thing you want on your desk.
However the Corsair ONE PRO i180 (opens in new tab) is a gaming PC that just about any designer is likely to covet. Corsair - a company with form when it comes to the sort of over-illuminated PC builds we were just talking about - has pulled out all the stops to build a workstation-grade PC that combines epic performance with incredible looks, and all within an impressively compact form factor.
Corsair ONE PRO i180: Super specs
The specs speak for themselves, promising a serious helping of performance and easily positioning the i180 as one of the best computers for video editing (opens in new tab). The powerful PC is absolutely crammed with high-end tech, with a 12-core Intel i9-9920X processor paired up with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card, plus a whole 32GB of Corsair DDR4 memory. On top of that there's a 960GB SSD that means everything should start up at lightning speed, plus a 2TB hard disk to take care of general storage.
It's a heady set of specs, and probably overkill unless you're working in 3D or video production (or want to rule at Fortnite in your lunch hour). The bottom line is that should you want to, you can comfortably run four 4K HDR monitors plus a VR headset.
What really impressed us about the i180, though, is how it's all been crammed into a relatively tiny case. The average workstation tends to be a massive tower system, but Corsair has opted for an extraordinarily compact tower build, roughly one third the volume of a standard tower.
Corsair ONE PRO i180: Performance
Corsair has used a liquid cooling system to keep the whole thing quiet and not on fire, resulting in a system that doesn't seem to make any noise at all, no matter how hard you punish it.
We took it for a little trot around Nvidia's Reflections ray-tracing demo, plus a handful of high-end, particle-heavy PC demos, and it quietly got on with the job of rendering everything perfectly without making a sound. If it wasn't for the lighting on the front panel you wouldn't know this beast was even turned on.
- The best 4K monitors for designers and artists (opens in new tab)
Ah, yes, the lighting. Look, it's workstation-grade and all that, but at heart the i180 is still a gaming machine, albeit one aimed at gamers with a lot of money to burn. And that means it has to have some lighting in there, but to its credit, Corsair has executed this in a tasteful, understated manner.
The front of the case is illuminated by a pair of thin RGB light pipes that follow the contours of the aluminium case, and by default it gently cycles through the colour spectrum; with Corsair's own iCUE software you can customise the lighting to your taste - and even sync it to any other Corsair iCUE-compatible products on your desk - or simply turn it off completely.
All this adds up to a gorgeously compact, immensely powerful PC that you'd be happy to have on display on your desk, rather than hidden away underneath; it's a lovely thing to look at, maybe not on the same level as Apple's ludicrously beautiful Mac Pro, but definitely easy on the eye and much more powerful.
The super-compact design means that this isn't really a machine for the type of PC owner who likes to open the case, tinker and upgrade components. It's probably doable but we wouldn't want to attempt it; luckily the i180's powerful specs mean that you're probably going to be happy leaving it as is for a few years and then replace it when it starts to show its age. Well, it works for Apple.
Corsair ONE PRO i180: Price
The only other sticking point is the eye-watering price; much like with Apple products, you're clearly paying a premium for the design and form factor here. You could easily save a grand or more by speccing up a virtually identical system in a tower case, but wouldn't you rather pay the extra for one of those rare PCs that actually looks good?
Read more: iMac Pro review (opens in new tab)