The second verse is different from the first
The interior layout of the new One is quite different from the original model; that much becomes clear the instant you get your hands on, uh, one. Where the original One had its front panel connections at the top and everything on the back toward the bottom, the new model has its front panel connections at the bottom while the back panel ports are more distributed.
Up front, you get an HDMI 2.0 port, a pair of USB 3.0 connections, and a headphone jack. The pair of USB 3.0 ports is ideal for hooking up flash drives and other storage devices. The most likely candidates for these front USB ports are gamepads, though, which are overwhelmingly USB 2.0 devices. Personally, I would have rather seen a pair of USB Type-C ports up here and these USB 3.0 ports around the back, but the front-panel ports needed to be USB 3.0-capable so that the front HDMI port made sense—it's for VR headsets, after all.
That front HDMI port, though, is the only HDMI connection on the whole machine, and that's unfortunate. The thick HDMI cable jutting from the front of the machine for my second monitor was perilously close to my mousing space. As annoying as that was, it's going to be even more frustrating for someone who wants to use the One as a living room gaming machine. TVs generally take HDMI, not DisplayPort, so the lack of a rear-panel HDMI port means you have to have a big, fat cable poking out the front of your otherwise sleek system.
My real complaint here is with the headset port. It's clearly marked as a headset port, not just a headphone jack. However, when you hook up a headset to it—I tested with Corsair's own HS50—it's detected only as a microphone. If you retask the port for headphones in the Realtek control panel, it works just fine, but then you've got no microphone function. I couldn't figure out a way to make it function as a combo jack. This makes the lack of a second audio jack on the front particularly annoying. You have to use a USB microphone or get a longer cable.
Besides the extra jacks, the new machine steps up to addressable RGB LED lighting on the front. I found the lighting somewhat unreliable, though. Randomly, the lights would shut off while Windows played the "device disconnected" noise. Then, they would come back on, first at the default blue color and then switching to the RGB cycling pattern I'd set. This problem was more common with a gamepad plugged in to the front ports, which leads me to suspect it may be power-related.
On the back of the One is all of the remaining ports. The top portion houses the I/O cluster from the MSI Z370I-C2018 motherboard, and then down at the bottom is the RTX 2080's three DisplayPort connections and the SF600 power supply. It would be much easier to make the machine more compact if it had an external power brick, but I'm pleased to see that it doesn't. Likewise, I appreciate the PS/2 keyboard port, clear CMOS button, regular old RJ-45 jack, and TOSlink optical audio port. Corsair could have left all of those out of this build, and could have justified it, but I'm glad those features have been carried forward.
The motherboard offers six USB connections: two 2.0 ports, two 3.0 ports, and two 3.1 ports (one of which is a Type-C). The USB 2.0 ports are marked for keyboard and mouse along with the PS/2 connection above them, while the USB 3.0 ports are marked as "VR Ready." That's a bit curious given that you'd expect someone with a VR headset to use the front ports, not to mention the fact that the front-mounted HDMI port is purpose built for a VR headset connection. Combined with the front panel ports, there's a grand total of eight USB ports on the One. I would have liked to have seen a USB Type-C port up front and perhaps another pair of USB 3.0 or even 2.0 ports on the back, but that's something of a nitpick.
Another (admittedly minor) VR-related qualm I'll throw in is that graphics cards based on GeForce RTX 2080 chips usually have a VirtualLink port. This is a USB Type-C port specifically intended to give VR headsets a one-cable connection to the PC so you don't have to plug in separate HDMI, USB, and power cables. You'll find no such connection on any Corsair One. While that could potentially be exasperating to someone in the future, I can't knock Corsair too hard for it since there are literally zero devices on the market so far that connect to VirtualLink.
At this point, you can insert my usual complaint about these pre-built machines locking you out of using the Intel UHD Graphics built into the CPU. Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2080 is obviously a superior graphics solution in every practical way, but having access to the built-in Intel graphics can be enormously useful for troubleshooting, or simply for hooking up another three displays. Further, having the hardware present and presumably functional, yet with no way to use it, just grinds my gears. I'd be less annoyed if Corsair had used the Core i7-9700KF.
Even though the layout is different between this One and the last-gen One, the cooling arrangements are the same. Waterblocks attached to the CPU and GPU feed through radiators on either side of the system, which are in turn cooled by a single fan at the top of the chassis. You probably wouldn't expect one fan to cool a pair of radiators very well, but you would be mistaken. Thanks to the way it's designed, the One stays nice and cool while cranking out frames in your game of choice. It's no less impressive here than it was on the original One, and the noise-to-cooling ratio is superb.
As before, push a button on the back of the machine and the top pops right off. The single cable that connects the One's fan to the motherboard snakes around the side of the frame in this version, and disconnecting it will require removing the left side panel. Fortunately, that's still just a matter of removing two screws.
With the screws removed, the side panel comes away from the chassis easily. However, you have to be careful when you move it, because the radiator mounted to the side panel is permanently attached to the pump-block. Pulling the panel away, you can see the mini-ITX motherboard as well as the Corsair-branded RAM and PCIe riser cable installed in it. Below that is the Seagate hard drive, and further downward you can see the SF600 modular power supply.
I was loathe to open the right side of the machine too much because the hoses attaching the radiator on that side to the GPU are extremely short. You can at least see in this picture that it's a full-sized graphics card—you can even see the ATX-style rear-panel bracket in the distance. Closer to the camera, you can see a small heatsink with its own fan. That's the only other fan in the system besides the main cooling fan in the top. I obviously didn't detach that heatsink, but I suspect it's for the graphics card's power delivery hardware that otherwise would go without cooling.
So just like with the last One, I didn't take the whole thing completely apart. With the original One's marketing materials, Corsair played up the fact that the system used off-the-shelf parts and was fully upgradeable. The reality is that taking the machine apart would void users' warranties, so it wasn't really upgradeable at all. I have to give Corsair kudos here because the company doesn't say anything about the machine's upgradability anymore. Enterprising gerbils could surely upgrade the Corsair One i140, but I certainly wouldn't bother; it's stuffed to the gills with excellent components even in this lower-tier offering, anyway.