Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
New systems are starting to roll in, and the one we have today is from Corsair. Corsair has a new line of gaming PCs which are also heavily streaming capable thanks to adding components from Elgato such as Capture cards to enhance the out of the box streaming experience.
The system we have today blurs the lines a bit, as in some places, you will find it called a gaming PC, which is rightfully addressed, but it is also a streaming PC based on how it is equipped. Corsair has created the new Vengeance series of desktops as powerful and capable gaming PCs on paper, then installed Elgato capture cards to allow the streaming offload to be handled by the add-in card, which will enable gamers to unbox the PC and start streaming their gameplay almost immediately.
As you can see, the configuration we have is the a4100, which is highlighted in yellow, but I thought it was essential to show the other models since Corsair offers both AMD Ryzen and Intel 10th gen equipped Vengeance solution.
The I/O is robust with tons of connectivity, which we will cover as we dig into the system. However, I wanted to mention that the system comes with wired Gigabit internet and Wi-Fi AC support to allow for optimum streaming network capabilities. The motherboard used is an AMD B450 model, which means that the PCIe 4.0 capabilities of the Ryzen 3000 are not put to use, but this is ok; as the system is configured, it will not negatively impact the configuration.
The inclusion of the Elgato 4K60 Pro MK.2 is an excellent addition as the RTX 2070 SUPER can be routed through the capture card to stream PC gameplay, or if you choose to stream console or other gameplay, you can connect the HDMI cable to the capture card and stream from your new Vengeance machine.
The Vengeance a4100, like all of the Vengeance PCs we have seen to date, can be fully upgraded by any capable end-user, as all of the parts are off the shelf with no proprietary components used. This is great as it leaves the a4100 as an open ecosystem where users can upgrade or swap parts as they see fit. However, do keep in mind that the 2-year warranty only applies to the products which come with the system, and if you happen to damage something when swapping parts, you may have to eat the cost of what you destroy.
The Vengeance a4100 is cooled by a single 120mm radiator AIO, and the fans are SP120 RGB Pro fans, which are 3-pin DC, so it will be interesting to see how the system cools and if the choice for DC fans will hurt the a4100 in the noise testing.
The a4100 as configured comes with a retail price of $1,999.99 at the time of writing and is readily available at the Corsair online shop or Amazon.
I did a quick PCPartpicker build of the system. Much to my surprise, the Vengeance PC to buy the parts alone were right around 1900 bucks, and that's pending you can get all of these parts at the deal that they had which a few of the pieces were not even available at the listed price. At the time of writing, these components could eclipse or be very close to the retail price for this built system. Which also comes with a warranty and is turnkey ready.
Vengeance a4100 Marketing
Here we give space to the manufacturer to talk about their marketing points, and we assess them and provide our point of view on the claims.
The Vengeance a4100, while it may be a streaming PC, it is designed to game, and Corsair points that out with average FPS, they achieved using the a4100 system.
The system, as shown here, is designed to stream with the Elgato 4K60 Pro MK.2 capture card preinstalled. The system uses parts that are off the shelf, and therefore it can be modified or upgraded as you see fit as new platforms or parts become available.
Corsair has built quite the ecosystem with iCUE, and the Vengeance a4100 uses it to full effect with the four preinstalled SP RGB Pro fans and Vengeance Pro RGB memory. All of the lighting effects can be directly controlled within the iCUE software, which comes preinstalled for the end-user.
Corsair makes a vast array of the parts types you need to build a system, and therefore a system like this has a lot of corsair parts in place. These are all consumer and enthusiast parts that you could and possibly would select if you were building the system yourself.
The usage of Ryzen 3000 CPUs is an excellent choice as this was a big step up from AMD, and they now have such a sound footing in the market that this becomes an excellent choice for not just gaming but streaming.
Corsair choosing NVIDIA RTX GPUs for their Vengeance PCs is not much of a surprise as they are the gold standard in the eyes of many gamers. AMD has made some significant steps forward, but it is still hard to beat the horsepower an RTX card such as the RTX 2070 SUPER in our a4100 comes equipped with.
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro DIMMs are used on these systems, which increase the RGB aesthetic, along with robust DIMM quality and performance.
The Vengeance a4100 comes with a fast NVMe drive for the OS and other critical applications, while a standard mechanical drive takes the second spot for ample bulk storage. However, if you want to add more, there are several HDD and SSD mounting locations that you can use to add more storage devices into the Vengeance a4100.
The Vengeance a4100 comes equipped with a Corsair power supply that is 80-plus gold rated, and these supplies are known to be well built and therefore have top-quality components along with a solid warranty. The RM series 750W power supply in our a4100 has a silent fan mode, which does not even kick the fan on at lower loading where heat is not generated.
The cooling of the 220T is robust with a wall of triple 120mm fans in the front to ensure plenty of air is on tap to keep things nice and cool. The CPU has a 120mm AIO liquid cooler in place to keep thermals in check and boost clocks as high as possible. We will see during testing how well this works out as AMD Ryzen processors can be sensitive to thermals.
Here we have the 4K60 Pro capture card from Corsair's Elgato brand. This card allows the capture of virtually any system that has an HDMI port.
The Corsair 220T chassis has front and side tempered glass panels, which help with the ARGB aesthetic to be shown form two sides of the chassis. The dust filtration covers every area where air enters through a fan and then some, which means the inside of your rig will stay cleaner and more dust-free.
The Vengeance a4100 comes with a 2-year warranty that covers the components of the system, and they also offer 24/7 tech support both online or over the phone. All parts come with warranties, but as Corsair builds the system, they help fix issues, which means you spend less time troubleshooting and more time gaming, or at least that's the hope anyway.
Packaging and Accessories
The Corsair a4100 comes in a brown box with the only hint of what is inside coming from the text label, which lists how your system comes equipped.
Opening the box, and we find this extensive system sized unpacking guide. As you can see, the manual instructs the removal of the Wi-Fi antennae and power cable, along with how to remove the internal expanding foam. You do not want to start the system with that in there; it just wouldn't be good. This extensive guide also shows how to properly connect your new PC to get it up and to run.
With the extensive instructions removed, we now see the system, which is well-packed with the system wrapped in a plastic bag to help avoid abrasion damage. Outside of this bag, we have a pair of large endcaps made of soft foam to help absorb shocks during transit and allow the system to survive shipping.
In the accessory pack, it does not have stacks of gear, but it has the things needed to get you up and running, including:
- Wi-Fi antennae
- AC power cable
- HDMI cable
- System guide
The included HDMI cable can be used to hook up your display or link the HDMI output of your GPU to the capture card. You can also use a native DisplayPort cable to your display if you are planning to capture input from something other than the PC.
Now that the accessories are out of the way let's take a look at the Vengeance a4100 system itself.
Vengeance a4100 Overview
Pulling the system from its extensive packaging, we now have the Vengeance a4100 itself. The system may look a little strange, especially at the top front, as the film had to be reapplied after the top of the glass was etched with the Vengeance logo. With the cling film removed, everything looks nice with a black obelisk aesthetic from the reflective tinted tempered glass panels.
The a4100 from the front looks the same as the Corsair 220T we reviewed previously but with tempered glass in front, which is a much better aesthetic, in my opinion.
Looking at the side glass and we can see it is well smoked, but we can get a peek at the white expanding foam pack put in place to retain components and avoid breakage during shipping.
The rear of the chassis is filled well, and the GPU has the plug on its HDMI port pulled and ready to connect when you receive it. The other three DisplayPort is plugged but can be easily removed if you are going to opt for this connection to your display or ancillary monitors.
Looking at the cable management side, we see it is a solid panel, which is ok, as I don't think anyone relishes looking at the cable management side of their rig, except for those who build the immaculate back panel areas with strictly routed individually sleeved cables.
The I/O on the Vengeance a4100 is well-appointed as follows:
Chassis Front panel
- Power Button
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports
- Combo Headphone and Microphone 3.5mm jack
- Reset button
- 2x USB 2.0 Type-A ports
- Combo PS/2 port
- DVI and HDMI ports
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports
- USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port
- 3.5mm audio jacks
- 1Gb RJ45 Intel LAN port
Expansion slots I/O
The expansion slot area consists of the GPU, the Elgato 4K60 Pro MK.2, and the PCIe Wi-Fi AC card; we will show the I/O from the top down.
- HDMI 2.0b
- 3x DisplayPort 1.4
- Elgato 4K60 Pro MK.2 HDMI input
- Elgato 4K60 Pro MK.2 HDMI output
- 2x Wi-Fi AC Antennae ports
The input and output allow full signal passthrough and can be directly connected to your GPU if you plan to capture PC gameplay. I did not notice any induced latency when testing with the GPU passing through the capture card.
Powering the Vengeance a4100 shows the SP fans cycling RGB color flow across the four installed fans and the Vengeance Pro RGB DIMMs. I do prefer that Corsair opted for dark tint on the glass as it allows you to see the lighting and select components without too much hardware or cabling coming into sight.
Inside the Vengeance a4100
With the side panel removed, we see the instapack expanding foam in place. As you can see, it molds to the installed components; therefore, it stays in place without being pressed inward by the panel/ This is good as it keeps the packing material from putting pressure on internal components potentially causing damage.
Removing the packing foam, we see everything looks like we had just built it. Here we see all of the cablings are well managed, and cables are routed efficiently to make for a largely clean build.
The rear exhaust SP RGB Pro 120mm fan is mounted to the Corsair AIO, which keeps the 3700X thermals under control.
The Vengeance Pro RGB memory is adjacent to the CPU socket and clocks in at 3200MHz with reasonable timings, which is a good spot for Ryzen 3000 CPUs. I would have liked to see 3600MHz memory here simply to get the extra boost in performance along with the increased 1:1 FCLK. But overall, 3200MHz is a cost saver and also within the margin of still giving good gaming and application performance.
The main boot drive for the system OS is the Corsair MP510 PCIe NVMe SSD. This unit is 480GB and located in the first M.2 slot below the CPU socket.
The GPU is in the primary slot and is an MSI RTX 2070 SUPER, which is more than enough to take on 1080p and 1440p gaming. This card can also dabble in 4K gaming, but how well? We will show in the testing which is coming up shortly. Below the GPU, we can see the Elgato 4K60 Pro MK.2 capture card falling just out of focus, with the WI-Fi AC card falling just below that.
Moving to the cable management side, now exposed. We see that there are several open spots to mount 2.5" storage, along with an extra bay to the lower left for an additional 3.5" storage. The cable management is well done and simple to keep cables tucked into the corners of the case wherever possible. We also see the iCUE compatible ARGB control board, the same as we saw on the 220T, when we reviewed it previously.
At the bottom right, we have the RM750 PSU, which keeps everything fed with DC power. There are foam blocks around the PSU to support it while shipping, but upon inspection, they did not impede normal function, so these do not necessarily need to be removed unless they bother you.
Moving to the adjacent lower edge of the rear and we see the 3.5" drive cage. Here we have one mechanical drive in place, with room for another should you want to expand your storage further.
Pulling the mechanical drive, we see it's a newer model Seagate 2TB Barracuda unit, we will test the I/O on this later in the review. Now that we have taken a peek inside, let's get this thing powered up and see what the UEFI and software have to offer.
BIOS/UEFI and Software
When first starting, we see that Corsair has a branded POST logo on the ASUS UEFI.
Moving into the UEFI, and the very user-friendly easy mode interface greets you. Of course, we will be moving directly to the advanced mode. We will show you several screenshots of the UEFI below.
One thing worth noting is that with the Vengeance systems being built by Corsair's Origin PC entity, you get the quality of setup where the time was taken to configure the UEFI for optimal user experience. One way to note this is that DC fan profiles were manually set to ensure that no noisy fan ramping is observed or, more importantly, heard by the end-user.
Our first stop is the desktop, which, as you can see, has a Corsair Vengeance gaming PC wallpaper. Corsair did not include a ton of bloatware or preinstalled apps, but they did add a few things.
The two Corsair icons are Diagnostics and Vengeance Gaming PC. We will try each and show what they do.
Checking the Start menu, we also have the Diagnostics and iCUE icons. We also have a Corsair/Elgato "intro to streaming" link, which we clicked and was redirected to a webpage.
Clicking the link for the intro to streaming brings up this page from Elgato. This page takes you through all of the basics of what you would need to start your streaming journey. Most, if not all, are in the Vengeance a4100.
The diagnostics appear to be a skin of PCDoctor software, which may help users who are unsure how to diagnose things to quickly eliminate strange windows issues or registry concerns to alleviate various PC issues. This, of course, means that this would be your first step before contacting Corsair for support.
The Vengeance Gaming PC link opens a PDF file in the browser, which has support information in case you need to contact Corsair for any support, or warranty/RMA needs.
Corsair's iCUE comes preinstalled, and here we will take a look at some of the screens from this and what can be configured.
Here we have the main screen when opening the iCUE software. The first thing you will notice is that the 220T ARGB controller has been reflashed with a new device ID, so it identifies as the "Vengeance PC" moniker versus the 220T's standard Node Core designation.
As you can see, the iCUE is configured to take full advantage of the components with a synchronized lighting profile across the fans and the Vengeance Pro RGB DIMMs. This does not mean it is not adjustable; it still carries the same level of adjustability and customizability as a standard 220T would offer.
The iCUE software also has a dashboard that can work as a hub for you to monitor your systems loading and thermals.
With all of this out of the way, I think its due time that we see how the new Vengeance a4100 performs in our testing.
WPrime is first up and being a multi-threaded benchmark. We know it will scale with any CPU we throw at it. You can manually set the number of workers or threads you want to allocate to the calculation, which we did the total thread count for each CPU to ensure we measure the maximum performance the CPU can offer.
Cinebench is a long-standing render benchmark that has been heavily relied upon by both Intel and AMD to showcase their newest platforms during unveils. The benchmark has two tests, a single-core workload that will utilize one thread or 1T. There is also a multi-threaded test which uses all threads or nT of a tested CPU
Aida64 Memory , Encryption & Hash
7-Zip is an open-source and free compression application. It works well with multi-threading and also can see gains from clock speed as well.
PCMark is a benchmark from UL and tests various workload types to represent typical workloads for a PC. Everything from video conferencing, image import, and editing, along with 3D rendering, are tested.
WebXPRT is a browser-based test, and we like this test as this is one of the areas not many think to test. This also happens to be a real-world usage test that can be impacted by the mitigations which have recently rolled through and were patched.
Here in the CPU/system benchmarks, we see that the Vengeance a4100 has a great showing based on the systems we have tested thus far. The only area we see the platform falter is in some of the 1T tests where the higher boost clocks of the Intel-powered machines still can pull a small lead.
Do note that this is one of the first full desktop PC's we have tested to date on our new charts and reviews, so these will fill in far more as time goes on.
Graphics Performance Benchmarks
Superposition from Unigine is a DX12 based benchmark. We test with the 720p LOW preset as this removes all but the most basic GPU loading, and all of the FPS performance comes from the CPUs ability to push frames to the GPU. This test is far more efficient and speed based rather than being highly threaded.
3DMark Time Spy
Time Spy is another 3DMark test variant, but this one is for DX12 based systems. This test can be quite stressful, and since its an entirely different load, you may be surprised to see how the results shuffle when compared to Firestrike.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Civilization VI (DirectX 12)
The graphical benchmarks go a long way to showing the horsepower the full desktop components can muster due to higher power capabilities and, of course, better thermal conditions in many scenarios. The only competitor on the chart with a full-fat desktop GPU is the Ghost Canyon NUC, with its RTX 2070 GPU installed.
The Vengeance a4100 delivers consistently chart-topping results, which is not much of a surprise as it is equipped with several components, which are solid choices for a stout gaming PC.
System I/O Benchmarks
For storage performance, we test the platform using its internal storage along with external ports via the listed storage device. It is tested in CrystaldiskMark 7.0.0 x64, and we average the results to ensure a good cross-section of expected performance.
Here we see both the MP510 480GB NVMe M.2 and the Seagate 2TB HDD and their relative performance. The MP510 nearly hits its full theoretically specified 3500MB/s sequential while delivering respectable randoms for quick loading of small files.
Here we broke down the storage for each of the systems we have tested thus far to show how each stack. Do keep in mind that the randoms on the Ghost Canyon NUC with the OPTANE drive in place will be very high, as that is what the OPTANE storage excels at.
Thermals, and Power Consumption
The Vengeance a4100 pulls a paltry 69W when idle, which is good since that is for the entire system minus monitor running idle at the desktop. Turning up the wick with a full AVX/FPU load and we see the a4100 jump to 155W sustained loading after everything reaches steady-state for over an hour.
Loading up a primarily GPU load, we see power draw reach 290W, which is just 22W over the mobile CPU equipped Ghost Canyon NUC.
The small 120mm AIO cooler on the CPU had me questioning how well it would handle the system fully loaded. I am happy to report that the CPU diode temp settled to an average of 84.4C after reaching a steady-state, and we did not observe any significant throttling under the sustained load.
Here we see that the custom DC fan tuning performed by Corsair/Origin PC has worked well as the system under full aVX/FPU loading barely broke above the noise floor of our lab and was virtually inaudible when placing our head near the front fan area.
I know this has been a long road, but it's time to pull this one back into the station and get things wrapped up.
When the Vengeance a4100 gaming/streaming PC was sent over, I was not sure what to expect, but I will say that after spending some time with it, I can say it performed admirably and exceeded my expectations. The thermals, performance, and relative price to component quality is not what we expect to see from a prebuilt PC.
Corsair offers a substantial value as the a4100 depending on what kind of deals you can find only charges a little over/under $100 for the a4100 over buying the parts yourself. This is assuming you get free shipping for everything as well. Now, Corsair is not cutting their own throat here; you have to understand economies of scale and the fact that Corsair owns most of what makes up the a4100, and therefore has more margin than what we see on the surface. That being said, you get a fully built system and a 2-year warranty for what can equate to a less than 100 dollar surcharge.
What we like
Thermals: The small 120mm AIO did better than I thought it would keeping throttling at bay while maintaining boost clocks consistent.
Build Quality: The Vengeance a4100 is built by Corsairs subsidiary brand Origin PC, which means the build execution and attention to detail is very apparent.
Value: The a4100 wills et you back barely over what you would pay to get the parts yourself, then you have to build it, troubleshoot if there are issues and deal with any problems later.
Warranty: The a4100 comes with a two-year warranty, which means you don't have to worry for a couple of years if anything goes wrong in any way.
What do we think could be better?
Chipset selection: The a4100 uses a B450 board, which is not a bad thing, but it does mean that you do not have access to the full PCIe 4.0 capabilities of the Ryzen 3000 CPUs. In the future, upgraded storage and GPUs will undoubtedly be PCIe 4.0, and you will have to swap boards when that time comes for the maximum performance potential.
3200MHz memory: The a4100 hits a sweet spot on price/performance for the Ryzen 3000 CPU, but employing slightly faster 3600MHz DIMMs would put you in the true enthusiast's sweet spot and optimal FCLK performance for the system. I know its only a few percent, but it has to be said.
The Vengeance a4100 has several optional configurations to best match your needs. Corsair offers it at a price that is hard to balk at, and with the right features in place to help anyone looking to get into streaming, get a leg up. Everything is off the shelf parts means you can upgrade with ease for years to come.
The Vengeance a4100 may not be the perfect gaming/streaming PC, or even the most powerful, but Corsair has equipped it in such a way that it is a great performer and a value that is hard to beat.
The Bottom Line
Corsair has created a stout performer in the Vengeance a4100 gaming and streaming PC. The price point barely exceeds buying the parts alone, and you get a stout prebuilt performer that also has a warranty and nice visual aesthetic.