Corsair has long been known for its components and gaming peripherals, but it became a PC maker for the first time in 2017 with the One Pro. Now, it’s back with a second effort in a somewhat more traditional form: The Corsair Vengeance Gaming PC 5180 ($2,399). This powerful gaming desktop comes equipped with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080, ready for whatever games you throw its way across the spectrum of resolutions. While not especially compact, its square case is nicely designed, and ready for standard component swaps or upgrades, unlike the One Pro. With a reasonable price considering what’s packed inside, and performance to match, the Vengeance 5180 earns an Editors’ Choice for midrange gaming desktops.
Embrace the Cube
The Vengeance, while still relatively compact, is much larger than Corsair’s first effort. The One Pro was a small, cylindrical desktop, while the Vengeance is built into Corsair’s Crystal Series 280X, a midsize cube-like chassis. Despite the microATX build, it’s not especially small at 13.8 by 10.9 by 15.7 inches (HWD). The Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop, our Editors’ Choice budget gaming desktop, is a traditionally shaped tower that stands at 18 by 8.5 by 17.23 inches. That’s taller than the Vengeance, but not as wide or deep, meaning it takes up less overall desk space.
The case is entirely black with a metal frame, with interchanging glass and plastic exterior walls, giving it a distinctly modern flair. It’s split asymmetrically along the top and front face, with two-thirds made of glass while the rest is plastic. The left panel is the glass side, through which you can see the high-end components (more on those below). The glass has the word “Vengeance” etched into it, and under that in a smaller font, the words “the gaming PC from Corsair.” It seems a bit unnecessary, particularly the latter portion, but I suppose it’s a free promotional space.
There’s also some hard-to-miss built-in case lighting. The two 140mm front fans and two 120mm top fans are ringed with customizable LEDs. The former are set right behind the glass, while the latter are attached to the underside of the included Corsair Hydro Series H100i Pro liquid cooler’s radiator. The cooling block over the CPU is also outfitted with some shiny RGB lighting and the Corsair logo.
Since the glass panel covers the components, it’s removable with four simple hand screws (if these are tightened too much, you may have to break out the screwdriver). The top panel is accessible in the same fashion, so you can get to the radiator screen filter. All said, the Vengeance is a well-designed desktop, even if it’s not exactly a space saver.
Because of the relatively spacious build (despite the microATX board), there’s plenty of room to work inside the case, should you want to swap out parts or do some maintenance. You’d be hard-pressed to improve significantly on what comes installed, however. As you’d expect, it’s filled with plenty of Corsair components. The company, after all, been in that game much longer than it has been in the PC-building business. The Vengeance 5180 includes a 3.19GHz Intel Core i7-8700 processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card (MSI’s Ventus model), 16GB of memory via two 8GB sticks of Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro DDR4 RAM, a 480GB M.2 NVMe SSD, a 2TB hard drive, and a 750W power supply.
Given those parts, the Vengeance 5180’s price doesn’t seem so high. You could save a bit of cash by looking for deals on these components and using a cheaper case, but the build here is solid, and the unit comes with customer service and a two-year warranty.
If the price is still looking too high for you, note that Corsair also includes its K55 RGB gaming keyboard and its Harpoon RGB gaming mouse in the box. The keyboard ($49.99 on its own) is non-mechanical, but features dedicated media keys, macro keys, and customizable lighting. The mouse ($29.99) is a little more basic, with a 6,000DPI sensor, a customizable logo light, and just a couple of programmable buttons. I will say, while it can be nice to have peripherals included, a lot of gamers already own them (or would rather pick their own) and wouldn’t choose to have them added to the cost.
A Netgear Wi-Fi adapter also comes in the box, which is important because the Vengeance 5180 doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi. You will probably use a wired connection on your fancy gaming computer anyway, but if you do need to be wireless, you’ll have to use this USB dongle. For this and other physical connections, the system includes plenty of ports. On the top panel, at the front of the case next to the power button, there are two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a mic jack, and a headset jack. Around back, there are four USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port, a USB-C port, an Ethernet jack, and the three DisplayPort connections and one HDMI port belonging to the RTX 2080.
Finally, there’s the Corsair iCUE software for customization. By opening this program, you can alter the case lighting and fan behavior, as well as monitor system performance. The dashboard tab provides an overview of various component temperatures and fan speeds in a clean layout. In the instant lighting tab, you can configure the color and effects of the LEDs on the RAM, cooling block, and case fans (via a controller node). The first two are straightforward, while the case fans take a bit more time with the settings to figure out. On the whole, though, the software is simple and effective.
Sailing the High Speeds
With its high-performance (though still not quite top-of-the-line) parts, I expected the Vengeance 5180 to be plenty fast, and it didn’t disappoint. I should note here, however, that it also wins the auspicious honor of being the first review completed with our updated suite of benchmark tests. As such, these results should be a good measure of the modern workload put on a machine. A downside is that, for the time being, we have a much smaller set of data to compare the new results against. To help alleviate that problem, we back-tested a handful of recent systems to get as many relevant points of comparison as we could.
In this case, the most useful comparison we have new testing data for is the Acer Predator Orion 5000 (the $2,099.99 version we tested bears the very similar Core i7-8700K processor). For the sake of comparison and our charts, I’ve also included the Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 and the Maingear F131 to demonstrate where the i7-8700 stands in the bigger processor picture. All of these machines are speedy by any standard measure, but the Vengeance earned the highest score on the PCMark 10 general productivity test, despite the other three boasting superior CPUs:
On the more specialized multimedia tests, the Vengeance and the Orion 5000 traded blows, as you can see in the charts below. They went back and forth on Handbrake, Cinebench, and Photoshop, but even those differences were in the same ballpark, which makes sense given their similar CPUs. On these tests, despite the superior processors in the other two systems, the Vengeance stood up very well. There was a big disparity in Handbrake, where the much better processors performed, well, much better. The big exception is that the super-expensive Maingear totally ran away with the Cinebench test.
There was more of a gap between the i7-8700 and the i7-8700K on the 7-Zip test. You may be familiar with this program as a tool for compressing and decompressing files, and so it has a built-in benchmark for judging a system’s speed at doing exactly that. The Orion 5000 was more capable in this regard, and on the whole, the speedier of the two. Still, both landed pretty close to one another, so it’s a relatively minimal difference in practice. The premium Maingear F131, again, creamed the competition here.
Separate from the other components is a computer’s storage speed, which influences other loading times. The PCMark 8 Storage test judges the speed of a computer’s drives, which is relevant for booting Windows, loading files, launching applications, and some gaming load times. In this regard, most of the desktops were on nearly the same level, with the Maingear’s drive lagging behind slightly.
Excellent Gaming Prowess
3D tests come with the same caveats about our new tests, though there is more wiggle room. This is because frame rates, which are provided in both our synthetic (Superposition) and real-world (Far Cry 5 and Rise of the Tomb Raider’s in-game benchmarks) game tests are universally applicable, and don’t need to be compared directly against the same version of the same software to give you an idea of performance. This also gives us the first chance to see how the new Nvidia “Turing” RTX cards stack up against the previous generation in our new benchmarks.
I ran the Superposition test at both the low and high presets, and the Vengeance more than held its own on both. The four machines stood neck and neck, and the Vengeance only lost to the Maingear on the more demanding settings (and not by much). It was a similar story on the 3DMark Sky Diver and Fire Strike tests, except the Maingear separated itself from the pack more substantially, and the Vengeance slightly trailed the Raptor Z55. Across the range of these synthetic tests, the Vengeance proved itself plenty capable.
We don’t have as much formalized data for the Far Cry 5 and Rise of the Tomb Raider tests yet, but the results we do have are pretty clear. Set to maximum settings and HD resolution, the Vengeance averaged 117fps (frames per second) and 159fps, respectively, in these two benchmarks. That’s quite obviously well over the 60fps target, with more than enough headroom for future proofing, and better than the Orion 5000’s 106fps and 125fps. You may be more interested in higher resolutions, though, and you’ll be pleased to hear the Vengeance excelled there. On the same tests set to 1440p, a demanding resolution, it averaged 105fps and 125fps.
4K is likely beyond what most people are aiming for, but even then, it pulled a solid 53fps and 61fps. That means some frame dips below 60 will occur, but if you slide a few settings down, the experience is smooth. Even the much pricier esports-focused Asus ROG Strix desktop averaged 54fps on the same tests at 4K, while the Orion 5000 pulled 41fps and 47fps. The Raptor Z55 and its GTX 1080 Ti performed best with 54fps and 66fps. No matter how you slice it, the Vengeance is very capable for the three main resolutions for gaming. It’s not quite a rock solid 60fps machine for 4K, but few are, and getting that requires a much pricier graphics card or two.
An All-Around Winner
When all is said and done, it’s hard to find any real faults with the Corsair Vengeance. It’s a performance beast in an attractive case that doesn’t have a premium price. Yes, you could probably save some dough building a similar system yourself, but I’m comparing it with ready-to-buy prebuilts, which there is clearly a market for. Because of its speed, price, and feature set, it earns our Editors’ Choice for midrange gaming desktops.