Zotac’s Mek Mini stuffs RTX graphics into a 9-liter package

Opinions may vary, but personally, my first stop when picking out a PC that's both powerful and petite is Zotac's list of mini PCs. Using a mini PC—even one as powerful as a Zbox Magnus—still comes with a lot of compromises, though. If you want one without any compromises that's geared for gaming, Zotac can set you up with one of its Mek1 or Mek Ultra machines. At CES, Zotac showed us something that sits sort of in between the Zbox mini-PCs and the bigger Meks: the Mek Mini.

To be clear, the Mek1 is already fairly small at 20 L. That's much larger than something like Zotac's own Zbox Magnus EN1080K (6 L), but compared to this writer's 59-L Fractal Design Define R6, it's downright svelte. The Mek Mini takes things a step further and packs an Intel Core i7-8700 and a GeForce RTX 2070—both full-fat desktop parts—into a chassis that's just over 9 L. The standard configuration also includes two 8-GB modules of DDR4 memory running at 2666 MT/s, a 2-TB 2.5" hard drive, and a 240-GB NVMe M.2 SSD, all of which are fully upgradeable.

Image: Zotac

All told, it's a pretty solid setup for serious PC gaming. The Mek Mini has four USB 3.1 ports on the back, and a pair of USB 3.0 ports—one of which is Type-C—on the front. Also up front are the usual 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks. On the Mek Mini's graphics card, you get two DisplayPort connections, an HDMI port, a VirtualLink-enabled USB Type-C port, and (curiously) an old-school DVI port. One of the dual Ethernet ports and the Wi-Fi are run by a Killer chip, and the Mek Mini also supports Bluetooth 5.

The only downside we see at a glance is that, just like the Zbox Magnus EN1080K, the Mek Mini requires two DC barrel plugs to do its thing. Hopefully it's as quiet and well-cooled as that machine, too. Zotac told us that the Mek Mini will be available later this quarter. Pricing is yet to be determined, but a representative told us to expect something in the $1,500-1,600 range. 

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    • RoxasForTheWin
    • 9 months ago

    These look like if the Zalman Z11 and those crappy plastic cases from about a decade ago had a baby, ew

    • Chrispy_
    • 9 months ago

    It could be only a 7L package if they removed all the chintzy plastic LED robot armour.

    • CScottG
    • 9 months ago

    Vicious little Decepticons will tear you a new one: right through your wallet..

    • TheRazorsEdge
    • 9 months ago

    Yeah, good luck on seeing one of these with only one barrel connector.

    The best ones are only rated for ~10A. Even if you push 19V through it, that’s under 200W for a desktop-class system.

    They could maybe custom order one, but that gets into the “huge hassle for marginal benefit” territory.

    Unless customers were up in arms about it, I certainly wouldn’t want that headache.

    • DPete27
    • 9 months ago

    Why do the DC plugs have to be at the bottom and [b<]TOP?[/b<] Certainly it's better to have them both at the bottom.

      • RAGEPRO
      • 9 months ago

      Those are the RP-SMA connectors for the Wi-Fi antennae. The DC-IN connectors are paired directly above the bottom one.

    • oldog
    • 9 months ago

    The DAN mini-ITX system I just built has the same specs as the Mek Mini in a 7.2L package.

    So, it’s smaller, almost certainly quieter and faster but way more expensive than the Zotac.

    The only justification I guess is the ability to reuse the enclosure and to eschew the butt ugly fins.

    Life is full of trade-offs.

      • TheRazorsEdge
      • 9 months ago

      The DAN A4 also takes a standard SFX PSU in its 7L enclosure instead of a power brick.

      So give it another 0.5L or so, depending on big the Zotac brick is.

      That price seems a little high, even including the Dan case… you wouldn’t happen to have more RAM/HD than the Zotac specs, would you?

        • Voldenuit
        • 9 months ago

        The Zotac MEK also looks a lot fuglier than clean cases like the DAN A4, NCase M1, and Loque Ghost S1.

        • oldog
        • 9 months ago

        My specs:

        DAN Case
        Corsair SF600
        EVGA GeForce RTX 2070
        16GB Corsair Vengeance DRAM
        Noctua low profie 92x14mm CPU fan
        Samsung 970EVO 1TB NVMe SSD x2 (front and back)
        Intel Core i7-8700 (non-k)
        ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming -ITX/AC
        Thermolab LP53 Quite Copper CPU Cooler
        Win 10 Pro

        About 2K US (without the stupid 10% CA sales tax).

          • TheRazorsEdge
          • 9 months ago

          I’d say it’s a wash.

          You have 2 TB NVMe solid state storage, where they went with 512 GB SSD + 2 TB mechanical. There’s a couple hundred bucks.

          Windows 10 – Professional vs Home is another $50-$100, assuming they ship this with Home like their other Mek boxes.

          Your PSU and RAM are probably a bit better too, but they don’t have specs for this model. (Their 1070Ti system ships with 450W though.)

    • UberGerbil
    • 9 months ago

    TIL Killer networking chips are still a thing.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 9 months ago

      Marketing to casuals will never die.

      Sing that in the voice of “rock and roll will never die.”

      • Voldenuit
      • 9 months ago

      I got a Killer NIC in my Z370 mobo and I have just one thing to say:

      “Stay the f away from them.”

      • Chrispy_
      • 9 months ago

      I can’t remember where I read it but I thought Killer stopped designing their own hardware and now just wrote drivers for Realtek/Intel NICs?

      I would never buy anything because it had Killer Networking but I’d assumed that I could just use a generic Intel/Realtek driver if I wanted to.

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