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.
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.