Zotac MEK1: Size doesn’t matter

High powered gaming in a small factor case.

In today’s world of aesthetics and high performance, full size gaming towers are slowly starting to phase out. Instead, it’s the space saving, small factor PCs that people opt for. Zotac is quite popular in this market. However, the new Zotac MEK1 is a full-fledged gaming rig, small enough to sit on your desk and big enough to grab attention.

Race car inspired design

Zotac is known for some really impressive mini PCs. However, these are not always the best in terms of design. With the MEK1, Zotac has incorporated a ‘gamer’ look to the PC. The MEK1 comes with a sleek and stylish body constructed with hard black plastic. The angular design might make it look like something out of a sci-fi movie, but there is a lot more to its design than just aesthetics.

Up front, we have the Zotac MEK series logo along with a sliding cover that hides the power button and a few ports. When closed, this helps maintain a clean minimalistic effect. This covers up the headphone and mic jacks along with two USB 3.0 ports. Along the sides, the MEK1 comes with vents that resemble the vented hood of a sports car. These vents line up perfectly with the GPU and CPU cooler, allowing a direct air intake to keep it cool. The MEK1 also comes with two plastic feet to keep the PC upright.

Moving to the back, the MEK1 comes with a wide range of ports. We get four USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, along with a PS/2 connector and a full range of audio jacks. For display, there are three DisplayPort 1.3 ports, as well as HDMI 2.0 and DVI-D ports. In terms of Internet access, there are dual Gigabit LAN ports powered by Realtek RTL8168 NICs, and the back panel gives plenty of clearance for the two antennas attached to the Intel Wireless AC 3165 module.

Since it is an important part of any gaming equipment, the MEK1 has not forgotten RGB elements. The MEK1 comes with two LED strips running down the sides which can be customized with the built in Spectra software. The software lets you choose any color from the RGB spectrum as well as switch between static, strobe, breathing and color cycle modes.

Under the hood

Zotac intended the MEK1 to be a high-powered gaming rig, and with its top range specs, Zotac delivers. The case can be easily opened by removing a few screws on top. Once inside, you get a look of what powers the MEK1. However, due to wiring issues, the case will not open all the way.

On the right side of the panel, you can find the motherboard and its installed components. This includes the air-cooled Intel Core i7-7700, a 16GB (2 x 8GB) kit of DDR4 RAM, and the storage. A Zotac-branded heatsink covers the primary 240 GB SSD, while the 1TB 2.5” HDD is seated in a plastic tray.

The left side houses the Zotac-branded GeForce GTX 1070 Ti graphics card, which does look a little different from what Zotac usually retails. For power supply, the MEK 1 comes with the 450W 80 Plus Bronze-certified SFX PSU.

In terms of specs the Zotac MEK1 does not disappoint. As it is a pre-built PC, upgrading it can be a little hard. Nevertheless, Zotac has ensured that the GPU chamber is spacious, allowing future upgrades.

Gaming Experience

To test the MEK1’s gaming capabilities, we ran a few games with high intensity graphics trying to get the best gameplay experience, and the MEK1 did not disappoint.

We pushed the limits by running GTA V on the highest settings at 4K, and got an average of 20 FPS, however it could do a smooth 60 FPS while running at 1080p. Hitman on the other hand gave us more than 45 FPS even at 4K with maximum settings. Rise of the Tomb Raider was a similar story, where we got an average of 60 FPS on 1080p, but the game struggled to run on 4K and we had to reduce the settings to make it playable.

On an average, 4K gaming on ultra-high settings can give the MEK1 a hard time. This is can be quite surprising since it comes with a 1070 Ti. This can be attributed to a weaker CPU, which affects the overall performance. 1080p or even 1440p gaming is what the MEK1 is suited for, and sometimes that is all you need.

Thanks to the 16GB RAM and the i7 7700 however, the Zotac MEK1 is quite a performer, capable of running other tasks and multiple applications together. On Geekbench 4, the Zotac MEK1 scored a surprising score of 16,599, which is good for a pre-built desktop PC.

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a powerful gaming rig that won’t break the bank, then the Zotac MEK1 is perfect for you. Priced at AED 5,690, the MEK1 delivers for the price you pay and some more. The MEK1 takes the bar higher for pre-built gaming PCs, and also delivers in terms of aesthetics.

However, if you need something a bit stronger to handle more demanding tasks like heavy video editing and streaming, you might want to invest in something bigger, which will also cost you.