CES 2019: Pint-size but powerful, the Mek Mini gaming desktop is smaller than a laptop

CES 2019 has turned into PC bizarro world, where the laptops have desktop hardware and the desktops are smaller than laptops.

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Justin Jaffe is the Managing Editor for CNET Money. He has more than 20 years of experience publishing books, articles and research on finance and technology for Wired, IDC and others. He is the coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015), which reveals how financial services companies take advantage of customers -- and how to protect yourself. He graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in English Literature, spent 10 years in San Francisco and now lives in Portland, Maine.
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At CES 2019 we've seen superthin laptops, laptops with impossibly slim bezels and big-but-thin laptops. We've even seen desktop hardware crammed into a laptop. So why not a desktop gaming PC that's smaller than a laptop?

Enter the Mek Mini -- a $1,500 gaming powerhouse that measures roughly 10 by 10 by 5 inches. It's smaller than a 12-pack of beer and, having cradled it in my arms, I'd estimate that it weighs around 6 or 7 pounds (about 3 kg). 

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While it's not as compact as the Mac Mini, the Mek Mini is tiny compared with most other gaming desktop PCs. But it doesn't skimp on power. You get an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 GPU, Intel's heavy-duty Core i7 processor and 16GB of DDR4 RAM -- specs similar to those of the company's towering Mek1, which Zotac showed off at CES last year

All that hardware generates a lot of heat, and keeping things cool in the Mek Mini's small footprint required a fair amount of engineering. The case has 270 degrees of ventilation, with air intakes on the sides and at the bottom, as well as exhaust vents on the top and the rear to ensure sufficient flow.

The Mek Mini desktop is smaller than most gaming laptops

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Here's an overview of the specs:

  • Zotac Gaming/Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 with 8GB of GDDR6 RAM
  • Six-core Intel Core i7-8700
  • 16GB of DDR4 RAM (overclockable)
  • 240GB NVMe M.2 SSD and 2TB SATA HDD
  • Killer AC 1550 Wi-Fi and dual Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5
  • HDMI 2.0b, 2x DisplayPort 1.4, DVI, USB Type-C, 2x USB 3.0, 4x USB 3.1
  • Programmable lights via Zotac's Spectra Lighting System software
  • Available Q1 2019 for $1,500 (about £1,170 or AU$2,090)

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