In the rush to get systems equipped for use with an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, many companies have opted to simply throw a big, noisy components in overly large cases. But with the Magnus EN980, Zotac offers a shoebox-sized VR ready rig that's also the first liquid cooled mini gaming PC.
While $1,800 for a pre-built Magnus EN980 ain't cheap, remember, you are paying a premium for the size and the Magnum's built-in water cooling. You also get a desktop-level Intel Core i5-6400 CPU, an Nvidia GTX 980 GPU, 8GB of RAM, 120GB M.2 SSD, 1TB HDDand Windows 10 pre-installed.
However, if you're willing to source your own parts, you can save some money by ordering a $1000 barebones Magnum EN980 kit which comes without RAM, storage and an OS.
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At Zotac's booth at Computex, the company demoed off the EN980 alongside a mock-up featuring a clear plastic case, which did a much better job of showing off the Magnum's water-cooling. When you look at the way tubing snakes around the inside of the larger see-through mock up, you can really appreciate how difficult it must have been to bring this type of cooling to a system this small.
Removing the bottom access panel is as simple as unscrew the Magnum's four metal feet, which then gives you easy access to the mounting points for storage and RAM.
However, the best part about the EN980, aside from its size, is the sheer number of ports Zotac packed into the system's rock solid aluminum case. In front, there are jacks two audio jacks, an SD card reader and two USB 3.1 ports of bother the Type-A and Type C varieties.
Around back, there's another four USB 3.1 ports, two DisplayPorts, two HDMI ports and two gigabit Ethernet jacks. That's more connectivity than you get on a lot of full-size desktops.
While there's no official release date for the EN980, Zotac says it could be out as early as late June. So if you're like me living in a cramped big city apartment where every square foot counts, Zotac's Magnum EN980 may be the VR-ready mini PC to own.