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Zotac Updates Mek Game Rig, Shows Possible Peripherals

LAS VEGAS -- Zotac announced big changes to its gaming lineup here at CES 2018 today (Jan. 10). The changes include an update to Zotac's incredibly thin gaming desktop as well as some prototype peripherals.

The Zotac Mek, which we first saw last year at Computex, is getting an upgrade to an 8th-Gen Intel Core CPU, along with an option for an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU and USB Type-C ports. The previous model topped out at a GTX 1070.

Aesthetically, the new Mek looks identical to the old Mek; it's not even any thicker. Pricing isn't yet final, but the new Mek should cost more than $1,400, which the existing Mek goes for, and will likely be released in Q2 of this year. The more-modern Mek will come packed with a keyboard, mouse and mouse pad, just like the current desktop.

The rest of Zotac's gaming lineup is made of new peripherals that for the moment are simply prototypes. The company is still finalizing them and is looking for feedback from users, so there are no prices or release dates as of yet.

Zotac currently has two prototype headsets, one with 5.1 surround sound and one with 7.1 surround sound. While I didn't get to listen to anything with them, I found the first headset far more comfortable. It doesn't require any sizing before putting the headset on, because a band on the headset stretches to adjust to your head. I also appreciated that model's pull-out microphone, and that it had a splash of yellow.

The 7.1 version is all black, with traditional sizing bars and a hang mic. Both headsets have LED lighting on the side. A Zotac spokesperson told me that likely only one model, with the best features from both, will make the cut into the market.

The company is also working on a controller, the Zotac Gaming Gamepad (you read that right). It's meant for both the Nintendo Switch (wired) and PCs (wired or over Bluetooth). The design was incredibly lightweight, but the controller features no rumble capabilities. The triggers felt great, though I would have liked clickier face buttons and a d-pad that wasn't so stiff for fighting games.

The controller comes in black and yellow, Zotac's traditional colors. The company is still prototyping the device, though, so the final version may have everything I wish for.