Zotac's GeForce GTX 1080 Mini and new graphics card enclosure bring big power to tiny PCs

Score another win for the little guys.

Zotac’s famous for its army of small form-factor PCs, and indeed we found a legion of them at the company’s CES 2017 suite—everything from tiny PCs powered by Intel’s new Kaby Lake chips to slightly larger (but still small!) gaming-ready rigs packing Nvidia’s GTX 1070, GTX 1080, and even full water-cooling setups. But what stood out the most were two pieces of hardware designed to bring even more gaming power to ultra-tiny PCs: a new graphics card enclosure and the world’s first-ever mini-ITX GeForce GTX 1080.

zotac ces graphics 4 Brad Chacos

Let’s start with the graphics card. GTX 1080s are nothing new, but you’ve never seen one quite like this. The aptly named Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Mini is a full-fat GTX 1080—heck, it even sports a very slight overclock, to 1,620/1,759MHz base/boost speeds—shoved into a tiny dual-fan package measuring a mere 8.3-inches long. Cramming that much power into that tiny space required Zotac to create a custom PCB with a 5+1 phase VRM.

zotac ces graphics 5 Brad Chacos

Cooling-wise, the Zotac GTX 1080 Mini features an aluminum radiator with thick, long copper heatpipes snaking throughout, as well as a pair of fans that are different sizes, curiously enough. A Zotac representative told me that since this graphics card was designed for smaller rigs, the left-most 90mm fan is designed to keep static pressure under control, while the right-side 100m fan keeps heat down. Aiding in the quest for coolness is the all-metal design of the card, which extends to both the shroud and a nifty-looking backplate that ditches Zotac’s signature bright-yellow slash for a more subdued gunmetal color. 

zotac ces graphics 3 Brad Chacos

The GTX 1080 Mini running in Zotac’s suite was surprisingly quiet even in a case without its side panel on.

Exciting stuff. Zotac expects the GTX 1080 Mini to launch soon, and hopefully we’ll have a review ready for you when it does.

Zotac also revealed an early prototype of a new product that ties its mini-PC and graphics card strengths together: an external graphics card dock.

zotac ces graphics 2 Brad Chacos

The prototype was so early that the exterior of the enclosure contained blemishes you should ignore, and it’s not in the gunmetal gray that Zotac plans to use on the shipping product. Nor did it pack the internal fans you’ll find in the eventual consumer model. But even in the rough early state, the dock functioned well enough to help a tiny Zotac Zbox MI549 mini-PC with integrated Intel graphics run Doom like a champ, augmented by the power of the aforementioned GTX 1080 Mini.

zotac ces graphics 1 Brad Chacos

Zotac’s prototype connects over Thunderbolt 3 and will work with any laptop or PC that also features the (still relatively rare, but becoming more common) port. It’ll hold even gargantuan graphics cards up to 13-inches wide and three slots thick, and Zotac’s bolstering the graphics card enclosure’s usefulness by packing in a trio of USB 3 ports along with a dedicated USB Quick Charge connection to power up your mobile devices in a jiffy.

The final design of Zotac’s graphics card enclosure still seems a bit up in the air, as representatives were asking me what I thought of various additional value-add features. Nevertheless, the company hopes to ship these sometime in the first half of 2017.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags CES 2017

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?