Zotac Botches Mek1 Storage Specifications; Corrections Forthcoming

We recently received a Zotac Mek1 gaming desktop for review, and in the midst of our rigorous testing, we discovered a discrepancy in the product’s advertised specifications.

The Mek1 is the first Zotac PC with full-sized desktop components, and it’s been available for purchase for some time now. It comes in a static configuration, with a Core i7-7700 processor, 16GB of DDR4-2400 memory, a GeForce GTX 1070 Ti graphics card, and a 240GB PCIe NVMe SSD for primary storage. However, the storage specifications posted on the company’ website and online retailers, in addition to its packaging, were less than accurate.

Although the company didn’t disclose the manufacturer of the storage drives used in the Mek1 on its specification page, Zotac originally advertised the primary SSD as an “NVMe PCIe x4 SSD,” as the screenshot above details. However, in the course of testing for our review, we found that storage test results were uncharacteristic of a PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD. Upon further investigation, we confirmed that our review sample of the Mek1 has a Phison PS5008-E8 M.2 PCIe 3.0 x2 NVMe SSD inside it, instead of an x4.

We reached out to Zotac to see if this was the case for all production models of the Mek1, and Zotac was quick to confirm that all Mek1 PCs ship with Phison PS5008-E8 or E8T PCIe 3.0 x2 SSDs. It clarified that until now, the mislabeled storage specification had gone unnoticed, and that the company would immediately begin changing its marketing materials to reflect the actual components.

“It was a misunderstanding by PM," a company representative said. "The slot is PCIe x4 ready but the drive itself is only PCIe x2. We are correcting the spec now on the website and everywhere else very soon.”

To further complicate the matter (and to possibly quell the fury of anyone who may feel cheated out of a PCIe x4 SSD), the Mek1’s packaging is also mislabeled, with the top panel of the box (pictured below) indicating that one M.2 SATA SSD is pre-installed in the PCIe x4 slot. This is also inaccurate and misrepresentative of the actual class of performance you get from the PCIe 3.0 x2 Phison SSD inside the Mek1--except in this case, you should get more performance compared to a SATA drive.

The mashup of inaccurate specifications in various marketing materials and packaging paints the picture of a rushed OEM that may not have been sure what storage would ship inside its first-ever full-sized desktop PC. Given the multiple discrepancies, it seems that the mislabeled specs leans more towards a massive mistake than malevolence, though. However, the fact remains that this simple mistake misrepresented the storage performance to potential buyers who may have expected higher performance than what they got.

To Zotac’s credit, the company responded to our inquiries quickly. The Mek1 product specification page has already been updated (within about 15 minutes of our last email) to omit the “x4” label from the SSD in its storage specifications. Retail sites such as Newegg still have the incorrect storage specification listed (as of this writing), but Zotac insisted all pertinent outlets have been notified. The packaging error is a different matter, but it should also be rectified in time.

Derek Forrest
Derek Forrest is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes hardware news and reviews gaming desktops and laptops.