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Home » MSI Creator 17 Evaluation | PCMag

MSI Creator 17 Evaluation | PCMag

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Three B’s: It is massive, shiny, and constructed for creators. Whereas MSI is finest identified for its gaming laptops, its Creator 17 (begins at $2,349.99; $3,799.99 as examined) is an imposing desktop substitute that targets artistic professionals à la the Dell XPS 15 or the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XC. Final yr’s model was the primary laptop computer to function a Mini LED show, and this yr’s has the identical display screen in all its 4K-resolution glory. Hardcore players will snub the intense and expansive 17.3-inch panel for its merely common 60Hz refresh charge and lack of Nvidia G-Sync—they will swap out the Mini LED display screen for a inexpensive configuration with a sooner IPS show—however if you need the most important and brightest laptop computer for digital content material creation, the Creator 17 is a prime choose when you can afford its worth.

Inventive Inspiration

Your $3,799.99 buys you the flagship mannequin in MSI’s Creator 17 sequence, loaded with not solely the dazzling show however an eight-core Intel Core i9-11900H CPU, an ample 32GB of RAM, an enormous 2TB solid-state drive, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics. The Mini LED show combines 4K (3,840-by-2,160-pixel) decision with an astonishing 1,000 nits of brightness. Decrease-end fashions serve up a 4K show with a sooner 120Hz refresh charge that is perhaps a greater match for content material creators who get pleasure from gaming after hours. A wide range of Intel eleventh Era Core i7 and Core i9 processors and GeForce RTX 3060, 3070, and 3080 GPUs can be found.

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The Creator 17 has a extra buttoned-up look than most MSI gaming laptops. You will not discover any aggressive pink accents, sculpted vents, or RGB lighting, though the cooling vents on the underside are organized in funky geometric shapes. Regardless of its potent parts, the laptop computer manages to remain pretty cool and quiet, although the underside panel does warmth up throughout lengthy stretches of intensive graphics work. The keyboard, nonetheless, doesn’t get heat. A system of this dimension is unlikely to spend a lot time in your lap, so it is higher that your desk heats up moderately than the keyboard deck.

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(Photograph: Molly Flores)

The all-metal enclosure is your primary enterprise black and cuts a skinny profile. The machine measures 0.8 by 15.6 by 10.2 inches, which is impressively skinny for such a big laptop computer. It is also comparatively mild at 5.4 kilos. The Dell XPS 17 is roughly the identical thickness and weighs a fraction much less at 5.34 kilos with a contact display screen (4.87 kilos with out one). The LG Gram 17 is by far the lightest 17-inch laptop computer we have seen, weighing a mere 2.98 kilos.

The Creator 17’s aluminum chassis feels sturdy with little give or flex; it is handed MIL-STD-810G torture checks for shock and vibration. While you’re shelling out practically $4,000 for a laptop computer, it is comforting to realize it has a powerful likelihood of holding as much as every day put on and tear.

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(Photograph: Molly Flores)

The big expanse of the aluminum lid is a fingerprint magnet and has some flex close to its heart, however the inflexible keyboard deck supplies a stable platform on which to sort. The keys are quiet when pressed however really feel barely mushy—I want they’d a snappier response. Additionally, the keys on the quantity pad are very slender, making it a little bit of a chore to make use of. With an empty inch on both aspect of the keyboard, it seems MSI would have room to broaden the keypad to make information entry simpler.

The keyboard lacks the RGB lighting widespread to gaming laptops, as a substitute serving up crisp white backlighting together with your selection of three ranges of brightness.

<img class="my-4" src="data:;base64,

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

The touchpad is extensive and centered on the palm relaxation, moderately than being offset or centered under the first keys. For players always mashing the WASD keys with their left palms whereas their proper palms management a mouse, this positioning is perhaps welcomed, however content material creators in all probability will not get pleasure from it as a lot. Throughout my typing, the mouse pointer jumped round as a result of my proper palm was resting on the touchpad.

One final notice on the enter gadgets: A fingerprint reader sits under the keyboard for straightforward, safe logins. As well as, the webcam supplies IR facial recognition to allow you to log into Home windows Whats up just by inserting your face in entrance of the digicam.

The Show: Mini LEDs Are Massive Information

Final yr’s MSI Creator 17 began the Mini LED laptop computer pattern; Acer not too long ago launched new Predator gaming laptops with the know-how and rumor has it that Mini LED screens will present up in Apple’s subsequent MacBook Execs. The plain advantages of a Mini LED show are elevated brightness and improved distinction and colour accuracy. The smaller the LEDs lighting your pixels, the extra native dimming zones there are to assist make the intense elements of a picture brighter and the darkish elements darker. The show’s excessive peak brightness, stellar distinction, and correct colour are vital for artistic professionals, particularly people who work with HDR content material.

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(Photograph: Molly Flores)

As talked about, the MSI’s show is rated for 1,000 nits of brightness, and our testing exhibits it comes near hitting that spectacular determine. Max brightness really comes near hurting your eyes in common indoor lighting. The display screen’s 4K decision makes advantageous particulars look sharp, and its matte end does a advantageous job of combating glare and reflections.

The one common side of the show is its refresh charge, which as I mentioned will disappoint any content material creators by day who’re additionally players by evening. Acer’s Mini LED Predators function 165Hz refresh charges, however you are caught with the acquainted 60Hz charge with the Creator 17. The show additionally lacks Nvidia’s G-Sync, which matches the display screen’s refresh charge with the GPU’s body charge in video games for easy, tear-free visuals.

The MSI’s stereo audio system are additionally merely common, which is a disappointment given the laptop computer’s beneficiant dimensions that might enable for a punchier set. Audio output reached solely a average degree at full quantity, and music playback lacked bass.

With each Sort-A and Sort-C USB ports, together with one of many latter with Thunderbolt 4 help, in addition to HDMI and Ethernet connections, the Creator 17 has a well-rounded enter/output assortment. On the left aspect, you may discover a pair of USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-A ports, the Ethernet jack, a headphone/microphone jack, and the ability connection.

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(Photograph: Molly Flores)

On the fitting aspect reside one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-C port with DisplayPort help, one Thunderbolt 4 port, an HDMI port, and a full-sized SD card slot.

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(Photograph: Molly Flores)

My solely criticism can be that having the identical forms of USB port grouped collectively on all sides isn’t as helpful as having one in all every sort on all sides can be. For right-handed mousers, for instance, which describes most of us, it is useful to have a USB-A port on the identical aspect as your mousing hand.

Efficiency Testing the MSI Creator 17: ‘Tiger Lake’ Assault

For our benchmark charts, I pitted the Creator 17 in opposition to different high-powered desktop replacements within the type of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 4, Dell XPS 17, and Dell Inspiron 16 Plus. To spherical issues out, I added a comparably outfitted 17-inch gaming laptop computer, the Alienware m17 R4. All the programs function Core i7 or Core i9 processors and Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics.

Productiveness Checks

The principle benchmark of UL’s PCMark 10 simulates quite a lot of real-world productiveness and content-creation workflows to measure general efficiency for office-centric duties equivalent to phrase processing, spreadsheeting, net looking, and videoconferencing. We additionally run PCMark 10’s Full System Drive take a look at to evaluate the load time and throughput of a laptop computer’s storage. (See extra about how we take a look at laptops.)

Three benchmarks deal with the CPU, utilizing all out there cores and threads, to charge a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 makes use of that firm’s Cinema 4D engine to render a fancy scene, whereas Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Professional simulates standard apps starting from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine studying. Lastly, we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to transform a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p decision (decrease occasions are higher).

Our final productiveness take a look at is workstation specialist Puget Techniques’ PugetBench for Photoshop(Opens in a brand new window), which makes use of the Inventive Cloud model 22 of Adobe’s well-known picture editor to charge a PC’s efficiency for content material creation and multimedia purposes. It is an automatic extension that executes quite a lot of common and GPU-accelerated Photoshop duties starting from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving a picture to making use of masks, gradient fills, and filters.

Clearly, productiveness might be no downside. We view any PCMark 10 rating above 4,000 factors as a superb indication {that a} laptop computer can deal with on a regular basis duties equivalent to Microsoft Workplace or Google Docs operations with out breaking a sweat. With a rating north of 6,000, the Creator 17 is comfortably above the brink. The MSI additionally scored extraordinarily nicely in our storage take a look at, which signifies that its 2TB SSD is as speedy as it’s spacious. Its Cinebench CPU rating was decrease than most of its rivals’, however it saved up with the high-powered pack in our HandBrake and Photoshop checks, ably delivering the products for content material creators.

Graphics Checks

We take a look at Home windows PCs’ graphics with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark, Night time Raid (extra modest, appropriate for laptops with built-in graphics) and Time Spy (extra demanding, appropriate for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs).

We additionally run two checks from the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which stresses each low-level routines like texturing and high-level, game-like picture rendering. The 1440p Aztec Ruins and 1080p Automotive Chase checks, rendered offscreen to accommodate totally different show resolutions, train graphics and compute shaders utilizing the OpenGL programming interface and {hardware} tessellation respectively. The extra frames per second (fps), the higher.

The Alienware dominated these checks, with the MSI ending second in each 3DMark Time Spy and the GFXBench 5 checks. Each programs function GeForce RTX 3080 graphics, however the Creator 17’s GPU has 8GB of video RAM versus the Alienware’s 16GB. The MSI simply outpaced the Lenovo and Dell laptops with RTX 3050 or 3060 GPUs, exhibiting it has greater than sufficient muscle to deal with picture and video modifying and different content material creation chores.

As a result of the Creator 17 options such a high-end GPU, I additionally threw some 3D video games at it. In our Rainbow Six: Siege benchmark, it averaged 221 frames per second (fps) at 1080p decision with Extremely high quality settings. In the identical take a look at, it managed 154fps at 1440p and 80fps at its native 4K decision. Within the extra demanding Murderer’s Creed Valhalla, it averaged 66fps at 1080p with Extremely Top quality settings, dropping to 51fps at 1440p and solely 32fps at 4K. With picture high quality settings dialed again to Medium, it managed playable body charges of 88fps at 1080p and 69fps at 1440p. The MSI could also be meant for creators, however it will possibly actually indulge you in somewhat gaming after work.

Battery and Show Checks

We take a look at laptops’ battery life by taking part in a domestically saved 720p video file (the open-source Blender film Tears of Metal(Opens in a brand new window)) with show brightness at 50% and audio quantity at 100%. We be sure that the battery is totally charged earlier than the take a look at, with Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting turned off.

We additionally use a Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and its Home windows software program to measure a laptop computer display screen’s colour saturation—what share of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 colour gamuts or palettes the show can present—and its 50% and peak brightness in nits (candelas per sq. meter).

You may must hold the Creator 17 close to a wall outlet. It fell wanting the seven-hour mark in our video rundown, ending lifeless final amongst this group of desktop replacements. The subsequent shortest battery life on this group, the ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 4’s, was greater than two hours longer than the Creator 17’s.

The MSI’s Mini LED show in all probability did not do it any favors in battery life, however it does present an exceptionally shiny picture, coming near its rated 1,000 nits in our brightness measurement. It additionally carried out very nicely in our colour gamut protection checks, although not fairly in addition to the Dell XPS 17. I discovered the colours of the Creator’s show to be vivid and correct with excellent distinction.

Stellar Display, Priced to the Skies

Reducing-edge know-how is commonly accompanied by a painful worth, and the MSI Creator 17 with Mini LED show is not any exception to this rule. The display screen is just a marvel, offering an extremely shiny picture with outstanding distinction for content material professionals. At a worth that approaches $4,000, nonetheless, our take a look at configuration is probably going past the funds of fans and is sensible just for workstation-class artistic professionals who search the perfect show for his or her endeavors. Decrease-end Inventive 17 fashions are extra versatile and reasonably priced, however power you to sacrifice Mini LED bragging charges (although their larger refresh charges would make the MSI higher in a position to pull double obligation as a artistic machine and gaming rig).

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(Photograph: Molly Flores)

As talked about, Apple is predicted to launch new MacBook Professional fashions this fall with an overhaul that might embody Mini LED shows, so it is perhaps value ready to see the following era of the 16-inch MacBook Professional earlier than pulling the set off on the Creator 17.


  • 17.3-inch Mini LED show is roomy and shiny
  • Core i9 and RTX 3080 mix for excellent efficiency
  • Thunderbolt 4 help
  • Contains fingerprint reader and IR webcam

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The Backside Line

Its pioneering Mini LED show lives as much as its billing, making the MSI Creator 17 a tempting selection for deep-pocketed artistic professionals looking out for a large-screen laptop computer.

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