- MSI is known for its gaming laptops but it has great creative laptops too, like the new MSI P65 Creator-654.
- It’s able to handle video and photo editing, as well as keep up with video games — all while still producing great 4K quality.
- The computer offers ultra high-end hardware and therefore, comes with a high price tag at $2,899. But for those that need the best performance out there, the MSI P65 Creator-654 is definitely a contender.
MSI is known for high-performance gaming computers like its GT series laptops and Trident series desktops, but in recent years, the company has branched out a little to devices for creative professionals. Though not yet a household name like Apple or Dell, it’s been around for decades.
I’ve been using MSI P65 Creator-654, a laptop aimed at creative professionals with a sleek design, powerful graphics card, top tier specs, and more. But with a price tag of $2,899 for the model we’re reviewing, it’s not cheap – and while there are a number of variants of the computer, they’re still all relatively expensive.
So is the MSI P65 Creator-654 worth your money? We’ve been testing out the latest gen MSI P65 Creator to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice about any laptop is its design, and the MSI P65 Creator-654 is pretty sleek.
There are actually a few P65 Creator variants, and they have slightly different designs. The model we reviewed — the MSI P65 Creator-654 — has a nice, sleek metallic look with a silver finish. On the top of the laptop screen’s lid, you’ll find a basic MSI logo. Everything is fairly minimal in style, which we like.
The connectivity options are the same across all the models. On the left hand side, you’ll get an ethernet port, two USB 3.1 ports, a headphone jack, and a microphone jack. On the right, there’s an HDMI port, mini DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3 port, and another USB 3.1 port. It’s a solid selection of outputs, though some future-thinking users might want an extra USB-C port or two. Some creators might want an SD card slot too.
The laptop has a 15.6-inch display, so it’s not the most portable laptop. That said, the screen size is perfect for creatives on the go who might need something a little larger for things like video and photo editing.
At just 4.9 mm, the bezel around the display is a little slimmer than the likes of the MacBook Pro, but not quite on the same level as the Dell XPS 13.
Under the display, you’ll find the keyboard and trackpad, both of which look well designed. The keyboard in particular offered good travel and key spacing. For us, the blocky font on the keys was a little hard to read at a glance, but it’s not a big deal and should be easy to get used to. The wide trackpad was also nice, as it allowed for a larger space to work with, and the built-in fingerprint reader made for easier sign on.
The laptop has a massive and beautiful 4K display, though it’s also available with a full HD display if you don’t need the super high resolution. Color-wise, we found that the computer was able to deliver vivid picture, plus it can get nice and bright too.
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- 15.08 x 10.24 x 0.69 inches
- 15.6-inch display
- Windows 10
- Intel Core i9-9880H processor
- 32GB of RAM (x2 DIMM slots for up to 64GB of RAM)
- 1TB of storage (x1 SSD slot and x1 SSD Combo slot)
- 1,920 x 1,080 or 3,840 x 2,160 display
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
With the latest 9th generation Intel Core i9 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070, the MSI P65 Creator-654 is an absolute beast in the performance department. As the name suggests, the laptop is built for creators, so to test it out, we used it like any creator would. We found that it was able to handle the vast majority of things we could throw at it with ease.
We filmed a video in 4K and then put the laptop to work on editing. Ultimately, the laptop never really slowed down at all while editing, and rendering the edited video at the end took a matter of seconds.
We had no trouble with photo editing either. Using software like GIMP, the laptop was able to handle large files and multiple layers with ease and without any real lag. Even after editing multiple images for a solid 30 minutes, the laptop remained cool to the touch.
But while the computer is technically built for creators, it’s also a solid choice for gamers.
The laptop was able to display a few modern games smoothly, and while you may not always get 4K gaming out of the laptop, you should still get an excellent framerate at the 1,080p level. We tested a few games, including The Witcher 3 and BioShock Infinite, and found the experience to be smooth and responsive the entire time.
Frame rates generally stayed above 75fps, even for The Witcher 3, which can sometimes be taxing on a graphics card. Even after playing for a few hours, we never really ran into any dropped frame rates.
For those that care about benchmarks, the MSI P65 Creator-654 achieved a score of 5,044 on PCMark 10, which is very impressive.
The battery is also important to note, though with a 4K display that can take up a lot of power, it can be hard to expect anything stellar. The laptop was able to run for a little over five hours on one charge for basic web browsing and productivity tools, but you’re unlikely to experience anything close to that for video editing and gaming. Lowering the display resolution might help with that.
Read more: The best gaming laptops you can buy
Cons to consider
The MSI P65 Creator-654 is a high-performing and generally well-designed laptop, but it’s not perfect.
When it comes to the hardware, there aren’t really many compromises except for, maybe, the built-in speakers. We thought the speakers were a little tinny and lacked any real bass, which, for context, is common on laptops. It’s worth using the laptop with headphones like the classic Sony MDR-7506 ($79.99), which are the industry standard for video editing.
The other — and main — compromise that you’ll have to make is the price. At $2,899, this is not a cheap laptop. It’s probably worth it for creatives who need a high-performing laptop that can keep up with the changing video and photo-editing landscape, but for gamers, it might be worth looking into MSI’s dedicated gaming machines, like the MSI GT series. There are cheaper and more expensive models in the line up, but regardless, the specs would be better suited for gaming.
The bottom line
The MSI P65 Creator-654 is a beast of a laptop that can handle almost anything you’ll throw at it, and we were impressed with its video and gaming performance.
Under the hood, it has everything you could ever want in a high-performing laptop. While you’ll pay a pretty penny for such high-end hardware, we think it’ll be worth it for those that want the top performance. In fact, considering the specs, we would actually argue that the price is pretty reasonable. There aren’t really any other laptops with a spec sheet this high end – even a comparable one from Gigabyte is limited to a 1,080p display and costs $50 more than this.
That said, this laptop isn’t for everyone. If you have cash to spend on a laptop for general use and don’t need something that can handle heavy video editing or intense gaming, then it’s worth looking at the Dell XPS 13, which is one of our favorite Windows laptops and the best Dell laptop in our shopping guide.
Casual gamers could find also something great for less money, like the Dell G7 or MSI’s own MSI GF63. If, however, you’re a hardcore gamer or professional video editor who needs specs like a 4K display and Nvidia GeForce 2070, then this is absolutely the laptop to go for — even at this price.
Pros: Extremely powerful, sleek design, plenty of connectivity, nice keyboard, 4K display, brilliant color
Cons: Expensive, speakers lack bass and depth
Buy the MSI P65 Creator-654 on Amazon for $2,899
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