MSI P65 Creator 9SF Review – Thin + 8 Core CPU?
Ive got the 9SF model, so theres an 8: core Intel, i9, 9880H CPU Nvidia, RTX, 2070, Max Q, graphics, 32gb of memory in dual channel, a 15.6 4K 60Hz screen and a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD. For network connectivity, its got gigabit ethernet, WiFi, 5 and Bluetooth 5.. You can find updated prices for this and other configurations linked in the description.. The P65 is very similar to MSIs GS65 gaming laptop its basically using the same design and chassis with a few differences.. The whole laptop has a matte space grey finish and is mostly made out of aluminium or aluminum. For my US friends – and this includes the lid interior and bottom panels, though the back and hinges have a plastic exterior. All corners and edges were smooth and the build quality felt fair. MSI list the weight at 1.9kg. However, mine was around 100g above this.. The power brick MSI sent to me was only 90 watts, so this weight measurement isnt accurate its meant to have a 230 watt power, brick when you buy it.. I had another 230w brick from the Aero 17. So did all testing with that to avoid performance loss, but you could definitely get a smaller charger like this for travel. If you dont need max performance., The P65 is on the thinner side when you consider the 8 core i9 processor inside with decent GPU.. The smaller footprint gives us just 8mm thin screen bezels on the sides.. The 15.
6 4K 60Hz IPS level screen has a matte finish. Good viewing angles and tilts all the way back. Should you need that. MSI note. The 4K panel has 100 of AdobeRGB coverage on their website. However, when I tested with the Spyder 5, it reported 91 for that 96 for sRGB, 87 of NTSC and 81 of DCI. P3 coverage Id expect lower with the 1080p option. At 100 brightness. I measured almost 350 nits with an 8801 contrast ratio, so alright results., The colours did seem noticeably better when compared to most 1080p laptops Ive tested, they may have similar sRGB results, but the AdobeRGB range is definitely much higher here.. When I reviewed the 8th gen version of the P65 last year, they didnt have a 4K screen option, so at least they give you the choice, here.. That said, it would be nice to see MSI move to offering OLED options like the Gigabyte, Aero 15 or Dell XPS 15. Backlight bleed wasnt great in my unit. I could occasionally notice it when viewing darker content, but this will vary between laptops and panels. Screen flex. Wasnt too bad when intentionally trying to flex it due to the metal lid. However, it highlighted a different issue. The rubber feet, underneath didnt, seem to do a great job at reducing movement.. Opening with one finger was easy. It was a little back heavy but felt stable on my lap.. The 720p camera is up the top in the center, despite the bezels being on the thinner side.
. This is what the camera and microphone look and sound like on the P65. Heres. What it sounds like when we type on the keyboard – and this is what it sounds like if we set the fan to maximum speed, so you can still hear me. Ok over the fan noise., The keyboard has no numpad and white backlighting, which lights up all keys and even secondary key functions.. The white lighting can be adjusted between three levels or turned off using the function and page up or down keys.. The lighting looked much better compared to the white keys of the 8th gen model I previously tested. As the keys are black here.. The key presses were a little shallow feeling, but had a sort of click to them. Heres. How typing sounds to give you an idea of what to expect.? There was minor keyboard flex when intentionally pushing down hard, no issues at all, using it normally though.. It seemed sturdy due to the feet on the bottom, which help offer additional support.. There are air intake vents above the keyboard to aid with cooling, and the power button is right up the back in the middle.. The precision touchpad was smooth to the touch and worked quite well., Despite being on the larger side. My palms never touched it while typing, but even when intentionally doing this, the palm rejection was good.. It clicks down almost anywhere just not the top left corner which is unusable as a touchpad.
Due to the fingerprint scanner., I found the fingerprint scanner to work fast, though. Due to the silver finish: fingerprints and dirt. Werent too viewable, though it has a smooth finish and should be easy to clean, with a microfiber cloth. On the left from the back theres, a kensington, lock, air exhaust vent, gigabit ethernet port, and I prefer it being this way. So you can unplug without lifting the machine two USB 3.2 Gen1 Type, A ports and 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks. On the right from the front theres a USB 3.2 Gen2 Type, A port USB 3.2 Gen2 Type C port, with both DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 support mini Displayport and HDMI 2.0 output, power input and another air exhaust vent., The mini DisplayPort and HDMI ports were wired directly to the Nvidia GPU. However, the Type C port went via the Intel, iGPU first.. The back just has some air exhaust vents. While the front has a battery status LED towards the right. Underneath has the air intake vents towards the back.? The bottom panel was easy to remove once you take out the 15 Phillips head screws., Like many other MSI laptops, the motherboard is upside down.. All we get access to here is the WiFi card and battery. Access to the two memory slots and two M.2 storage slots requires removal of the motherboard, which is an annoying process. If needed., The two speakers are found towards the front left and right corners, they sound alright, a little above average for a laptop, though minimal bass and the palm rest did vibrate a little.
. They get loud enough at maximum volume and the Latencymon results. Werent ideal., The P65 is powered by a 4 cell 82 watt hour, battery. Ive tested it with the screen brightness at 50 background apps, disabled and keyboard lighting off., While just watching YouTube videos, it lasted for 5 hours and 27 minutes. A mid range result for this test and it was using the Intel, integrated graphics due to Nvidia Optimus. When playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidias battery boost set to 30 FPS. The battery lasted for an hour and 6 minutes before the frame rate dipped to 12 FPS and was no longer usable, however, including this state. It lasted for an hour and 37 minutes total., Given the P65 is targeted towards creators. Ive also tested Adobe Premiere, video exporting.. This is the first time Ive ever tested a 9880H laptop and the results stacked up quite well compared to most others. Interestingly, it was just slightly ahead of the newer 10th gen 8 core and Super GPU in the Aero 17, just above it which costs more money. As well. Lets move onto the thermal testing. Its worth, noting that weve got two extra heatpipes in this 9th gen model compared to the older 8th gen, so that should help with thermals. The MSI Creator Center software lets you manage the system. We can swap between eco Comfort and sport modes, which control performance change the fan, speed or enable coolerboost mode which maxes it out.
Thermal testing was completed in an ambient room. Temperature of 21 degrees Celsius so expect different results in different environments.. It was actually quite cool at idle, given the specs. Worst case, stress tests were done with the Aida64 CPU stress test, with CPU only checked and the Heaven benchmark at max settings. At the same time and gaming was tested with Watch Dogs 2, as I find it to use a good combination of processor and graphics. Straight away. I want to note that any time the CPU shown by the blue bar is at 95 degrees Celsius, its thermal throttling, and we can see this was happening in a lot of the tests.. The GPU was also throttling at 87 degrees. However, that was only happening with the stress tests in ECO mode, as that runs the fans quieter, as youll hear soon. As we run with higher performance modes max out the fans undervolt and add a cooling pad thermals improve with the GPU. However, we only see the CPU thermal throttle barely remove with the cooling pad or undervolt. Its worth, remembering we do have an 8 core i9 processor in a machine thats under 1.8cm thick. So this is kind of expected.. These are the average clock speeds for the same tests. Just shown.. The performance in Eco mode is low due to harsh power limit caps. Otherwise the GPU improves slightly as cooling gets better.. The CPU speeds see a larger improvement as cooling improves, as thermal throttling is the primary limitation until we add in the cooling pad or for the game.
Just the undervolt was enough, however, were still a little under the full 4.1GHz. All core turbo boost speed of the 9880H as power limit throttling is our next enemy.. These are the average TDP values reported by hardware info during these same tests., Despite PL1 being set to 55 watts by default in software, while under combined CPU and GPU workloads like these, the CPU doesnt actually pass 45 watts.. This seems like a reasonable choice, given how we were thermal throttling prior to undervolting and using a cooling pad anyway, but it does mean I wasnt able to change this to boost performance further, once we remove thermal throttling. As for CPU, only performance heres. What were seeing with Cinebench. By applying the same undervolt as before it was possible to achieve an 11 higher multicore score in this test, as this helped reduce the thermal throttling that was still taking place during the PL2 boost period. Once PL2 ends, though thermal throttling goes Away and were instead hitting the 55 watt PL1 limit, so the undervolting helps there too. Heres how the Cinebench scores stack up against other 8 core laptops that Ive tested in the past. This is my first time with the 9880H, so not sure whats best case for it without thermal or power limits.. As for the external temperatures, where youll actually be putting your hands at idle, it was barely getting to 30 degrees, which is pretty standard with most laptops.. With the stress tests going in eco mode, it does get quite warm in the center.
The fans are quieter in this mode and its thermal throttling. Things cool down just slightly in sport and turbo mode. However, as we saw performance is much better now.. Finally, with the fans maxed out its now, a few degrees cooler, but at the expense of higher fan noise lets have a listen.. The fan was just audible at idle, with the lowest eco profile enabled., With the stress tests going in the same eco mode. It doesnt get much louder., Comfort and sport modes are about the same for fan noise and, at this point its a little quieter when compared to most other laptops, Ive tested. However, once we max it out, it does get quite loud.. Personally, I see this as an advantage, as the user has control of the fan speed, I think its better to at least have the choice to run louder and cooler. If you want. Next lets, take a look at some gaming benchmarks., While not explicitly advertised as a gaming laptop given its got an i9 processor and RTX 2070 Max Q, graphics, its definitely going to be capable of playing modern games. If you want to so lets, give it a go. In Battlefield, 5 Ive got the P65 highlighted in red near similarly specced machines.. The average FPS is quite similar to other 2070 Max Q laptops. However, despite the i9 9880H processor, the 1 low results were lower than the others. Perhaps the lower 80 watt GPU power limit is the limitation.
There. Here are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built in benchmark. Again, the average FPS is similar to the two machines below it with more powerful 90 watt 2070 Max Q, graphics. But the 1 low is better this time likely, as this test tends to favour CPU power., The 100 watt blade pro 17 just above. It is a fair bit higher, though, however, that is also undervolted and overclocked by default. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was also tested with the games benchmark and this time the P65 was a little ahead of the two 90 watt machines underneath it, but again it cant Keep up with the more powerful, but also larger blade pro 17, with same GPU.. Realistically, though, were just a few FPS behind some of the 115 watt, 2070 machines so were able to get some nice gaming performance from the P65.. Ive also tested this game with the different performance modes, just to show you what to expect. ECO mode wasnt, really offering a playable experience. So I wouldnt expect to be able to play much while running quieter and we could boost average FPS by around 7, with the CPU undervolt and GPU overclocks.. Now, for the benchmarking tools, Ive tested, Heaven Valley and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike Timespy and Port Royal from 3DMark just pause. The video, if you want a detailed look at these results. Ive, used Crystal Disk Mark to test the 1TB NVMe M.
2 SSD and the speeds were quite nice but expect different results with different storage. Options. For updated pricing check the links in the description, as prices will change over time. At the time of recording. The configuration of the P65 Creator Ive covered here goes for 2700 USD. However, there are much cheaper options if you dont require the 8 core i9 or a powerful GPU. Here in Australia. It looks like this configuration goes for 5200 AUD. However, you can get the i7 model with 2060, which will still be quite a powerful combination for half this amount. Bit strange that a creator laptop has a 240Hz screen, but here we are. With all of that in mind. Lets conclude by looking at the good and bad aspects of the 9th gen P65 laptop. Overall, its a decent laptop but Ive just got to say up front that a laptop for content creators without any sort of SD card slot seems like a bit of an oversight In my opinion., You could of course use a USB dongle, but Id prefer just having it built in, like others do. That aside, the build quality was fair, though not as good as others like say, the slightly higher priced Aero 17.. The 4K screen does look nice. The colours just appear to pop instantly due to the higher colour gamuts when compared to the 1080p gaming laptops. I usually test so its good that this is an option with the 9th gen P65 for creators that want it as it wasnt available last gen.
. The performance under worst case stress tests, was decent. Once you boost the fan speed, though it was a fair bit louder in that state and undervolting, and using a cooling pad was able to help out significantly as thermal throttling was the key limitation under worst case workloads.. This is expected, in my opinion, given this configuration has the 8 core i9 in a machine less than 1.8cm thin Id expect cooler with the i7 or lower GPU.. That said, even without the cooling pad or undervolting, the Adobe Premiere result was one of the best out of all laptops, Ive ever tested. So for the task, its actually designed for content creation, it is performing nicely.. The 9880H gets beaten by the new Ryzen 9 4900HS. In the smaller ASUS G14, but at the moment there arent any higher end laptops for content creation with Ryzen processors, so were stuck with Intel options for now.. Its also worth noting MSI will have the new 10th gen creator, 15 and 17 laptops coming out soon and Ill be covering those on the channel too.. Let me know what you thought about MSIs P65 Creator laptop down in the comments. If you create content, is this a machine youd be interested in? Why or why not, Let me know, and if youre new to the channel get subscribed for future laptop reviews and tech.