As the lives of creative professionals become ever-more demanding, so too do the requirements for the hardware they’re using. In order to fully support a creative workflow, laptops need to be highly versatile, offering a balance of flexibility, power and portability. While a combination of these requirements can be found in some current laptop models, it’s rare to find a device that delivers well on all. Until now.
Introducing the new P65 Creator laptop from MSI.
“The form factor and the weight of the P65 is amazing,” Emmanuel Shiu comments. Shiu is a freelance concept artist for the film industry, whose creative career spans over two decades. In that time he has worked at LucasFilm and Image Movers (owned by Disney), and created artwork for a number of blockbuster movies, including Deadpool, Blade Runner 2049 and Thor Ragnarok. The very nature of Shiu’s role requires a huge amount of versatility in his hardware.
“I tend to jump very quickly in to 3D when I’m working, and have recently got really heavily into GPU rendering so need a machine that can handle such tasks,” Shiu says. “I’ve tried using laptops and tablets before – including the Wacom companion – with very little success. But the P65 can give my desktop, which has multiple GPUs, a run for its money.”
This comes as no surprise when you consider what’s under the P65’s hood. The device runs on the latest 9th Gen Intel i9 processor and Nvidia’s new RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU, the combined power of which making light work of even the most labour intensive creative tasks.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that to house all this power, the P65 would be a bit of a bulky affair. However, it’s anything but. Weighing in at just 1.8kg and sporting a chassis less than 2cm thick, this powerhouse is highly portable. “The P65’s size surprised me,” Shiu says. “When I opened it I was like ‘Is there really a 2070 in here?’. It’s really light and small and yet packed with so much power.
“When you consider what it can do, the weight is pretty amazing,” he adds. “I carry it pretty much everywhere in my backpack with no trouble, and as someone in a self propelling wheelchair, that really says a lot.”
The balance of portability and power in the P65 is proving hard to beat. “Working as a freelancer in the film industry means very rarely do you have a permanent office, where hardware is readily available,” Shiu explains. “It’s usually a temporary office with a bunch of people who have to rely on laptops. I was working recently with a lot of people using Macs, which are super-light and sleek, but weren’t able to perform certain tasks due to lack of power. It came as a big surprise to them – and me initially – that the P65 doesn’t limit your productivity in this way. On set I was able to do continue doing the same work I would on my desktop, including complex 3D renders. With a laptop performing such tasks there are always going to be thermal issues, and the P65’s fans were blowing like crazy. But it got the job done.”
The P65 also holds its own when it comes to battery life. Thanks to its larger battery capacity, the device can last up to eight hours after a full charge. But how does it hold up under pressure? “On set I was using the machine pretty hard to demo some 3D renders and it lasted a good hour,” Shiu says. “It obviously isn’t going to last all day without charge doing such intensive tasks, however it was great to have a portable rendering unit that I could take to the director for on the spot for feedback.”
Picture perfect display
Shiu also had no worries when it came to showcasing his artwork, with the P65’s in-built True Colour Technology, 100% Adobe RGB colour coverage and 4K HDR display doing every pixel justice. “It’s super-bright, I love it!” he says. The only thing Shiu would like is more of it. “The only down side for me was that the screen is just a little small,” he comments. “The bigger the screen, the easier it is to show the director or production designer my artwork, and so 17 inches is really the optimum size for me to work creatively on a laptop.”
However, clearly not a deal breaker as the P65 has become a firm fixture in Shiu’s workflow. “The P65 is a very welcome addition to my tool bag,” he says. “So much so, if I ever have to work remotely, or in another state or country, this would probably be the only hardware I’d take with me as I know it would be up to whatever creative tasks I could throw at it.”
Want your own powerful mobile workstation? The MSI P65 Creator is available at Amazon (opens in new tab) now.