Editing video is still one of the most demanding tasks you can do on a PC. So when you try and do it on a laptop, and furthermore, on a laptop you wouldn’t mind hauling on an international flight, things can get complicated quickly. Which brings us to the MSI Creator Z17HX, the latest and greatest workstation laptop from MSI. With a 13th-gen Intel Core i9 processor and an RTX 4070, it should be able to handle whatever video Adam Patrick Murray can throw at it…right? He’ll put it to the test at Computex this week.
This laptop is bursting at the seams with the latest tech, including that 24-core i9-13950HX processor, 64GB of DDR5 RAM, and 2TB of super-fast PCIe Gen 5 storage, touchscreen with wireless pen support (included in the box and magnetically docked, nice!), and double Thunderbolt 4 ports. Video editors will love the full-sized SD card slot and front-firing speakers.
The screen is a massive 17-inch panel at 2560×1600, at a slightly taller-than-average 16:10 ratio, though other laptops in this category hit 4K resolution fairly easily. But for editing video, raw pixels are only half the story. For color accuracy, the IPS panel is rated at 100% DCI-P3, which means it can’t be beaten in terms of “what you see is what you get” colors while editing. But it doesn’t come from the factory pre-calibrated for Pantone and X-Rite accuracy. That means you might have to do some fiddling with your own hardware for truly perfect color accuracy. Some may prefer the extra saturation and contrast of an OLED panel, too.
The Creator is huge laptop by today’s standards, tipping the scales at five pounds and twelve ounces. That’s fairly okay for something with such a large screen, but there are certainly more svelte models on the market, even in this size range. (And that’s before the rather chunky charging brick.) But it does justify the bulk: In addition to that high-powered hardware, you get full-sized SD card reader (a big deal for shooting video), full-sized HDMI, two USB-C Thunderbolt ports and a USB-A, just to make sure you can leave the dongles at home. It’s possible to charge the Creator via USB-C, but for maximum speed you’ll want that 200-watt proprietary charger (which looks like USB-A, but is not).
What about using this thing? While cranked up to the maximum power setting, the Creator Z17HX’s three fans emit quite a bit of noise, but manage to spread it out at lower frequencies than some other workstation laptops. Users might like the small but present 10-key area on the keyboard, and might not like the way the roomy trackpad is off-center from the main typing area.
For raw performance, the Creator Z17HX is handily beating Adam’s previous road warrior editing machine, the Gigabyte Aero 16 with a Core i7-12700H and 3070Ti. In PugetBench’s Lightroom test it won out by about 25 percent, indicating much faster exporting thanks to those extra processor cores. In Photoshop the MSI model handily beats it with a newer processor and GPU, with a more than 40 percent performance jump. In the crucial PugetBench Premiere and DaVinci tests, the newer laptop managed a 20-25 percent across the board, though the 3070 Ti with its wider memory bus and more CUDA cores did have a slight edge in DaVinci GPU effects. Even so, the newer GPU managed to win dramatically in Handbrake encoding.
Michael is a former graphic designer who's been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.