What are the limits of a thin, light laptop? MSI looks to test that with its new Creator Z16P, which manages to jam a 14-core 12th gen Core i9-12900H CPU and–we repeat–and Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU into a fairly thin portable.
How thin? The Z16P is 0. 75-inches thick, or just over 19mm. The laptop’s footprint is about 14×10 inches, which makes it pretty petite for the hardware it packs.
With so much hardware in such small packages, it is easy to forget about cooling. MSI used a vapor chamber design to make it all work instead of using thinner heat pipes. The vapor chamber is used in this case to distribute the CPU and GPU’s thermal loads more evenly since there is more surface area between them. Conventional gaming laptops are designed to handle heavy GPU loads and have the cooling geared more towards that component. The CPU and GPU might drive as hard as one another in a content-creation laptop. Neither will be under the same pressure simultaneously, so the vapor chamber helps to share the load.
MSI says the 12th-gen Creator Z16P with conventional heat pipes (used in lower-spec versions of the laptop) can offer a 40 percent improvement over the older 11th-gen-based Creator Z16. With the vapor-chamber design in the Z16P, MSI says an additional 20 percent can be had on the highest-end Z16P.
As the laptop is aimed at content creation, MSI doesn’t skimp on the screen, a 2560×1600 IPS touch panel with a 165Hz refresh rate and spec’d for 100 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut. MSI offers an optional MPP 2.0 pen for pen users that can be charged over USB-C .
The Z16P supports up to 64GB of DDR5/4800 memory and up to a 2TB NVMe SSD. The laptop also features Wi-Fi 6E and a 1080p webcam. If you are looking for the most recent SD card slot, MSI has an SD Express card reader. This is a much better option than the UHSII reader that professional laptop would use. The laptop is powered by a conventional 240-watt DC-in charger, or barrel charger, and features a 90 watt-hour battery.
What are the negatives? It is not the lightest, at 5.3 lbs. It’s also not cheap, with prices ranging from $3,000 to $4,400 depending on the options. Also, a 16-inch screen might just not be big enough.
The good news is that MSI realizes some people want even more, so it’s also introducing the Creator Z17. It features a 16: 10 aspect ratio 17-inch screen, also with touch and pen support, and offers up to the same 14-core 12th-gen Core i9-12900H CPU and GeForce RTX 3080 Ti as the Z16P. It’s just slightly heavier and larger than its 16-inch sibling and also skips the vapor-chamber design.
Before you dismiss the larger Creator Z17 as being just “an inch bigger,” you should know that it actually offers about 13 percent more screen real estate than a 16-inch 16: 10 panel, and is actually slightly bigger than a 17.3-inch laptop. Confused? To understand why our screen sizes don’t make sense ., read our story.
MSI said the laptops will be available for pre-order beginning January 25, with the first laptops shipping by February 1.