MSI Computer (Canada) Corp. is making a significant move in the Canadian market, with a new line of laptops targeting content creators.
At a press event today in downtown Toronto, Stephen Lin, Senior Sales Manager, demonstrated the company's latest laptops, and outlined its strategy, leveraging a strong position in gaming laptops by targeting a professional niche that has similar performance requirements.
Models and Specs
MSI has introduced two Creator models, each with several flavors.
The PS42, launched about a month ago, is a thin and light laptop, weighing in at as little as 1.19kg, and just 15.9mm thick. A narrow bezel allows the inclusion of a 14-inch screen in what MSI terms a 13-inch chassis. Under the hood, there's a 4-core 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550 processor. Graphics are handled either by the embedded Intel GPU, or an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 chip.
For cooling, the PS42 has 2 fans and 3 heat pipes, designed to keep the unit from heating up even over very long sessions. Battery life is rated at "up to" 10 hours.
The complement of ports is good for a system in this class: two USB 3.1 Type-C ports and one USB 3.1 Type-A (all Gen1); full-size HDMI out; and SD card reader. Storage options include either 256GB or 512GB SSD. A French-Canadian model is available. Brushed-aluminum construction gives the PS42 an elegant look and feel. Price ranges from $1,299 to $1,599 depending on configuration.
The P65, launched two weeks ago, is a slightly heftier model with no-compromise performance. It's powered by up to 6-core Intel 8th Generation Core i7 processor, with either Intel graphics or a discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 chip. Cooling is handled by 3 fans and 4 heat pipes. Battery life is rated at up to about 9 hours.
At 17.9mm, the P65 is thicker than the PS42, and lacks the tapered styling. But it still weighs only about 1.8kg. The screen is 15.6-inch, with a narrow bezel that keeps the overall form factor closer to the previous 14.6-inch class. The display is rated for "close to" 100% sRGB color gamut.
The outstanding selection of ports includes three USB 3.1 Type-A (Gen1) and one USB 3.1 Type-C (Gen1). There's also one full-size HDMI port and one mini DisplayPort.
Price is about $2,399. For $3,099, the P65 Limited Edition adds a number of extras. The SSD is boosted to 512GB, and system memory to 32GB. For $3,499, it's also available with dual 512GB SSDs in a RAID0 configuration. The Limited Edition also bumps one of the USB Type-A ports to Gen2, and boosts the Type-C port to Gen2 with DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3. This would allow the system to drive up to three external monitors.
MSI has a nicely-focused strategy. Lin notes that it has not done any low-end products. Instead, it has concentrated on the higher-value gaming market. Lin reports that MSI currently holds about 40% of the Canadian market in gaming laptops.
The move into content creation is a logical one. Lin sees a significant overlap between gamers and content creators. But in any case, both groups demand similar computing power. The Creator series sheds the vivid gamer styling in favor of more elegant silver or white. Even the MSI logo has been toned down, omitting its usual red shield for a tasteful silver-on-silver look.
MSI's new creator-oriented models will be available through a variety of Canadian outlets, including: Staples, Canada Computers, Memory Express, Amazon.ca and NewEgg.ca They may also turn up at smaller specialty retailers.
MSI is based in New Taipei City, Taiwan, but manufactures in China. It's been well-known since the 1980s as a maker of high-quality PC graphics cards and motherboards. The umbrella company is actually Micro-Star International Co. Ltd., which explains the more familiar three initials.
MSI informs us that its Creator Series laptops are available at the following locations: