MSI Creator 15 A10UG Review : An affordable Laptop for Content Creator with 4K Screen

This analysis will be the MSI Creator 15 A10UG , belonging to the family of designer laptops for creators where mobility and good taste prevail . But always with a hardware laptop behind such as the Intel Core i7-10870H, the new Nvidia RTX 3070 Laptop and Wi-Fi 6E card.

MSI has kept its clean and elegant appearance and aluminum construction, although the internal changes will already leave us with more powerful graphics. This unit has a 4K screen , but you will remember that a while ago we analyzed another with a touch screen, the Creator 15 A10SET . How far do you think its performance will have evolved? We’ll see it here, let’s get started!

Design

In all manufacturers including MSI, this new batch of laptops that update their graphics card to the Nvidia RTX 30 Ampere coincide in maintaining the design of the current generation . This is exactly what happens with the MSI Creator 15 A10UG , which will be the same aesthetically speaking as the Creator 15 we reviewed for us in August 2020. Consequently, the next design will surely come with the new generation of processors.

MSI has done an impressive design exercise, and hardware as powerful as we have remains packed in a thickness of just 19.8mm , with its respective 3-fan heatsink. The construction is based on aluminum , with a beautiful sandblasted charcoal gray in a matte finish. It is also MIL-STD-810G military certified to ensure superior durability in demanding conditions.

The lid of the MSI Creator 15 A10UG features a clean and smooth design, discarding the use of lighting in the logo to give it a more professional look. A unibody construction is used for it, with rounded corners and virtually no physical frames, being just 2mm. We highlight the good rigidity of the screen , and despite being thin, it offers a lot of resistance to torsion, being able to open it from the corners without fear. The lower area has an aluminum lid with good accessibility, with an air intake grille and legs that raise the laptop very little off the ground.

The side and rear areas are distinguished by being completely flat and without the typical inward cuts that give a feeling of thinness. It is not necessary on this unit, so the space inside the heatsink and hardware will be used much better. You can not miss the 4 ventilation grilles distributed in the back and sides. The entire area will be made of aluminum except the front, which has a small black plastic border integrated into the metal to round out the area and improve access to the keyboard and touchpad.

We open this team now to see an internal design that continues with the elegant and minimalist aesthetic of the entire set. The screen frames will be 10 mm for the upper area where the webcam is integrated, 7 mm for the sides and 30 mm for the lower one . They’re not going to be the slimmest from the manufacturer, but the look is great nonetheless. For it, two hinges placed directly on the edge are used to take advantage of all the space, which also support an opening angle of 180 or with the flip-n-share function .

The work base will logically be finished in aluminum , with a smooth and quite strong plate to see that there is no sinking in the keyboard area . A TKL format has been chosen to leave plenty of space on the sides, with white backlighting . We already loved the touchpad in the previous review, with an expanded design that will come in especially handy with this 4K display. The glass trackpad includes a fingerprint reader . On this occasion, MSI has placed the speaker openings upwards, specifically in the lower corners closest to the user. The grill above the keyboard will support the cooling system.

Display

The screen equipped in the MSI Creator 15 A10UG will be the version with 4K resolution (3840 x 2160p) in a size equal to 15.6 inches and 16: 9 format. This version will in principle be the most suitable for creators looking for superior color performance and sharpness, since we have a density of 220 dpi . Of course, it will be a panel based on IPS LCD technology , with viewing angles of 178 or both vertically and horizontally.

A consequence of this resolution in notebooks will be that the refresh rate will be 60 Hz maximum with adaptive synchronization. It will not be the most attractive option for gamers, since it is obviously a series focused on creators, and a large number of gaming families to choose from. The most similar in design and thickness will be the GS, with very similar hardware and screens up to 300 Hz.

Focusing on this UHD variant, the manufacturer has CalMan verification , which means that the screen should have a good calibration and a medium Delta E> 2. The True Pixel panel will be able to give us 100% sRGB color coverage. and up to 100% in Adobe RGB. An impressive coverage ideal for graphic design, and also with an MSI Control Center software that will allow us to choose between several image modes depending on the space where we work.

Integration with True Color will be an interesting advantage, because in this way we can, among other things, outline the screen and adjust the color temperature with the RGB bars. It features sRGB, Adobe RGB, DCI-P3, Display P3 image modes, as well as office, movie, or custom modes. All of them can be modified in color temperature and brightness. We will have the possibility to load custom color profiles and calibrate the screen with a colorimeter as it is compatible with the main brands.

The manufacturer will have another version oriented to mobility with Full HD panel and 10-point multitouch touch input.

Wi-Fi 6E ports and connectivity :

We go on to see all the external and network connectivity that this MSI Creator 15 A10UG has , which will be something different than what we had in previous versions.

On the right side we find:

  • 3.5mm combo jack for audio and microphone
  • RJ45 Ethernet for 2.5 Gbps wired network connection
  • 2x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C

While in the left area we will have the rest of the ports:

  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
  • 1x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3
  • HDMI 2.1
  • DC-In for charging

The presence of Thunderbolt is maintained with this port that will offer a bandwidth of 40 Gbps directly connected to the PCIe lanes of the motherboard. In addition, it has a battery charging function for the device or from it to other peripherals such as a monitor. By keeping the HM470 chipset , this interface has not been updated to the Thunderbolt 4 version.

On the other hand, it is good news to see that USB ports have increased significantly, and while before we only had one Type-A, this time there are no less than 3, along with another normal USB-C . In this way, a total of 5 ports will be available. HDMI is updated to version 2.1, while Thunderbolt 3 itself will be compatible with DisplayPort 1.4. The SD card reader has sadly been phased out, which was very useful for camera memory cards, for example.

The thickness will also be fair for a LAN port controlled by an Intel I225-V network card capable of offering us a bandwidth of 2.5 Gbps . But the most important update will be the wireless connection, since with an Intel AX210 card it will support Wi-Fi 6E. This new 6E mode adds the ability to connect throughout the 6 GHz band , thus freeing up more channels and spectrum to work on a much less saturated frequency. For bandwidth purposes, it will remain at 2.4 Gbps for 6 and 5 GHz at 160 MHz, and 533 Mbps for 2.4 GHz at 40 MHz.

Sound system and IR webcam

The sound system of the MSI Creator 15 A10UG will be exactly the same as we had in the previous versions, that is, the MSI Duo Wave. These are two 2W rectangular format speakers , controlled by a Realtek card.

For audio quality purposes, this Creator Series offers fairly standard output with a slight bottling effect. Perhaps a slightly wider grille-shaped output would have improved this feeling, although the main reason will be the low power of the bass, which is practically absent. The audio power is also somewhat average, and we still see room for improvement for future iterations. It remains a step below the Asus Zenbook, a clear reference for us when buying for the quality they demonstrated in that section.

As for the integrated codec, it will offer an output through a 4-pole Jack with 24 bit and 192 kHz, always managed by Nahimic 3 from the operating system. In this respect, it will offer the same quality as most high-end laptops, and will be on par with headphones with professional-level features.

We move on to the webcam, which consists of a sensor that supports a maximum resolution in photography and video of 720p and recording at 30 FPS . It will be good news to have an IR sensor compatible with Windows Hello , something that always improves the biometric security of our equipment and gives us a faster way to access our account. To this is added an omnidirectional double microphone matrix with active noise cancellation system.

It will not be the only method, since a fingerprint sensor is also included in the touchpad in case we do not trust facial recognition or we are in low light conditions. This sensor will perform as expected, with a high hit rate, and good reliability.

Keyboard and touchpad

As in the previous section, the MSI Creator 15 A10UG will have the same keyboard and touchpad configuration as the other versions. This means that we will have an ANSI type distribution in perfect and in TKL format, that is, without a numeric keyboard.

Little by little, the prevailing configuration in these 15.6-inch sizes will be precisely this, since the keyboard remains in a more centralized area and with better accessibility for typing . In this way the touchpad can be perfectly in the central area with perfect accessibility. The keys are distributed in an island-type format with a large area of ​​16 x 16 mm , a silky touch of its coating, and rounded edges.

The quality of the membrane is excellent, quite tender and with a 1.5 mm travel . Compared to the SteelSeries gaming keyboards, we have a smoother ride and a more cushioned finish at the end of the ride. We will notice it at the time of writing, being a better keyboard in this regard. The fixed white LED backlighting could not be missing , illuminating both the characters and the edge of the keys.

In addition to having a column of document navigation keys in the right area, we will also have double-function F keys. Among them we have volume control, screen brightness, webcam, microphone mute or direct access to Creator Center. The predefined main function of these keys will be precisely that of multimedia access, so the function F1, F2, etc. will be the secondary option. The Fn key has been moved to the right, where curiously there is also the “> / <” key.

We have been equally satisfied with the touchpad of the MSI Creator 15 A10UG , especially with its wide touch area of 140 mm wide and 65 mm deep . We will only lose a small region in the corner where the fingerprint sensor is placed. The trackpad will be made of glass , with a soft touch and perfect glide with its microscopic roughness. The click of the integrated buttons will be direct and will require very little force, being very comfortable, although somewhat loud. Despite being a large touchpad, it seems to be very well supported , since there is no slack in the corners. They will be compatible with all kinds of 2, 3 and 4 finger gestures typical of Windows.

Creator Center

MSI creator Center will be the main software that will allow you to manage the different aspects of performance and screen of our MSI Creator 15 A10UG . But it will not be the only one, since it incorporates True Color for screen management, Nahimic 3 for sound and other applications such as Photo Director or Audio Director focused on expanding the options for content creators.

Creator Center will be a variant of Dragon Center a little more specialized to the tasks that will be carried out on this computer, although the number of management options is substantially reduced compared to the version for games. We will have a monitor of similar performance , as well as interaction options for the computer hardware such as screen, touchpad or quick functions such as Creator mode. It has three ventilation profiles and integration with True Color, the program that we will use to customize the screen image.

We also have two new sections such as the AI active noise cancellation function, and the Duet Display mode to simultaneously manage several monitors, something like a PIP mode. In it we miss a switch to activate or deactivate the hybrid GPU mode that the gaming versions do have. It would help us improve autonomy and have better control of the hardware resources of our system.

Internal features and hardware

The main protagonist in this MSI Creator 15 A10UG and the rest of the family will be its graphics card. In addition to the versions with RTX 20, three models have now been launched that equip the Nvidia RTX 3060, RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 Laptop , that is, the full range.

We are analyzing the intermediate version, with an Nvidia RTX 3070 Laptop , which for now is the card that we have touched the most in this new generation. This version has a GA104 chipset built in the same 8nm manufacturing process by Samsung as the desktop versions, and therefore, its new Ampere architecture. Inside there are 40 multiprocessing units (SM) totaling 5120 CUDA cores, 160 3rd generation Tensor cores and 40 2nd generation RT cores, making a total of 160 TMUs and 80 ROPs.

The variant that MSI has used has a 95W TGP ( 115W more powerful model), something acceptable and expected for a Max-Q laptop like this one where cooling is always going to be fair. The specifications show us a base frequency of 780 MHz , being able to reach 1290 MHz in boost mode . The decrease in performance is noticeable here, as the most powerful variant reaches 1620 MHz in boost. The VRAM memory configuration consists of 8 GB of GDDR6 type, working at a clock frequency of 1500 MHz , that is, 12 Gbps of transfer , with a bandwidth of 384 GB / s . Again the clock lowers the maximum transfer by 2 Gbps. Width ofbus is kept at 256 bits , with Nvidia Resizable Bar technology .

We now continue with its processor, which for all models will be nothing less than the Intel Core i7-10875H , belonging to the Comet Lake-H (10th generation) architecture with 14 nm ++ transistors. Inside we have a count of 8 physical and 16 logical cores capable of working at a base frequency of 2.3 GHz and Turbo Boost 3.0 of 5.10 GHz . The L3 cache memory amounts to 16 MB , and TDP remains at 45W in normal mode, reducible to 35W with XTU. It is a slightly more squeezed version than the 10870H, although in this ultra-thin team it will not be able to develop all its real power due to temperature reasons. Incorporates UHD 630 1.20 GHz graphics, which will be activated when we use the battery and do not need 3D acceleration.

The RAM memory has also been updated in both capacity and frequency in this MSI Creator 15 A10UG . We will have no less than 32 GB of capacity thanks to two DDR4 modules in Dual Channel So-DIMM, which offer an effective frequency of 3200 MHz . The maximum capacity would be 64 GB, since we operate under the HM470 chipset and with 10th gen processors.

Storage has not changed, and a successful 1 TB Western Digital SM730 SSD remains. It is a PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe unit capable of transferring 3400 MB / s in sequential reading and 3,000 MB / s in sequential writing , one of the highest available on this interface. It will also have a second M.2 slot to install a possible second drive or even make a RAID.

Cooling System

MSI has put the best it has in terms of cooling for this MSI Creator 15 A10UG , being a Cooler Boost Trinity + system.It will be surprising to see no less than 3 turbine-type fans in such a tight thickness. And to optimize them to the maximum, these have blades of only 0.1 mm thick to be able to place a huge amount of them. The air flow is going to be very high, but noise is also going to be a very important element to take into consideration, as it is not exactly silent.

To make these fans effective, MSI has placed a total of 7 heat pipes distributed in a very intelligent way. The combination of two fans is responsible for cooling the GPU mainly, reaching them 4 tubes that completely surround the system. Another three will hit the only fan on the right that takes care of the CPU. For both elements we have two separate cold plates , which will also cover the board’s VRM and also the GDDR6 memory chips.

Later on we will see from the temperatures that the double fan is much more effective for the GPU than the right side, although the thermal throttling in the processor will be quite low and will only appear in a specific way. In any case, it is a very well designed system, being a bit above what is seen in other Max-Q laptops from rival brands.

Battery

This section will be a good reflection of the improvement in energy efficiency that the new graphics cards and in general, the main hardware have experienced. We will have a lithium polymer specification with a capacity of 6578 mAh and power of 99.9 Whr. With it, we could even play with good FPS rates in battery mode, but above all we will notice it in its autonomy.

Developing our usual work in Word and with a performance profile in maximum saving mode, we will obtain an autonomy of 7 and a half hours . Let’s remember that the Creator 15 with Nvidia RTX 2060 gave us something like 5 hours, so the effect of the optimization has been really good. The intelligent use mode of dedicated and integrated GPU seems to have improved in this series, being able to last almost a working day.

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