Recently, manufacturers started providing Content Creator aimed notebooks to the masses. And honestly, they are great on paper – superb hardware packed in a stylish chassis, which is great if you want something representative. Today, we have the MSI Creator 15 A10Sx. It comes with some of the best Intel processors to date, maxing out with the 8-core Core i7-10875H, while the GPU of choice can get as high as the RTX 2080 Super Max-Q. Ultimately, this should provide smooth video editing, photo editing, 3D animation work, and of course – graphic design.

What else? Well, MSI is providing a choice of three IPS panels. The base unit is a 1080p 60Hz one. Next, there is a 144Hz 1080p unit, and we finish with a 4K 60Hz display. Supposedly, it should provide 100% Adobe RGB coverage, an Average dE of below 2.0, both of which are made possible with the True Color factory calibration, which by the way, allows for user calibration, as well. And on top of that, MSI is supplying the same 99.9Wh battery, as we saw on the GS66 Stealth. Expectations are set to sky-high here.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-creator-15-a10sx/

Contents


Specs Sheet

MSI Creator 15 A10Sx – Specs


Dimensions


358.3 x 248 x 18.3 mm (14.11″ x 9.76″ x 0.72″)

Ports and connectivity

  • 1x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3, Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • Card reader SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Ethernet LAN 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • Audio jack 3.5 mm combo

Features

  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Speakers 2x 2W, Nahimic 3
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

This device comes with a rather unspectacular package. However, inside, we found a very sleek white box, containing the notebook, and another one, that holds either a 180W or a 230W power brick, depending on the configuration you choose.

Design and construction

Wait a second! The same 99.9Wh battery, as the GS66 Stealth? And the same measurements – 18.3-19.8mm profile and 2.10 kg weight? Arguably the same visuals… This is the MSI GS66 Stealth in disguise! Well, it is not like MSI has reinvented the wheel here, as we saw the same strategy from Acer with their ConceptD lineup. It is only natural to rebrand and tone down the aggression of their thin and light gaming laptop series and transform them into “Content Creator” devices.

Nevertheless, the laptop has a solid metal chassis and a lid that opens easily with a single hand. Our unit has a touchscreen panel, so the display has a glass cover, meaning you get a glossy finish, perhaps being quite annoying to use under direct sunlight (or any lights in a room). Also, the touchscreen capability is aided by the 180-degree hinge opening, meaning you can leave the screen flat on the desk.

Once you open the lid, you will see a neat keyboard setup, which has a white backlight (this is pretty sleek, to be honest), and relatively large keycaps. And while the key travel is on the medium side, the feedback is clicky, yet quiet. Also, you can notice the huge Arrow keys. The only downside would be that they feel crammed at the rest of the keys, which makes it easier to misclick.

Further down below, there is the touchpad. It has a glass surface, which provides exceptional gliding, and a great tracking experience. Moreover, there is a fingerprint reader in the top left corner. Keep in mind that this disables the entire corner, starting from the edges of the scanner. By the way, in terms of deck flex, the Creator 15 A10Sx is pretty solid. And the base also houses the speaker grills.

Lastly, the bottom panel reveals a huge ventilation grill, supplying cool air to all three fans. Additionally, there are some vents above the keyboard, for even better airflow. And the hot air here escapes from two grills on the back, as well as one grill on each side of the machine.

Ports

On the left side, you will locate the power plug, a Thunderbolt 3 connector, followed by an HDMI port, and a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 2) port. Switch sides, and you can see the RJ-45 connector, SD card reader, another USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, and an audio jack.

Display quality

MSI Creator 15 A10Sx has an IPS panel, model number AUO B156HAB03.0 (AUOF08A). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 142 ppi, and a pitch of 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 60cm (24″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

It has excellent viewing angles. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

The measured maximum brightness of 360 nits in the middle of the screen and 344 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 9%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 7120K – slightly colder than the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is fine – 1100:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows MSI Creator 15 A10Sx’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 92% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of MSI Creator 15 A10Sx with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 35 ms – a rather slow panel.

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

MSI Creator 15 A10Sx’s panel doesn’t use PWM to adjust brightness levels. This makes it comfortable for long work periods, without presenting eye strain in this aspect.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusion

MSI Creator 15 A10Sx’s 60Hz touchscreen IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio, and non-flickering backlight. It covers 92% of the sRGB color gamut, and its colors can be reasonably accurate when our Gaming and Web design profile is applied. However, it has very slow pixel response times, and honestly, is nowhere near the values MSI was boasting about on their 4K panel. On the other side, if we accept that this is their budget panel option, it is pretty darn good.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for MSI Creator 15 A10Sx configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS AUO B156HAB03.0 (AUOF08A).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia’s products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work - screen profile

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming - screen profile

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard - screen profile

Health-Guard

THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

All

Sound

MSI Creator 15 A10Sx’s speakers are nothing spectacular. Its low tones have some deviations, while the mids and the highs are clear.

Drivers

All of the latest drivers and utilities for this notebook can be downloaded from here: https://www.msi.com/Content-Creation/support/Creator-15-A10SX

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. The massive 99.9Wh battery lasts for 10 hours and 47 minutes of Web browsing, and 10 hours and 36 minutes of video playback.

CPU options

This notebook comes in two CPU configurations – Core i7-10750H, which sports six cores and twelve threads, and the Core i7-10875H, which is an 8-core/16-thread processor.


MSI Creator 15 A10Sx CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the MSI Creator 15 A10Sx models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which MSI Creator 15 A10Sx model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.


GPU options

On the other side, the GPU choice is quite larger – GTX 1660 Ti, RTX 2060, RTX 2070 Max-Q, RTX 2070 Super Max-Q, and the RTX 2080 Super Max-Q.


MSI Creator 15 A10Sx GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the MSI Creator 15 A10Sx models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which MSI Creator 15 A10Sx model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.


Gaming tests

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i7-10875H (45W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min

MSI Creator 15 A10Sx (Balanced) 2.61 GHz (B+13%) @ 66°C @ 51W 2.61 GHz (B+13%) @ 72°C @ 51W 2.62 GHz (B+14%) @ 82°C @ 45W
MSI Creator 15 A10Sx (High Performance) 3.66 GHz (B+59%) @ 90°C @ 104W 3.62 GHz (B+57%) @ 95°C @ 92W 3.03 GHz (B+32%) @ 90°C @ 61W

Let’s start off by saying that MSI’s Creator Center has four performance presets. We used two of them – the Balanced, and the High Performance, both of which are pretty self-explanatory. And the difference in computing is obvious, with the latter providing a full 1.00 GHz advantage in short loads. However, until the end of the test, the difference shrinks to 390 MHz with the toll here being temperature and noise.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min + fan boost)
MSI Creator 15 A10Sx 1805 MHz @ 75°C 1794 MHz @ 78°C 1802 MHz @ 76°C (High Performance)
MSI GL65 10Sx 1805 MHz @ 75°C 1794 MHz @ 78°C 1802 MHz @ 76°C
Dell G7 17 7700 1468 MHz @ 72°C 1440 MHz @ 77°C 1450 MHz @ 75°C
Dell G7 17 7790 1432 MHz @ 73°C 1462 MHz @ 73°C
MSI GF65 Thin 10Sx 1434 MHz @ 84°C 1421 MHz @ 86°C
Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH315-53) 1506 MHz @ 77°C 1457 MHz @ 82°C 1671 MHz @ 76°C
MSI GL65 9SE 1590 MHz @ 71°C 1588 MHz @ 73°C 1590 MHz @ 68°C
ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 1454 MHz @ 76°C 1394 MHz @ 85°C
MSI GS65 Stealth 8SE 1305 MHz @ 77°C 1267 MHz @ 80°C
Lenovo Legion Y740 1526 MHz @ 70°C 1499 MHz @ 74°C

Ultimately, this notebook uses the 80W version of the RTX 2060, which is a bit of a letdown. However, we see good frequencies. Here, we run Rise of the Tomb Raider for 30 minutes on the Balanced preset, and then we switched to the High Performance one, where we got a slight boost in frequencies and a considerable decrease in temperature.

Gaming comfort

Sadly, the laptop gets a bit too loud to our likings when the High Performance preset is applied. Also, the temperatures on the keyboard and the bottom panel are a bit high, but if you want both temps and noise lower – just switch to the Balanced preset and sacrifice some fps.

Verdict

It is great that MSI provides software that enables you to tune the performance to your likings. If you need a quieter machine – go for Balanced and below, and if you need the full power of this system, pick the High Performance one. Ultimately, the biggest difference will be in CPU performance, so the main advantage you get by choosing it is when you are rendering videos, 3D animations, or compiling your code.

As the Creator 15 A10Sx is basically a copy of the GS66 Stealth, we were really concerned about the battery life. However, the 99.9Wh unit didn’t disappoint. We got more than 10 hours and a half of both Web browsing and video playback, and if you are opportunistic enough to play games on battery – you get two hours before you need a plug.

MSI Creator 15 A10Sx’s 60Hz touchscreen IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio, and non-flickering backlight. It covers 92% of the sRGB color gamut, and its colors can be reasonably accurate when our Gaming and Web design profile is applied. However, it has very slow pixel response times, and honestly, is nowhere near the values MSI was boasting about on their 4K panel. On the other side, if we accept that this is their budget panel option, it is pretty darn good.

Also, the laptop features RAM upgradability up to 64GB, and dual M.2 PCIe x4 drive support. And in contrast to the Acer ConceptD 7 (CN715-71), it has an SD card reader. Moreover, you get two USB Type-C ports (one Thunderbolt 3 connector), and much more in terms of I/O.

So what are the disadvantages of this notebook? Well, there is no doubt that this device is a great all-rounder. However, heat and noise might be an issue during gaming and high workload scenarios. Also, the speakers are nothing to write home about, but other than that, we can recommend the laptop! Provided that you have the cash, as it costs more than an average second-hand hatchback.

Pros

  • Responsive touchpad, Thunderbolt 3, and Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Takes up to 64GB of DDR4 memory and has two M.2 slots
  • The display is PWM-free (Sharp LQ156M1JW03)
  • 92% sRGB coverage and decent color accuracy when our Gaming and Web design profile is applied (Sharp LQ156M1JW03)
  • Capable hardware inside of a thin, relatively light, and well-built chassis
  • IR face recognition system onboard + fingerprint reader
  • Features an SD card reader and a Thunderbolt 3 connector

Cons

  • A bit loud and warm under the High Performance preset
  • Unimpressive speakers

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-creator-15-a10sx/





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