MSI Creator Z17 vs Apple MacBook Pro 16 comparison

Apple’s MacBook Pro 16 is a creator’s dream machine that can navigate challenging creative workflows with ease. And that’s thanks to the Apple M1 CPU, which delivers unmatched CPU performance that Windows machines only got to do with 12th-generation Intel processors. One of the first to offer Intel’s latest hardware, the Creator Z17 from MSI is a fast-paced laptop.

If you are looking to edit photos or videos, either one will do a good job, but which one is worth the very massive investment?

Specifications

MSI Creator Z17 Apple MacBook Pro 16
Dimensions 15.04 x 10.24 x 0.75 inches 14.01″ x 9.77″ x 0.66″
Weight 7.4 pounds 4.8 pounds
Healer Intel Core i7-12700H
Intel Core i9-12900H
Apple M1 Pro
Apple M1 Max
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070T
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080T
Integrated Apple GPU
RAM 32 GB
64 GB
16 GB
32 GB
64 GB (M1 max)
an offer 17 inch 16:10 IPS QHD + (2560 x 1600) 165 Hz 16.2 inch 16:10 Liquid Retina XDR (3456 x 2234)
storage 1 TB SSD
2 TB SSD
512 GB SSD
1 TB SSD
2 TB SSD
4 TB SSD
8 TB SSD
touch. Contact. Link yes no
ports 2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
2 USB-C 4 ports with Thunderbolt 4
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x SD Card Reader
3 USB-C 4 Ports with Thunderbolt 4
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x SD Card Reader
wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
Webcam 1080p Infrared Camera, Windows 11 Hello 1080p
Operating System Windows 11 Mac OS Monterey
battery 90 watt hour 100 watts/hour
price 3250 USD $2,499 or more
evaluation 3.5 stars out of 5 5 out of 5 stars

Design

The MacBook Pro 16 is one of the newest laptops in Apple’s lineup, and it does away with some previous design choices that proved unpopular. It’s thicker than its predecessors, allowing for an HDMI port, it eliminates the never-never Touch Bar, and it has more modern (i.e., thinner) bezels. But it’s still a MacBook through and through, with the same minimalist design that eschews any kind of shine and instead appears to be chiseled out of a solid block of metal (which is CNC-machined aluminum to be exact). It’s an iconic design that many laptops have tried to emulate over the years, and it still exudes quality and style.

The Creator Z17 is also made from CNC machined aluminum and comes in Lunar Gray (dark grey) with its minimalist design. There’s no bling here either, though there are more corners and edges to make it stand out from Apple’s simpler design. Its venting is also different from the MacBook Pro 16, and is better at hiding the intake and exhaust ports, while Apple’s notch in the screen is an oddity.

The MacBook Pro 16 is among the most solid laptops you can buy and is arguably the industry leader in build quality. You’ll find zero bending, flexing, or buckling anywhere on the cover, keyboard deck, or undercarriage. The Creator Z17 lags a step back, with some bend in the lid giving it a less solid feel. It’s a well-designed laptop for sure; It’s not in the same category as the MacBook Pro 16.

You won’t find a better keyboard on a laptop in 2022 than Apple’s Magic Keyboard installed on the MacBook Pro 16. The earlier Apple Butterfly keyboard is gone with its feel of typing on a piece of wood. Now, you can have scissor wrenches that not only provide the greatest amount of travel but have an unparalleled fast and precise mechanism with perfect bottoming action. The keycaps are the perfect size, and there’s just the right amount of key spacing. Typing on the MacBook Pro 16 is a great experience for slick typists, and it’s the least stressful keyboard you’ll ever use. Windows users must be jealous.

The Creator Z17 keyboard is made by SteelSeries and has a deep travel distance of 1.5mm with good key spacing and keycap size, and there’s asymmetric per-key RGB lighting on a non-gaming laptop (but fun nonetheless). The keys have excellent click and comfortable bottoming action. It is suitable for other Windows devices, but it cannot stand the Magic Keyboard of MacBook Pro 16.

The touchpad is another important point of differentiation between these two portable devices. While the Creator Z17’s mechanical touchpad is large and has an ergonomic surface, and its buttons are quiet but confident, it’s miles behind Apple’s Force Touch touchpad. This is also large and subtle across its entire surface, and you can click and double-tap anywhere. The haptic feedback is perfect, making the touchpad feel like a mechanical version but without the limitations. As with the keyboard, the touchpad is the best you’ll find on a laptop today.

The Creator Z17 has more versatile connectivity, with two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, two USB-C 4 ports with Thunderbolt 4, a full-size HDMI 2.1 port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a full-size SD card reader. It is well equipped for future and legacy peripherals. The MacBook Pro 16’s connectivity is very limited, with three USB-C 4 ports with Thunderbolt 4, a full-size HDMI 2.0 port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a full-size SD card reader. The Creator Z17 also has faster Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 than the MacBook’s Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.

Password-free login is provided by an infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello on the Creator Z17, while the MacBook Pro 16 uses a Touch ID fingerprint reader. Both solutions work reliably.

performance

One USB-A port, two USB4 ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, and a headphone jack are on the left side of the MSI Creator Z17.
Mark Kubock / Digital Trends

There’s a battle brewing between Apple’s M1 ARM CPUs and 12th-generation Intel hybrid processors, and the MacBook Pro 16 and Creator Z17 are the first to join the fray. We reviewed the MacBook Pro 16 with the M1 Pro, which features a 10-core CPU (eight performance and two efficiency) and a 16-core GPU. The MacBook Pro 16 can also use Apple’s M1 Max, which also has 10 CPU cores but bumps the GPU up to 24 or 32 cores. That’s compared to the Creator Z17, which we reviewed using an Intel Core i7-12700H, a 14-core CPU with six performance cores and eight effective cores. You can also configure the Creator Z17 with a Core i9-12900H, a faster chip with the same number of cores. Our review unit was equipped with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU, but there are options for up to an RTX 3080 Ti if you need additional graphic power.

Both mobile devices have more space if you want to spend money.

In our CPU-intensive benchmarks, the two mobile devices performed similarly. One caveat is that the results in the table were generated with the MSI Performance Tool set to the “Balanced” mode. Switch to Performance mode, and the Creator Z17 blasted into Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R23, and was faster in our Handbrake test encoding a 420MB video as H.265.

The test of Pugetbench Premiere Pro, which runs in a live version of Adobe Premiere Pro and can use the GPU to speed up various processes, gives interesting results. The MacBook Pro 16’s GPU isn’t nearly as fast as the Creator Z17, yet it’s still dominant. In performance mode, though, the Creator Z17 was slightly faster at 984. Note that the MacBook Pro 16 with the M1 Max CPU hit 1167 in the benchmark, and the Creator Z17 is likely to be a contender to that higher notch when configured with a Core i9 and RTX 3080 Ti.

So, overall, these two laptops are similar in performance, with the Creator Z17 moving a bit forward when switching to performance mode. And again, they both have room for improvement if you have the money to spare.

MSI Creator Z17
(Core i7-12700H)
Apple MacBook Pro 16
(M1 Pro)
Geekbench 5
(single / multi)
1744/11750 1,773 / 12,605
handbrake
(seconds)
88 96
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
1,804 / 11,266 1,531 / 12,343
BUGNETTEPUNCH PREMIER PRO 897 977

an offer

2021 MacBook Pro screen.

Both laptops were designed with creators in mind, but the MacBook Pro 16 has a 16.2-inch 16:10 Liquid Retina XDR (3456 x 2234) small LED display that more closely matches their needs. It was considerably brighter and had a grainy black contrast, with similar color saturation and better resolution. The Creator Z17’s low-contrast 17-inch 16:10 IPS QHD+ display (2560 x 1600) is the primary downfall, and the AdobeRGB gamut is slightly lower than what discerning creatives prefer. It runs at 165Hz, though, which gives it a smoother response than my MacBook Pro 16’s at 120Hz (which is still excellent).

The Creator Z17 has a touchpad, which the MacBook Pro 16 lacks, and MSI’s interesting active stylus support, a first in a 17-inch laptop. If any of these features are important to you, they are points in favor of the Creator Z17.

Not that the Creator Z17 display isn’t good enough for creators. It’s not as bright as the Apple Panel, and it can’t display the same kind of deep black.

MSI Creator Z17 Apple MacBook Pro 16
brightness
(lice)
355 475
AdobeRGB . series 87 90
sRGB . String 100 100
health
(DeltaE, less is better)
1.35 1.04
Contrast ratio 840: 1 475200: 1

Mobility

MSI Creator Z17 locked to a desk.
Mark Kubock / Digital Trends

The Creator Z17 is slightly wider and deeper than the MacBook Pro 16 thanks to its larger 17-inch screen, and it’s thicker at 0.75 inches compared to 0.66 inches. Most importantly, it’s considerably heavier, at 7.4 pounds compared to the lighter MacBook Pro 16 at 4.8 pounds. Both portable devices will take up some space in your backpack, but your back will feel like the Creator Z17 while carrying it.

Battery life comparison limits on comics. There’s not much difference in battery size, with the Creator Z17 packing a 90Wh battery, while the MacBook Pro 16 packs 100Wh inside. Both mobile devices also have large, high-resolution displays, which are well documented for battery reduction. However, the disparity in battery life is simply astounding. The Creator Z17 struggled to make it to lunchtime in our web browsing test going through a series of popular and complex websites and our video test cutting a local site Avengers Brief movie review. However, the MacBook Pro 16 showed several days of battery life in both tests, among the best results we’ve seen so far.

Remarkably, the MacBook Pro 16 can last quite a long time on a charge when it’s a powerful device, although pushing the CPU into more intense tasks will reduce these results. But no matter how hard you push it, you’ll still be close to a day of battery life, while running the Creator Z17 performs so aggressively you’ll see it shut down in a few hours.

There is simply no comparison in portability. The MacBook Pro 16 manages to pack plenty of power into a relatively compact chassis for the class, and manages to get the best battery life we’ve seen.

MSI Creator Z17
(Core i7-12700H)
Apple MacBook Pro 16
(M1 Pro)
Browse the web 4 hours 23 minutes 18 hours 35 minutes
video 4 hours and 32 minutes 23 hours and 11 minutes

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 is built better, just as fast, and lasts longer when charged

The Creator Z17 starts at $3,250 for our review unit, with a Core i7-12700H, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and an RTX 3070 Ti. You can spend up to $4,600 when configuring a Core i9-12900H, 64GB of RAM, 2TB SSD, and RTX 3080 Ti. It’s an expensive laptop.

The MacBook Pro 16 is also an expensive machine. Its base configuration costs $2,499 with an Apple M1 Pro, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. Fully equipped, it’s $6,099 for the M1 Max, 64GB of RAM and an 8TB SSD.

The MSI Creator Z17 delivers a good fight, with solid performance and a mostly solid build. However, the MacBook Pro 16 is a luxury laptop that’s just as fast, more solid, has a better keyboard, touchpad and screen, and lasts incredibly long on a single battery charge. He’s the winner of this penalty shootout, and it’s not even close.

Editors’ Recommendations






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