Renowned Taiwanese notebook brand MSI is usually best known for their gaming notebooks which are built like muscle cars with plenty of pixel crunching punch, large roomy chassis and aggressively hewn lines but this time around, they’re catering to a more discerning demographic that wants all that power but in a more understated and slimmer chassis. Enter the MSI PS63 8RC Modern creators’ notebook.
Unlike most of MSI’s line-up that are intended for gamers, the MSI PS63 8RC Modern is built from the ground up for content creators such as video and music editors, photographers, designers doing desktop publishing, 3D animators and the like. In keeping with the fact that their intended demographic prefers something that can appear in an office without it looking getting flagged as a gaming rig, the MSI PS63 8RC Modern sports a rather classy looking design that’s in keeping with contemporary corporate chic. You can check out the previous Creator Workshop here where they showcased just how slick it looks.
Externally, the MSI PS63 8RC Modern sports a dark gunmetal finish all around finished with light metallic blue trim around the chamfered edges of the top lid which is hewn from aluminium along with the chassis though there’s still a bit plastic used for underside maintenance access panel. The distinctive MSI Dragonarmy logo is emblazoned on the top lid though in a subtle finish that’s only a shade or two lighter than the PS63’s paint job.
The mostly metal construction of the PS63 8RC Modern lends it significant sturdiness and an exceptionally premium feel that elevates it over the competition. It’s a bit on the weighty side at 1.6kg but manages to keep it slim at a svelte 1.6kg.
Seeing as this is intended mostly for productivity, MSI has wisely ensure it has a full ensemble of ports. The right side of the notebook has a pair of USB Type-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports and a microSD card reader while the left side of the notebook hosts the power jack, a HDMI port, a USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 2 port, a USB 3.1 Type-A port and a 3.5mm combo jack.
Flip the top lid open and you get a white backlit keyboard that has fairly well spaced keys and a generously sized 14cm wide touchpad that’s almost twice as large as most conventional examples seen in the market.
Of interest here is that MSI has opted for a power button set just above the keyboard that prevents most of the usual mishaps associated with many other notebook designs that plonk it as part of the keyboard array next to the delete button. The PS63 also has a fingerprint reader inset in the upper left corner of the touchpad.
Taking pride of place is the PS63’s wide 15.6-inch matte 1080P display that has exceptionally thin bezels on all four sides measuring at just 5.6mm and which offers it a huge 86% screen-to-body ratio. Complementing the display are a pair of downward-firing stereo speakers emplaced at the underside of the notebook angled towards the front approximately where palmrests are.
Holding this slick looking display up is a drop-down hinge that enables you to flip the display all the way to to an almost-flat 140° angle. The hinges built into the PS63 are exceptionally sturdy indeed and proved to be wobble free even with enthusiastic use of the keyboard.
As far as build quality and design go, the PS63 8RC Modern can take on the best of them with a restrained yet sufficiently classy style that makes it an easy shoe-in for any corporate environment.
PS63 8RC Modern Specifications and Performance
The MSI PS63 comes in several variants that differ slightly based on specifications but are otherwise externally similar with an identical display. In the case of the PS63 8RC Modern, we get an 8th generation Intel Core i7-8565U processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM with the option to upgrade to 32GB DDR4 on your own, a 512GB NVME PCIe SSD and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with Max Q design and 4GB GDDR5 VRAM.
The combination of an Intel ultra low voltage processor and a midrange NVIDIA processor with Max Q design are intended to offer a fair balance of power and endurance in consideration of the PS63’s slim form factor that means larger or heftier cooling fans are unviable propositions. According to MSI, this setup enables the PS63 , on paper, to have an impressive 16 hours of battery life.
Common to all PS63 variants is the aforementioned 15.6-inch Full HD True Color display that has a 60Hz refresh rate and that is rated for 100% sRGB coverage which lends it towards professions demanding colour accuracy such as desktop publishing, video editing and the like.
In keeping with MSI’s penchant to bundle additional brand-specific apps, they’ve preinstalled their Creator Center application that helps you manage the myriad settings including power modes, brightness, performance settings, DPI and more on a per-app basis for a variety of professional apps like the Adobe suite of editing tools and VEGAS Pro among them, assuming you have them installed on your PC.
It’s a nice touch and proves helpful for those with very specific settings for their preferred productivity apps though it only works with a predefined set of apps and not with anything off the bat.
The Creator Center also lets you manipulate general settings in a more defined manner by tweaking DPI, True Colour mode and the Nahimic stereo speakers for music, gaming, chatting or movies. You are also able to modify specific user scenarios from four general settings – High Performance, Balanced, Silent and Super Battery.
In synthetic benchmarks, the PS63 8RC acquitted itself modestly as a work and rendering rig. In 3D Mark’s Time Spy test, it yielded a score of 1,619 points while in the PCMark test, which field tests its capabilities in productivity and digital content creation, it got a score of 2,818 points.
In the more extensive PCMark Extended tests which puts it through a more extensive range of tests that include light gaming, it got a very respectable score of 4,345 points.
In Cinebench R20, the PS63 8RC yielded 1,201cb while in Unigine 2 on Extreme 1080P settings, it got a modest score of 952.
In the SPECviewperf 13 benchmark which tests a combination of CAD software, the notebook was able to run at 1,900 x 1060 resolution and yielded a respectable series of scores for the more popular apps with 3DSMax yielding a composite score of 50.15 and Maya getting 56.74.
Under more practical field conditions, the PS63 proved to be competent at most mainstream tasks for word processing, basic movie editing, fairly hefty photo manipulation and modest gaming capped at 1080P. The generous amount of RAM and SSD offer fairly nippy read/write speeds with a sequential 1735MB/s and 1452.4MB/s write speed in sequential speeds in Crystal Disk Mark.
It was able to handle Borderlands 2 at 1080P in a smooth fashion on high settings though games of more recent vintage will need to be capped at Medium or Low settings to maintain playable frame rates.
Under heavy loads like gaming and video editing, the PS63 does get warm along its upper and lower sections at the base of the keyboard corresponding to where the cooling vents and fans are to the point that putting it on your lap may be an uncomfortable proposition. The cooling fans still remained fairly quiet though they are audible in a quiet room under heavy loads.
The PS63’s matte display proved vibrant with excellent contrast as well as relatively faithful colour rendition with reference images. It also had fair visibility under daylight and good viewing angles all around though it naturally offers best results indoors. Unfortunately the PS63’s speakers proved underwhelming at best as they weren’t particularly detailed and their placement means they’re easily muffled if you plonk the notebook on a sound absorbent surface like a bed.
MSI PS63 8RC Modern Battery Life, Price and Conclusion
The combination of a power efficient 8th generation Intel low voltage processor and an NVIDIA with Max Q design GPU gives the PS63 8RC Modern pretty respectable endurance. While it is rated for 16 hours on paper, the notebook at full tilt still manages a very respectable 11 or so hours on with medium brightness and performance dialled to maximum with a workload that consisted of word processing and spreadsheets, web browsing and several hours of video editing. The provided 19V/4.74A charger is able to fully charge the notebook in a couple of hours.
At RM5,699, the MSI PS63 8RC is an interesting proposition for a notebook intended for creators. It isn’t the most powerful rig out there but is capable of delivering a fair showing for all but the most demanding work with the possibility of modest gaming too crammed into a slim form factor and surprisingly good battery life.
What we liked Sleek and sturdy chassis, excellent keyboard and generously sized trackpad, runs relatively silent under heavy loads, excellent battery life
What we didn’t middling speakers
We say The MSI PS63 8RC Modern isn’t the most powerful rig out there for creators but is capable of delivering a fair showing for all but the most demanding work with the possibility of a touch of modest gaming too crammed into a slim form factor that has surprisingly good battery life.
Display 15.6-inch Full HD, 60Hz, 1920 x1080 pixels
Processor Intel Core i7-8565U 1.8GHz
Memory 16GB DDR4 RAM/ 512GB NVME PCIe SSD
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max Q-Design w/ 4GB GDDR5 VRAM
Battery 4-cell Li-Polymer, 82 Whr
Size/Weight 356.8 x 233.7 x 15.9mm / 1,6kg
Review unit courtesy of MSI Malaysia. Available online at https://mystore.msi.com/product/ps63-8rc-modern/