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MSI Prestige P100 Review – A Small PC For Creators?

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MSI Prestige P100 Review – A Small PC For Creators?

MSI are continuing their move into the content creator space with the Prestige P100, a desktop PC designed for content creation, though the specs are so good it can also play any game you throw at it too, and I’ll be testing some out at 5K to see what it can do.

Starting with the specs my unit has the 8 core Intel i9-9900K CPU, Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti graphics, 64gb of memory in dual channel, a 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD for Windows and two 2TB hard drives in a 4TB RAID 0 array.

The motherboard also has gigabit ethernet, WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5. The case has a 10.3L volume and has a 7.7kg weight, overall it’s on the smaller side considering the top end hardware that it’s packing inside.

The white case is made of metal and plastic, overall I thought the design looked good, it looks unique while still having a subtle design, though that will of course be subjective. The design aesthetic matches other products in MSI’s Prestige lineup, including the P65 Creator laptop that I reviewed recently, and their new 5K ultrawide monitor which I’ll cover in a future video.

The front panel has some lighting around the left, top and bottom sides. By default it’s white, however you can either turn it off or set the colour through the MSI Light Sync software, the effects are very limited though.

Despite the front sort of sticking out for the lighting, there are no holes for air intake found here. The front I/O is found on the left hand side towards the bottom, and from the bottom up we’ve got 3.

5mm audio jacks, a USB 2.0 Type-A port, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port and Type-C port, though no Thunderbolt here. On the top of the case there’s just the power button towards the front which lights up white while powered on.

The top is also sort of raised up off of the rest of the case with some air vents, presumably to allow rising hot air to exhaust, however there are no fans there. On the back from the bottom up there’s the power input, motherboard I/O which includes 2 USB 2.

0 Type-A ports, DisplayPort and HDMI, though you won’t be using those as they’re wired to the Intel integrated graphics on the CPU, two USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, two USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A ports, gigabit ethernet, and audio jacks.

Above that are the display outputs from the graphics card, which in my case has a Type-C, single HDMI and three DisplayPort outputs. Undeatheath there’s just some feet at the bottom which did a great job of preventing movement while trying to push the case on a flat surface.

The bottom of the case sort of props the whole thing up a bit, allowing for air flow which we’ll see soon. Both the left and right side panels can be removed easily by taking out two phillips head screws.

The P100 came with optional replacement thumbscrews though which I used instead as they were easier. On the left hand side we’ve got the back of the motherboard, air intake for the power supply next to it, and the graphics card up the top which is mounted vertically with a PCIe riser cable, and this also pulls air in through the cut out in the side panel.

The graphics card they’ve gone with is MSI’s own 2080 Ti Ventus. Behind the right panel there’s the air intake for the CPU cooler, other side of the power supply, and the two 2.5 inch drive bays that make up our RAID 0 array at the top.

A lot of the interior design seems reminiscent of the MSI Trident X gaming PC I’ve reviewed previously. From the inside we can see the ventilation on the bottom, and this is where the gold rated 650 watt power supply exhausts.

It’s worth noting that while the side panels have a lot of triangle looking cutouts, there are only holes in the panel right where the air intakes are found, so there’s less actual holes into the case than there appears, and none of the intakes had dust filters.

There’s no clear specific route for air to exhaust, there are just kind of vents all over, like on the bottom, back and up the top, there are no dedicated intake or exhaust fans for the case itself due to its size, but we’ll see how thermals perform a bit later.

Despite the fact that you can’t see the internals with the case on, the inside was very neat and looked way better than most other prebuilt systems I’ve looked at. The motherboard is MSI’s MPG Z390I Gaming Edge, so a standard Mini-ITX form factor.

This means overclocking the 9900K CPU is supported and we’ll test that out soon. The motherboard just has two memory slots, my unit is populated with two 32gb sticks, and there’s a single M.2 slot and single PCIe slot.

MSI’s Creator Center software can be used to monitor the system, change performance profiles and more. The most interesting thing I found was that it automatically recognizes various applications installed on your system that are to do with content creation, such as Adobe Photoshop for instance.

You can customize different performance profiles for the system based on what program you’re running, so if it’s time to do some video editing the profile will automatically change to whatever you’ve got set for the specific application.

Next we’ll take a look at thermals, testing was completed with an ambient room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius. I’ve tested at stock as well as with these custom settings, where I basically boosted the power limit of the CPU with Intel XTU, overclocked the GPU and raised fan speed.

The idle temperatures were fine, sitting in the low 30s. The stress tests were done by running the Blender benchmark and Heaven GPU stress test at the same time, at stock the temperatures are fine, however with the custom settings the CPU started to thermal throttling, despite this change speeding up the fans, as you’ll hear soon.

Even while overclocked the GPU ran cooler due to its fan speed increase. It’s important to keep in mind these are worst case results and don’t reflect average workloads. These are the average clock speeds for the same tests just shown.

Basically we’re getting higher CPU clock speed by boosting the power limit, as this allowed the 9900K to hit its 4.7GHz all core turbo boost speed. As thermal throttling was being hit after I did this there’s no chance of overclocking, at least for this consistent multicore workload.

We can see why this is by looking at average TDP values during these tests. By default MSI are capping the 9900K to 120 watts, which seems reasonable to me considering the air cooler and that the Intel spec is 95 watts.

It is possible to boost the power limit, but as we saw this increased thermals and resulted in thermal throttling for just a 300MHz boost to CPU performance. Here’s what total system power draw from the wall looked like while under these combined CPU and GPU tests, so we can see the overclocks are resulting in 22% more power being drawn for not too much gain to performance.

Here’s how these changes affect Cinebench performance. In this case I was actually able to overclock as thermal throttling wasn’t being hit in this workload, however I couldn’t undervolt too much without causing instability, but this sort of thing will vary between CPU anyway.

As for the fan noise produced by the system I’ll let you have a listen to some of these tests. At idle it was audible but the fans were fairly quiet. While under multicore CPU only load it wasn’t that loud, but when we add in some GPU load it did rise quite a bit.

Finally if you’re looking to tweak things like I did for better performance then expect even higher fan speed, at absolute maximum it’s quite loud and I doubt most people would be looking to do this, for the most part you’ll get most of the performance just running at stock with acceptable thermals and fan speed.

Things only start getting too hot and loud if you’re wanting to push things further and try overclocking. Here’s what the system looked like with a thermal camera while under stress test, so we can see that the heat does appear to be rising as designed, as that was the warmest section and I could feel warm air coming out.

As you’d expect from this level of hardware we’re seeing good performance, granted not quite full sustained 9900K performance at stock, at least with a worst case blender workload, as this capped out at around 4.

4GHz due to the 120 watt power limit, higher was only possible at the expense of a hotter system and louder fan noise. While not strictly marketed as a gaming PC, you can definitely play pretty much any game no problem at all on this hardware.

As I’m testing with MSI’s 5K monitor I decided to make things interesting and see how it held up. Surprisingly modern games were still quite playable even at this high resolution. I’ve got a full review coming on the 5K monitor soon, so if you’re new to the channel consider getting subscribed for that one.

I also tested Latencymon on the P100 and the results were looking alright. I’ve used Crystal disk mark to test the storage, and my 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD was scoring very well for both read and write speeds.

The 4TB RAID 0 array on the other hand was performing about as expected, that is around double the speed of a standard hard drive, which makes sense as it’s literally two 2 TB hard drives. Storage options may vary though, so expect different results based on drive selection.

For up to date pricing check the links in the description, as prices will change over time. At the time of recording, the P100 isn’t available in the US, I’ve been advised that release is planned for Q4 2019.

Here in Australia we’re looking at $6500 AUD tax included for this exact spec I’ve tested here. For my international viewers if you remove our tax and convert the currency that’s just under $4000 USD, but stuff here usually costs more too, so I’d expect less with US availability.

It’s definitely not cheap, but that’s always the case with prebuilt systems, especially when you have top of the line specs like this in a smaller and nicer looking build. You can of course build your own PC for less money, however that’s not the market systems like this are aimed towards.

In the end the result is impressive performance for a small build, and as I assume is the intention, it doesn’t look like a traditional gaming PC and would likely blend in better in an office environment, though there are still some lighting effects available.

I also liked the upgradeability, while Intel probably won’t release something more powerful than the 9900K CPU on this socket, MSI are just using a standard mini ITX board, standard graphics card and SFF power supply, so in theory you could upgrade the machine quite a bit down the road.

It may have been possible for fan noise to be reduced and cooling improved with some sort of AIO, but as long as you’re running it at stock, which honestly I expect most people buying a machine like this would, it performs just fine.

I didn’t quite see full performance of the 9900K under hardcore blender workloads, though it was close, while other less heavy workloads were able to max it out no problem. It would have been nice to have some fan control settings in the MSI software though, but again I suppose this isn’t for enthusiasts to make all sorts of custom tweaks, it’s a creator desktop PC for people who just want a machine to get their work done, and in terms of photoshop and Adobe Premiere that I tested it did work well.

After you’re done working the high end hardware is capable of playing modern games, even at high resolutions due to the 9900K and 2080 Ti inside which are top of the line specs at the moment for pretty much any task.

Let me know what you thought of the MSI Prestige P100 Creator Desktop down in the comments, and if you’re new to the channel consider getting subscribed for future tech videos like this one.

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