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New iMac vs. MacBook Pro 17: Which is Right For You?

With Apple adding its exclusive Thunderbolt ports to the new iMac machines announced today, many users will be deciding between the stationary performance of an all-in-one desktop and the limited portability of a 17-inch MacBook Pro (also with Thunderbolt).

You may remember Thunderbolt as the hyper-speed data connection that transfers movies, photos, music and more at a whirlwind 10 GBps.  Previously available only on MacBook Pro notebooks, Thunderbolt now graces both the 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac options  (the larger version has two Thunderbolt ports). Thinking about a new Apple system for your home? See how the new iMac compares to the Apple laptop that's closest in size, the 17-inch MacBook Pro.

Size21.5 inches21.5 inches27 inches27 inches17 inches
Price$1,119$1,499$1,699$1,999$2,499
Processor2.5-GHz quad-core Intel Core i52.7-GHz quad-core Intel Core i52.7-GHz quad-core Intel Core i53.1-GHz quad-core Intel Core i52.2-GHz quad-Core Intel Core i7
RAM4GB (Up to 16GB)4GB (Up to 16GB)4GB (Up to 16GB)4GB (Up to 16GB)4GB (Up to 8GB)
Storage500GB 7200 rpm1 TB 7200 rpm1 TB 7200 rpm1 TB 7200 rpm750GB 5400 rpm
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 6750M (512MB)AMD Radeon HD 6770M (512MB)AMD Radeon HD 6770M (512MB)AMD Radeon HD 6770M (512MB)AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics (1GB)
Ports1 Thunderbolt, 4 USB 2.0, FireWire 800, MiniDisplay1 Thunderbolt, 4 USB 2.0, FireWire 800, MiniDisplay2 Thunderbolt, 4 USB 2.0, FireWire 800, MiniDisplay2 Thunderbolt, 4 USB 2.0, FireWire 800, MiniDisplay1 Thunderbolt, 3 USB 2.0, FireWire 800
OpticalSlot-loading DVD±RW 8x SuperDriveSlot-loading DVD±RW 8x SuperDriveSlot-loading DVD±RW 8x SuperDriveSlot-loading DVD±RW 8x SuperDriveSlot-loading DVD±RW 8x SuperDrive