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

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.




Size 21.5 inches 21.5 inches 27 inches 27 inches 17 inches
Price $1,119 $1,499 $1,699 $1,999 $2,499
Processor 2.5-GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 2.7-GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 2.7-GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 3.1-GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 2.2-GHz quad-Core Intel Core i7
RAM 4GB (Up to 16GB) 4GB (Up to 16GB) 4GB (Up to 16GB) 4GB (Up to 16GB) 4GB (Up to 8GB)
Storage 500GB 7200 rpm 1 TB 7200 rpm 1 TB 7200 rpm 1 TB 7200 rpm 750GB 5400 rpm
Graphics AMD 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)
Ports 1 Thunderbolt, 4 USB 2.0, FireWire 800, MiniDisplay 1 Thunderbolt, 4 USB 2.0, FireWire 800, MiniDisplay 2 Thunderbolt, 4 USB 2.0, FireWire 800, MiniDisplay 2 Thunderbolt, 4 USB 2.0, FireWire 800, MiniDisplay 1 Thunderbolt, 3 USB 2.0, FireWire 800
Optical Slot-loading DVD±RW 8x SuperDrive Slot-loading DVD±RW 8x SuperDrive Slot-loading DVD±RW 8x SuperDrive Slot-loading DVD±RW 8x SuperDrive Slot-loading DVD±RW 8x SuperDrive



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  1. Shock Me Says:

    Given How much fun I’ve had with my iPad the last year or so, I would seriously consider replacing my MacBook with an iMac the next go-round.

  2. parv Says:

    you have the wrong graphics card for the macbook pro 17″. Should be AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB GDDR5

  3. Fix Me... Says:

    On the chart above the Mini DisplayPort is erroneously listed in the iMac descriptions in addition to the Thunderbolt port (or ports for the 27-inch iMac).
    Since the Thunderbolt port replaces the Mini DisplayPort in form and subsumes the functionality as well, then listed it as anything else is ridiculous.
    Please just fix it or comment on the lack of specification knowledge shown.

  4. al2 Says:

    With the new macbooks being powerful enough to do just about anything i would go with the 15inch 2.0 ghz i7 macbook pro which with student discount is around $1700 and that in my opinion makes it a better deal than the i5 2.7ghz imac which doesn’t support hyperthreading like the i7 in Macbook pro but has higher clock speed but the clock speed difference because of turbo boost 2.0 is quite negligible and you can always connect your Macbook to an external monitor if you need a bigger screen, and that also seems to make sense to the majority of users since Imacs account for only 26% of mac units shipped meaning that 74% of users prefer a Macbook. As for ipad + imac alot of users such as me would like to be able to use real desktop applications while on the go such as photoshop, aperture, final cut etc, therefore ipad is only useful for web browsing and just playing around, for users who want to get real work done I would suggest going with Macbook pro + external display.

  5. rmossman Says:

    UH, it looks like your student discount should be spent on a book to learn how to write. I lost track of your point about 70 words into your 120 word sentence.

  6. Stephen Says:

    ” I lost track of your point about 70 words into your 120 word sentence.”

    That’s more than half way, could be worse.

  7. Matte Says:

    IO personalmente preferisco il macbook pro è più portatile!

  8. JJ Says:

    Ht the MBP !!! MBP MBP MBP CHANT NOW!! MBP Nation !!!!

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