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Apple MacBook Pro 17in

Apple has turned around its fortunes in computer sales with its latest line-up of laptops. While its market share in terms of hardware has been tiny in the last two years, this year has seen it grow massively, to the point where almost 20 per cent of all laptops sold in the US are Designed By Apple in Cupertino, California - and Jobs' firm is well on the way to catching HP and Dell in the sales stakes.

Key to the resurgence of Apple has been its consumer line of notebooks, the MacBook, with its pearly white finish and wide screen. But Apple has never forgotten that so many of its customers are 'creative' professionals - video editors, photographers, graphic artists and web designers, and so has continued to put a bit of effort into its MacBook Pro line.

Fundamentally, the MacBook Pro line is exactly the same design as the old PowerBook G4 range from the past few years, but with Intel chips inside rather than Motorola. It could quite happily be argued that you shouldn't fix what isn't broken, and you'd be hard pressed to argue that the 17in MacBook Pro isn't the best-looking, slickest large-screen notebook out there. All the ports you could possibly need are included, with three USB, a Firewire, Firewire 800, Ethernet, dual-link DVI and line in and out, as well as ExpressCard.

Apple has recently updated its MacBook Pro with a bunch of options, which put it right back at the top of pile for hardware specifications. For the first time, you can now have the 17in wide screen kitted out with a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution - the same size as on most 24in monitors, making for a very high pixel density and effective screen space (great for those working with large megapixel pictures and HD video). Naturally, there's a webcam nestled inside the bezel at the top. There's now an option for a 250GB internal hard drive, for all the media storage, and the machine can accommodate up to 4GB of speedy DDR2 667MHz memory. The raw power has been enhanced with a Core 2 Duo that goes up to 2.6GHz, and the standard graphics is a GeForce 8600M GT, with 256MB of RAM - pretty handy for kicking back with a game when it all gets a bit much.

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