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I have a MacBook Pro with Mini DisplayPort and I want to use target display mode to use a Thunderbolt iMac as an external display. If this works, would I need a Mini DisplayPort cable or a Thunderbolt cable?

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According to this source, you won't be able to do that. You have to have a Thunderbolt Mac and use a Thunderbolt cable to use a Thunderbolt iMac as an external display. This other source has a table that confirms it. Sorry!

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    Yep. Just to confirm, I've tried it and it doesn't work. Although the connectors are physically the same, the protocols are incompatible. – binarybob Feb 19 '12 at 19:32

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