View Full Version : Mini DisplayPort (2010 MBA) and ThunderBolt Display

Aug 11, 2012, 08:11 AM
I finally decided to replaced my four-year-old MacBook Aluminum out of concern the hard drive is about to fail. I can't be without a computer to use for remote access to work while traveling.

I ordered a new MacBook Air. I was thinking of ordering a ThunderBolt display to put in my home office and ditch my iMac (also four years old).

My wife has a 2.13 GHz MacBook Air (2010 model) with the Mini DisplayPort.

Is this essentially a ThunderBolt port that needs an adapter? I'm assuming it would be compatible with the ThunderBolt display, but if I purchase an external hard disk (to keep video on), will she be able to access the hard disk when she plugs up the monitor (if the hard disk is connected to the ThunderBolt display)?

Sorry, I did a search for this and got a bunch of irrelevant discussions.

Aug 11, 2012, 08:14 AM
The 2011 MBA has Thunderbolt, not the 2010. I think you can plug in a Thunderbolt display into a Mini Displayport, but buying one would be a waste. You could not use any additional plugs on the display for USB, Ethernet, etc.

Aug 11, 2012, 08:29 AM
Her MBA has a Mini DisplayPort.

I think from what I'm reading the display will work, but the hard drive wouldn't.

If I use the display, will the USB ports on the monitor work? Not sure if the monitor translates them to run through the ThunderBolt display.

I may be just getting a new iMac too in my future.

Aug 11, 2012, 08:37 AM
Honestly, I'm too new to the MBA to know if a Thunderbolt display will work on Mini Displayport at all or not. I know that ports are definitely not going to work.

Why don't you keep the iMac around, give it a wired connection, and plug your external hard disk into that and share it? Then you could both access your video content over Wifi.

Aug 11, 2012, 08:40 AM
Was going to do a ThunderBolt RAID hard drive for editing video. Wireless wouldn't do it.

Aug 11, 2012, 09:23 AM
I hope this helps clear things up:


Basically, if you have a pre-thunderbolt machine, it will only work with other MiniDisplayPort monitors (27" Cinema Display, 24" Cinema Display).

If you have a thunderbolt machine, it will work with thunderbolt monitors (27" Thunderbolt Display) and accessories (thunderbolt to ethernet, firewire, thunderbolt disks, etc.) AND is also backwards compatible with MiniDisplayPort monitors (27" Cinema Display, 24" Cinema Display)

So it looks like your answer is no for your wife's 2010 Macbook Air, and yes for your new 2012 Macbook Air.

Aug 11, 2012, 09:23 AM
TBD needs a Mac with a TB port, will not work with a 2010 Air with DP.