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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:01 PM   #1
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Apple Thunderbolt Display Teardown Reveals Plethora of Hardware Inside







iFixit has managed to get its hands on one of Apple's new Thunderbolt displays, subjecting it to one of the firm's usual thorough teardowns. iFixit was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to disassemble the new display, and upon opening found a considerable amount of hardware inside to support the display and the docking station functions included in the package.
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Both sides of the logic board are packed with enough chips that it's hard to believe there's no computer inside this display. Standouts include:

- Pericom PI7C9X440SL PCIe-to-USB 2.0 host controller
- L129NB11 EFL, which looks to be the Thunderbolt port controller
- Analog Devices ADAV4601 audio processor
- NXP LPC2144 USB 2.0 microcontroller
- Delta LFE9249 10/100/1000 Base-T LAN filter
- SMSC USB2517-JZX USB 2.0 hub controller
- Maxim MAX9736B Mono/Stereo high-power Class D amplifier
- LSI L-FW643E-2 open host controller interface
- Broadcom BCM57761 Gigabit ethernet controller
- Supertex HV9982 3-channel switch-mode LED driver IC
The display also includes an integrated 49-watt, 2.1-speaker sound system with a small 1-inch subwoofer, as well as a 720p FaceTime camera and integrated microphone.




Thunderbolt port on logic board for accepting incoming connection
As for the display itself, iFixit discovered an LG LM270WQ1 panel inside, the same as that used in Apple's Late 2009 27-inch iMac. Interestingly, the Thunderbolt cable carrying signal to the display is connected to an actual Thunderbolt port mounted on the logic board rather than hardwiring the cable directly to the logic board. The Thunderbolt cable is secured to the logic board port with a cover screwed down on top of the connector.

We chatted with iFixit's Miro Djuric about the curious observation that Mini DisplayPort displays can not be daisy chained off of an Apple Thunderbolt Display unless another Thunderbolt device is placed between the two displays in the chain, but the teardown unfortunately does not reveal the source of this limitation.

Some speculation has centered around the possibility that a single Thunderbolt controller chip may not have the ability to output the display signal required for both the included display panel and a connected Mini DisplayPort display panel. A separate Thunderbolt chip, such as one found in an intermediary peripheral device, may be required to generate the signal for the Mini DisplayPort panel at the end of the chain.

Article Link: Apple Thunderbolt Display Teardown Reveals Plethora of Hardware Inside

Last edited by Doctor Q; Sep 28, 2011 at 04:10 PM.
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:02 PM   #2
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What is a plethora?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mTUmczVdik
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:05 PM   #3
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Man, I love that bit!
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:06 PM   #4
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People still calling it overpriced compared to the dell should think again. BTW I have the dell 27"
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:06 PM   #5
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:07 PM   #6
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Really a bummer that Apple wouldn't put a third party USB 3 controller in this, it would have been just perfect.
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:09 PM   #7
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They say that this display is the same display used in the 27" '09 iMac. Does that mean the 2010 and 2011 27" iMacs use a different display?
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:09 PM   #8
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I love these tear downs
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:16 PM   #9
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A lot of electronics but I still can't justify the price!

I wish Apple would offer a lower-end display, 23" something that has Thunderbolt but no USB/Firewire hub.

Impressive construction though.
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:20 PM   #10
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inside x outside

Sometimes iWhatever inside looks better than the ,,competitors',, outside and I think this is the case.
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by applefan289 View Post
They say that this display is the same display used in the 27" '09 iMac. Does that mean the 2010 and 2011 27" iMacs use a different display?
I'm wondering the same thing. *looks at his 27" 2011 iMac*
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:25 PM   #12
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People still calling it overpriced compared to the dell should think again. BTW I have the dell 27"

Well if your just wanting to compare a monitor to a monitor I would agree with those other people, but that is not just a monitor.
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:27 PM   #13
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That's the sexiest thing I've seen all day.
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:34 PM   #14
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That's the sexiest thing I've seen all day.
Bad day!!!
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:40 PM   #15
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I think we're all just waiting anxiously for the new iPhone.
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 04:52 PM   #16
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Apple should really add MagSafe power connection to the Mini.
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 05:00 PM   #17
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Apple should really add MagSafe power connection to the Mini.
That is a good idea. At least as an option. Maybe the next revision with USB 3 and other goodies.
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 05:11 PM   #18
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I'm curious as to the feasibility of having this display being sort of a chassis for future Apple products. If it were me I would use that internal display port as a link between the external I/O and whatever computing hardware you might use. Basically meaning that Apple could build a standardized set of motherboards for various products that they could reuse. I'm sure it wouldn't take too much work to find space for some MacBook Air or Mac Mini guts in there. Just an idea obviously.
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 05:16 PM   #19
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 05:18 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by toolongdays View Post
I'm curious as to the feasibility of having this display being sort of a chassis for future Apple products. If it were me I would use that internal display port as a link between the external I/O and whatever computing hardware you might use. Basically meaning that Apple could build a standardized set of motherboards for various products that they could reuse. I'm sure it wouldn't take too much work to find space for some MacBook Air or Mac Mini guts in there. Just an idea obviously.
Thumb resize.
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 05:21 PM   #21
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I'm waiting for the day when the display has a big slot on the side and you just slide in your Macbook Air computer when you are at home ... no cables at all!
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 05:21 PM   #22
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Thumb resize.
Sorry if I have a more expansive imagination than what Apple currently provides.
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 05:21 PM   #23
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No matte display is a deal breaker. It is a health and productivity issue. No matte, no purchase. Full stop.

Sign the matte display petition at MacMatte as thousands have already done:
http://macmatte.wordpress.com
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 05:24 PM   #24
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lol @ 1 inch subwoofer
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 05:26 PM   #25
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"...a small 1-inch subwoofer..."

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