13" Air and Thunderbolt display

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by T-bag, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. T-bag Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    #1
    Hi there! Long time no post.

    I've owned A LOT of macs over the last few years, and finally settled for the 13" air 1,7 GHz i5 (mid 2011 sandy bridge). It took me a while to figure out my computing needs (mb-imac-mbp-mac mini-...-mba), and what power and portability is concerned this machine suits my needs perfecly. But I'm not here to share the story of my life.

    Even though the screen size and resolution is sufficient, it's not great while at the desk. Long story short: I'm in the market for a big monitor. Not another machine. I hate to distribute data across different systems, and an iMac for example would be a waste of money.

    Now, I know the ATD is quite expensive, but I'm willing to pay premium if it really is the best 27" monitor for my laptop. But i have a few concerns:

    1) How does the monitor affect the computers heat/fan noise? Will the system run slower because of extra load? I've been searching around, getting mixed results. Very interested in peoples experiences in this regard. This is my main concern.
    2) Will other non-apple products support thunderbolt in the future?
    3) Will the thunderbolt standard be outdated the next time I'm in the market for a new laptop?
    4) Do you recommend a non-apple monitor instead? Why?
     
  2. spencers macrumors 68020

    spencers

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    #2
    Been meaning to bring my MBA with me to the office to hook up to my spare ATD. I'll have to do this tomorrow and see how fan reacts with the display connected.
     
  3. urkel macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    #3
    To be honest, Thunderbolts future seems like a big question mark to me. The benefits are (supposedly) apparent to people who NEED it, but what makes me worry is that the pricing makes it difficult to adopt for people who only WANT it.

    The common defense for why TB is guaranteed to succeed is that in time pricing will drop but history makes me not believe it. Whenever USB moved forward (USB1 -> USB2, USB2 ->USB3) then there was a zero price increase for newer products. But when FireWire upgrades were introduced there was a drastic price cost to upgrade, and we're seeing an even greater cost to move to Thunderbolt.

    As a Macbook Air owner who has Thunderbolt ports then I definitely WANT a TB monitor and HDD's. But realistically then if given a choice between USB3 vs TB or HDMI vs TB then I'm not going to pay the 30-50% markup for the TB versions.
     
  4. T-bag thread starter Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    #4
    I've had similar thoughts about how certain the establishment of the TB standard is. Apple is currently the only driver creating an infrastructure for it too (obviously). HDMI/DVI feels more safe.
     
  5. Jspring86 Suspended

    Jspring86

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    #5
    I can't speak to fan noise on the TBD, but my 2011 13" air runs incredibly loud when connected via HDMI to my Acer 23" LED monitor.

    I've honestly been considering a TBD myself, but if the fan noise is anything like when I connect it to my Acer display, I don't want to pay $1000 to be annoyed all the time by it.
     
  6. convergent macrumors 68030

    convergent

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #6
    I have a 13" MBA and TBD and love the combo. For comparison, I moved to this from a 15" MBP and Dell 30" display. I would never think of going back... this is much better.

    Here are my answers:

    1. I have never heard any noise from the display, but I have heard a few people mention it. I am on this thing for many hours a day and run a lot of stuff on the MBA... MS Office, Safari, Firefox, OmniFocus, DevonThink, Lotus Notes, Mail, Parallels w/Win7, Lightroom, Photoshop, etc, etc, etc. The TBD is always totally silent, and also cool to touch. My Dell display used to generate a lot of heat. The Air is silent most of the time and I only ever hear fans come up a bit if I'm doing some video conversion or something. Playing a Flash based video for a long time will also sometimes turn them on. This has nothing to do with the TBD... acts the same with or without it.

    2. Other non-Apple products support Thunderbolt now. There are drives available, and the video production industry is producing products for it as well. Others will continue to come out this year with stuff as it gets wider use.

    3. No one can answer this. I don't know how long it will be before you buy another laptop. The Thunderbolt standard is not going to become outdated for a long time to go, because there really isn't anything else that can do what it does. Its really a much cheaper channel adapter and not that similar to USB or Firewire. Once Intel releases the chipset so that Windows based computers start having it available, it will take off in my opinion. Thus far, Apple is the only computer maker that can implement it, so the demand for peripherals isn't quite as high as it will be. I see it being really pushed on the video production side already though, because Apple is big there and they need the bandwidth.

    4. There are probably better spec'd displays if you want to go with something else non-Apple, but the convenience of the Thunderbolt dock type cable vs. a gaggle of other cables, the appearance of the Apple design on my desk, and the inclusion of it on my Applecare for no additional cost were a no-brainer for me.

    I love the TBD/Air combo and highly recommend it.
     
  7. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #7
    Last time I looked, HDMI (and DVI) was only supporting 1080P class screen resolution. By contrast, TB (and dual link DVI) support 2560 horizontal resolutions. The difference between 1920X1080 and 2560X1600 (or 2560X1440) is stunning.

    I do not know of any 27" or 30" 2560 monitors selling for less than about $1K. The ATD is a bargain as it includes lots of other functions such as: USB, Gb Ethernet, FW800, speakers, camera, microphone, and a charger for your laptop.

    /Jim
     
  8. convergent macrumors 68030

    convergent

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #8
    I completely agree with this. Apple selling the TBD for the same price as their regular 27" cinema display was very surprising given all the extra stuff it has.

    Also, keep in mind that value is retained, especially with Apple products. My old Dell 30" that was 5 years old I sold for $600 on Craigslist... which I paid $1500 for. I expect the TBD to retain its value at least equally well.
     
  9. T-bag thread starter Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    #9
    Appreciate you taking the time to type such an extensive answer. This was probably all I wanted to hear. I've been considering many alternatives, but keep ending up in favor of the ATD. I realize that HDMI and other interfaces the dell U2711 supports, wont allow maximum resolution, but I still find it convenient in case I want to have other sources hooked up to it. But the price tag isn't as great when taking the lack of speakers and camera into consideration. My current strategy is to give the ATD a try, and return it if my computer can't run it properly (given your experiences I'm not to worried about that).
     
  10. Jspring86 Suspended

    Jspring86

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    #10
    Does anyone know if the Air will run significantly cooler if you keep the lid closed when driving the Thunderbolt display? I've never actually tried this with my 23" Acer display, but I've been thinking maybe the fans would not be as loud if I tried something like the BookArc and didn't run the internal display at the same time. I really do want to buy a TBD soon, but I don't want the fans in the Air to always be on like they are with my current external monitor. Any insight into this would be appreciated!
     
  11. T-bag thread starter Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    #11
    I used to have a 24" Led monitor (Samsung) with my MBA, but sold it. Did not like that monitor at all. But I can't recall any significant fan noise when using it, and I had my MBA in a BookArc. I also didn't notice much the few times I used it without the BookArc (open mode).
     
  12. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    #12
    I haven't run any scientific tests, but more surface area is exposed using a bookarc or any of the MBA stands which allow it to sit vertically. Alternatively people have used it horizontally with a notebook cooler that should be either at least as good if not better with active cooling of the base.

    The ATD itself generates fan noise, but only in an absolutely silent room and is definitely as warm as my lcd tv in torch mode or plasma after extended use. This is unavoidable since the back is completely sealed and the only vents are on the bottom of the display where the speakers are.

    I will say that the fans spin up mostly when running flash and mostly when doing full screen @ 1440p. I didn't see as much lag when running the same 1080p flash streams on the plasma so it may be the hd3000's limitation there. As for the price of the display and quality, I got an open box for 781 + tax..for the TB connectivity + included ac adapter for the MBA i'll take that over the dell or hp 1440p monitors. Considering I have an LG and toshiba in mine :(, the TBD is much improved as a display itself
     
  13. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #13
    I have a BookArc... and I seldom use it. I just place my 11" MBA on the desk next to my ATD. I use the Apple wireless trio of kbd, trackpad, mouse.

    I only use clamshell mode. With the big 2560 x 1440 display, I really do not want the MBA screen open.

    I never hear the fan on my ATD. My MBA is also quite most of the time. About the only time the MBA fans come on is if I am running a Parallels VM. I try to do that as little as possible, but sometimes it is necessary for some work projects.

    /Jim
     
  14. tomo-dodge macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    #14
    As with almost every Apple product you can always buy knowing the resale value will remain really high. The ATD is sought after and I'd imagine will be for a long while to come, if you bought a Dell or similar monitor it drops in value day one.
     

Share This Page