Alternative to Thunderbolt display

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by SimonFi, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. SimonFi macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2013
    Hi guys,

    I've been waiting for an updated Thunderbolt Display for almost a year now and just don't want to wait any longer.
    So my question would be are there any good alternatives to the Thunderbolt display with the same resolution/size and the extension ports the Thunderbolt display offers?
    Of course I could just buy a current Thunderbolt display but I feel like the price is way too high for a 2.5 year old monitor which doesn't support the latest technology.

    Looking forward to any suggestions.

  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    What do you want to use the screen for? Is it video, photography, gaming or general web stuff?
    Without knowing the answer it would be impossible for anyone to help you.
  3. SimonFi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2013
    Apple fanboy,
    You're certainly right. I should have mentioned that.
    The screen will mostly be used for CAD stuff as well as software development.
    But it would also be great if I could sometimes use it for photo editing (at least after I calibrated it with the spider...).

  4. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Okay. So in terms of resolution the Thunderbolt Display is 2560 x 1440 I believe which is pretty standard for 27" display these days.
    Depending on your budget I would look at the PA272 from NEC or if you have less cash the Dell ultra sharp series.
    The NEC has just been updated to an LED back light and is a great monitor for photography. If you have more cash the they do a Spectraview version which gives you access to the LUT to calibrate with, which should work with your Spyder assuming its the pro or elite model.
    It doesn't come with a thunderbolt port but it has USB connectivity for your keyboard etc.
  5. SimonFi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2013
    I actually took a look at both of those monitors. I think they are both great displays but unfortunately (as you said) they don't support thunderbolt.

    I currently work with a macbook retina (2 thunderbolt ports).
    For speed reasons (NAS data transfers) I use one of the ports with the ethernet to thunderbolt adapter. I also use a Dell 2209 display in pivot mode for PDFs, source code editing on the second TB port.... and that's the point where I am running out of thunderbolt ports without daisy chaining...
    If there are no displays with thunderbolt support out there at the moment - is there something like a Thunderbolt hub?
  6. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    What about something like this?
  7. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    What you probably want is one of these:

    ...which would give you your ethernet and a Thunderbolt-through port to which you can connect one monitor with your usual adapter/cable, leaving you a free monitor-capable Thunderbolt port on your Mac.

    Unlike the Belkin, it also has a HDMI output that could be used to run a monitor instead, leaving the TB-through free for hard drives etc. According to the Caldigit FAQ you can use a HDMI-to-DVI adapter to run a DVI monitor.

    Note that you can't connect two monitors to the dock unless one of them is a Thunderbolt display.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    If you don't want to buy the current thunderbolt display, you're going to have to give up the notion of getting -any- display that "extends" thunderbolt.

    As far as I know, Apple's display is the ONLY "thunderbolt" display that exists. I could be wrong.

    There are plenty of other high-quality displays out there that will provide the resolution and screen quality of the Apple display. A good place to start looking is here:

    If you need to "extend" the thunderbolt port "past the display connection" (any non-Apple display will need to use the displayport functions of the thunderbolt port), you should get a 3rd-party thunderbolt dock.

    Two that come to mind are the Caldigit dock (someone mentioned that above), and another one here:

    Important: if you buy a thunderbolt dock, be sure to get one that has TWO thunderbolt ports on it: one "in", the other "out". Both the Caldigit and Akitio docks have two.
  9. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Just about every display out there at that price point is better than Thunderbolt display in my opinion.

    Most of the 27" monitors with the same panels and more connectivity is a cheaper. Spend the difference on a Thunderbolt dock that gives you more functionality.

    That's what I did.

    If you buy the Thunderbolt display, it'll only work on on the Mac (basically).

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