Anyone using Thunderbolt Display with 2011 13" MBA Successfully...

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by udflyer, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. udflyer macrumors 6502

    Jan 3, 2011
    About to pull the trigger on buying the Thunderbolt display for my MBA 13" 2011.

    I made the mistake of looking for reviews.

    I see a lot of people stating there are a lot of bugs with the display (they did not specify) and had to return it.

    Others said theirs broke in 2 months etc...

    Others say when you watch videos the fans on the MBA crank up to 5000 rpm

    Just looking for some success stories.


  2. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    I've been using the TBD for about two weeks.

    If you don't have a stand or something to give empty space under the MBA, the fans will run at max while the laptop is connected to the monitor. I use the mStand for mine and now my MBA runs silent. However if you run anything with Flash, it causes the fans to crank up. Nothing else has caused that for me since getting the stand - but I don't watch videos.

    Most of the items on the dock connect every time I plug in my MBA and wake it. However, sometimes the Ethernet doesn't connect and I have to reboot my MBA for it to connect.

    I leave my MBA in clamshell (lid closed) when I plug it into the monitor. I have no problems waking the laptop from sleep using the bluetooth Magic Mouse or my Logitech solar keyboard with unifying wireless receiver (plugged into a USB hub which is plugged into the monitor). Just be aware, it can take 10-20 seconds for it to wake up and appear on the monitor.

    Overall - I'm quite happy with the TBD. The one I use is work owned and located at my work desk. I enjoy it enough that I plan on buying one of my own for use at home. The resolution is awesome and having a dock is quite nice too. The image quality is great and I can read two document side by side (word/PDF/website/whatever) without issue.
  3. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    Works great here. No issue with the fans, although they will crank up always on the Air when using flash (I avoid).
  4. Windowsrefugee macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2011
    Microsoft Land
    I had a ACD with a 2010 13" MBA Ultimate, now have the 2011 13" MBA Ultimate with the TBD. I have had no problems at all and love the combination. The MBA fans occasionally run high, but that seems to be more related to particular software that is running eg Skype or FaceTime.


    I had a ACD with a 2010 13" MBA Ultimate, now have the 2011 13" MBA Ultimate with the TBD. I have had no problems at all and love the combination. The MBA fans occasionally run high, but that seems to be more related to particular software that is running eg Skype or FaceTime.
  5. mtbiac macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2009
    I too own a 2011 13" MBA and the new Thunderbolt Display. It's been about 3 months now. The only problem I have had, which is a constant source of frustration, is the constant running of fans. Now I wouldn't mind if the fans ONLY went to 6.5k rpm when I was watching 1080p video, gaming, or watching large flash videos, but the fans seem to come on at random (in addition to the above tasks). HOWEVER, I've noticed that when the TBD is unplugged, the cpu/memory temps will actually be higher (and with fans at ~2k rpm) than the threshold for 6.5krpm with TBD, if that makes sense.

    Example: NO TBD: watching full-screen flash video 720p on hulu. cpu temp 80F+, memory temp 60F, fans at 2-3.5k and UN-audible.

    WITH TBD: surfing web, NO flash, no videos, cpu usage under 10%, fans might be at 5k-6k+ for hours on end (extremely loud and annoying), while cpu temp <60F and mem temp < 55F...I've tried stands, tried leaving MBA open to allow more airflow (although temps still low so not sure how this would help..?), latest EFI, reset SMC, latest TBD firmware, etc. Nothing helps.

    I understand that it uses Much more graphics/cpu power to run the TBD, and that's fine, but shouldnt the fans ONLY be controlled in relation to temps?

    I'm just very confused by the whole thing and will probably try to replace this for the 27" ACD this week. I've tried every update I could find, every trick i've read, nothing has helped.

    other than the fan issue, NO problems whatsoever. No disconnecting of bluetooth, USB works perfect, Screen is stunning, etc
  6. axu539 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2010
    I have an 11" 2011 MBA with the 27" ATD. Like a few other posters have said, the fans do tend to crank up when watching flash videos (and a few other formats that require more CPU-intensive video decoding). The temperatures usually sit around 60 degrees celsius when watching videos, though, so it's really not a problem, even though the machine is usually in clamshell mode. I'd say the setup is actually really nice considering how thin the MBA actually is. The fan noise does come as a surprise initially, but it's really not that big a deal considering it only cranks up with more intensive tasks, with the sound from the video being louder than the fan anyway.
  7. Deeps macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2011
    Nottingham, UK
    Been using for 7 months now and no real issues, apart from the fan noise in the MBA when watching flash.
  8. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I'm using the TBD with my 2011 MBP and have no problems. I think many of the issues you are reading about were early on and there have been both TBD and Macbook Air/Pro firmware updates since then that seem to have fixed the issues people were having.

    Only real complaint I have is the fans ramp up when watching any kind of Flash video. Otherwise it is completely silent.
  9. czachorski macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2007
    Thanks everyone for the posts. I have a 13" MBA and TBD in the mail as we speak and was wondering the same thing as the OP.
  10. Sythas macrumors 6502a


    Oct 22, 2009
    Québec, Canada
    2 months and I don't have more trouble with my fan on the TBD than without it. I use it with the ARC BOOK. Right now I've had some trouble with my FW hard drive connected trough the TBD and with the display going to sleep....

    Very happy to have spend more money to have those connections and easy setup to charge my MBA and all..
  11. blairwillis macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2005
    I'm having the same issue, and I believe it only started with the most recent incremental OS X update.

    I don't find the fan to be an issue, but maybe if you're recording in a studio, you'd want to have it isolated. It's a normal fan noise and nothing like the jet plane sound of my old G5 tower when it went into full blast.

    Great display. Fantastic, really.

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