Apple Air usage with Thunderbolt display

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by AXs, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Hey guys. I wanted to ask Thunderbolt display users what it feels like to use an Apple TB Display?

    I didn't realize before that it basically acts as a dock. And basically with it, I'll get Ethernet, more connectivity to my server, and of course it will charge my mac as well.

    I'm not bugged by the $1000 price tag. I'm big up on displays. I was just sort of anti-apple previously, despite owning an ipod classic for about 8 years, and then ipod touch (w/cam) and iPad retina 64gb 3g. i still thought Apple products were "for newbs" (aprt from handhelds of course which got the job done).

    But since I became a "mac" I've realized the benefits that lies in Apple.

    So... $1000 on a display that will also serve as a dock.

    Please note this wont be for home entertainment - I already have a 40" Sony Internet Tv synced wirelessly to my MacAir, it will be mostly for database management and of course some youtubing. The Ethernet is kewl because I have about 10TB on my server, and don't really have an AC router just yet.

    This will replace my current 21" samsung led screen, which I'll give back to my Acer Ethos and custom desktop pc to share (I hate changing cables and it only plugs 2).

    So, is it worth it? Is it necessary? Basically, do you Apple Display guys have "fun" with your piece and how much use is it as a work display. I usually prefer 21" to work with my laptop. Will the 27" throw me off, you think?

    Thanks for any suggestion guys.

    #Team Apple! (with Pc ex-wives)
  2. micrors4racer macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    I run 2 TB displays connected to my 2012 11 inch MBA and it is awesome to have such a huge work space for pictures. I think you will enjoy it. And yes you do get used to the size, it seemed huge to me at first but now its just "regular".

    I liked the docked aspect of it and if you are tight on space the built-in speakers are great too. My only complaint is the way OSX handles external drives and needing to eject them. I have unplugged my MBA in a hurry on multiple occasions and gotten the world is gonna end message because you didn't safely eject your drives. Oh and don't think they are lying either, it happened to my drive I was transferring pictures too and it corrupted 90% of it luckily I have hourly time capsule backups. This is not an issue once you get the hang of it (windows users always look at me funny when I safely eject drives on their computers). Just thought I would mention seeing that you are a recent convert :D
  3. AXs thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Oh and thankfully you mentioned it. Because I just unplugged my passport drive yesterday and it gave me a warning and I was like "yea sure, whatever" since i'm not used to ejecting.

    My gosh, I can't believe it is actually true. Thanks for the heads up, will definitely get into habit.

    It's nice to hear that the 27" blends in quick for people who previously worked with smaller screens. I'm going to go fool around with it a little at the shop to see how it feels. The dock aspect certifies it for me really. Just have to plug in 1 cable to my air at my station at home. Amazing. That too, higher than industry average display and resolution comes with it.

    BUT....Now there's this other main question. I checked buyer's guide and there's no real pattern regarding Apple Display releases. However, this has been the longest stint since apple has gone without introducing a refresh.

    I can't find any rumors regarding a new release. I think it may be a good idea to wait a month to see if anything happens? Does Apple usually release their screens along with macbooks and so on?

    I also read that the RJD2 Mac Pro has 4k support.... hinting that the new apple display may support it as well? Though I find it hard to believe since I was checking the Sony 4k out at a store, at it's at about $6000.

    Ahh soo many questions, would really appreciate any help from anyone.
    Will also throw in free hugs (no-homo) :p
  4. micrors4racer macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    It probably won't ruin anything if the drive was resting but since I was copying files that sure did it and I am sure its the same in all operating systems.

    I had a single 22 inch dell then two of those, then a 20 inch cinema aluminum (man I would kill to get brand new dual 30 inch aluminums; I think its their best design along with the G5/Mac Pro), and now my 27 thunderbolts. The transition isnt bad at all. How far do you plan on sitting from it?

    And the thunderbolt displays are getting long in the tooth and I'm sure there is an update soon but I too haven't heard much. If you are worried about an oncoming update, I would shop on Craigslist. I often seen brand new still in warranty displays for 700-800. Apple warranty transfers with the device so you shouldn't be worried about it dying on it. Just run the serial on the apple warranty check. Some of them even come with AppleCare good for 3 years. Buying this way is great because the previous owner already took the depreciation off it, the displays are not mobile devices so they are in good condition, and they are under warranty for some of them. If a new one comes out in a few months just offload your old on on CL for the same price you paid for it :D
  5. knuro macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2009
    It functions flawlessly with my July 2011 Mac Air 13". I like mine very much but beware, it is very very glossy. Can you say 'highly reflective'? Also, my wifi is faster (higher bandwidth) than the Ethernet thru the display.
  6. micrors4racer macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    Oh yea thats another thing, it is incredibly reflective if you have lighting behind you. How is your wifi faster than the gigabit ethernet?
  7. AXs thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Thanks for taking the time to post guys.

    That's the one thing it seems that is discouraging me. I was reading reviews on the apple site and it seems 2/3 people are pissed off about the glossy screen, and state it's impossible to work in light.

    Also I don't mind spending 10% more to get it directly from Apple, just to be safe. I'm going either today or tomorrow to fool around with one. Actually I plan to exactly do what I would need to for work, on their demo piece.

    These are the steps I will take - check connectivity. Plug in external storage device. Note if the size is too overwhelming, or would be just fine... And of course the glossy/reflectiveness of the screen. It's essential that I don't buy a screen that will Piss me off (like how it seems to p'o majority of people judging from Apple site).

    Thanks again guys for the time.:D
  8. jwjsr macrumors 6502


    Mar 15, 2012
    Fairhope, Alabama
  9. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    FWIW, this is true in the Windows world as well (you're supposed to "safely eject" all USB drives before unplugging them). Windows just isn't as explicit about warning you, and I suspect when problems do arise, people are just more willing to blame the hardware.

    On both platforms, more often than not nothing will come of just unplugging the drive, BUT, if you happen to just have really bad timing, you can corrupt the file system. You have to be sure that the OS isn't writing something to the drive at the time you want to unplug it. A write operation means changes in the file system are taking place, and interrupting those changes before the operating system can stop at a safe point will cause a corruption to happen.

    Explicitly ejecting makes absolutely sure the OS knows not to write anything, eliminating the off chance that you might wreck it during a write operation.

    As for the Thunderbolt display: bear in mind that any new thunderbolt display released will likely not have any new features that the MacBook Air will be able to take advantage of. Thunderbolt 2 is so far a Mac Pro thing, not something the current generation MBA can handle. So you'd be "missing out" anyway, even if you waited. Might as well just buy it now.
  10. knuro macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2009
    Wifi faster than Ethernet

    Dunno, but may be my dlink router? All I know is that several times a day/night I have measured both using the bandwidth measuring software on (and separate software) and it is always the same- the Wifi bandwidth is higher (significantly) than direct Ethernet thru the A T Display. I usually watch MLB games on Wifi to take advantage of the broader bandwidth. (I found same thing before I bought the A T Display using the Ethernet to USB connector directly to Mac Air. I thought it was because of the slow USB 2 port on laptop.)
  11. cramazing macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2012
  12. AXs thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Yea, a file that I was downloading to a passport drive (movie) was corrupt because I pulled out the usb like 2 seconds after it finished downloading.

    It gave me a 'write error' message, and wouldn't play properly later.

    But that's the only issue I've had in all my years using a usb device with windows.

    And I've been pulling out for a while. giggity.
  13. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    didn't you just get through telling me why the $800 refurb is still a "horrible deal"
  14. AXs thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    I don't get it. I still think it's a bad deal.

    Maybe it's a personal thing. I don't use refurbs/second hand stuff... unless the prior owner is family.
  15. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    i think calling a refurb "used" is a bit unfair. it is fully backed by the warranty, coverable under applecare and they are always factory tested. in many ways i think refurbs are better than new and i always buy refurbished when possible.

    someone looking to buy a new laptop AND a monitor would also have the option of getting the TBD and laptop covered under the same 3 year APP.

    so you could get a base 11" MBA, TBD and APP for under $2000 with the student discount.
  16. micrors4racer macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    He might not know how Apple refurbs work yet since he is new. AXs, Apple Refurbs are in every way identical to new units. They have brand new everything except maybe power supply or logic board. All cosmetic stuff is replaced and there is absolutely no way to tell the difference other than the serial and the great price you get for them. They also have the same 1 year warranty as a retail unit.

    I have actually had more success with refurb iphones, macs, and displays than brand new retail ones possibly because they are put through a more rigorous tests.

    The gloss problem is easily cured by not placing the display with any backlight behind it. Over head lights are okay especially the warm colored ones normally used in homes. The problem is exaggerated especially at the Apple store with their florescent lights, in this environment the new 70% less glare screens of the imacs truly shine. Depending on where you intend to put the display, this alone might be worth the wait.
  17. AXs thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    I'm gonna go have a look tomorrow. Even if I was okay with Refurbs - It isn't an option where I live really. Risk>Reward not worth it. Apple doesn't officially sell refurbs here, though the service centers' parent company does and offer warranty as well.

    Anyways, another question:

    I was just thinking about it. I'm not going to get thunderbolt speed transfer from harddrives plugged to the TB Display via usb am I? It will be usb 3.0 speed.

    If I plug in a Thunderbolt harddrive, will I get Thunder speed for file transfers?

    Basically I'm transferring data to the screen for display, and simultaneously writing to my SSD from a flash drive plugged to the TB display.

    Will it matter? Is it dual channel? ahhh so confused. I wish I bought a mac sooner so I don't have to feel like a noob with Basic Computers for beginners 101 :(
  18. micrors4racer macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    If you plug in a USB drive to the USB ports on the TB Display it will only go USB 2.0 speeds as it is not USB 3.0. If you plug in a TB Drive into the TB Display you will get TB speeds.
  19. sfkeepay macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2010
    Refurbed Apple products (I've had 4 total, including a 2011 display) are a steal and if purchased directly are, for me, too good to pass up. Just my 2 cents.

    Oh yeah, and hugs back, only please note that I AM a "homo" and you're not my type...

    Welcome to the Mac universe.
  20. tbolt11 macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2013
    I wouldn't advise getting the current thunderbolt display if the price tag at all startles you. I also heavily considered getting a thunderbolt display but decided against it. It desperately needs an update. Some of the updates would be obvious: superthin profile and reduced glare (as seen in new imacs).

    My opinion is getting a 24" Dell Ultrasharp is more practical at this point, which is what I plan to do when I see a good deal on one. Not going to be as elegant as a thunderbolt display though.
  21. AXs thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Ahh okay, just checked and apparently TB Display only comes with usb2.0 slots and not usb3.0

    Definitely gonna wait for a refresh now. It really loses it's value as a dock without 3.0.

    Hope a refresh comes out in October. They've got to really. I don't see how apple can let this $1000 screen sit in the market with usb2.0 and TB. They are surely implementing usb3.0 and TB 2 in the next refresh. And it definitely has to be coming soon because they're not going to be complimenting the RJD2 Mac Pro with the current display.

    Hoping they follow suit with their recent releases and knick $100 off the price. Would basically mean two 2m cables for free.


    You sir, win the internet today.
    Well played.
  22. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Oct 21, 2009
    You could buy a refurbished unit but to buy it because it's a dock doesn't make total sense because you can get a usb 3.0 dock for pretty cheap that has gigabit ethernet 6usb ports (some usb 3 and some usb 2) as well as dvi and hdmi
  23. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    As others have said, ripping a mounted drive out of a Windows computer is a bad idea too... it just doesn't warn you.

    Go on the App store and get a program called "unDock" it gives you a menu shortcut and a keyboard shortcut (default is Command-Control-Option-Space) that you can hit to quickly undock all of your attached drives. I use a ton of USB thumb drives in my line of work to transfer data, and it is a lifesaver.
  24. AXs thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009

    I'm not buying a dock. I've got a couple.
    I'm not buying a display. I've got a few.
    I'm not looking for 3.0 usb support. My server runs fine with my 10TB storage.

    What I AM looking for, is the full package. An Apple Display was the full package, or at least when I thought it was 3.0 compatible.

    1 plug to my macbook air, I'll get the best external display available, the fastest write speed available to go with my SSD which is the fastest drive available, ethernet connectivity to get the fastest network speed, an option to plug to another display with the same max resolution, and USB compatibility.

    Notice 1 thing - It's just USB compatible, not the 'fastest USB connectivity available'.

    That's the one thing keeping it from being a perfect buy. It's the whole package otherwise.

    tl,dr: I'm getting the complete package, not just a singular function.
  25. tann macrumors 68000

    Apr 15, 2010
    Nottingham, England
    Good alternative is the Dell U2713, it's also 27" of 1440p IPS goodness. The few things it misses are:


    Ethernet I don't personally use, so wasn't a big deal for me.
    Webcame is the same (the internal one is good enough).
    Speakers I got the dell soundbar (~£20 extra).

    What I like about this particular monitor is that it has an inbuilt USB 3.0 4 port hub and is matte screen. Also extra inputs like hdmi, dvi and even vga!

    However, unlike the apple one it doesn't charge your device, give it ethernet or have everything in a TB wire.

    I use a minidisplay>displayport cable to get the full 1440p res, then just have to plug in the usb hub cable and power cable and I'm good to go.

    I hear that Apple may refresh the TB display later this year, and in that I would expect magsafe 2.0 connectivity as well as a USB 3 hub and the new iMac (less glossy) screen build.

    I personally can't justify the Apple expense so I went with the Dell. Also, if it makes a difference, the Dell rotates through 90degrees.

    Just another option if you can't wait for a refresh and were wanting a USB 3.0 hub and matte screen.

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