Apple Cinema Thunderbolt vs regular 27" questions

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by GadgetGeek407, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. GadgetGeek407 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 26, 2009
    I have a 13 air which i take to my office OMG I would love a 27 inch display and this may solve my desire to have wanted a 27 iMac at the office. Is there a huge difference between the TB and the regular besides the TB, hd cam? I know the new one comes with ethernet port and firewire but how would that help me on the air?

    The daisy chaining only comes in handy when having two TB displays right?

    Quality and resolution on both are are the same right?

    Do I have to have my air screen up and on to use it or can I have the lip closed?

    Will it show the display on both?

    OMG I'm getting so excited to see the fast SSD and power of this air working on a 27"

    I saw a few older models 27" online for like 700, I think thats worth it right? or should i wait for a better price? whats a steal of a deal on one of these?
  2. jdechko, Sep 7, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011

    jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    Both displays essentially function as docking stations when connected to a computer. So for the ACD (non-Thunderbolt), you would have to plug in a USB and video cable to the Air, but you'd get the display, USB, speakers and FaceTime camera. With the Thunderbolt display, you'd only have to plug in the display cable and you'd be able to take advantage of all of the connections, including the Firewire and Gigabit ethernet.

    The non-technical answer is that the display acts as a "converter" so that those connections, while not present on the host machine (the Air) will still work. The slightly more technical answer is that Thunderbolt (the specification) is based of of PCI-e. Anything like a Gigabit Ethernet, Firewire, eSATA, Audio I/O, Graphics card or many other things can be made to work with Thunderbolt because they are also available as internal expansion cards (that connect using PCI-e). Like I said, it's only slightly more technical because I'm tired.

    The Air is incapable of driving two external displays because of the weak graphics card. It can drive 2 displays, but only one external. The 13" MBP and the Mac Mini share this limitation. I'm not sure about the 21" iMac, but all other Thunderbolt equipped machines can drive 2 displays. (The current MacPro lacks Thunderbolt).

    However, that doesn't stop you from connecting additional Thunderbolt accessories, like upcoming Thunderbolt hard drives, or something else that we haven't seen yet. Be warned though, that too many high speed devices may become a bottleneck (like connecting too many high-speed hard drives to the display and trying to run the gigabit ethernet, FaceTime camera and speakers all at one time).

    Yes, both the ACD and Thunderbolt Display use the same panel and should give the same picture quality and resolution.

    Either one will work.

    Yes. You can use just the single external display, or choose Mirror mode (same pic on both displays) or Extended mode (dual desktops)

    That's not really a question.

    Well, the refurbished 27" display is currently selling for $849 on Apple's site, and it comes with a 1-year warranty. So in that respect, $700 seems pretty good. However, the new Thunderbolt displays are just starting to ship out, so unless you are really wanting a new 27" TBD, I'd consider adopting a "wait-and-see" approach to see how the used market responds.
  3. GadgetGeek407 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 26, 2009

    thanks so much very helpful. I wish the ACD 27 had firewire and ethernet :(
  4. kalamaloo macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2010
    I would get the thunderbolt display, no questions. The idea of having my video, audio, data, etc. going through one cable is amazing!

    The biggest thing for me is gigabit ethernet. Ethernet was the missing link making the cinema display a true docking station.

    For those trying to make a decision between the ACD and the TD should depend on the type of MacBook you have. If you have thunderbolt, get thunderbolt. If you don't, then you have to get the older cinemas with the USB cable or upgrade your MacBook.
  5. maclook macrumors 65816

    Nov 2, 2008
    Is anyone considering an iMac instead?

    That may sound crazy but hear me out. For $1,300 more, you can get a refurbed 27" iMac which does video in. $1000 is way overpriced and Apple taxed imo and once I start to convince myself to make such a high end purchase, I wonder what's an extra $300 for a full computer. The refurbed admittedly doesn't have Thunderbolt, but can't you just do the daisy chaining through your MBA (that could be wrong because I am clueless about the daisy chaining business of TB)?
  6. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    Fixed this for you. ;)

    Not that the TBD isn't totally awesome, it is. But it's also very expensive.
  7. jamesr19 macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2009
    I don't think it's worth getting non-thunderbolt - you will always wish that you bought the thunderbolt version! $700 is a good price still so it's down to budget.

    Either way the 27" looks magnificent!
  8. dlimes13 macrumors 6502a


    May 3, 2011
    Perrysburg, OH
    Cheapest I've seen other than Apple refurb is like $860 on eBay. Where do you see $700?
  9. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    The Thunderbolt display is expensive. That's true. But I disagree it's "Apple taxed".

    If you compare it to the average 24" monitor, it's crazy expensive. It's expensive because it's 27" and 2560x1440, which is not really common. Plus it's IPS.

    Has anyone shopped for a 27", 2560x1440, IPS display recently?

    They're very rare. Here are two:

    Dell UltraSharp U2711

    Fujitsu P27T-6 IPS

    Both have similar panels spec-wise, aren't as visually appealing as the Thunderbolt display, made out of cheaper materials, have no integrated webcam, no integrated speakers, and no thunderbolt/firewire/ethernet connectivity.

    I feel like the "Apple tax" is generally a misconception because people don't compare similar products. If you consider every detail, while being high-end, Apple products generally offer a pretty good value when they are released.
  10. hcho3 macrumors 68030

    May 13, 2010
    Might as well as just get 27 inch imac....

    Cinema displays are so overpriced.
  11. GadgetGeek407 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 26, 2009
    negotiating on craigslist! However I may be risking my life in this process :p
  12. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    Great post.
  13. jsolares macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2011
    Land of eternal Spring
    But they aren't, but i also agree, i see an i3 27" refurb model for 1300$ at the apple store, unless of course you need gigabit ethernet or fw800 with your air.

    I might get an ATD when they have USB3
  14. dennya macrumors regular


    Jun 15, 2009
    I'd have gone for one if Apple had included a standard DisplayPort/DVI/HDMI port as well so I could also use it with a PC. Really annoying when they pretend the market is only using the latest versions of their own products.

    pgiguere1 is right. Because I need to use it with an Air and a PC, I looked at third-party 27-inch IPS displays. And the ones that support the same resolution are the same price or more expensive as the Tbolt display.

    Ended up just going for a wonderful Dell U2412M. It's 24-inch, 1920x1200, but I can plug the PC into DVI and the Air into the Displayport connector. And it's only $339 for a super-sharp IPS display.
  15. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    Sorry, but that's just not how Apple does things. Some say that Apple is missing an entire market my not releasing a mid-range, user upgradable tower--an xMac. But Apple will never release that specific product.

    In the same manner, they are not ultra competitive on displays. They have a token display for sale for people who want an all-Apple setup in a non-portable, non-iMac setup. The TBD also makes a great dock for the current laptops. Yeah, it does suck that it's not compatible with older machines (without TB), but Apple isn't one to keep old stuff around very long. ;)

    On a related note, how are you liking the U2412? I've always read good reviews about the U24xx from Dell.
  16. richlee111 macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2011
    Not with the Apple displays. They are a very niche product, and most buyers are either into Apple products, the graphics/AV world, or they just want it for the looks. In the end, they all need to have the $$$$.

    Case in point: My purchase of an ACD 27" this afternoon from Craigs. This guy and his wife are graphics artists, and were selling 2 of these b/c they were downsizing. They even just had me come over to their house to take a look and pick it up. In the end, I paid $750, but tried hard for $700. But hey, for a unit that is just 2 months ago, I can't complain about leaving $50 at the table.

Share This Page