How future proof is the Thunderbolt display?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by etichi, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. etichi macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2012
    I have been thinking about going the mac mini and TD route later this year. The thing that irks me a little when I look at the TD is the one connection.. thunderbolt. There is no dvi or more mainstream connections.

    So essentially, I am relying on Apple to keep the thunderbolt video connection alive so I can reuse it when I purchase my subsequent computer.

    How many of you think thunderbolt will turn into a SNL skit "that is obsolete.."?
  2. jdblas69 macrumors regular

    Aug 15, 2012
    Well the new MP will have thunderbolt 2 and I would imagine future generations of other product lines will eventually as well so I think Apple will be using thunderbolt tech for a while.
  3. wjlafrance macrumors 6502

    Dec 23, 2009
    Madison, WI
    If you think you'll want a PC in the future, you can buy a previous-generation Cinema Display (same panel I believe, 1440p) and a Thunderbolt "hub" from various different brands. That gets you the same port replication on the Thunderbolt hub, and the Cinema Display is mini-DisplayPort so you can connect it to a PC via adapters.

    But it'll also clutter your desk more and probably be out of warranty.

    And you're not really going to want a PC. :D
  4. martinm0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2010
    I'd be hesitant to buy a Thunderbolt Display for the long haul. With the Superspeed USB coming out, I expect Thunderbolt to have a hard time gaining enough adoption to guarantee that it will be around for a long time.

    For this reason, I bought a Cinema Display back in March. Its identical to the current TBD visually - just lacks the docking option. I also can connect it to my PC desktop, and any other computer (with an adapter).

    The one thing I'd be curious to hear more about is if Thunderbolt 2.0 will be able to pass video directly to a mini displayport monitor. Currently, you can't daisy chain a ACD to a TBD without a thunderbolt peripheral in between. If the 2.0 version allows this, my expectation is that the new Thunderbolt displays (whenever those show up) should be able to connect to any Thunderbolt or MiniDP output. Fingers crossed.
  5. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    Based on....

    how Apple and Intel are pushing out the TB techno, I can see you can be future proof for 3-5 years. After that, my crystal ball goes dizzy....(sorry for the joke....:eek:)

  6. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Apple have a lot riding on Thunderbolt - esp. with the new Mac Pro - so I don't think it is going to disappear in the next year or two.

    However - I'd regard the Thunderbolt display as, primarily, a laptop dock. With a laptop, having your video, audio, ethernet, Firewire and USB hub connected by a single cable + having a built in MacSafe adapter is attractive. For a Mac Mini - which has more connections anyway and probably isn't going to be continually plugged and unplugged - I don't think the advantages are so great.

    There are other, cheaper 1440p 27" monitors available - see the 'Mac Peripherals' thread for lots of discussions - that have far more flexible connection options.
  7. rnauman821 macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2004
    The ATD is already outdated until they update it with Magsafe2 and USB3.0.

    Unless they make it thinner, 4k, and Thunderbolt 2, it will be outdated by this time next year.
  8. mslide macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    Which is exactly the reason I wouldn't buy it. If you're only ever going to want to connect it to Apple computers, however, I think you're safe but I consider it already to be outdated since it doesn't have USB3.

    Personally, I'd go with a cheaper 1440p 27" monitor. The more the prices of those other monitors drop, the more the ATD looks overpriced.
  9. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Hey, why buy an Mini: usually because you hate Apple's display offerings or not?
    I don't buy Apple displays because:
    - glossy
    - bad ergonomics
    - bad warranty (a display usually works for 5 years at least, so I want that time for warranty by default).
    - bad reputation: all friends with glossy Apple screens have problems to some extends.
    - very expensive
    - never offering video framerate support

    And regarding your port preference: the only future proof port right now is Display port. If a TBD is fully working on a regular display port device, OK, but when it is some Apple tweak of the standard, skip it.
  10. kingtj macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD

    I like the idea of the Thunderbolt display for a portable (but not so happy with the high price). On the other hand, the limited number of docks or port replicators for the recent models of Macbook Pros and Airs means if you can get one at all for your system, you're probably paying hundreds for it. So at that point, the extra cost of a 27" Apple Cinema display over some other 27" LCDs might make more sense.

    For a Mac Mini, I'd go with something like an LG or Samsung 27" LED backlit display (which have pretty darn good looking panels in them for as little as $300 or so, retail).

    All in all though? I don't know if I'd be all that concerned whether or not Thunderbolt survives in the long run as a reason to buy or skip an Apple display. They traditionally have retained their resale value quite well compared to the cheaper displays, because some people will always pay a premium to have the Apple logo on all their gear and a "matching" setup. Others will want them for used systems that do have Thunderbolt, for years to come. So basically, buy it for the machine you plan to use it with, if you're otherwise happy with it for the money -- and when it ceases to make sense for you, resell it.

  11. etichi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2012
    Thanks for the perspective and opinions on the matter. I did go over to the Peripherals section and saw the crowd's monitor alternatives. One of the biggest complaints is the TD's reflective characteristic and price point. There are apparently plenty of options on the table now that IPS 27" have come down in price and quality has gotten much better.
  12. nexusrule macrumors regular

    Aug 11, 2012
    U.S.B. has latency and stability problems by design and I don't think it will be used for task likes connecting displays.
  13. martinm0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2010
    That wasn't the point I was trying to make. As an I/O, USB is now approaching speeds of Thunderbolt 1.0, which starts to make Thunderbolt more questionable since it will cost way more to implement than USB SS. That alone will impact new devices and hurt the adoption of Thunderbolt beyond the Apple platform.

    The better question at this point is will Thunderbolt 2.0 allow you to connect directly to a non-thunderbolt video output (i.e., Thubderbolt Display to an older Mac with mini displayport only)? If that does become a feature of the new Thunderbolt standard, then I'd have no issues buying a new Thunderbolt Display once apple releases them.

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