Is the Thunderbolt display retina or not?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by SnowLeopard OSX, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. SnowLeopard OSX macrumors 6502a

    SnowLeopard OSX

    Dec 5, 2012
    I've been trying to find the answer to this everywhere and haven't had any luck on it being specified anywhere. Is the Thunderbolt display released in 2011 retina display? I know its not 5K, but is it retina? And when can we expect a 5K one to be released?
  2. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    If you read the tech specs for it you would see it is not.
  3. FriendlyMackle macrumors 6502


    Oct 29, 2011
    It hasn't been updated in 4 years...very overdue for an upgraded screen. The problem, I believe, has been the connectors. Apple definitely wants to use 1 connector only, and I don't think much of anything on the market can handle it yet. That's why they built their own internal drivers/controllers to power the 5K iMac screen, and I assume something similar for the upcoming 4K 21' iMac screen.
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    4K doesn't need any new internal drivers controllers all the current apple tech can handle 4K, 5K has a lot more pixels and needs much more bandwidth.

    I agree though they will probably do a 5K one when USB-C/USB3.1/Thunderbolt 3 goes into their laptops.
  5. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Well, according to this site - - the 2560x1440 TBD is "retina" if you view it from at least 32" away in the sense that the average eye won't be able to pick out individual pixels.

    That's reaching a bit - in reality "retina" on Apple devices has usually meant 4x as many pixels as the previous "non-retina" device, and support for the new "HiDPI" modes and high-quality, resampled, "scaled modes" that take advantage of that. The TBD can't do that (you can probably use a hack to enable HiDPI but you'll get huge text & icons).

    That said, 2560x1440 TBD still looks like a million dollars compared with a cheaper "full HD" 1920x1080 27" displays - but it won't match the pin-sharpness of the "retina" 5k iMac @ 5120x2880.

    Personally, unless I succumb to a 5k iMac, I'd stick to 2560x1440 until affordable 5k displays and the computers that can drive them appear.

    (Anybody used a 27" 4k screen in "scaled" 2560x1440 mode to give the same text/icon sizes as the TBD? What is it like?)

    I don't think there's any guarantee that Apple will ever release a new Thunderbolt Display. The fact that they didn't update the existing TBD a couple of years back with the new iMac-style screen & body, USB3 and Thunderbolt 2 suggests that it's not a big seller. If they do, it will likely be either Thunderbolt 3 or Displayport-over-USB-C and won't work with current Macs (at least not at 5k - they could produce a 21" 4k display).

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