Monitor upgrade on '09, future compatible?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by whyrichard, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. whyrichard macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002

    I have an '09 quad, with an ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics card. My monitors are slowly dying, a remnant from an older computer...

    I am thinking of moving to a single large monitor solution... my question is:

    -which monitor should i get for my old desktop that will work well with my future laptops? 4 options seem available:

    1: an older Apple Cinema 30" monitor, which would probably outlast my desktop computer. At which point, it would be difficult to use with any future laptops with the new thunderbolt port (?)... yes?

    2: a slightly newer Apple 27" with the mini video port (pre thunderbolt) which my video card does indeed have. However, would this monitor work through the thunderbolt display port of a current macbook air (for instance)?

    3: the current 27" thunderbolt display. will this work with my video card? I thought the video would work, just not the other functions (usb, isight, etc). the benefit of this is that it will be compatible with future laptops....

    4: a large other brand monitor....

    what do you guys think I should aim for?


  2. avemestr macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2012
    Well, you can get a mini-DP to DVI adapter. But if the future laptop only have one TB port, you either get the monitor OR other peripherals.

    Yes, it works.

    Nope, there's a reason they still sell the non-TB display.

    For the same money you might get one from Dell with more connectivity options. But the panel in Apple LED 27" is quite on par with similar priced monitors.
  3. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
    is there any way to get a Thunderbolt display to work with an '09 mac pro?

    thank you so much,

  4. zhandri Suspended

    Sep 4, 2012
    yes, i think apple has an adapter for that
  5. darkcoupon macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2012
    No, there are no video cards available with TB support yet. Between those three choices go with the 27" MD. Computers with TB ports are backwards compatible with MD monitors.
  6. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
    so i could get a tb display that will work just as a display for my mac pro, and will be future compatible?

  7. darkcoupon macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2012
    No, there is no adapter for a Thunderbolt display to work on a Mac Pro. It's impossible.

    check this thread for more info:
  8. zhandri Suspended

    Sep 4, 2012
    i don't have a thunderbolt display, but as fas i know thunderbolt is just a display mini port AND data cable. so if you buy a display mini port to DVI adapter the display should work just fine. anyone can confirm this?? i'm not sure if it's that easy

    looks like on the new thunderbolt only version it won't work according to other internet sources but it would work with the normal LED cinema display
  9. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002

    so considering cost, which do you think I should go for?

    A used 27" Mini Display port?

    or a used 30" Cinema Display?

    Is the added age of a 30" a big negative? Are the 30" displays generally ultra reliable and just keep on going? If so, perhaps this is a better deal for me...

    but the downside is that it won't plug and play in a new laptop, yes?


  10. darkcoupon macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2012
    No, this will not work. The graphics card will need to be able to support Thunderbolt and there are currently ZERO on the market for the foreseeable future.


    Depends on what you're using it for. I use a 30" for photoshop work and, to be honest with you, it's on it's last legs. I've been using it for almost 5 years and it's starting to get ghosting and image burn, etc...

    If you're doing color/image specific work some people don't like the Apple LED monitors because they're not compatible with older calibration systems (spyder 2, etc...) If you buy current-gen colorimeter/calibration software you should be fine. If your work doesn't require color accuracy then just go with the newer 27", it's way more future compatible than the 30"
  11. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
    how much am i missing from Thunderbolt by getting the Mini Display?

    ... just convenience? neat cable management? theoretical speed with external drives? daisy chaining multiple screens?

    thanks for all your responses...

  12. darkcoupon macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2012
    Pretty much, yes, but having a Mac Pro you're already missing out on those features in the first place. There is zero thunderbolt support for any current Mac Pro's so even if you bought the thunderbolt display and somehow magically got it work with your 4870 or any other current graphics card, you would still not be able to use any actual thunderbolt features like daisy chaining, data transfer, etc...

    Now if you have a Macbook Pro with TB port or are planning to get one, a thunderbolt display might be a good investment, but since this is for your Mac Pro it simply won't work.
  13. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
    another option is a wacky one, but a compelling one:

    get a used 27" imac and use it as an external monitor.

    sounds wacky, but i am also thinking of turning my mac pro into a headless media sort of server... love the spacious hard drives (running 5 harddrives in there) and the decent speed but only use it for spurts of productivity from time to time. thus... would like the hard drive access / dvd ripping without the bulk for 75% of the time, and as a workstation for the other 25%... sound silly?

  14. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
    one more question...

    if i were to get a new NON THUNDERBOLT display to work with my '09 mac pro, will it work with a new macbook air as well?

    what are the downsides of a non thunderbolt display over a thunderbolt display for a new macbook air (or other future laptop?) besides cable clutter and some hard drive speed?

  15. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    It would work, but not with a thunderbolt cable. You have to use a mini displayport cable in either circumstance. Thunderbolt can use displayport monitors. It works with some dvi displays too. You just can't connect them with the $50 Apple cable.
  16. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Honestly I don't know why one would buy an Apple monitor except those wanting a turn key solution or the specific aesthetics of the ACD.

    That's the winning option right there. If I were to buy today, I'd probably get the Dell U2713HM which is temporarily $650 at Costco.

    Factory calibrated, WQHD, USB 3.0 hub, great stand, great reviews, mild anti-glare, and lots of inputs.
  17. jasonvp macrumors 6502a


    Jun 29, 2007
    Northern VA
    I'm a recent fan of these inexpensive 27" IPS panels. I have two of them on my Mac Pro at home.

    You get what you pay for, to some extent:
    • The stand stinks. It's cheap and flimsy but will hold the panel up. Just don't expect much in the way of adjustments.
    • The color, from the factory, is way off. Calibrate, calibrate, calibrate!
    • Glossy screen ... this isn't terrible. They did a great job with the anti-glare.
    • Power brick .. that's sorta weird with a panel, but whatever.
    • Absolutely no add-on hubs, connectors, USB .. nothing. Video-in, and that's it.

    It takes HDMI, DVI-D, DP, and VGA in. If you want full resolution, you need to run a DVD-D or DP in; neither of the other two are capable of driving it to a full 2560x1440.

    The mount is a standard VESA pattern, so if you want to replace the crappy stand with something nicer it's way easy to do. I have a massive Ergotron 2-panel stand holding my panels up.


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