Thunder Bolt Display Alternative

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by TheAirBender, Dec 31, 2016.

  1. TheAirBender macrumors newbie


    Dec 31, 2016
    Hello, everybody, I have a question. I really love the thunderbolt display, but the price is insane. Does anyone know any good replicas or alternatives?
  2. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    I've tried to find one for years.

    The reason apple could sell their outdated display for such a long time is that there is no display out there that is like the thunderbolt display.

    People on here will recommend displays and claim that they are like the tb display but they aren't.

    Just see for yourself.
  3. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    do you just want thunderbolt interface, or are you wanting a monitor that is better in every which way for the same price? The LG 5K monitor is great, but for a grand, there are no less than 6 monitors out there that outperform it, if you are a graphic designer or photographer. There are some BenQ, Eizo and NEC monitors that are just as good (and come with a hood). more info is needed. 5K will make my photos look better (and stuff i design), but doesn't help me in what matters the most - final product
  4. danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2005
    It really depends on what you need and want out your display. Monoprice just came out with a similar for WQHD display with an aluminum chassis for $280 that has good reviews. That won't get you the thunderbolt docking functionality of the the TB display though. There are a few TB docks out there though if that is what you are after.

    So is it the photography/production you are after? or is the convenience of TB?
  5. Daniel Reed, Jan 5, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017

    Daniel Reed macrumors 6502

    Daniel Reed

    Sep 9, 2016
    San Francisco
    Thunderbolt displays were a great deal and are very nice monitors.
    I still use two of them in my edit suite.

    Sadly due to Apple's poor marketing and misrepresentation of hardware specs,
    very few know they are actually 10-bit displays.

    $1K for a 10-bit panel was a good deal, especially at the time.

    Armchair experts will point to inaccurate websites as proof Thunderbolt display panels are only 8-bit.

    Just plug one into a Mac Pro 6,1 and look at the system report details.
    Use switchresx, from ANY MBP w/ dGPU released in the last 6 years, turn ON "billions of colors", check system report details, and open a 10-bit gradient in "Photos" app.
  6. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    They look nothing like the tb display.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 6, 2017 ---
    And that's why :apple: needs to come out with anoter display.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    meister wrote:
    "They look nothing like the tb display."

    The image quality on many is as good, or better.
    If it's "style" you're talking about... does one want "form", or "function"?

    "And that's why :apple: needs to come out with anoter display"

    They need to come out with more printers, too.
    How long have we been waiting for them... ;)
  8. SpinalTap macrumors regular


    Sep 25, 2003
    Bournville, UK
    Keep a lookout on the Apple Refurb Store. I bought my Thunderbolt Display from there with 33% discount.
  9. fefe ahmed macrumors newbie

    fefe ahmed

    Jan 7, 2017
    you may find it used in some sites make your search my you find it for sale
  10. Daniel Reed macrumors 6502

    Daniel Reed

    Sep 9, 2016
    San Francisco
    I got tired of explaining to folks the Apple Thunderbolt Display was not a rip-off 8-bit monitor... I made a video showing 10-bit & 8-bit gradients on a thunderbolt display!

  11. loby macrumors 6502a


    Jul 1, 2010
    Thank you for this video. I have a thunderbolt monitor and love it. I run it on a Mac Pro 2013 and it looks great! Makes me appreciate the monitor even more. Hope apple decides to create another monitor, but it looks like they are done with monitors. Today's market cannot justify their premium sale price, especially when you can get a technically better monitor from a competitor. Form may 'suck', but screen etc. is better.

    I like the form of apple monitors and would like for them to take the retina iMac and just make a screen without the insides. I do not think it would be that costly to manufacturer and apple could still make their profit on it. I would buy one.
  12. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    I subjectively perceive the image quality of the tb display as superior.

    I've yet to see a screen that matches it.
  13. thingstoponder macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2014
    Are non-retina iMacs also 10-bit? Also what about the older 27 inch Cinema display?
    --- Post Merged, Jan 17, 2017 ---
    It's the glossy display I think. Matte ones look bland in comparison.
  14. Daniel Reed, Jan 17, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2017

    Daniel Reed macrumors 6502

    Daniel Reed

    Sep 9, 2016
    San Francisco
    I've successfully tested iMacs in 10/30-bit mode as old as 2011 27" models.

    What is needed for 10-bit non-MP w/ dGPU for TBD or 27" iMac:
    10.11.3 or newer
    SwitchResX available at

    You DO NOT need to disable SIP to run in 10/30-bit mode.

    Never tested a Cinema Display;
    all MBP models tested did NOT support 10-bit on built-in LCDs,
    but did support 10-bit to Thunderbolt if the laptop featured a discreet GPU.

    To clarify, nothing needs to be done to get 10-bit from a thunderbolt display on a Mac Pro 6,1 except to plug it in.

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