Thunderbolt Display or Alternative?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Brian Mage, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. Brian Mage macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2012

    I'm in the process of making the switch to OSx at the moment. My order for a BTO 13" Air is in. I've found the right type of docking station/stand I want. I've even gone and bought a new bag AND a woollen sleeve too!

    Everything is ready (if you ignore the fact that my Air is currently being stuck together in China :rolleyes: ) apart from what display i'm going to buy.

    My main use for the Air is dual. 9-5 it will be my workhorse. Running MS Office with multi browsers open for CRM apps. I'm at a desk 50% of the time (work from home), 50% i'm at a clients premisses. At home, in an evening it is likely to be used for Amateur Music recording, and some iMovie editing, plenty of web - standard stuff i suppose. So it will be both on my lap and on a desk depending on use.

    I plan on running an Airport Express in the house hooked to a stereo downstairs, while having a display upstairs with soundbar. This will allow me to be in my home office, working away from the distractions of family, but also be able to be around them in the evening but have the mac on my lap. We also run a 3tb wireless hard-drive in the house

    So now i've tried to set the scene. Here are my Q's

    1. Considering the connectivity a TB display gives, is it essential for me?
    2. Are there any other displays, non apple, which can rival/beat the TB for a similar price. - Samsung Syncmaster eg?
    3. While i want to buy a neat little soundbar for use with the display, what are the speakers actually like on the TB. - I've given them a listen in PCWorld, and was not overly impressed but didn't have time to really fiddle.
    4. The age old "Refresh" question. What time scales do you guys see the TB getting a refresh in? considering the lack of USB3? - It must be said here, that this will not stop me buying one, as i'd just upgrade at the point of refresh and sell the old one on ebay.
  2. clumeng macrumors member

    May 14, 2010
    1. It doesn't sound like it as you are mainly using wireless connection it sounds like (which will be slower). My setup at work (not at home) is that my TB display is connected to wired Ethernet, FW800 Drobo, USB scanner, a USB drive or two depending one the day - with 1 connection it's all online in about 15-20s. I do this to make sure I have faster Ethernet and data connections - if you are doing a lot of movies and not storing them on the small MBA SSD this is going to be the choke point. So if you see yourself going to speedier data storage (TB hard drive) then the TB display might be useful - then again you can just directly connect it to your MBA. The TB screen is really very nice BTW but not cheap - to me the connectivity was worth it.

    Vid of my setup - replaced my iMac and I'm pretty happy.

    2. My understanding is that the 27" dell is a competitor for the TB display and many really like that one - you don't get the connectivity bells and whistles. At 24" there are more options I think.

    3. It's probably similar to iMac speakers - or all other computer speakers - nothing to be amazed by. Any cheap external speakers will be better. Be warned though - the TB display does NOT have a sound jack (kinda lame) so I have to plug my speakers into the mini jack on the rMBP.

    4. Anyone knowing when there will be a refresh probably doesn't really know. I think the USB3 move was tied to the Ivy Bridge Processor more than Apple liking it. Given their buying to TB I doubt they will be making any moves anytime soon just to update to USB 3 - Probably will release a retina version next when the "rumored" iMac retinas are ready which may not be for a year at least.
  3. sutherland macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2010
    Kinda bummed to hear that, I just got the rMBP and have been thinking about buying a TB display, just holding off for a few months in hopes they give it USB3.

    I'm currently using a cheap USB to headphone adapter from Amazon with my USB hub, probably could fix your problem too.
  4. Lance-AR macrumors 6502

    May 7, 2012
    Little Rock, AR
    I don't see TBD being refreshed before Retina which will not happen this year.
  5. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    I have a dell ultra-sharp 2412m, and it is working very well. I have a mini display port to display port cable going from my air to the dell, and it also has a built-in USB hub, so I have a 1tb external hard drive and super drive connected to the monitor with two more usb ports available. And I have a blue-tooth adaptor for my sound bar, along with apple wireless mouse and key board. So I only have two cables going to the hinge dock I bought for my air. So when I need a desktop type experience I just put my air into the dock and everything else is already connected, I just click the apple mouse to way the computer up. I really like the set-up and seems similar to what I would be able to do with a thunderbolt display, only complaint is that the usb hub is only 2.0, so while its no problem now because I have the 2011 air, when I upgrade I'm going to want a faster connection.
  6. lannisters4life macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2012
    1. It's not essential, but will be handy. Too, if you get another screen and then a USB dock type thing, that'll take up both your Thunderbolt and one of your USB ports, rather than the TB display, which just takes the Thunderbolt port. It also has a Magsafe charger (came with free adapter for the new MBAs), so you never have to fiddle around getting your power cord out. 2
    2. The Dell one Ultrasharp something is the same display I hear, without the cover glass (good thing), without the ports on the back (bad thing), without Jonathan Ive's magic (also bad thing).
    3. Speakers are better than the MBA's, but nothing on a serious set of speakers. If you're into recording music, you will of course not like them.
    4. I'd say it'll be refreshed whenever the iMacs are, which could be next week, or in 2017.

    I have a the 2012 13" MBA and Thunderbolt display, and they're great together. The only negative I've run into is a few games that the HD4000 can't handle at high resolutions, but I was expecting this, and it's hardly a big deal.
  7. Brian Mage thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2012
    Thanks for the replies guys. I'm sure you've answered similar Q's before, but i couldn't find a recent thread through search.

    I'm happy to say i've bought a TBD. I got in on eBay @ 20% off as it was new without packing, but with full 12mth Warranty. (He was an official reseller too, I'm careful like that)

    The sound out jack is an issue I hadn't considered, but the USB adapter should sort that out.

    I'm not too worried about the sound quality, although it was something i had wondered about. It will be hooked up to some Semi-pro monitors, so I have high qulaity, but sometimes its just easier not to turn on the rig!

    I suppose it makes sense NOT to refresh the TBD's yet in Apples eyes as there is little reason if USB3 is not too much of sales point to them.
  8. buffalo macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2005
    Colorado Springs / Ohio
    The TBD does not have problems running Windows 7, correct? Presumably through Boot Camp (rather than Parallels or similar) on a 2012 MBP.
  9. silentsim macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2010
    I just recently bought the TBD. It's awesome. Works perfect in OSX and Win 7.
  10. lannisters4life macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2012
    Pretty much fine. I have Windows 7 bootcamped. I've noticed a few small bugs,
    I can't boot into Windows and then plug in the display, it needs to have been plugged in before the OS loads, otherwise it can't see the display, probably a Thunderbolt thing. Windows 7 too doesn't really like booting up while my Macbook's lid is closed, I'll need to open it up, even though I have the preferences set to only display from the TBD. Windows doesn't automatically switch the keyboard lights too, so if I forget to turn them down, they stay on while the lid is closed. I like Windows 7's scaling options too, which can increase the size of the UI elements, which is more comfortable on my eyes on the big 27" screen. Windows applications seem to look best when maximised to fullscreen, but this becomes an enormous waste of space, so I keep the 125% scaling on.
  11. buffalo macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2005
    Colorado Springs / Ohio
    Interesting. Thanks! Most of the time I would be comming from class, where the MBP would be running W7. What you're saying is that I would need to shut down the computer before connecting to TBD, rather than simply waking it from sleep?
  12. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Indeed. It's a windows and thunderbolt problem, but I recall reading that intel has a solution in place. Whether that solution makes it to bootcamp is another story

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