7 Replies Latest reply: Nov 15, 2012 4:42 AM by Anders O
charles.morier Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hi all,


I just bought the Thunderbolt Display: great design, beautiful product, but I can't connect it to my MacBook.


My MacBook is a late 2008 edition, with only a Mini DVI port. The guy I was talking to at the Apple Store told me it should work fine for the screen itself, but not the possibility to connect HD. Well it doesn't. I rang Apple Help Desk, explained the situation, they told me it will work if I get some specific cable.


I spent a bit of time on Internet, could not find anything. I'm a bit puzzled to hear different versions, between what Apple is saying, people claiming they actually managed to connect their display to a Mini DVI and what I'm doing...


If someone has a solution to do this and can explain it, I'll be very happy to hear it. Else, I guess I will just have to bring back the monitor...


Thanks for your help,


  • 1. Re: Connect Thunderbolt display to MacBook with Mini DVI
    Kory Z Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am having the same issue.  I have a 2009 Macbook with a Mini DVI and want to order an Apple monitor and would like to get the Thunderbolt display for now and then hopefully upgrade my computer down the road.


    Any suggestions here would be nice.  The solution I am looking for is Macbook or Mini DVI to Thunderbolt. 


    I do understand that I will not get the functionality of the Thunderbolt, but only need the video capability.


    Any suggestions would be helpful!


    I know that the answer has been no solution, but hopefully, a solution is coming.


    Otherwise all Apple labtop pre-2011 will have to buy the LED and hope that there computer lasts.  Otherwise if the labtop goes, not only do you have to replace the labtop, you will also be stuck with an old 27 LED Monitor, and have to purchase a new Thunderbolt 27 Monitor?


    Doesn't make any sense? 


    There has to be an adapter in the work?

  • 3. Re: Connect Thunderbolt display to MacBook with Mini DVI
    charles.morier Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I gave up on this and gave back the screen to the Apple Store. Got fully refund. I think best solution is to wait for the next MacBook refresh (around June or July I'd say) and get the screen at this moment. I will patiently wait using my current MacBook with its such small screen...


  • 4. Re: Connect Thunderbolt display to MacBook with Mini DVI
    Kory Z Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hello Charles,


    Thanks for the response.  I have contacted two third party converter and adapter makers and they both have told me that something is in the works that will supply video.  They could not state when.


    I do appreciate your response!


    If you hear anything let me know!


    I need the 27 yesterday, but don't want to take a step backwards.  I will holdout until Apple introduces a fix, or until a third party comes up with a fix, that is cheaper than the RAID $1000 rix to hook up two monitors.


    Thanks again!



  • 5. Re: Connect Thunderbolt display to MacBook with Mini DVI
    Anders O Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Any news on this? I see things exactly the same way as Kory Z in his first reply.


    I have a 2009 MBP that I recently upgraded very cheaply with a SSD and new RAM (so annoying you can't do this with new Retina models). It will do me fine for a while.


    At the same time I am keen to buy a 27" display, but don't want to buy the Mini DisplayPort version as I plan to upgrade to a new Thunderbolt MBP when a quad-core 13" version comes out sometime in the near future (I guess).


    So I too basically need a way to hook up my 2009 MBP to a Thunderbolt display until I update the MBP to a newer version with Thunderbolt ports.

  • 6. Re: Connect Thunderbolt display to MacBook with Mini DVI
    clintonfrombirmingham Level 7 Level 7 (28,710 points)



    You're just going to have to buy the Apple Cinema Display to work with your 2009 model or go ahead and upgrade to a model that has a Thunderbolt port and then you can use the Apple Thunderbolt Display.


    There's just no way around it - you can't connect an ATD to a Mini DisplayPort: only to a Thunderbolt port.


    Now is a good time to upgrade, anyway. The non-Retina 2012 MBP models are built on proven technology and I've seen very, very few people having any sort of problems with the non-Retina model. Your new RAM, obviously, won't work in a 2012 model, but your SSD might. I don't see a 13" quad-core coming out anytime soon (if ever).



  • 7. Re: Connect Thunderbolt display to MacBook with Mini DVI
    Anders O Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, Clinton. I actually went the other way and ordered a 30" HP instead.


    The non-upgradeability of the retinas and the Thunderbolt/DVI incompatibilities are putting me off Apple a bit, so I thought I'd try something else.


    But thanks again.