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jorhh Level 1 (30 points)

Hi there,


I wonder whether it is possible to use the new 27" Thunderbolt Display with a "previous edition" MacBook Pro - which has a only a Mini DisplayPort?

(I only want to use the display as such, i. e. I am not fussed about the additional Thunderbolt functionality.)

Any ideas?


Kind regards from Berlin,


MacBook Pro 13", Mac OS X (10.6.1), 4 GB RAM, 500 GB HD
  • ToothpickProductions Level 1 (135 points)

    No.  The Thunderbolt display requires to be plugged into an Actual Thunderbolt port (on your computer/device). 


    You are unable to get just partial functionality by plugging it into a mDP (on a non-TB computer).

  • mbxxx Level 1 (0 points)

    How about an adapter?

    Like Jan, I would like to use the display just as a display not as a hub or docking station (until I stay with my current MacBook Pro and don't buy a new one).


    Is there an adapter to plug into a mDP to connect the Thunderbolt Display?


    Best regards.

  • jorhh Level 1 (30 points)


    Thank you for your advice.

    May I ask where you found the information that Thunderbolt Display on a mDP is a no-go?




  • ToothpickProductions Level 1 (135 points)



    "... Thunderbolt controllers fold data from existing DisplayPort systems with data from the PCI Express port into a single cable..."

    ... However, Thunderbolt is bi-directional, which often requires sophisticated reflection and cross-talk suppression techniques, such as used in 10 Gigabit Ethernet. ..."


    So as it currently stands, the technology is not compatible for the Thunderbolt display to successfully communicate (bi-directional information transfer) thru the older mDP port (with is purely a video 'output').





    "... This display is only officially compatible with Macs that have the Mini DisplayPort connector or the Thunderbolt connector. A third-party converter must be used in order to use this display with older Macs. ... "


    I guess, never say never... as by definition, they mention a 3rd party device would need to be used.  But as it looks, there is nothing on the market to do this.

  • jorhh Level 1 (30 points)



    Given the second wikipedia quote


    ... This display is only officially compatible with Macs that have the Mini DisplayPort connector or the Thunderbolt connector.


    it does seem that the video functionality of the TB Display can be used with a Mac that has a Mini DisplayPort, right? Which was my original question.

  • jbjoret Level 3 (640 points)

    I am using a Mac Mini 2011 (Thunderbolt) with a Display Port cable and a DisplayPort Monitor. From what I know, Thunderbolt is back compatible. The best would be to try out.

  • SilentRadar Level 1 (40 points)

    Thunderbold ports are divided into 2 pipelines, one for data and the other for video.  Going from the quote it should work with the video pipeline with no issues, but with no support for any of the external inputs (FW800, USB, Ethernet port).

  • charles.m.h. Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi jbjoret,


    Me and a few others have some problems when connecting the new Mac Mini (Thuderbolt port) to a LED 24" display (miniDisplay).



    We have black flickering, i.e. the screen goes balck for a fraction of a second every so often, In my case I had my screen totally messed up, (see photos). We have tried Lion re-install, PRAM reset, etc ....


    Do you have any issues with your configuration?






  • Mike95 Level 1 (45 points)

    The 24" flickering is an issue which appears to only happen with the new Mac Mini's.  See other threads for details.

  • jorhh Level 1 (30 points)

    Hi there,

    I'm sorry that I cannot contribute anything to your specific problem - I have put my own screen purchase "on hold" until the new TB display hits the market,

    Good luck though that your problem will (hopefully) soon be sorted out!

  • Darrell Jackson Level 1 (40 points)

    I have a 2010 Mac Pro with a ATi 5870 and I currently have the first gen 27-inch LED Cinema Display and i'm in the market to buy a second 27-inch, I always wonder if the thunderbolt cinema display will work with my 2010 Mac Pro and by reading some of the comments here I might not have to buy the 2011 Mac Pro GPU Upgrade kit but might upgrade my GPU just in case

  • lumiere Level 1 (40 points)

    This is crazy !. Is there no one who cn verify that if you simply plug one of the old MBP into the new TB display that the thing works ? I am headed to the mac store with my Old 2008 MBP to find out.

  • Yang Level 6 (9,125 points)

    Likely because no one actually has one yet and the only information there is to go on are Apple's support documents, however scant. As you say, best to check at an Apple store, though my local one didn't have a single demo model the last time I checked.

  • Snookaroo Level 1 (0 points)

    The correct answer above says that the display "should" work simply as a display without the extra ports.  Has anyone confirmed this yet in the real world?  I see another poster was going to take a laptop in to try it.  I too would be willing to forego the extra ports for the time being, looking forward a year or two to another upgrade to replace my current 2010 i7 MacBook Pro.  Rick

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