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I have a MacBook Pro that I purchased in December 2010 that has a Mini DisplayPort, but no Thunderbolt port. I would like to purchase a monitor for my machine. What I would really like is one of the 27" Apple displays.

Further, I would like to continue using this monitor when I inevitably replace the laptop with a newer model in 2 or 3 years. Therefore, I would much prefer to have a state-of-the art Thunderbolt monitor, rather than the non-Thunderbolt Cinema Display monitor.

Searching the Internet for this seems to indicate that this is not something that's at all doable. I'm just wondering if anybody has recently come out with an adaptor or other solution that would allow me to use the Thunderbolt display in a Mini DisplayPort machine. At this point, I'd even consider something in the $100-$200 range, if such a product exists. It is even acceptable to me (though less ideal) if the monitor's built-in camera, USB ports, and ethernet port will not be useable with the solution.

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Why wouldn't you be able to use the display? The connectors are the same. Why not call Apple to get a definitive answer? –  slhck Jul 22 '12 at 19:27
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Per Apple's Thunderbolt FAQ: "The Apple Thunderbolt cable and Gigabit Ethernet Adapter require a Thunderbolt port to function. They may still fit in a Mini-DisplayPort connector but will not be recognized or otherwise function." (emphasis added). Plus, I've tested this myself with thunderbolt monitors, so I know from personal experience. –  Matthew Jul 22 '12 at 19:42

1 Answer 1

No you can't yet. The Apple Thunderbolt monitors requires a Thunderbolt equipped Mac to drive them (or a thunderbolt equipped PC with appropriate drivers - I've heard of this working).

Currently there are no adaptors available to equip older Mac's with Thunderbolt ports. It'll happen eventually. Your best bet is to buy a good quality DisplayPort monitor or HDMI monitor with adaptor which will give you more options.

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