What is the difference from the thunder-bolt display and the LED Cinema Display?

QA Apple 27-inch LED Cinema Display

QA Apple 27-inch LED Cinema Display

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2 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    Basically the same thing, however the thunderbolt display is newer, and can only be used with 2011 or later macs (with a Thunderbolt port instead of a mini display port (MDP)), although the Thunderbolt port is backwards compatible with MDP, so the Cinema Display should work on any Mac with a MDP or Thunderbolt)

    The Thunderbolt display can also have another Thunderbolt display plugged into it, twice over, to have a total of 3 displays running from 1 port (whereas the Cinema Display can not).

    Actual resolution, price, size and exterior appearance are identical (I believe the thunderbolt display has 3 USB ports instead of 2, and doesn't require a male USB to be connected to the Mac in order to use the onboard USB ports, FaceTime camera or speakers, as the data is all transferred via the Thunderbolt port).

  • The display, speakers, and laptop charging cable are the same for both models.

    The Thunderbolt display has a higher resolution built-in camera.

    The Cinema Display provides a 3-port USB 2.0 hub. This takes up one USB port on your computer.

    The Thunderbolt Display connects to your computer's Thunderbolt port (make sure your Mac is Thunderbolt-equipped).

    The back of the Thunderbolt Display provides the following:
    - 1 Thunderbolt port
    - 1 Firewire 800 port
    - 1 Gigabit Ethernet port
    - 3 USB 2.0 ports

    Overall, the Thunderbolt Display offers significantly better connectivity for the same price as the Cinema Display, but it will only work if Mac has a Thunderbolt port. As of this writing, all Macs released in 2011 or later have Thunderbolt except for the Mac Pro (oddly enough).