Power Consumption

Unsurprisingly, power consumption hasn't changed much in the past year. The Thunderbolt Display draws a bit less at its dimmest setting (likely just panel efficiency variance) and draws a bit more at max brightness:

LCD Power Draw (Kill-A-Watt)

LCD Power Draw (Kill-A-Watt)

While powering a 15-inch MacBook Pro and reading data from an attached Pegasus R6 (copying to a local SSD at around 200MB/s) I measured total power consumption for the display (max brightness) at 179.6W. That number could go up if the battery in the MBP was near empty and thus being charged at a higher rate.

Display Testing - Brightness/Contrast & Uniformity Multi-monitor with the Thunderbolt Display
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  • PWL_Steve - Friday, September 23, 2011 - link

    I'm planning on buying an MBA soon so really appreciated the review of the display. For just about the same price, I could purchase the smaller iMac. Would it work the same way with a MBA as the Thunderbolt display would? Buying the IMac would allow my wife to have her own system and I would still be able to occasionally use it as a large display.
  • JasperJanssen - Saturday, September 24, 2011 - link

    No, the iMac in target display mode *only* provides a display. No power, no USB, no camera, and definitely no ethernet/firewire. I'm not sure about audio -- displayport Target Display Mode included audio as well as video, but the thunderbolt iMac is different enough that I don't know about that one.

    But as long as the display is all you want, sure, that works. Do keep in mind of course that the smaller iMac is a much smaller (cheaper) display.
  • tanjo - Friday, September 23, 2011 - link

    Apple, the biggest advocate of (almost)everything-in-one. Is it hard to separate the Thunderbolt to the display? If you find the Thunderbolt lacking and need to upgrade, you have to replace the Thunderbolt Display instead of just the Thunderbolt controller - a waste of a perfectly good display. How about making the Thunderbolt "box" dock at the back of the display? It'd still look clean.
  • mcnabney - Friday, September 23, 2011 - link

    Like maybe a VESA-compliant box that attaches to the back of any monitor?

    The lack of logic astounds me.

    Oh, no, the iPeople couldn't handle the ugliness of a sleek box attaching to the BACK of their sleek display.

    /aren't we in a recession?
  • slashbinslashbash - Friday, September 23, 2011 - link

    No, there's no need to replace the Thunderbolt Display if something better comes out in the future. The beauty of Thunderbolt is that it is chainable, and the Thunderbolt Display has a chainable Thunderbolt jack. You can add an extra box in between the laptop and the Thunderbolt Display, or you can add an extra box after the Thunderbolt Display.

    Need USB3? I'm sure somebody will come out with a little box with a USB3 controller inside and a Thunderbolt interface. Your use of the Thunderbolt Display does not preclude your additional use of such a USB3 device: just plug it in to the Thunderbolt Display. Need an external GPU? Hook up the MBA to the external GPU Thunderbolt box, and then hook up that box to the Thunderbolt Display. Voila.

    You still get 100% use of the stuff built in to the Thunderbolt Display (USB2, GigE, FW800) and you get the additional use of whatever you tack on to the Thunderbolt chain, either before or after the display.
  • JasperJanssen - Saturday, September 24, 2011 - link

    There's not going to be an external GPU that can handle thunderbolt output any time soon. Mini Displayport, yes. Thunderbolt, no. And that means that it'll be a while before you can hook this particular display to an external GPU box, if ever.

    Everything except external GPU, yes, sure, that's what Thunderbolt is for and will combine great with this display. External GPU: for the time being, will require a VGA/DVI/DP display.
  • JasperJanssen - Saturday, September 24, 2011 - link

    Oh, and I forgot (but there's still no blasted edit button...): Your MagSafe cable will be in the wrong place, if you put a dock between the display and the laptop.

    Extension cables are available build-to-order at $199 according to google (seems to be they take a complete adapter, and graft a MagSafe laptop port onto it) -- easier just to get a second $99 adapter.
  • RandomUsername3245 - Friday, September 23, 2011 - link

    Since I decided to try using a Mac laptop for work about 6 months ago, and also observing others with Mac laptops, it seems like everyone has a rat's nest of wires running from every port on the computer to various peripherals. I think the lack of a docking station is a big negative for using a Mac laptop in a work environment. This new monitor almost fixes the problem, but unfortunately requires another "Apple Tax" payment.
  • michal1980 - Friday, September 23, 2011 - link

    apple obsoletes ports, forces users to buy new products and its called...

    'Clean Brake'

    Microsoft doing something like that and there would be pitch forks.
  • Phynaz - Friday, September 23, 2011 - link

    What computers does Microsoft make?

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