Personal Life Tech

Apple Thunderbolt Display: as overpriced as we think?

I’m in the market for a 13″ MacBook Pro over the next month or so. I love the idea of it’s portability, but I’m not sure I could work directly off it every day at my desk. Which brings me to looking for a monitor.

I’m currently using a 27″ non-thunderbolt Cinema Display (which I’ll have to be returning soon), and really enjoy the features of it. So I’d like to continue to have something similar. Here are some of the things I like about the Apple Displays:

  • 2560 x 1440 resolution or better
  • 27″ or better
  • Webcam
  • Speakers
  • 2 plug dock; Thunderbolt and power. (more of a want than need)

I’ve been shopping around, and there are a few monitors that meet some of these parameters.

Dell UltraSharp 27″ (U2713H)

Picture of Dell UltraSharp U2713H-1 Monitor

At first I looked at Dell. The UltraSharp 27″ is comparable to the Apple Display, having 2560 x 1440 resolution with a fairly decent looking case. It has DisplayPort, so I can plug right into ThunderBolt (only carrying display bits). This is a little hard to swallow with a hefty $713 price tag, and this is pretty close to the $999 price of the Apple Cinema.

27″ IPS-Glass Panel Pro LED Monitor #10489

picture of Monoprice 27" IPS-Glass Panel Pro LED Monitor

The next option was much more affordable, coming in at $460 (BTW, thanks to LifeHacker for the recommendation). This monitor also has the great 2560 x 1440 resolution as well as DisplayPort option. A big plus is built in speakers (I’m sure the sound quality isn’t the greatest, but I’m sure it’s better than the speakers in the MacBook Pro). I’m disappointed they didn’t add a webcam (even if its a cheap one) after adding built in speakers.

Apple Thunderbolt Display

Picture of Apple Thunderbolt Display

And now we come to the Apple Thunderbolt display. At $999 (certified refurb $800), this seems like a pretty expensive display on the surface, but let’s break down what it has that other displays don’t:


And a pretty good one at that. No need to go buy a separate accessory that will clutter up your desktop, and possibly add another plug to your docking/undocking procedure if you don’t opt for a thunderbolt docking solution.


Again, probably not as good as true desktop speakers, but they don’t take any room up on your desk, and don’t clutter up your overall setup.

Thunderbolt Dock

This is very convenient, especially if you are taking your computer on and off your desk a lot. Not a need, but very convenient.

Apple Quality/AppleCare

I’m not sure how much of this is in my head, but I feel like this will just be a better built monitor in general. I shouldn’t ever have to worry about something stupid breaking on it, and if it does, it’s covered under the 3 year AppleCare Protection Plan I’ll get with my laptop.

Is the Apple Thunderbolt Display really that expensive then?

To get a third party monitor to feature parody of a Thunderbolt Display, You’d have to get:

  • Thunderbolt docking solution, $170 from Amazon.
  • Speakers, let’s call it around $50; Pick your poison.
  • Webcam, and for something that’s decent will be around $50 (Amazon Webcams).
  • MagSafe Power supply $80.

How does this compare to a decked out third-party monitor? You’ll essentially need to add $350 to any of the other monitors:

  • Dell with proper accessories: $713 + $350 = $1063
  • Monoprice with proper accessories: $460 + $350 = $810
  • Apple Thunderbolt $999 ($800 refurb, $950 edu)

“But the Thunderbolt Display is so old. I’ll wait for the new one.”

Although the Apple Thunderbolt display was released in September 2011, a rev of this hardware probably won’t happen anytime soon. Rene Ritche at explains it best:

The simple answer is that there’s no port that can properly drive 5K yet. The current Thunderbolt 2 ports on the Mac Pro and MacBook Pro use DisplayPort 1.2 and max out at 4K. To drive 5K, we’ll need Thunderbolt 3 and DisplayPort 1.3. That’s coming with Intel’s Skylake platform… which is coming after Intel’s Broadwell platform… which is coming… eventually.

If you really want 5k now, get a 5k iMac. Because Apple controls the interface between the iMac’s logic board and display, they can connect it however they want. They don’t need to use the Thunderbolt interface internally.

One thing that bugs me a bit is the older connections. None of these are deal breakers, but just annoying.

  1. Firewire 800: So I just don’t use it. NBD.
  2. USB 2.0: Would sure be nice if it had 3.0.
  3. MagSafe 1: You have to buy a $10 MagSafe to MagSafe 2 adapter Turns out it comes in the box. More annoying than anything Still annoying it has to be there.

Bottom line

If those $800 refurbished Thunderbolt Displays ever get back in stock, I’m getting that. I had thought about the Monoprice monitor, but again with all of the value-adds of a Thunderbolt display, it doesn’t seem like such a steal anymore.

Update: Refurb came online last night. I will be here sometime next week! There is still one there as of Saturday morning.

Personal Life

Wedding Photos

LIz + Ryan Wedding

On a personal note, we got the first run at our wedding pictures! This was one thing about the wedding I wanted to have a say in, and Marc and Leda did an terrific job!

Check out the photo album on the Studio306 site.


Personal Life

This one’s for you you Chris…

I’m going to start this blog off with the typical statement…It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog. Sorry. I’ve been…well…I’ve been drinking too much and between that and trying to get a job in the field of Graphic Design, I’ve been a bit busy. So this is what I’ve been up to.

I had my senior show, got the miniMediaCenter up and running, (200 movies strong and growing daily thanx to Blockbuster online). School hasn’t been too hard but, I’ve been drinking a lot on the weekends. This is my last semester of school…ever, so I thought I should live it up while I can. Matt shitting on my bedroom floor, Caesar telling the girl I’m making out with that I have an ingrown toenail. There are stories. The rents have been ragging on me to get a job. I have been on the path to a job.

I went to portfolio one-on-one a few weeks ago. This was freakin’ awsome and anyone who didn’t go was really dumb not to. I recieved a lot of good feed back on my portfolio. That lead into an eventual interview and Metropolitan Media Group. I’ll find out on Monday if I got the job or not.

This post might seem a bit off the wall because…you guessed it…I’m drinking. So enjoy what I’ve given you. I’ll be back later.

Personal Life

gone EMO at Cedar Point

It was another AMAZING trip to Cedar Point. In the words of Courtney after getting off Dragster, “Oh my Fucking GOD!” Yes it was THAT amazing.

We started off by leaving D-town at about 2pm. It took us about 12 hours to get there in the Exploder. But we finally arrived in Sandusky at 3am EST. Victor arrived at about the same time. It was really good to see him. Jamie, however, didn’t seem to make it.

So, the next day we headed off to the park at about noon. I have never seen that many people at the park since I worked on The 4th of July 2 years ago. Damn you BooBuzz!!! We started on Magnum…a given. Then headed down to Demon Drop and over to Raptor. Raptor was amazing as usual (and also Clark’s fav). We were then incredibly hungry due to the lack of continental breakfast. Emily found bugs in the apples, and I had VERY warm milk with my Fruit Loops.

So we headed to the dining room of Wendy’s. Cheap goodness. Then headed back to the park for some more fun…waiting in 2 hour lines.

First was Mean Streak. I’d have to say I have NEVER waited that long for Mean Streak. The wait was about hour and a half, seeing as we usually walk on to it. Next was WereWolf Canyon. This was pretty cool. They drain Thunder Canyon, and it gets infested with bad werewolves. It was pretty intense and scary. The wolves wouldn’t leave Courtney alone. It was hilarious. That lead us to the fright zone in Frontier Town. This was pretty cool too. There were a lot of people, and a lot of scaresters. I could see how kids could get lost in that.

We then stepped in line for Millennium Force. The line was almost completely full, and it was 9:45. I didn’t think we’d be able to get on Millennium with time to get to Dragster before the park closed at midnight. Victor thought we should just wait it out and if it came to a crunch, we’d ditch the line, because we all know, Dragster is just a little more important. We did a good job of passing time. We played the sentence game and came up with some weird ones. Ahhh, I wish I could remember them. We also stopped Victor with all our might in buying an overpriced Cedar Point candy bar. Clark and I were holding him back from the vending machine yelling, “Don’t do it Victor! Don’t give into the MAN!” I think everyone in the line was entertained by us as well. We were singing “Stand By Me” too. I was singing the disco beat and Clark was singing. We tried to get the whole queue to do it. Didn’t work. We finally got up to the platform at 11:40pm. It was going to be close. But we got on the ride. God, I forgot how fun Millie was. So amazing, especially with Victor and I’s blackout on the first turn. Emily and Courtney loved it. Clark, just plain forgot how fun it was.

Now it was time for the sprint. We got off the ride with 16 minutes to spare. But Emily insisted that we still run. We ran all the way from Millennium to Dragster. I barely made it. But the important part was that we made it.

Waiting in line for Dragster was the easiest line of the day. It was only about an hour. Courtney was freaking out. She was really nervous and kept with the Courtney trademarked line, “Oh my god.” I ended up riding with Courtney on this one. It was freakin‘ hilarious. We were in the second train, so we had to wait awhile to actually get launched. She kept asking, “When is going to happen?” Once we actually launched, I had to look over at Courtney’s face periodically through the ride. She was just ecstatic. The finally slowed down to the end. She couldn’t breath. The first thing she said was, “Oh my Fucking God.” After getting off the ride, we waited at the exit ramp to see if we could get that last train ride to fill the cars. By the time it got to us, there was room for one more. I wasn’t going to take it. I asked the three newbies, “Who’s goin? Cuz I’m not.” Clark spoke up first so we ran around and watched him get launched for a second time. We put his hands up on his first and second time. He was hardcore.

And that was the day at the park. I was really surprised at how much everyone had so much fun. I thought just cuz I’m the coaster nut, I was the only one that would get sad when I left the park.

The next day, we decided to just take it easy. It had been a long last couple of days. So we went to Friendly’s for brunch. I had the meatloaf again, which was very shallow and pedantic. After that, we headed to the Great Wolf Lodge for a few games of DDR. Victor, Clark and I are pretty hardcore about it. So we played a few games. Emily played a bunch of ticket games and got a bunch of super balls. So when we left to take the elevator back up, we all threw them inside the elevator. I’d have to say, I’d never done that before. Pretty fun indeed. Next was the mall. Victor played some stacking game in the middle of the mall where he was trying to win an iPod Shuffle. He was one row away THREE times. He got robbed and never did win it. The Exchange was the last stop. I picked a few cheap DVDs.

It was time to say goodbye after that. I was of course sad to see Victor leave, but was surprised that Clark, Courtney and Emily felt the same way. They only had known him for a day and a half, tops. I was pushing him all weekend to work there next summer with me. I think he might do it.

We hit the road at about 5:30pm. I drove first and Lead Foot (Emily) drove through Chicago. Clark took the rest of the way. We stopped at Fizoli’s somewhere in Indiana to eat a very shitty pizza, and continue home. I ended up sleeping the back of my car from about 12:30-3:00. Clark drove the rest of the way from somewhere in Wisconsin to Duluth. We were on 53 (aka the road of death). We probably saw about 90 deer on the side of the road. They were all over the place. I was very surprised we didn’t hit one.

After we got back in and settled down, I talked with everyone on Monday. They all really missed it. Emily came up to me in the Kirby and said, “I miss it already.” I thought that I was the only Cedar Point nut. It’s nice to know I’m in good company. Now all I have to do is convince Clark to work their with me this summer.

Personal Life

It’s Been Awhile…

Sorry about this. I haven’t posted in…ahh…well since new iPods. A lot has happened over this time, and I’ll probably forget some stuff.

Well, I am on the verge of finishing the So by next week it should be done. Check it out here. You’ll know if it’s the new one or not. Now the next thing is So keep an eye out for that too. My web design skills are getting a little better every time.

This is going to be a long week, because Courtney Clark and I are going to Cedar Point. Pretty fired up for it. It’s Halloweekends there too. If you don’t know, they trick the whole park out to be haunted and have “Frieght Zones.” One thing that is really cool is that they drain Thunder Canyon and it changes into Werwolf Canyon. So you walk through the canyon and get freeked out.

Last weekend was Design Camp in Nisswa, MN. This was a great opportunity to get together with other professional designers. They had workshops and lectures. There was, of course, partying after on Saturday night. There were a few pictures of it on my Facebook.

Otherwise, I have just been really busy with school. It’s calming down for a bit, but I have a lot of things due at the end of November. So I need to stay on top of it.

Tvenge Design