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Guide to using Apple Thunderbolt Display on new PC Builds

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kerim

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I have migrated from Mac to PC after 20 years. I am a 3D motion designer and, not being able to use Nvidia GPUs and ridiculously over-priced new Mac Pro's forced me to this decision.
First of all, I want to thank this community, especially @Alex Glawion and @Jerry James ,
million times! I don't know what and how would I do if this community's support doesn't exist. Especially when you are an ultra-noob for PCs after a life-time in Mac.

And in my new voyage, I desperately want to keep using my two Apple Thunderbolt Displays. I luckily find this community first, then read tons of other geek forums, reviews and watched YouTube videos to buy the right PC parts that will able to work with displays.

- If you want to use your Apple Thunderbolt Display with a modern PC motherboard & GPU, no converters or adapters will work to use it in standard display outputs. Apple Thunderbolt Display is not just a regular monitor, it is a Thunderbolt device and needs a Thunderbolt supported output. So, you need a Thunderbolt expansion card and a motherboard with a Thunderbolt header on it.
- Apple Thunderbolt Display doesn't work with the Titan-Ridge card. You need the Alpine-Ridge card. My choice was Gigabyte Alpine-Ridge (rev 2.0).
- If you want to use an X570 motherboard that supports AMD Ryzen 9 CPU with high-end Nvidia GPU (maybe 2 GPUs for farming), all of the brands except ASRock drops support Thunderbolt. ASRock X570 motherboards have a Thunderbolt header to connect this expansion card (not all of them, still check the specs for a Thunderbolt header). My choice was ASRock X570 Taichi.
- The Mini Display ports on the Alpine Ridge are inputs to connect your Alpine-Ridge to your GPU or motherboard. So you also need an "Apple Thunderbolt-3-to-2 adapter". Then you will be able to connect your Thunderbolt Display to the card's Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) output.
- As for drivers, unfortunately, the current driver file Gigabyte provides on their website is a bit old. Under today's date, the most current Alpine-Ridge driver Intel provides is 17.4.80.94. You can download it with a Google search and install it. There is no obligation to download only from Gigabyte's website.
Yes! Apple Thunderbolt Display device works with modern motherboards, high-end CPUs, and high-end GPUs, only if you carefully select the right pieces of equipment.
 
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Jerry James

Jerry James

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Awesome! Thanks for sharing, mate :) I've stickied it to the forum so other members who want to find information about using Thunderbolt displays can find your guide easily.
 
Alex Glawion

Alex Glawion

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I have migrated from Mac to PC after 20 years. I am a 3D motion designer and, not being able to use Nvidia GPUs and ridiculously over-priced new Mac Pro'

Very helpful, thanks for the insight! :)
 
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Suriya

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Thanks for your input. I am using Supermicro X10Dal-I which supports Thunderbolt 2 by add on chip AOC-TBT-DSL5320. I did everything as you mentioned. In my case i have to connect the display port from my GPU 2080 Ti to the thunderbolt card. But the software doesn't show my thunderbolt display.
 
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Ayirus

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Thanks for your input. I am using Supermicro X10Dal-I which supports Thunderbolt 2 by add on chip AOC-TBT-DSL5320. I did everything as you mentioned. In my case i have to connect the display port from my GPU 2080 Ti to the thunderbolt card. But the software doesn't show my thunderbolt display.
 
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kerim

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Thanks for your input. I am using Supermicro X10Dal-I which supports Thunderbolt 2 by add on chip AOC-TBT-DSL5320. I did everything as you mentioned. In my case i have to connect the display port from my GPU 2080 Ti to the thunderbolt card. But the software doesn't show my thunderbolt display.
Do you also use the relevant converter for your Thunderbolt Display? "Apple Thunderbolt-3-to-2 adapter"
Do you mean Windows 10 itself as "software doesn't show my thunderbolt display" or you expect to see it in a specific software?
 
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Ayirus

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Do you also use the relevant converter for your Thunderbolt Display? "Apple Thunderbolt-3-to-2 adapter"
Do you mean Windows 10 itself as "software doesn't show my thunderbolt display" or you expect to see it in a specific software?
This is a Falcon Bridge chip. It's a direct thunderbolt 2 port. No need for conversion. I have installed the software intel thunderbolt software. I have tried the same version mentioned by you as well but it didn't show the device
 
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Ayirus

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Do you also use the relevant converter for your Thunderbolt Display? "Apple Thunderbolt-3-to-2 adapter"
Do you mean Windows 10 itself as "software doesn't show my thunderbolt display" or you expect to see it in a specific software?
I made it work with the software TBT_Win7_32_64_Win8.1_64_2.0.4.250 I was using a different software possibly the one for thunderbolt3. Thank you very much for the quick response. Your post really helped me.
 
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