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Somehow this doesn't work out of the box – is there an adapter I can buy that will allow me to connect the Displayport output of my Macbook to the Thunderbolt input of my 27" Thunderbolt monitor?

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No - time to sell something and replace it so as to have matching protocols. – bmike Mar 2 '12 at 23:21
To elaborate, a Thunderbolt output is backwards-compatible with a DisplayPort input, but not the other way around. As @bmike said, I'm afraid you're out of luck. – Dan J Mar 2 '12 at 23:24
Apple's Tech Specs for the Thunderbolt Display clearly state it requires a Thunderbolt-enabled Mac computer, including MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iMac – jaberg Mar 2 '12 at 23:37
If Thunderbolt can output (into a DP display) the correct ("old") DisplayPort protocols, why can't it receive the "old" DisplayPort protocols. – Jonathan. Mar 3 '12 at 11:22
up vote 8 down vote accepted

As @bmike, @djacobson, and @jaberg have stated in comments, that will not work. There is currently (as of March 2012) no adapter, nor do I expect there to be one to adapt mini-DisplayPort to Thunderbolt. (The standards were defined to be backward-compatible, not forward-compatible.)

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BOOOO! This sucks ;) – Tom Lehman Mar 3 '12 at 2:17
The good news is that you can return it, and if not that you can sell it, its still worth a lot. Additionally apple is still selling the 27" LED Cinema Display on the Apple Store, which will work on your Mac. Also note that DELL and HP are making a really nice professional IPS panel series of 27" LCD that offer the same 2560 by 1440 resolution, and those will work with you mac as well. – MrDaniel Mar 3 '12 at 3:08
I thought Thunderbolt was DisplayPort with PCIe added in?…. So surely the DisplayPort protocols are the same? – Jonathan. Mar 3 '12 at 11:19
@Jonathan Yes, Thunderbolt is DisplayPort multiplexed with PCIe such that a DisplayPort device will only read the DP signals. However, a Thunderbolt device would be expecting both signals and the absence of the PCIe part might cause it to think there is no signal at all. – CajunLuke Mar 3 '12 at 18:21
@CajunLuke, it sounds like they could have quite easily made just DisplayPort work both ways. Someone could create an adapter which produces the PCIe and trick the display. – Jonathan. Mar 3 '12 at 20:49

No this will not work. Check the system requirements for the Apple Thunderbolt display.

System Requirements

Thunderbolt-enabled Mac computer, including MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iMac OS X v10.6.8 or later

As of yet there is no way to add a Thunderbolt port to a Mac that did not ship with Thunderbolt.

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