There are other questions on here that are similar, but I believe they relate to older models. If this is a dupe please close it though - I just want to find out if this can be done.

I bought a 27 inch iMac (iMac12,2). The back port cluster looks like this (on the right):

iMac port cluster *from apple.com

I wonder if I can use those Thunderbolt ports as inputs from a PC? The PC will be running a Radeon HD 4850 (i.e. it has enough juice to power the display).

Can it be done?

2 Answers 2


No - currently, only computers with a ThunderBolt port (combined DisplayPort + PCIe data) will work for video in mirroring on an iMac. This means a small selection of other Macs that ship with thunderbolt currently work.

There could be adapters later that help, and perhaps a firmware update, but even a MacBook Air that you buy today with DisplayPort out won't work with the iMacs expecting thunderbolt in.

  • 3
    This is right. Here is Apples document on the matter support.apple.com/kb/TS3775
    – robzolkos
    Jul 11, 2011 at 6:52
  • 1
    I should have added that thunderbolt cables are active and have processors on both ends to allow such fast connections and keep errors low. They are not just simple wires that we are used to plugging into our macs up until now.
    – bmike
    Jul 11, 2011 at 13:29
  • @bmike - Cheers for that. I'd read that somewhere this week.
    – boehj
    Jul 13, 2011 at 11:04
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    I am so excited for the possibilities of having a cable that smart. Take a look at the Mac Pro. Now imagine an external power supply. Now imagine only needing one slot for a GPU. Get rid of the 4 large drive bays (one SSD / laptop sized drive is fast enough to boot) Get rid of the optical bay. Now you can have a small workhorse or an enclosure to power a group of Mac Pro.
    – bmike
    Jul 13, 2011 at 16:55

ATLONA is making a compatible cable.

  • Can you add a link to the specific product?
    – nohillside
    Feb 5, 2013 at 20:11

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