Thunderbolt Display teardown reveals many chips

Ben Camm-Jones
29 September, 2011
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A teardown of Apple’s Thunderbolt Display has revealed a large, brushless fan and a logic board teeming with chips.

iFixit took one of the 27in, 2560 x 1440, $1,199 Thunderbolt Displays to pieces and published the results this week.

The Thunderbolt Display’s front glass panel comes off with the help of some heavy duty suction cups, according to iFixit, while the removal of 12 screws gives access to the LCD.

The display is an LG LM270WQ1 – the same as the late 2009 iMac Intel 27in model. “Its 12ms response time and 16.7 million colours, however, fall short of the 6 ms response time and 1.07 billion colours of Dell’s comparable display [the Dell UltraSharp U2711],” iFixit says.

Behind the panel is a brushless fan to cool the display, which is “easily removed simply by detaching a couple of connectors and unfastening a few screws”. The logic board is home to several different controllers – a Pericom PI7C9X440SL PCIe-to-USB 2.0 host controller; a L129NB11 EFL; an Analog Devices ADAV4601 audio processor; a NXP LPC2144 USB 2.0 microcontroller; a Delta LFE9249 10/100/1000 Base-T LAN filter; a SMSC USB2517-JZX USB 2.0 hub controller; and a LPC 1114F.

There are yet more chips on the back of the logic board: a Maxim MAX9736B Mono/Stereo High-Power Class D Amplifier; a Texas Instruments LC573A; a SLG8SP568V; a LSI L-FW643E-2 open host controller interface; a Broadcom BCM57761 Gigabit ethernet controller; a Texas Instruments NH245; and a Supertex HV9982 3-channel switch-mode LED driver IC.

Moving on to the Thunderbolt Display’s power supply board, iFixit reveals that it has 250 watts of maximum continuous power. There is also a 49 watt 2-speaker sound system, including a miniature subwoofer.

iFixit rates the Thunderbolt Display as an eight out of 10 in terms of ease of repair, with 10 being the easiest. However, it warns: “While disassembly was very straightforward, there are a lot of parts, cables and connectors, making full reassembly not for the faint of heart.”

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