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NewerTech accessory fools 'headless' Mac minis into turning on GPU

updated 12:48 pm EDT, Tue August 12, 2014

Speeds up interface, apps

NewerTech had released an accessory for the Mac mini, the Headless Mac Video Accelerator. Although Minis are often used as headless servers, the computer will automatically disable its GPU when a monitor isn't detected. This can potentially cripple performance in some tasks, such as accessing a Mini remotely, which is often necessary when it's in server mode.

The HMVA is a display adapter that fools a Mini into thinking a monitor is attached. This forces it to load video drivers, and hence both the OS X interface and any graphics-intensive apps should run at normal speed. NewerTech is selling the accessory for $19.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Grendelmon

    Senior User

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Reminds me of the old trick of attaching a VGA adapter to an old headless power mac so Timbuktu and VNC would work remotely...

  1. macmad

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 12-12-00

    Or build your own :)

  1. macmad

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 12-12-00

  1. Tralthamidor

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-11-07

    Does anyone know of a way to do this with a Pre-late 2013 Mac Pro? I keep the machines around to use with the older OSes through Screen Sharing but they won't run Final Cut Pro, or rip DVD's among other things because of no monitor.

  1. Mike Wuerthele

    Managing Editor

    Joined: 07-19-12

    The same general idea works on DVI. There should be similar dongles.

  1. TheGreatButcher

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 06-11-00

    Surprised there's no command line instruction to get around this...

  1. ShortcutToMoncton

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 09-29-00

    I built my own. (Not a lot cheaper, though.) But eventually connecting a TV via HDMI also seemed to do the trick.

  1. dmwalsh568

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-03-08

    Why did they use the Mini-Display port for this?!? The Mac mini only has one Thunderbolt port and this will block that port. An HDMI version would make MUCH more sense.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Your Thunderbolt devices don't have pass-through?

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