NewerTech's 'HDMI Headless Video Accelerator' Keeps GPU Active for Better Performance With No Display

headlessadapterNewerTech today announced the launch of its HDMI Headless Video Accelerator, an adapter that's designed to plug into the Mac mini's HDMI display port to fool it into thinking there's a display attached. With the adapter plugged in, the Mac mini's GPU is activated and video drivers are loaded, resulting in smoother performance.
When the Mac mini is used without a monitor, its GPU isn't used. As a result, the interface lags, resulting in choppy screens and slow video, animation, cursor movements, menu navigation, and typing. Plugging the NewerTech HDMI Headless Video Accelerator into the HDMI port of the Mac mini solves this problem, engaging the GPU so your remote interface works exactly how you'd expect.
Apple's small and portable Mac mini is often used sans display as a storage device or a media server, but without a display, the Mac mini does not take advantage of its GPU. Without an active GPU, certain tasks performed on the Mac mini can be choppy and laggy, such as visiting websites, as described in a Macminicolo blog post on the subject.

This kind of adaptation has been used by Macminicolo on video intensive servers for several years, but as the site says, even simple web browsing benefits from having active video drivers. Macminicolo even recommends a similar dummy dongle product directly on its site.

The NewerTech HDMI Headless Video Accelerator is designed to work with the following Mac mini models: Mac mini Mid 2010 (Macmini4,1), Mac mini Mid 2011 (Macmini5,1 / Macmini5,2 / Macmini5,3), Mac mini Late 2012 (Macmini6,1 / Macmini6,2), Mac mini Late 2014 (Macmini7,1). It works with OS X 10.6.8 and later.

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Mac mini owners interested in purchasing the NewerTech HDMI Headless Video Accelerator can do so from third-party retailers like OWC. The adapter is priced at $19.50.

Related Roundup: Mac mini
Buyer's Guide: Mac Mini (Buy Now)


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43 months ago
The fact that such a thing is required in order to have a non-sucky remote desktop/vnc session is ridiculous... but it is what it is...
Rating: 8 Votes
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43 months ago
There's also the DIY way:



http://blog.macminicolo.net/post/33839671756/build-a-dummy-dongle-for-a-headless-mac-mini

A must for VNC access on a headless Mac mini.
Rating: 8 Votes
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43 months ago

Did you even bother to read just a handful of the replies here?


I'm actually impressed with how condescending this sentence actually was. Not even mad.
Rating: 7 Votes
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43 months ago

Use to have to buy headless adapters from Dr. Bott back in the day when Macs wouldn't run without a monitor cable connected.

Haha, I developed the Microcom Advanced Video Terminator to solve that issue. It was a paperclip. :)

Since we did a lot of work with IBM big iron it seemed everything had a four word acronym so the MAVT was born. I even created a document with fancy diagrams to send to our customers.
Rating: 6 Votes
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43 months ago
sorry, noob here. if you don't have a display attached, why would you care about UI performance. or even know about it for that matter?

Edit: ah remote desktop / vnc
Rating: 3 Votes
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43 months ago

I am so confused! Please help me. How can this improve video performance for a computer that doesn't have a monitor connected? Like you're telling me that plugging this into a computer without a display will make the UI smoother. How can the UI be smoother if there's no display to see this UI?

Did you even bother to read just a handful of the replies here?

If you connect remotely to the computer, it'll have a GUI still, it's just sent through the network instead of the display port/HDMI/etc...
If you rent hosting with a company, you'll get access to a computer, which a server only is as well, and usually you'll get command line access and access through an admin panel (a bunch of webpages), but if you get a VPS (virtual private server) for example, you get full access, including being able to install an OS of your choice, etc... In any case, that's when you'll often connect to the server using RDP or VNC, which will send the graphical interface to you.

Glassed Silver:mac
Rating: 2 Votes
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43 months ago
Why do we have to have this in order for our device to have the optimal performace. Does this mean Apple intentionally crippled the device down so the premium products justifies the pricing. That's s just sad!
Rating: 2 Votes
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43 months ago
An excellent way round a problem that shouldn't be there in the first place.
Rating: 2 Votes
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43 months ago

Why do we have to have this in order for our device to have the optimal performace. Does this mean Apple intentionally crippled the device down so the premium products justifies the pricing. That's s just sad!

Yes they crippled the product so that they can harness the GPU cycles themselves to control HAARP. :rolleyes:

It is common practice to disable the GPU when there is nothing connected to it. It saves power and reduces the heat load. This has been done for at least 30 years on the desktop.

Modern software is making increased use the GPU for non-display purposes. It is probably time to revisit the practice but I expect it isn't high on the priority list.
Rating: 2 Votes
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43 months ago

Does anyone know a UK supplier?

Just try eBay 'hdmi headless' had one for ages on my mini cost about £10
Rating: 1 Votes
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