New Headless Mac Video Accelerator

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by VirtualRain, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #1
    Anyone who's managed a Mac Mini remotely using screen sharing is intimately aware of the terrible lag in mouse and typing that occurs. Apparently this has something to do with the GPU driver not loading when the computer has no display attached. (I'm not so convinced - read on).

    Today I see OWC is selling this NewerTech product that's basically a dongle that fools your Mini into thinking it has a display attached.
    http://blog.macsales.com/25997-headless-mac-video-accelerator-new-solution-to-old-problem/

    [​IMG]

    I've tried this trick without success before on my Mini by putting a resistor into a VGA dongle...
    http://blog.macminicolo.net/post/33839671756/build-a-dummy-dongle-for-a-headless-mac-mini

    [​IMG]

    Perhaps the fact that my Mac Mini has an HDMI connection to my Home Theater Receiver (which is usually off when I'm doing remote admin) disqualifies this from working?

    Has anyone had any success with something like this? What's your setup?

    Do you think this new product might actually work? (It seems to work in their demo video - but they don't have anything connected other than this dongle e.g. no HDMI cable coming out of it like mine).
     
  2. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #2
    Yes these devices work. There have been many available.... For example I've used this one....

    http://www.amazon.com/CompuLab-fit-...8&qid=1407868703&sr=8-1&keywords=headless+mac
     
  3. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #3
    Interesting... I wonder if the fact that my Mini is connected by HDMI all the time helps (even if the AVR/TV is off) or hinders?! For example, maybe I have video acceleration all the time with the HDMI cable connected or maybe I have no acceleration and it keeps the dongle from helping/working?

    I'll have to play around with it and see if there's a noticeable difference in lag.

    Is there someway in OS X to know for sure if the video driver is enabled or not?
     
  4. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #4
    I have my Mini currently hooked to a monitor that rarely ever is powered on and I am getting full video acceleration (as far as I can tell). I rarely if ever get any of the artifacts and everything seems to work just fine (sure it is slower than sitting in front of the computer, but that's latency due to the network, etc).
     
  5. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #5
    And that dummy HDMI plug you linked above is making a difference in your setup? Hmm. Interesting.
     
  6. Dolfke macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2013
    Location:
    EU
    #6
    using ARD

    I use Apple Remote Desktop for my headless Mini's and never experienced any lag, mouse nor keyboard, I'm afraid its you internet connection (UL speed) that matters the most I guess.
     
  7. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #7

    I'm on wired GigE and it's laggy. So there's something more to it than that.
     
  8. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #8
    No I said I used it, didn't say I was using it now.... My mini runs OSX server so to do extensive tweaks I just hooked a monitor to it now.
     
  9. drsox macrumors 65816

    drsox

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Location:
    Xhystos
    #9
    I can also support the benefits of the FitPC dongle. Works like a charm with no lag, but I'm only controlling not doing much in RealTime. I'm using VNC from RealVNC but over a WiFi link from MBA to Mini.
     
  10. shabanga macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #10
    Yeah, I like the idea of an HDMI based solution better than this. Seems like a waste of a perfectly good thunderbolt port which is a non-starter for many who want to use a TB drive array or TB to GigE adapter for a second NIC.
     
  11. slicedbread macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    #11
    Hey @VirtualRain, did you ever solve this?

    I also have a mac mini (2011, Intel HD3000) that I use as a HTPC connected to an AV receiver via HDMI.

    When the receiver and TV are off, screen sharing into the mac mini is incredibly slow and laggy. Obviously when the AVR is on things are much smoother.

    My mac is connected via HDMI, so I can't use the HDMI headless dongles from amazon. I was keen to try the mini-DP/VGA adaptor but apparently it doesn't play well with Mavericks and existing HDMI connectivity.
     
  12. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #12

    Yes... I bought a Geffen HDMI Detective Plus which stores the AVR's EDID. It's only been a couple of days, but so far it's working great. It's the only solution I could find that works if you're using HDMI as your output I believe. It's not cheap but it's worth it as far as I'm concerned.
     
  13. slicedbread macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    #13
    $129 USD. Ouch!

    I'll think about it for a while. Let me know if it continues working for you or if any issues crop up.

    Thanks.
     
  14. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #14

    I got it from B&H for about $80 but it's still not cheap. Although the frustration of lag makes it worth every penny if it indeed works as hoped.

    I was only home briefly between business trips to set it up, so won't know more until I get back Home in a week.
     
  15. Dwhite78 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #15
    Yikes. This 15$ product solved all of my screensharing lag.
     
  16. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #16
    Many of us are using our Minis as part of a Home theater setup where they are not truly headless... A TV or AVR is connected via HDMI which precludes using this and appears to prevent other dongles from having the desired effect also.
     
  17. mmomega macrumors 68030

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #17
    I purchased that same emulator for 4 Mini's, a 2010, a 2011 and 2 2012's and at the time my main issue with the headless Minis were the black lines/blacked out screens when I would ScreenShare into them.
    I'm not having that issue any longer with these emulators.
     

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