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MacMini Owners: The Headless Mac Video Accelerator


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NewerTech (www.newertech.com) has announced the US$19.99 Headless Mac Video Accelerator, designed to fix poor graphics performance issues that occur when any Mac with a Mini DisplayPort (including but not limited to Mac mini 2009 and newer models) is used as a remotely accessed headless machine (without a display attached).When a Mac is operated without a display attached, often as a high-powered, whisper-quiet home or professional server, the GPU [graphical processing unit] stays inactive. This leads to poor performance when the system is accessed remotely. Without an active GPU, the user interface lags, animation stutters, and cursor movement, navigation, and typing all suffer.

 

The NewerTech Headless Mac Video Accelerator provides a fix that makes the remote experience run smooth again, enabling a headless Mac to behave as if it already had an attached display, according to NewerTech CEO Larry O'Connor. This activates the GPU, taking full advantage of its power to restore accelerated performance to any headless Mac, he adds. The Headless Mac Video Accelerator supports 1920x1080 @ 60Hz maximum resolution.

 

NewerTech announces the Headless Mac video accelerator | MacNews

 

Really neat!

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Just what I need. Not shure how to get one in Europe though...

Roon client on iPad/MacBookPro

Roon Server & HQPlayer on Mac Mini 2.0 GHz i7 with JS-2

LPS-1 & ultraRendu → Lampizator Atlantic → Bent Audio TAP-X → Atma-sphere M60 → Zero autoformers → Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3

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Just what I need. Not shure how to get one in Europe though...

 

I know of a product similar to the one in the OP from fit PC, and there seems to be a dealer in Sweden on their dealers page. Not sure if you've already tried looking at that product or not...

Office: iPod classic/iPad -> Shure SE425 IEM Home: Oppo BDP-83/Synology DS211j -> Integra DTR-7.8 -> Revel speakers

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Great! Thanks for the tip. But the hdmi variant does not seem to be available yet.

Roon client on iPad/MacBookPro

Roon Server & HQPlayer on Mac Mini 2.0 GHz i7 with JS-2

LPS-1 & ultraRendu → Lampizator Atlantic → Bent Audio TAP-X → Atma-sphere M60 → Zero autoformers → Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3

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Excellent! Much cheaper than the Gefen DVI Detective that I use.

 

Fredrik is right though, an HDMI version would be nice only because this one occupies the Thunderbolt port.

 

Ask and ye shall receive ( I haven't tried the device ).

 

HDMI adapter for headless Mac Mini:

 

Macminicolo Blog (An HDMI adapter for a headless Mac mini)

 

And you can buy it here:

 

Amazon.com: CompuLab Display Emulator (fit-Headless): Computers & Accessories

Silver Circle Audio | Roon | Devialet | Synology | Vivid Audio | Stillpoint Aperture | Auralic | DH Labs

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  • 4 weeks later...

I get a noticeable improvement if I plug the emulator into a Thunderbolt-to-Hdmi adapter instead of directly into the hdmi port on my Mac mini…

Guessing now, but maybe the hdmi port turns on a new power supply inside the mini, one that is not shared with the Thunderbolt port. Anyone with a similar experience?

Roon client on iPad/MacBookPro

Roon Server & HQPlayer on Mac Mini 2.0 GHz i7 with JS-2

LPS-1 & ultraRendu → Lampizator Atlantic → Bent Audio TAP-X → Atma-sphere M60 → Zero autoformers → Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3

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I get a noticeable improvement if I plug the emulator into a Thunderbolt-to-Hdmi adapter instead of directly into the hdmi port on my Mac mini…

Guessing now, but maybe the hdmi port turns on a new power supply inside the mini, one that is not shared with the Thunderbolt port. Anyone with a similar experience?

 

Improvement in what way? Responsiveness? Sound quality?

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Sound quality. A small degree of harshness and grit when away. There was also someting going on with the bass if I recall correctly. If you can, try it.

Roon client on iPad/MacBookPro

Roon Server & HQPlayer on Mac Mini 2.0 GHz i7 with JS-2

LPS-1 & ultraRendu → Lampizator Atlantic → Bent Audio TAP-X → Atma-sphere M60 → Zero autoformers → Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3

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Thanks Freann. I was hoping your answer was "responsiveness" and not SQ. The form factor for the little gizmo is just about perfect for the Mac mini and the thunderbolt port remains free. I wonder if others will weigh-in on this ..

 

I had a bit of trouble with the CompuLab gadget. Odd messages about the display being unauthorized or whatnot. I don't remember precisely what they were. I ordered one of these Newertech devices today ($17.50?! Great price.) and will test it out on the Mini. :)

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I had a bit of trouble with the CompuLab gadget. Odd messages about the display being unauthorized or whatnot. I don't remember precisely what they were. I ordered one of these Newertech devices today ($17.50?! Great price.) and will test it out on the Mini. :)

Would that be playing something like video which requires a HDCP compliant display?

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Would that be playing something like video which requires a HDCP compliant display?

 

Honestly? I am not sure what I did to get it, though it probably was playing a video of some kind. If I use the HDMI port to an AVR, I have no issues playing anything from the Mac Mini. Not sure if that is a hardware or software thing. In any case, here's hoping this new device "just works!"

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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After having the CompuLab gizmo for just a couple of days I must say the sound quality of my system has improved most obviously. So, is it because the monitor is no longer sitting in between my loudspeakers, or perhaps the removal of another noisy powered contraption? Both? The level of improvement really surprised me .. headless rocks!!

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Since I kept the TV in place, Im in the “one less power supply” camp.

Roon client on iPad/MacBookPro

Roon Server & HQPlayer on Mac Mini 2.0 GHz i7 with JS-2

LPS-1 & ultraRendu → Lampizator Atlantic → Bent Audio TAP-X → Atma-sphere M60 → Zero autoformers → Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3

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  • 2 weeks later...

A little confused here. Is this gizmo just for improving the resolution of the screen share on whatever computer you are sharing the mini with? Is the improvement in sound quality Melvin talks about because you are now head-less, or because you enabled he GPU in a system that was already headless?

 

I ask because, even though a nicer graphic interface would be a nice bonus, my main objective is best sound quality from the mini. I don't mind the screen on my macbook being slow or fuzzy if the sound quality is better. I thought the whole reason for going headless with a sd card was to obtain better sound quality by using a slower process.

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It is for better SQ.

Completely headless means your graphics card shuts down and the CPU takes over screen rendering = more CPU activity.

 

By adding an adapter you are offloading the CPU again, but without the need to connection to another device (one external power supply less).

Roon client on iPad/MacBookPro

Roon Server & HQPlayer on Mac Mini 2.0 GHz i7 with JS-2

LPS-1 & ultraRendu → Lampizator Atlantic → Bent Audio TAP-X → Atma-sphere M60 → Zero autoformers → Harbeth Compact 7 ES-3

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A little confused here. Is this gizmo just for improving the resolution of the screen share on whatever computer you are sharing the mini with? Is the improvement in sound quality Melvin talks about because you are now head-less, or because you enabled he GPU in a system that was already headless?

 

I ask because, even though a nicer graphic interface would be a nice bonus, my main objective is best sound quality from the mini. I don't mind the screen on my macbook being slow or fuzzy if the sound quality is better. I thought the whole reason for going headless with a sd card was to obtain better sound quality by using a slower process.

 

The gizmo does indeed improve screen sharing tremendously but the improvement in SQ is the goal. Try it .. you won't be sorry (nor will you be out much cash).

 

BTW I use either my other Mac mini or iPad Air with Splashtop for controlling the audio-only Mac mini. Both work great.

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