FFR: You can run a Mac Pro headless without a video card

This is just for future reference or for other curious nerds like me who like to experiment with stuff like this…

I run Roon Server (headless) on a Mac Pro (early 2008) that sits in my basement away from my setup upstairs. I connect to it via Screen Sharing when necessary.

I noticed that after a week or so of uptime, I couldn’t connect to it via Screen Sharing, but Roon continued to be fully operational. Also, if I had a monitor connected, when this happened the screen image would be messed up - horizontal lines and other digital craziness.

I researched this and narrowed it down to the graphics card in these machines being wonky causing this to happen for many others. So, I wondered, since I don’t use the monitor anyway, could I just remove the video card and solve the problem?

My hunch was that this would cause Screen Sharing to not work, because I figured the graphics card was involved in generating the image locally somehow or creating a screen buffer or something… But lo and behold, after yanking the video card everything works fine.

We’ll see if this actually solves the original problem in a week or two…


If you still have problems, you may want to consider the “HDMI Headless Video Adapter”

HDMI Headless Video Accelerator

I haven’t used it (yet) but have been considering getting it for my 2009 Mac Mini that I run headless. Supposedly, it will make screen rendering faster and re-enable the GPU when using it via screen share.


Thanks. Interesting little product. Good to know about.

Unfortunately, this would require me to re-install my GPU, since what this does is re-activate the GPU when running headless. At least at the moment, I’m thinking the GPU is the source of my problem. But if it’s not, and I wind up re-installing it, I’ll definitely pick one of these up. The price is right, that’s for sure.