Mac mini – it’s a fantastic little machine. Packing a huge amount of power and performance into a sleek, compact form factor. The mini has been a favorite since its introduction in 2005.
Because of their great specs, a lot of Mac minis end up seeing service as headless units operating as servers, media servers or home theater units. Not directly connected to a monitor, keyboard or mouse, these units are usually controlled via screen sharing. Whether it’s as a business server, in a production studio, or in the home, the Mac mini is a highly capable remote server with a tiny footprint.
As is often the case in life though, there is an annoying little problem that crops up when using the mini without an attached display. If there’s no display plugged in, the video drivers won’t load and the GPU isn’t activated. While this is unnoticeable most of the time, it will adversely affect the server’s performance, especially when you need to connect remotely to your mini via screen sharing. With the GPU inactive, it falls on the CPU to do all the work rendering the graphic interface and unfortunately this causes some issues.
The interface can lag and stutter, becoming slow and unresponsive. OS X animations get choppy, cursor movement is slow and menu navigation and typing suffer. Basically the super-smooth GUI experience that is one of the cornerstones of the OS X experience performs well below peak.
In the past, the best option was just to grin and bear it whenever you needed to remotely access your Mini, which is an entirely inadequate solution.
Plug in. Restore performance.
Thankfully, now there’s an easy, sleek solution from NewerTech. The Headless Mac Video Accelerator is a simple adapter that plugs into the display port and makes your headless Mac mini think there is a display attached. This loads the video drivers and fully activates the GPU leveraging its full power to render the interface. So you’re back to the 100% silky smooth OS X experience you know and love.
If you’re using the awesome little Mac mini as a headless unit, NewerTech has the simple solution to an annoying little problem, so you’ll never have to settle for a choppy interface again.
First Look: NewerTech Headless Mac Video Accelerator