Vine Server on XServe without graphics-card


Can Vine Server run on an XServe without a graphics-card?
I would like to use both PCI slots for soundcards.
I have been trying to find the answer on the web, but came up with conflicting evidence.



Our understanding is that this does work just fine and is actually recommended by Apple as one of the preferred ways to interract with a video-free XServe.

We do not actually have one of the newer X-Serves in house to verify with however so please post your results here if you give it a try.

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for clearing that up.
Are there any restrictions as to what software you can run without a graphics card?
If not, then aparently you have a created some kind of “virtual graphics card”.
How much does this tax the CPU of a G5/dual G5 at most?(ballpark figure) Is this “virtual graphics card” also running on computers with an actual graphics card? In that case I could experiment a bit for myself.
Would you say audio-programs such as Logic Pro depend heavilly on the graphics card and thus create a big load on the CPU when VNC’d?
I do not have the xserve yet, and I would really like to find out the answers to these questions before getting one.



Vine Server doesn’t “create a graphics card”. But I do believe that something inside Mac OS however does create a “graphics context”, probably some sort of generic one.

You are probably correct that at least some programs that require specific graphics hardware (maybe 3-D modeling tools, games or the like) would have a hard time with this set-up although going through VNC is going to be a really poor scenario for this anyhow.

I don’t have any hard figures on the impact of running a single graphic context; we don’t have any machines that have no video cards so I believe a GC is always running. I can say that it is noticeable when I’m running more than one graphics context on a 10.4 machine, (using Fast User Switching and a VNC server).

I would not categorize any GUI apps as particularly more intenstive than any other unless they use a lot of 3D renderring. So I think Logic Pro shouldn’t have a particularly noticeable impact, even with lots of controls on screen at once.


I can not give exact values about the graphic performance of an Xserve with out a graphic card. Using Apple Remote Desktop 2.2 and 3.1 on a Xserve (G5 - dual 2.16GHz) the graphic response is slower as on an PowerMac G5 with an 23" Cinema Display attached also controlled over ARD. But I think more important for your planed use together with the Logic Pro Software is, that the resolution of the virtual display is limited to 1024*768 pixel. Maybe enough to administer a server, but not enough for an Application GUI like Logic Pro. By the way the same is true even on a “normal” Mac with a graphic card installed but no monitor attached.

I hope this helps, best regards,