Boot machine without Graphics card possible?

They make noise, too.

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KuniD
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Boot machine without Graphics card possible?

Post by KuniD » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:36 am

I'm trying to quieten down my server.

I'm wondering if anyone knows if it's possible to let the machine boot windows without having a graphics card plugged in? The box is primarily accessed over the network so it doesn't really need a graphics card.

The mobo doesn't have onboard graphics nor do I want to replace it.



Alternatively, as the system isn't used for gaming or anything, I'll opt for a low power passive card which will do for desktop functions. If no card isn't an option, what's the most power efficient low end card I should be looking at :)

ACook
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Post by ACook » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:50 am

a 2MB PCI card found at the local dump/2nd hand store or wherever.

or the lowest spec agp card you can find realy.

all should do 1024x768 @75Hz and 24bit at least, which is what is comfortable to look at on any monitor. If you can find one for 10e or less, you'll easily get the return on it in a year or so, if the server is on 24/7.

Vicotnik
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Post by Vicotnik » Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:33 am

It's possible to boot without a graphics card if the motherboards BIOS supports it. Often it's an option called Halt on that you'll need to set to No Errors.

~El~Jefe~
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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:19 pm

Yes, thats a good point. So, first put in a gfx card and then choose the halt on no errors.

pwnd


Only thing I could imagine using a no vga card pc for is linux where you remote into it.

Riffer
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Post by Riffer » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:34 am

Usually a good point in general for servers to have the halt on set to no errors.

Eliminates one factor if you are troubleshooting a no boot.

KuniD
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Post by KuniD » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:19 am

Excellent, I'll give the No Errors thing a try tonight and let you know how it works out :)

lowpowercomputing
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Post by lowpowercomputing » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:12 am

Even with the BIOS set to halt on no errors Windows may still have problems when there's no graphics card. Windows NT Embedded 4.0 and XP Embedded (now Windows Embedded Standard) include a headless VGA driver that's intended for exactly this purpose – running a system without a physical graphics card.

I've never tried booting Windows without a graphics card personally (only with no monitor attached to it which worked flawlessly) so you should try it first and report back if there are any problems.

If that doesn't work and you don't feel like extracting the headless driver from a copy of XPe/WES (you'd need to manually install it too I suppose) the next best thing is, as others have said, to source an old PCI graphics card that'll draw "next to no" power and use that.

~El~Jefe~
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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:02 am

theres no reason to use windows without a graphics card.

absolutely none.

Reason: if you have the desire to do this sort of computing, why would you opt for hunk of dried feces for an OS? You would just be using Linux. Windows = dx9-dx10 games. Can anyone think of another use? I think the only other application would be running a Silverlight program which is MS only. I cant think of another.... shrug.

Linux runs great without a gfx card.... pile up a bunch of crappy hard drives, use a 10 year old cpu, put 128 megs in it, blam, does magic.

Vicotnik
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Post by Vicotnik » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:27 am

~El~Jefe~ wrote:theres no reason to use windows without a graphics card.
I agree, although I did run a headless file server running Win2k for a while. It was not headless to begin with and the reason for using Win2k instead of Linux back then was the lack of a really good DC client for Linux.

It worked great headless though, we used VNC to connect to it. :)

BillyBuerger
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Post by BillyBuerger » Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:53 pm

I just tried out my new Linux home server at home headless last night. No problems. I forget what the power draw was with the ATI Rage XL video card plugged in. I'll have to plug it back and re-test. But without I'm at 43W which I think is about 5W less. I changed my BIOS to halt on nothing, gave it a minute and was able to log in remotely with putty. And I have webmin running so that's where I spend most of my time accessing it.

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:30 pm

yeah 5 watts eh? breaks the bank :)

Esben
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Post by Esben » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:54 am

If it's on 8760 hours a year it adds up. ;-)

Great topic, I've wondered about it myself. The servers I've made run with integrated graphics, so it's there if ever needed.

baconandeggs
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Post by baconandeggs » Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:02 am

yip +1 for VNC

BillyBuerger
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Post by BillyBuerger » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:39 pm

~El~Jefe~ wrote:yeah 5 watts eh? breaks the bank :)
Actually, I have put the ATI Rage XL card back in and I think it went from 43 to 45. So more like 2W AC. Hell, I think I'll just leave that in there in case of any issues that keep remote access from working.

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