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Booting a PC with no video card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 22, 2013 1:51:55 PM

Hi all,
I'm looking to build a PC for very specific application. My question is, after I have everything installed and working correctly, if I remove the video card, will Windows boot up correctly?

I can imagine you are all wondering why I'd even want to, and the answer is to eradicate every extraneous electrical signal I can.

So can it be done, or will Windows look at me and say WTF?

More about : booting video card

a b U Graphics card
January 22, 2013 2:06:55 PM

I suggest you check your BIOS settings to make sure it won't pause for input under those condition, and you'll probably need to set up Remote Desktop Server or similar to confirm that it booted successfully (network cables can usually be hot-plugged safely, but video cards definitely can't, unless you get a USB video card)
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January 22, 2013 2:09:45 PM

Yes, I've done a bunch of googling and it appears most motherboards out there have an option to boot without detecting a video card. And I do plan on remote access. But I'm curious if Windows will operate normally?
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a b U Graphics card
January 22, 2013 2:11:33 PM

I think so, but I've never tried it myself. One way to find out for sure, right?
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January 22, 2013 2:23:42 PM

I really don't want to spend half a paycheck to find out :D 
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January 22, 2013 2:24:01 PM

As far as I know Windows has basic display drivers that it will use in the absence of a video adaptor w/ drivers.
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a c 143 U Graphics card
January 22, 2013 2:40:29 PM

When I was running my test server, it was headless. Had no problems booting it up (after remote access was set up) and logging in remotely. Additionally, I would think any system connected to a KVM could be considered headless (until the KVM is switched to that input). My guess would be that it'll work just fine.

-Wolf sends
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January 22, 2013 2:44:05 PM

Wolf what version of windows were you using?
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a c 143 U Graphics card
January 22, 2013 2:46:55 PM

Server 2008 with an XP and Vista virtual machine.

-Wolf sends

Edit:
When running systems attached to my KVM, they were both XP.
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a b U Graphics card
January 22, 2013 2:50:55 PM

Not having a monitor connected and not having a video card at all are two different things. MaxMallan, are you saying that if it won't work sans video card, you don't want to build the system at all? Now I'm really curious about this "very specific application"
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January 22, 2013 2:51:43 PM

Hmmm but a KVM would mean the machine had a video card, AGP, PCI, or external. I wonder if XP doesn't like it I can the software I need on Server 2008.

Also looking into Linux solutions (need TOSLINK capability)
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January 22, 2013 3:06:22 PM

MauveCloud said:
Not having a monitor connected and not having a video card at all are two different things. MaxMallan, are you saying that if it won't work sans video card, you don't want to build the system at all? Now I'm really curious about this "very specific application"


It's essentially an audiophile music player. There are companies that sell exactly what I need, but I don't want to shell out thousands for an off-the-shelf product when I think I can make one for 1/3 the price.

The two essential constituents are reducing electrical noise and software overhead. Software overhead seems to be the simple part (there are guides on how to strip pretty much every service from XP). Electrical noise is what I'm focused on. So I need an SSD (instead of a HD); a very high-end, clean fanless PSU; a fanless heatsink (after all optimizations are made); the CDROM drive unplugged from the PSU when not ripping a new CD (machine powered down, of course); no video card or onboard chip (control via remote access), etc.

Would I build the thing if I have to be content with a $2 video card plugged in an unused... maybe. But if I can't get it exact, I might just say and stick with what I got.

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January 22, 2013 5:04:35 PM

What about using extra shielding on all of the wires and keeping your SSD outside of the computer case and putting it in some sort of electrically shielded box? This is definitely over my head... just a thought.
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a c 143 U Graphics card
January 22, 2013 5:20:45 PM

Mauvecloud makes a good point. My server did have a graphics card installed. Since the system hasn't been purchased, yet, I'd probably be looking towards an on-board graphics solution or at most, a fanless GPU.

-Wolf sends
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!